Jorge C. Garrido, RFC, LUTCF
Jorge C. Garrido is President of Garrido & Associates Financial Strategies Group, a full service financial and investment management services boutique focusing on family legacy and retirement planning, as well as financial planning for small businesses and individuals. Jorge’s work with his clients to create strategies that help them achieve their financial goals is aided and supported by the financial strength and local resources of AXA Advisors, a member of the global AXA Group. Jorge resides in Lauderdale By The Sea and is a devoted husband and father of three wonderful children.
Jorge was born in Cuba and immigrated with his family to the United States in 1980. He graduated from the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut with a BS in Economics and Management and received his commission as an officer in the United States Coast Guard in 1994. He participated in one of the largest maritime rescue operations in history in 1994 when more than 25,000 Cuban rafters fleeing Cuba for freedom were rescued at sea in the Florida Straits. For his dedication, honorable service and devotion to duty, he was awarded the Coast Guard’s Achievement Medal, Commendation Medal, and Humanitarian Service Medal.
Upon receiving an honorable discharge from the military, Jorge began his career in the financial services industry as a financial planner. He qualified for membership in the prestigious Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) his first year and every year since. He has qualified for Top of the Table status which is the highest level of recognition within the financial services industry. Jorge has also attained the Registered Financial Consultant (RFC) designation, the Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow (LUTCF) designation and the Retirement Planning Specialist designation from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He also holds the FINRA Series 7, 6, 65 & 63 registrations, as well as, his Life, Health, Variable Annuities and Property and Casualty insurance licenses.
As a strong believer in volunteerism and community involvement, he has served in the board of directors of Big Brothers Big Sisters, Communities in Schools, and the Hundred Club of Broward. Since 1992 he has been active in mentoring young children and was awarded the Board Member of the Year award by Big Brothers Big Sisters in 2004. In October 2008 he was recognized for being one of the community’s leading children’s advocates and received the Big Brother’s Big Sisters “Lead Vocalist” Award. He is also an active volunteer with the March of Dimes, the Elks, Hispanic Unity of Florida, and is an active member of the Museum of Discovery and Science’s Leonardo Di Vinci Society. For his lifelong commitment to community service, he was awarded AXA South Florida’s Community Service Award in 2009.
Going back to when you first started with your organization to now, what has been your proudest personal accomplishment? I’m most proud of how the “Signature Chefs & Wine Extravaganza” has grown in the last four years. Four years ago when we first became involved the even, it was significantly smaller and it generated a third less revenue than what we generated last year and are expecting to generate this year. Being involved with such an enthusiastic committee and seeing almost a 300% growth is an achievement that I am very proud of.
What do you enjoy the most about your work? For me the enjoyment is gained from knowing that I have made a positive impact in the lives of so many families which the March of Dimes touches through it programs to prevent premature birth, birth defects and infant mortality. As a father, nothing is more important to me than my children. I know most parents feel this way. Knowing that I am part of an effort that is so instrumental in reducing the chances that a new mom or dad will have to endure the hardships and pain associated with losing a child due to complications related to premature birth and birth defects is definitely a source of motivation.
Do you have a mentor; someone who has been there to guide you or consult with you when you needed their input? I have been blessed to have had many mentors which have positively impacted the course of my life. Yet, without question my mother has been the person who I admire and respect the most. Although, we seldom agree on anything, I talk to her about everything. She is incredibly strong. Her faith, in spite of so many challenges that we have faced throughout or lives, is unshakeable. She is the most generous, selfless and charitable person that I have ever met and she has showered my siblings and me with love our entire lives. Although she is only 4’10” tall, she is a giant of a human being and I am grateful that I was lucky enough to have such an amazing mother and “mentor”.
What program with your organization do you get the most excited about? Without question the March of Dimes’ “Signature Chefs & Wine Extravaganza” which this year will be held on September 30th at the Marriott Harbor Beach Resort and Spa. It is an incredibly fun evening. The food is amazing and everyone really enjoys the wine and entertainment, as well. For me the fact that I get to be part of a great cause while partaking in the best food that Broward County has to offer is an unbeatable combination!
How did you determine which charitable organizations you would support? I look at organizations that really could use my help and skill sets. It is important for me that they have a strong management structure committed to putting 90% or more of the money they raise back to the program and the local community. In the past I have always favored charities that deal with helping children, such as March of Dimes, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and the Museum of Discovery and Science, but this year I decided to also get involved with Hispanic Unity Florida whose focus is to help immigrants better integrate into our community and become productive members of society. Overall, though, I have a tough time saying no to anyone who needs my help.
