Blake Gillies, DIA, a loyal NIAFA member since 2012, NAIFA-LA President, and national Young Advisor Team (YAT) Co-Chair, is living his dream of serving in the insurance industry after following in his father’s footsteps. He currently practices with Acacia Financial Group in Metairie, LA, where he specializes in insurance, disability insurance, and income protection products and services designed to meet his client's needs. He also provides disability insurance expertise for the Southern Medical Association.
Gillies’ love of the industry came from watching his father, who showed him the blueprint for how to grow and maintain a successful business. What attracted him to the industry was the ability to combine two of his passions, working with families and helping others.
“It was a great way to help an unlimited amount of people, have as much financial or industry success as I wanted, and flexibility to maintain a healthy work-life balance,” Gillies says. “This industry is pretty unique and allows you to have all three and still be successful.”
Gillies joined NAIFA-LA with the encouragement of his dad, Keith Gillies, CFP, CLU, ChFC, a loyal NAIFA member since 1981 and NAIFA-National Past President. After joining, the younger Gillies quickly saw the benefits of the organization and was inspired to implement change across the chapter.
“I joined the Board of Trustees because there were changes that I wanted to see happen,” he says. “The amazing thing about our organization is the networking opportunity and being able to help and encourage others in the industry as well.”
Gillies says that NAIFA’s advocacy efforts contributed to the success of his business in more ways than one. He explains how it is of the utmost importance to know what NAIFA is doing at the legislative level and to support their efforts by contributing to NAIFA's Political Action Committee, IFAPAC. He became a true believer in NAIFA after attending NAIFA's Annual Congressional Conference.
“Congressional Conference was an unbelievable experience. I recall sitting in a Senator's office and taking everything in. It was amazing! That is one event I never want to miss,” says Gillies.
Gillies adds that many people in the industry are getting a free ride on some of NAIFA’s legislative victories.
Today, he is grateful for NAIFA’s advocacy more than ever. He has contacts in D.C. and Baton Rouge that he can call and speak to about policy decisions that affect his business and clients. Without NAIFA, that wouldn’t have been possible, he says.
“NAIFA’s advocacy is a pretty cool thing to be involved in. If you are a member or someone who is debating membership, I definitely encourage you to join. I challenge you to jump in and get involved with some legislative issues if that’s something that interests you because it’s pretty cool and powerful with the people you meet,” he says.
Thank you, Blake Gillies, for your loyal service and leadership to our industry and association. We’re #NAIFAproud to call you one of our own.