We talked to Larvizo Wright about his path at Unum Group, motivations and career tips for young professionals
How did your career path bring you to your current position?
My focus on people and personality has been key to success in my career. There are certainly stereotypical perceptions of CPAs and accountants—I pride myself on deviating from the norm. I started as a staff accountant in 2006, performing standard accounting activities and financial close duties. In the late 2000s and early 2010s, as my career progressed, I moved around and served in various financial reporting roles with increasing job responsibilities. This momentum eventually led to a shift into internal auditing in the insurance industry, specifically in the healthcare payer space.
Internal audit is where I found my stride--I was good at being both the auditor and the auditee. Executives at the company I was working for thought I would enjoy and excel at auditing, and they were proven right! Coming up through the ranks in internal auditing eventually allowed me an opportunity to move to Unum in 2018 and continue growing as an audit leader on our Global Internal Audit team.
During the nearly six years I was in Unum's audit organization, I served as an audit director and an assistant vice president for the Corporate Audit team before stepping into my current role as the chief of staff to Rick McKenney, Unum Group’s President & CEO.
My financial background helps me understand and translate operational activities into financial terms applicable to SEC reporting. My auditing background has also honed my ability to manage projects, be strategic, and think deeply about business risks and ways to manage them. These skills are highly transferable to the role of chief of staff.
What motivated you to pursue a career in the insurance industry?
I've worked in the insurance industry for nearly 18 years. I'm drawn to the industry's complexity – there’s nothing simple about it. I also appreciate working for a company that directly helps people during difficult times. I like to use my energy, effort, and abilities to help others when they need it most, and Unum Group’s mission is to do the same.
What aspects of your role at Unum Group do you find most rewarding and fulfilling?
I find my current role at Unum Group rewarding because it requires me to be a good listener, problem-solver, and learner all the time. Each day brings new challenges that require me to work with others to resolve issues effectively. It is fulfilling to be able to work on a variety of projects and help others help others.
Could you share some of your most significant achievements during your time at Unum?
Since 2018, I have worked with some incredible women who are breaking glass ceilings for women in the workforce. I've been honored to be a partner in their journey. I have also proudly served as a brand ambassador for our internal audit organization, helping business leaders across the company understand the value of partnering with audit leaders to improve the company. Additionally, I am honored to serve as the CEO's chief of staff.
As Chief of Staff to Rick McKenney, what are your primary responsibilities?
I support the CEO and Senior Leadership Team by advancing the effectiveness of the Office of the CEO and providing advisory support. With the CEO's busy schedule, I help with day-to-day activities so he can focus on shaping enterprise-wide decisions, monitoring mission-critical work, and engaging internal and external stakeholders to drive the company forward. Additionally, as chief of staff, I serve as a thoughtful leader who partners with individuals at all levels of the organization to solve problems in a way that benefits everyone.
If you could provide three tips for young professionals starting their careers, what would they be and why?
- Chase the hard stuff and make it better. Great things typically happen for individuals who take on challenging assignments and make improvements.
- Focus on more than just working hard. Most people work hard, so you need to do more than that. Deliver work with excellence and solve problems that are vital to the business and important to your seniors.
- Build relationships by helping and supporting others. The best way to network is to help others instead of expecting them to do something for you.
When you're not at work, what hobbies or activities do you enjoy in your free time?
In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, exercising, listening to podcasts, playing the piano and doing community service.
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About Unum Group
Unum Group (NYSE: UNM), an international provider of workplace benefits and services, has been helping workers and their families for 175 years. Through its Unum and Colonial Life brands, the company offers disability, life, accident, critical illness, dental, vision and stop-loss insurance; leave and absence management support and behavioral health services. In 2022, Unum reported revenues of about $12 billion and paid $8 billion in benefits. The Fortune 500 company is one of the 2023 World’s Most Ethical Companies, recognized by Ethisphere®.