Barry Hardy started with a great teacher: his father

When Barry Hardy started his career 50 years ago with Connecticut Mutual, he benefitted from having a great teacher and taskmaster who didn’t accept excuses: his father, Richard.

A successful advisor specializing in estate analysis and defined-benefit plans, Richard gave Barry his first job in financial services back in May 1967. At the time, Barry had graduated from Wittenberg University and served a year of active duty in the Air National Guard. While Barry was completing his six-year commitment to the reserves, Richard challenged him to do pension calculations at night and call on clients during the day. The elder Hardy wouldn’t split business with his son until he had been in the business for 10 years. Over the next couple of years Barry’s two brothers, Jeffrey and David, also joined the business.

It didn’t take Barry long to realize his father’s client base was fertile prospecting ground. He called on the children and grandchildren of his father’s clients, and soon they developed a multigenerational practice. Richard, Jeffrey and David all retired from the business.

While Barry learned a tremendous amount from his father, he also took advantage of formal training opportunities and active participation and volunteerism in industry groups. In his early years in the business, he attended three training schools sponsored by Connecticut Mutual. Later, he obtained his Chartered Life Underwriter and Chartered Financial Consultant designations from The American College. He is a Life member of the Million Dollar Round Table, has held all elective offices in the local and state Associations of Life Underwriters, and is a past member of the board of the National Association of Life Underwriters (now National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, or NAIFA). He also participates annually in one of the oldest financial-services study groups in the nation, “Show ’N Tell.”

Barry reaped many benefits from his active participation in the industry. He soaked in the knowledge of the experts in the room, listened to the phrases and terms they used, observed their style, took in their stories and got ideas. He took what he learned and made it his own. He recalls mimicking and practicing how others had delivered a pitch or presented an idea. He recorded his rehearsals and played them back to gauge whether he sounded authentic, knowledgeable and trustworthy. He’d keep practicing until he made it his own. Throughout his career, he refused to promote a product or strategy that he didn’t himself use.

The most memorable benefit he enjoyed from all of his industry and community involvement is the lifelong friendships he formed.

In addition to marking his 50th anniversary with MassMutual, the Skylight Financial Group associate is celebrating the golden anniversary of his marriage to Patti. They married in August 1967 and have two sons, a daughter and five grandchildren. The family enjoys spending time together at their home on Lake Erie, where Barry does woodworking and tinkers with his boats. He grew up with a love of water sports, and has imparted that passion on his children and grandchildren.