team building Bellaria Jimenez

5 Proven team-building strategies by co-author Bellaria Jimenez

Bellaria Jimenez, President at MassMutual Tri State, and Co-author of The Team Game shares proven team-building strategies for business leaders, executives and entrepreneurs.

Bellaria Jimenez, Co-Author of The Team Game (Credit courtesy of Bellaria Jimenez)

She is passionate about business and leadership. With over 25 years working in finances, she has gained the expertise of leading and coaching teams within a business.

When she began her career, she had the desire to help people understand what to do with their money and empower individuals and business owners to make smart choices to grow their assets and protect their family. Beginning as a financial advisor, Bellaria worked her way up. 

During her time as assistant manager she grew her leadership skills by supporting the training needs of her office and stepping in whenever someone needed support. These leadership experiences fostered her love for coaching and would eventually lead to her love for team-building.

“Throughout the years I felt the most energy and joy when I was coaching individuals,” says Bellaria. “When I began focusing my time and attention to developing teams, I became even more energized. This became the start of my love for team-building.” 

Why teams?

Throughout the years of team-building, Bellaria has seen firsthand the impact that collaborating and combining unique skills and abilities has on the overall success of a business. 

“Financial advisors, for the most part, build their practices as solo-practitioners,” says Bellaria. “When we started partnering advisors that had different skill sets to complement each other we were pleasantly surprised with the financial results and an improved experience for the client.” 

After fifteen years of coaching, mentoring, and developing their own teams, Bellaria and business partner, John Brucsek, finally share their proven methods in their book The Team Game: “How Your Business Can Dominate Year After Year.”  

Described as “the definitive playbook for business leaders, executives, entrepreneurs, and managers to build and develop highly efficient teams,” The Team Game takes Bellaria and John’s unique process of creating, coaching, and doubling productivity through teams and breaks it down into strategies that can be adapted to fit all businesses. 

Growing with change

Bellaria Jimenez with her son (Credit courtesy of Bellaria Jimenez)

One of the key takeaways from The Team Game is how teams can allow businesses to continue to exponentially grow ones’ practice in an unpredictable, ever changing business climate. 

In such a competitive business climate where change is so rapid, businesses need to stay competitive and flexible to stay relevant. Often though these changes happen too quickly, and individuals struggle to keep up. Technology is one of the key culprits to staying competitive. Another key issue top performers battle is time capacity. 

“There gets to a point when top performers just can’t keep up with the high demands of the business or growing client base,” says Bellaria. “They reach capacity and their business stalls. Teaming allows them to continue to exponentially grow their practice.”  

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The 5 Fundamentals of team-building

team-buildingFive key team-building strategies to form a successful, long lasting team: 

1. Compensation: Having transparency on how team members get paid and the positive results of attracting new clients creates a strong culture within each team. How will my actions impact my compensation, including in a commission/fee-based business or an incentive-driven practice? We teach you how to come up with a compensation agreement for both fee-and non-fee-based practices. Once you receive the input from the team, that agreement can be refined. 

2. Client SegmentationSegmenting your book of business is a key to marketing your practice effectively, but it requires you to go through each client and categorize them as your A, B, C, or D clients. Once they are categorized, assign each segment to the appropriate member of the team who will work with them. The top achiever should be focused on the A clients.

3. Roles and Responsibilities: Making sure that everyone on the team understands their role on the team is a critical part to a successful team. It provides clarity and transparency. It is also a key part to good communication. It’s like football. There are 11 players on the team. Each one has a different job. If each one carries out his or her job effectively, the team is going to be successful. Whether you like the New England Patriots or not, most of you know what Bill Belichick says: “Do your job.” That’s critical.

4. The Sales Process: Allow team members to focus on a specific part of the process. You must have a uniform process that all team members are following. That uniformity allows you to identify team players with specific skills and to efficiently meet client needs and create superior customer experiences because everyone on your team has a specific role to play and each does it well.

5. The Client Experience Matrix: The most valuable assets a business has are its customers. If they feel loved, if they feel they are being serviced and getting attention, then they are going to do more business and they are going to refer more people. Remember, we live in a referral world. Think Yelp or TripAdvisor. Referrals can greatly impact your business, both positively and negatively. Just think how videos can quickly go viral.

