Jeffrey Glazer keeps it simple.
The CEO of Insurity Inc., an insurance software vendor, had three big influences, when he grew up in Syracuse, N.Y.: hard work, education and family. He inherited his work ethic from his father Nathan, who owned a small furniture store in the city that consumed 10 hours of his day, seven days a week and his appreciation for education to his mother, Rosalind.
His reverence for family came from the fact that all of his relatives — aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents, on both his mother's and father's side, also lived in Syracuse and were always accessible.
"It seemed as though I was related to almost everybody in Syracuse," Glazer said. "You could go anywhere in the city and bump into family. It was a very nurturing environment."
Glazer, moreover, was never drawn to the types of occupations that appealed to most boys his age, such as doctor, lawyer, policeman or playing center field for the New York Yankees. He recalls that, perhaps because of his family orientation, as a boy, he acquired a talent for motivating people to work toward a common goal and made a determination to ride that talent to wherever it might take him.
"At a very young age, I realized that I was a better leader than a follower," he said. "I was never good at following."
Glazer remembers that among the experiences that foreshadowed his present occupation was: his election as mayor of his summer camp; his being selected to supervise a six-person team of fellow lifeguards, while still in high school; and his mathematics degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology.
When he got his first job after college as an underwriter for The Hartford Insurance Co., he and 15 other employees were assigned to a three-month training class, after which they were rated from the best to the worst and given jobs according to their ranking. The top recruit got to select where in the company he or she wanted to work.
"There were people in that class who were much smarter than I was," Glazer said. "But I decided that I could outwork them. So, if they worked 10 hours a day, I'd work 15, and I ended up being No. 1 in the group."
Glazer held various positions within The Hartford Insurance Co. afterward, including that of chief information officer, where he began combining his expertise in personal and commercial insurance with his newly acquired skills in technology. In 1985, while in his early 30s and with two small children to raise, he took a risk and left the firm as senior officer for commercial lines to establish the first of various versions of Insurity, called Program Resources Co.
Program Resources was purchased by Equifax in 1994 and continued functioning under the name ChoicePoint until 1997, when it was integrated into LexisNexis, which, in 2011, spun it off as Insurity, under Glazer's leadership. Glazer remained with the company through all of its transformations, as his skill in integrating technology and the insurance business was in demand.
Located in the Coltsville complex in Hartford, Insurity had 300 employees in 2012. It has, in the five years since, grown into an international organization, operating in more than 100 countries with more than 1,000 employees and valued at $500 million. Many employees have been with the company since it began in 1985, in large part due to Glazer's inclusive leadership style. He says his biggest challenge now is "keeping all of those employees on the same page" with his vision of what the company is and what it is going to be.
Glazer's wife, Bonnie, of 44 years said that in addition to hard work and a strong tendency to treat his employees and clients like family, he possesses one other quality that has made him successful.
"When he's focused on getting something done, nothing, not wild horses, can stop him from doing it," she said. "He sets his mind on a goal and he won't stop until he's made it happen. Most people who know him would say the same thing."
Not surprisingly, Glazer says he has no intention of ever retiring.
"Working is a wonderful thing," he says. "As long as I'm healthy, I intend to work forever. It keeps your mind active and young. If my children and grandchildren come close to having the life that I've had, I'd be happy."
Name of organization: Insurity
Education: Rochester Institute of Technology
Previous job(s): Hartford Insurance, Choice Point and Lexis Nexis
Guiding business principle: Motivating employees so they can outperform the competition
Best way to keep your competitive edge: Always believe that you are the underdog.
Proudest accomplishment: Having two fantastic daughters who have become successful adults and a wonderful wife of 44 years
Goal yet to be achieved: See that Insurity meets its potential
Favorite part of the job: Working with exceptional, talented members of my team and creating new ideas
Least favorite part of the job: Handling problems associated with complicated implementations
Personal touch in your office: Always an open-door policy and we encourage our employees to come see the executive team regardless of their level
Best business decision: Creating commercial division, data and analytics at Lexis Nexis
Worst business decision: Trusting without validation
Best way to spot trends: Read everything possible and have heavy communications with others in my field
City of residence: West Hartford
Favorite way to relax: Beach
Hobbies: Walks, working out at the fitness center and reading
Last vacation: Cape Cod
Favorite movie: "Scent of a Woman"
The car you drive: Porsche
Currently reading: "And the Good News is … " by Dana Perino
Favorite cause: Children's charities
Second career choice: Lawyer