Cormiea, along with her husband, Scott, found a hospital in Mexico that performs hematopoietic stem cell transplants (HSCT), a cutting-edge treatment for MS that is not approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). The cost for treatment and the trip was more than $50,000, and the couple planned to raise funds to cover the cost.
An unexpected series of events, which included insurance approval with the help of Oswald Cos., led Cormiea, a teacher at Mayfield City School District, to seek treatment in her own backyard at Cleveland Clinic.
Cormiea, who was diagnosed with MS four years ago, shared her good news with her colleagues in an email. She credited Oswald Cos., whose clients include Mayfield City School District, her neurologist (who pleaded her case to the world neurology committee) and others for giving her hope for the first time in four years.
John Fasola, executive vice president and managing director of group benefits at Oswald Cos., heard of Cormiea’s plight through his daughter, Jayme Fasola Guy, who is also a teacher at Mayfield City School District. He was touched by the heartfelt message that reminded him of the importance of his work at Oswald, which utilized its resources and contacts with insurers and vendor partners to effect outcomes in a positive way on Cormiea’s behalf.
“The wonderful people at Oswald helped changed this woman’s life trajectory,” Fasola says. “This is why we do what we do. We do it in a manner that makes it enjoyable and fun. It is not monotonous. It truly impacts the people in our communities.”
Fasola says when he started with Oswald nine years ago, leadership often discussed programs it could put in place that would positively impact individuals in the organization and their surrounding communities. Now, the programs that were once just ideas have evolved and enhanced a workplace destination that employees don’t want to leave.
In its “Drive our Thrive” culture, Oswald is adapting to changes in the post-pandemic workforce that values work/life balance. Recognized as one of the nation’s most successful and admired insurance brokerage and risk consulting firms, Oswald has numerous programs in place that help foster a solid work/life balance.
Signature Oswald programs include: the Common Ground Alliance, focusing on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI); Workforce Development Cooperative with Olivet Housing & Community Development Corporation; a growing internship program; OswaldCLIMBS for young professionals; Women’s Leadership Initiative; OswaldCARES, a community engagement initiative; and Oswald Thrives.
Melanie Myers, organization development specialist, assists in leading the Oswald programs, which she says help drive ownership and accountability.
“It’s our due diligence as an organization to continue to grow and develop our long-term legacy to give people a sense of belonging,” Myers says. “We don’t want to just check a box; we want to do things well. These are not tasks — these programs are embedded in what we do. It’s part of our culture.”
Oswald Pride, the latest DEI initiative at Oswald, started in October. On the horizon is BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Color). According to Myers, everyone has a place at Oswald.
Jessica Jung, who is in her first year as president of Oswald, says the employee-owned company’s leadership team is working to meet employees where they are at in their lives. The acronym CARE is used to describe what it means to thrive. CARE translates to, “Are you positively challenged? Do you feel appreciated? Do you feel respected? Are you empowered to do good things?”
“If you feel strong in these areas, you are thriving,” Jung says.
“This is the way our leaders can understand the pulse of our team. It gives our leaders direction. It allows them to connect and communicate. We want to give our employees a safe space to say whether or not they are thriving.”
Although feelings are unmeasurable, Jung and the senior leadership team are doing their best to measure what she calls thrive analytics.
“We are asking our employees, on a scale of 1 to 10, how much are you thriving in our CARE model,” Jung says. “If our thrive scores are low, we will go in a different direction. We will do what we can to drive our thrive.”
As the conversation continues to move forward and younger leaders begin to emerge, Jung’s hope is that her employees ultimately feel connected.
“We have raised the bar,” Jung says. “We are inspiring one another, which makes us better every day.”
In her journey to daily betterment, Cormiea is sharing her story on her Instagram account @scormiea. On July 24, Cormiea shared that the “stars must have aligned because this is happening. I am terrified, yet excited and hopeful for the first time in more than four years since I was diagnosed.”
Fasola is proud Oswald assisted in Cormiea’s hopeful journey.
“Every company wants to say it has a good culture, but we really do,” Fasola says. “The culture is woven into the fabric of what we do. It is evident in how we treat our clients and one another. It makes me proud to be an Oswald employee.”