In her book, Bellaria further breaks down in detail just how team-building works to increase growth and productivity with her top fundamentals from the team-building process. With these tried and true methods, any business leader or entrepreneur can create a winning team. 

team building Bellaria Jimenez

Bellaria Jimenez, a Latina leader’s passion helps others achieve their dreams

Bellaria Jimenez, President of MassMutual Tri State, will be Keynote Speaker at the Latina SmallBiz Expo and Pitch your Biz Competition on November 9 at NJIT in Newark NJ (150 Bleeker St – Free parking at 154 Summit Street). To see Bellaria speak, please register:

Bellaria Jimenez

Bellaria Jimenez, President at MassMutual Tri State and Latina SmallBiz Expo and Pitch Competition Keynote Speaker


Bellaria Jimenez is the President of MassMutual Tri State, an agency that focuses on building long-term relationships with individuals, employees, and business owners to help them achieve financial security.

With 22 years of experience in financial planning, Bellaria leads a team of 35 managers and 175 sales representatives who attend the needs of over 210,000 clients, 6.7 billion in client assets, and offices in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York.

“My passion for helping people achieve financial peace of mind was triggered by my own family experiences,” Bellaria told “We came from Venezuela when I was seven years old because my father was a well-known local artist who wanted to advance his studies in the US,” she recalls.

However, as an artist, he was never able to achieve the level of notoriety he had back in Venezuela. He explored other opportunities to sustain his family, starting a small newspaper printing shop.

“He never had sound advice from professionals who surrounded him, and he retired with a very small pension late in life,” Bellaria explains. “I believe that it is not uncommon for a lot of individuals and business owners who are so concerned about their daily problems and obstacles, fighting to survive and sustain their businesses, that they make poor decisions for their futures,” she said.

Sacrifices started at a young age for Bellaria Jimenez

While attending college full-time, Bellaria was working for Continental Airlines also as a full-time employee. “I had to do a lot of sacrifices to pay my way through college. I knew an education would pay off some day but I was not sure how,” she recalled.

While trying to live her own life, Bellaria was also witness of the family situation at home. She then decided to read and acquire knowledge about managing finances by studying individuals who had been successful in their business lives. She switched her course of studies and started taking financial courses.

In 1995, Bellaria entered the financial industry. “At the time, there were very few women in this field, specially Latinas and young ones. Those were very tough beginnings.  I tried to surround myself with the best mentors and most experienced colleagues who would teach me the way,” she explained. “Tell me who you have lunch with and I will tell you how successful you are, that was and continues to be my motto, constantly learning from others.”

She continued her studies to become a Certified Financial Planner then working for First Investors, a company that was later acquired by a Canadian firm. Bellaria saw an opportunity to join MetLife, a well-established financial company where she flourished for 15 years.

“It was during all these years that I discovered my passion to help others achieve their goals. My manager took notice of this talent and started offering me some managerial responsibilities. I did not know at the time great changes were coming my way,” she said.

Taking a step into a stellar leadership role

In 2016, MetLife sold the Individual Distribution Division to MassMutual. “I was offered a leadership role for which I have been preparing, unknowingly, for a few years. It was a thrilling moment, full of mixed feelings but I knew I was ready,” she said.

Bellaria Jimenez, President at MassMutual Tri State

Bellaria Jimenez, President at MassMutual Tri State, has received numerous awards including the 2016 Prominent Woman award.

As the President of MassMutual Tristate, Bellaria focuses on helping individuals and business owners, especially women, who need guidance and customized solutions to their specific need.

“We focus especially on Latinos, women and the younger generation, who are now out of college with a lot of debt and fewer opportunities than their parents,” Bellaria explained. “Young people are not attracted to financial planning early on, when you really need to manage your finances. They see older people –the agent average age is 51-and they think it is something their parent do or need,” she explained.

At MassMutual Tristate, Bellaria’s team is working hard at attracting younger men and women who would like an opportunity to advance their careers helping others. “Many people think you need an MBA to build a career in financial planning but in truth, you just need a passion for helping others and a series of certifications and licenses that we, at MassMutual Tristate, provide and guide all potential candidates to achieve,” she said.

The company also offers a great deal of training and support through their virtual university, mentors that help them not only build a client portfolio but also how to do marketing, sales and establish strong relationships with their clients.

“At MassMutual Tri State, we offer comprehensive financial services and products that empower our clients to improve their long-term financial situation and reach their lifetime goals and dreams,” Bellaria explained. “If your passion is to help people live a worry free life and make a great career for yourself, I encourage you to contact us and become part of our successful team,” she concluded.

Bellaria has received numerous awards including the 2005 Hispanic Corporate Achiever of the Year 2014, Top 50 Business Women in NJ, and the 2016 Prominent Woman award. A member of the Junior Achievement of New Jersey, she also sits on the FDU board. She had the distinguished honor of ringing the opening bell on Wall Street in April 2010, a success few Hispanic women at MassMutual have achieved.

A version of this article will be published by Abasto Magazine 2017 October/November issue.