Garry Maisel '80 (Business Administration-Finance)

Maisel builds Western Health Advantage from ground up

Garry Maisel
Garry Maisel got his business acumen from his father, his accounting skills from his mother and other fundamentals for his successful career at Sac State.

Over the past 17 years, Maisel has built Western Health Advantage from a one-employee start-up into a successful not-for-profit HMO. Maisel is the president and CEO for the organization, which offers healthcare plans through UC Davis Health System, Dignity Health and NorthBay Healthcare System. He oversees more than 100 employees at company headquarters in Sacramento.

As a young boy growing up in Stockton, Maisel would help his mother with the books for his father’s home appliance service business. The first in his family to attend college, Maisel transferred from a junior college to Sac State and was recognized with the Outstanding Undergraduate Award in Finance in 1980. He also picked up enduring principles that still guide him in his business dealings today.

“One of the first lessons I learned at Sac State was, no matter which field you’re in, interpersonal communication is so important,” Maisel says. “Those are the skills that set you apart and help you to be successful. Occasionally I talk to students and no matter what field they’re studying, I tell them, ‘You need to be a good communicator.’”

Western Health Advantage has built a sterling reputation in the health care industry by, “laying out a clear strategy and mission that is different from our competitors,” says Maisel. The organization serves nearly 100,000 people and was named one of the top 50 fastest-growing companies by the Sacramento Business Journal in 2011. Maisel was the Sacramento Metro Chamber Businessman of the Year in 2010.

Maisel also finds time to volunteer for many other non-profits in the area. He chairs the board of WEAVE, the primary provider of crisis intervention services for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in Sacramento County and also heads the Non-Profit Resource Center board. He is on the board of Valley Vision, alongside Sac State President Alexander Gonzalez. In addition, Maisel lends his expertise to the Crocker Art Museum, the B Street Theatre, the California Association of Health Plans, the Mercy Foundation and the American Leadership Forum, among others.

There are clear points of emphasis in Maisel’s philanthropic endeavors.

“The arts, health and safety, and civic leadership are all very important to a healthy community,” he says, “and we’re committed to supporting those areas.”

They’re also principles Sac State, which is having a growing impact in the community.

“When folks hear about Sac State and the degree to which its students touch the region, they’re amazed,” Maisel says. “The facilities and the instruction are incredible. I think Sac State is one of the crown jewels of Sacramento."