Is there a charitable event(s) you really look forward to attending each year? Aside from the “Signature Chefs & Wine Extravaganza”, I also enjoy attending the Big Brothers Big Sisters “De Javu Ball” which is an event that started while I was a board member and a mentor in the organization. These two events are completely different, yet they are both full of fun and the people that attend have always made both events special. This year I also plan on attending “Noche De Estrellas” which is the annual gala fundraiser that Hispanic Unity Florida has been putting on for more than 10 years and it promises to be another wonderful fundraising event.
What is your greatest strength(s) that makes you such an asset to your organization? I believe that my passion for helping others is the greatest asset that I bring to the organization. Most of the work that I do with March of Dimes involves fundraising. Anyone that has ever volunteered to be a fundraiser knows that you will get many more “no’s” that “yes’s”. It is easy to become discouraged when you have been rejected a few times. This is why it is so important to have a strong passion and to believe in the mission of the organization. Passion is something that can also be contagious. In my role as Co-Chair with Pedro Dijols of the“Signature Chefs & Wine Extravaganza” we often times have to motivate the other committee members. Having passion definitely helps in motivating them and in motivating potential donors!
What is your idea of perfect happiness? Being around my family, especially my wife Alejandra and my three children, Jorgie, Jager and Gabriela, and having fun laughing, telling jokes and sharing time with each other. Also a loving kiss from my wife, my mother, or my daughter, followed by an “I love you” is as perfect as happiness can get!
How do you relax? I’m still learning how to relax. I tend to be restless and even when I’m relaxing I am thinking about what I should be doing instead. This is definitely a skill that I would love to acquire.
What do you wish you could have a never-ending supply of? Definitely time, especially as it relates to time with my children. Since their mother and I divorced I don’t get to see them daily anymore. Spending time with them every day was priceless.
Is there a fond childhood memory you can share with us? When I was eight years old, my mother, siblings, cousins and grandparents left the port of Mariel in Cuba and headed for freedom in America. During the crossing, we experienced a nasty storm which almost sank our overcrowded shrimp boat, The Queen of Queens. When we arrived in Key West and I saw my father waiting for us on the pier at the Coast Guard station it was one of the happiest moments of my childhood. My father left Cuba the year before and I prayed to God every night that I would see him soon. My prayers were answered at that moment. Interestingly, twelve years later, after graduating from the US Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT., I was assigned to be stationed on the CG Cutter Mohawk which was tied up to that exact pier. A couple of months after reporting for duty aboard the Mohawk, we were ordered to leave that pier and sail towards Cuba expecting to rescue a few hundred Cuban refugees who had built rafts in order to seek freedom in the US. Upon arriving we were faced with thousands of Cuban refugees, many of which were barely hanging on to life. Participating in that rescue operation, especially since my uncle was also rescued at sea, was one of my proudest moments.
What do you think is the biggest problem we are facing in this country today? I think that we run the risk of becoming a selfish nation. We have historically been the most charitable nation on earth. In the last several years, I believe that there has been a shift from this. There has been an expansion of the “entitlement mentality”. More and more people are expecting others to give to them and they are becoming less charitable. We are a nation that was built on self-reliance, responsibility and charity. We are now asking the government to do more for us while we do less for our selves, not understanding that the only way that the government can do more for us is by taking away more from others and by taking away more of our freedoms along the way . This mentality leads to an environment where less people will volunteer or donate to charities because they expect that the government will “take care of it”. In addition, it has created a national debt crisis that will threaten the stability of our nation and the freedoms of our future generations.
What’s been the key to your success and personal growth? One of the keys to my success has been a principal shared with me by my high school mentor, J. Walker Field. He taught me that the best way for me to get what I wanted out of life is to help others get what they want first. I have found this to be true. It’s the law of reciprocity. Although I don’t believe that one should help others because one expects to get something in return, life has a way of repaying good deeds.
When does someone know when it’s time to move on? To me it is all about relationships. If you are in an environment where your relationships are fulfilling and fruitful and thus yielding positive results for everyone involved, then you should stay. If on the other hand you are part of a toxic environment where you can’t trust in your relationships, you should consider moving on.
How do we get our young people more interested in charitable giving and community volunteering? I believe that a charitable nature is built during an individual’s formative years. As parents we should expose our children at a very early age to charitable work. It is important that they understand how most of us have been blessed simply because we live in this amazing nation. Yet, even in our country there are many that are less fortunate and need our help. Giving our children an awareness of this will not only make them more charitable, but it will also make them better human beings who will live a more fulfilled life. It may also protect them from developing the “entitlement mentality” that so many young people have today.