Mitch Johnk and Ellen Betzer are shown with the Panorama Benefits Company’s new logo on the window of the firm’s business at 110 East Main St. in Panora.

Mitch Johnk co-founded Panorama Benefits Company with Ellen Betzer.

By Susan Thompson | Lake Panorama Times

Mitch Johnk has spent 38 years working in the financial services industry with more than 20 of those in Panora. He and his wife, Kim, moved their family to Lake Panorama when he joined Frank Teale in his financial services company in Panora. 

Johnk partnered with Teale until Teale’s retirement in 2004. That same year, Johnk established Total Financial Solutions with partner Jeff Dvorak. This past October, Johnk sold a portion of his practice to Dvorak. 

At the same time, Johnk co-founded Panorama Benefits Company with Ellen Betzer. Betzer and her husband, Scott, moved to Lake Panorama more than 20 years ago. She has 36 years of experience as an executive assistant and in customer service, including 17 years working with Johnk. Now she is operations manager for the new company. 

Johnk is the company president. In 1986, he earned a bachelor’s degree from Simpson College in business, management and marketing. He followed that with a 1991 master’s degree in business administration at Drake University.

“I’ve been thinking about this change for a couple of years,” Johnk says. “We had built a good-sized practice with a lot of individual clients and some businesses. I turn 60 in April, and for the last few years of my career, I want to make a bigger impact. I decided a good way to do that is to bring in more business clients.” 

Johnk describes Panorama Benefits as a consulting company that specializes in retention strategies for businesses, plus has a passion for workplace financial literacy. 

“The employment landscape has changed,” Johnk says. “To attract and retain quality talent, businesses need to adapt to this new environment. Also, the level of financial literacy needs to be raised. Traditional education doesn’t address it. The workplace is a good place to address this, because it’s where employees get their income and their benefits.”

Johnk says too often employees leave for a different job because they can earn more money, but the benefits package may not be as good. 

“The main entrée offered by employers is health insurance,” he says. “The rest of the benefits are just checking boxes. But employees need to understand what they have. Is there life insurance, disability insurance, what’s the maximum the employee can contribute toward their retirement? All of these things are just as important as health insurance.” 

Johnk says effective compensation and benefits programs should not only attract and retain talent but also reward and facilitate retirement. He says this can be done by providing competitive salaries and benefits within a nurturing work environment, emphasizing additional benefits tied to productivity rather than just participation, and viewing these programs as investments in employees’ financial stability, rather than as expenses.

Right now, Johnk is doing a lot of networking, looking for referrals and making cold calls, just as he did when he started in the financial services industry. He’s attended a couple of association conferences, and he and Betzer have participated in one association trade show. 

“We can provide the product-based solutions and assessment services needed and become an extension of their human resources department,” he says. “We would review their employees’ needs and their current benefits. There is a good chance we would suggest some adjustments to help with employee retention. We would help owners, executives and rank-and-file workers understand their benefits and develop programs to help improve their financial wellness.” 

Johnk says he chose the name Panorama Benefits to boost interest in Lake Panorama and Panora. 

“I see us hosting company culture-building events at Lake Panorama and people from the companies we serve becoming familiar with what Panora has to offer,” he says. “We are excited about where this goes and the positive impact it could have on our community.”

The Panorama Benefits Co. offices are at 110 East Main, the same building where Johnk has been serving his clients for more than 20 years. Additional information, including contact details for Johnk and Betzer, is on the firm’s website, n