September 2017  

President's Report


Hello GWAHU!


I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself.  My name is Colette De Castro and I am honored to represent GWAHU’s membership as President of this amazing chapter.  I have been a part of GWAHU for four years and I can honestly say that it has bolstered and enhanced my career in a variety of ways – most of which we can chat about when we talk at a future meeting.


Some of the goals I have set in place for my term as President may take some time and quite possible will raise some concerns.  However, just like the nature of our industry is changing, GWAHU must change too. I would like to collaborate more with our state and National chapters to really enhance the vision and value of NAHU.


If you’ve looked at our website lately (, you will see that we were awarded the Pacesetter Award during National Convention in Orlando, FL this year.  What does this mean? This award is given to local chapters that have met certain National Awards criteria that sets us above other chapters.  It is an honor to have received this award on behalf of our chapter, and I hope to keep the momentum going through my term.


I wanted to keep this brief to encourage you to reach out to me and engage in meaningful conversation on how GWAHU will move forward in the future.  We are always looking in ways to engage membership and make your experience a more meaningful one.


I look forward to meeting you soon!


Warmest Regards,

Colette De Castro



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Calendar of Events

Membership Meeting: 2nd Annual Vendor Fair & Voluntary Benefits CE Course

We will be hosting our second annual vendor fair! Participants that get their “Passport” stamped by visiting all of the sponsor booths will be entered to win a $150 Amazon Gift Card!  New Board of Directors Induction, CE Course, Vendor Fair

-        September 13, 2017

-        8 AM Registration and Breakfast; 9 AM Program Start

-        Location: Lakewood Country Club, Rockville, MD

-        Cost: Reduced to $15 for Members AND guests

-        1 Hour CE Course: Voluntary Benefits – What You Need to Know

o   CE credits filed in MD, VA, DC

o   SHRM and HRCI Credits available – please invite anyone you know that might need some of these credits as well

-        Thank you to our sponsors: TASC, Guardian, Advantica, Boon Group, Clarity Benefit Solutions, BeneTrac, Meritain


Legislative and Compliance Meeting: Live! From NAHU – Webinar CE and Additional 1 Hour CE Course

We will be broadcasting the Live from NAHU webinar that will outline the movement of the ACA and what we should be looking forward to. Janet Trautwein, CEO of NAHU, will be presenting.  This is a webcast, but in order for you to earn CE credits, you must attend a Chapter broadcast

-        October 12, 2017

-        11 AM Registration and Lunch; 12 PM Program Start

-        Location: TBA, Montgomery County, MD

-        Cost: $20

-        1 Hour CE for Live from NAHU Webinar Broadcast – VA Approved, DC and MD Pending

-        1 Hour CE regarding Compliance


GWAHU Webinar Series: Enhancing Your Business

We know 4th quarter can make it particularly difficult for you to get out of your office and attend a live meeting.  GWAHU will host a technology webinar on November 8th that will focus on enhancing your business and using the latest technology to present to your clients. Stay tuned for more information!


Charity Event: Annual Bear Party and Happy Hour (Benefiting Children’s National Medical Center)

Every year, GWAHU sponsors a “Bear Party” where we encourage members and guests to bring in new stuffed animals that the Board will present to the children who have to celebrate the holidays in the hospital. It is a great event that we encourage everyone to attend. Last year, we were able to present over 100 bears to these children in need!  Mingle with other members as we toast to finishing up a great year.

-        December 13, 2017

-        4 PM – 6 PM

-        Location: Congressional Country Club, Potomac, MD


Board Meetings:

If you are interested in attending a Board Meeting, we hold them every 1st Thursday of the Month from 9 AM – 10:30 AM at Gallagher Benefit Services in Rockville, MD. Please reach out to [email protected] if you are interested in attending!


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From the Board



2017 brings change to the GWAHU Board of Directors!  Our Board of Directors reflects a variety of backgrounds and specialties.  We are excited to announce the 2017-2018 Board.  We want to thank Joel Pitt for his years of service to the Board.  He will continue to act as Treasurer and Golf Tournament Chairman.

If there is a committee you are interested in joining, please reach out to the chairs listed below. We are always looking for more help and input.


-        President and Awards Chair – Colette De Castro, Gallagher Benefit Services. [email protected]

-        Immediate Past President and Treasurer – Joel Pitt, Group Benefit Services. [email protected]

-        President Elect – Sara Mayes, CareFirst. [email protected]

-        Secretary – Sharon Hardesty, NFP. [email protected]

-        Communications and Media Relations Chair – Norma Gregorio, Employee Navigator. [email protected]

-        Professional Development Chair – Joe Torchia, BenefitMall. [email protected]

-        HUPAC Chair – Julie Roberts, United Healthcare. [email protected]

-        Legislative Chair – Jay Fahrer, Gallagher Benefit Services. [email protected]

-        Membership Recruitment Chair – Laura Chaney, Potomac Basin. [email protected]

-        Membership Retention Chair – Christie Tinio, Dominion National. [email protected]


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Greater Washington AHU – Gold Certification

Greater Washington AHU – Pacesetter Award

Leading Producers Round Table (LPRT) – Soaring Eagle Awards, Teresa Conto and Colette De Castro


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Melvin Prescott Ashley, CFP

Ellen Bareford

Thomas Costell, II

Suzanne Cline

Francois Ntchombou

Sharon Hardesty





New Members: “One Team, One Goal!”

Contest begins Saturday, 8/26/17 and runs through Friday, 9/8/17

-        New members that join will receive a $50 one time refund!

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Professional Development



Did you know that NAHU offers many certification and designation courses at a discounted cost for members?  Here are just some of the certifications NAHU offers.  If you take three of these, it’ll help toward earning your REBC designation.  Please reach out to [email protected] for more information!






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National Meetings



Attending national meetings is a great way to know what industry leaders are doing and it also enhances your experience as a NAHU member.


Capitol Conference 2018

Meet with your legislators, collaborate with your industry partners, and participate in riveting learning sessions all related to legislation and compliance!

-        February 26-28, 2018

-        Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill

-        Washington, DC


Annual Convention 2018

-        June 23-26, 2018

-        Sheraton at Crown Center

-        Kansas City, MO

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