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Big Brothers Big Sisters to Honor Bill Brennan as Person of the Year at Annual Gourmet Dinner

By Claudette Renault, Digital Media Specialist

clock September 19, 2017 at 10:00 AM

Now in its 55th year, Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego County (BBBS) has served tens of thousands of youth through its much-loved and highly successful mentoring programs.  At Marsh & McLennan Agency, many of our colleagues are actively involved in the organization, with many participating in the Beyond School Walls program. Through Beyond School Walls, our colleagues are paired with youth for one-on-one mentoring in the professional workspace. We are honored to support such an incredible organization which helps change the lives of children in our community.

We are also proud to share that this year Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego County will be honoring MMA Principal and incoming BBBS Chairman Bill Brennan as its Person of the Year.

MMA West Region CEO Paul Hering, who is also being honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award this year, originally introduced Bill to Big Brothers Big Sisters at its Annual Gourmet Dinner. Inspired by their mission, Bill became a Big Brother in 2000. He joined the board several years later and has since served in many roles on nearly all of BBBS’ committees. As the incoming board chairman, Bill is eager to further the mission of mentoring children by focusing on BBBS’ great programs serving the San Diego area.

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Topics: Community Outreach, Culture, Inside MMA

8 Things to Get Excited About at Our 8th Annual Rock the Foundation Concert

By Lauren Brown, Communications & Events Specialist

clock September 12, 2017 at 9:00 AM

Spice up your Thursday night on September 28, 2017 by joining us for the Barney & Barney Foundation’s 8th annual Rock the Foundation benefit concert at the Del Mar Fairgrounds! This year, our goal is to raise $250,000, which means every ticket purchase counts. Rock the Foundation proceeds will benefit four non-profits in San Diego County: Home Start, Foundation of the Children of the Californias, Access Youth Academy, and Alzheimer’s San Diego.  

MMA loves to give back to the community and we are so glad to have the support of our colleagues, carriers, clients, family, and friends to help us do just that. Never been to RTF or just want to know what’s in store this year?

Here are 8 things to get excited about at the 2017 Rock the Foundation concert.

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Topics: Community Outreach, Culture, Inside MMA

Opportunity for GROWth: Leadership Tips for Women in the Workplace

By Alison Levine, GROW Keynote Speaker

clock July 24, 2017 at 11:00 AM

Alison Levine, Team Captain of the first American Women's Everest Expedition & New York Times bestselling author of On the Edge, shared her story of adventure and the lessons she learned on her high-risk journey to the top at our annual San Diego GROW Keynote event. Through education, mentoring and networking, GROW (Growth in Relationships and Opportunities for Women) strives to give women in the workplace the tools to become tomorrow's leaders. 

Waiting for that big promotion to a leadership role? NEWSFLASH: you’re already in a leadership position. Yeah – I’m talking to you! Leadership doesn’t start the day you’re given a particular title or have a certain amount of tenure. Leadership isn’t about how many people report to you or how large of a budget you oversee. Leadership is about realizing that every person on a team—at work, at home, or in your community—has a responsibility to help guide that team toward a goal. Here are four things you can do to obtain the mindset you need to help your team move forward starting NOW. 

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Topics: Culture, Inside MMA, Leadership

New Look, Same Great Team.

By Paul Hering, CEO, MMA West Region

clock July 10, 2017 at 9:30 AM

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

Some might argue that your brand is all about your name. Companies like Apple, Google and Coca-Cola come to mind. These are all firms where the name means everything and conjures immediate images in the minds of consumers. 

For other organizations, a company name does not necessarily define the company. In customer service industries, I would argue that your brand is more defined by your people, your expertise and the value you bring to your clients. 

Here at Barney & Barney, we are about to rebrand our company, so we have been thinking a great deal lately about branding and the impact of our brand in the marketplace and on our people. For us, this is a particularly interesting discussion, given our long history in San Diego. 

A 100-Year Legacy

Our company was founded over 108 years ago, back in 1909, by two brothers, Philip and Lorenz Barney. By about 1940, there were no longer any “Barneys” involved in the organization, but the name has lived on ever since. 

For most of our history, we were purely a San Diego-based company operating from one location. In 2007, we embarked upon a successful geographic expansion and now have offices throughout California and all the way to Anchorage, Alaska. 

While the name Barney & Barney has a tremendous amount of recognition in San Diego, this is not the case in some of our other locations, such as Orange County, Los Angeles and the Bay Area. We hired an outside branding consultant to do market research for us and their findings confirmed what we already knew.

Joining Marsh & McLennan

In 2014, we made the decision to become part of Marsh & McLennan Companies (MMC), a Fortune 250, publicly traded company with more than 60,000 employees in 140 countries. To say that this was a huge decision for us would be a bit of an understatement. 

Our decision to join MMC was based on a variety of factors – all of which were intended to make us a better company and community partner. As it turned out, that’s exactly what happened, and we’re getting that positive feedback every day from our clients and our employees. 

In joining MMA, we were also offered the opportunity to be the leader of the West Region for Marsh & McLennan Agency, a subsidiary of MMC formed in 2008. The West Region includes a territory that encompasses California, Nevada, Arizona, Oregon, Washington and Alaska.  So, Barney & Barney, once a rather small San Diego-based company is now the headquarters of the West Region for Marsh & McLennan Agency with close to $200 million in annual revenues and over 650 employees in one of the fastest-growing regions in the U.S., if not the world.

Our parent company did not impose a timetable on when the Barney & Barney name would be rebranded. This is purely our decision. What we have discovered in the more than 3 years since joining Marsh & McLennan Agency is that using different names in different markets and trying to explain the relationships of those names can be somewhat cumbersome and confusing. 

A New Era Begins

So, we have decided to completely rebrand the company to Marsh & McLennan Agency by the end of 2017. 

For some of us who have been part of Barney & Barney for many years (32 years for me personally), this change is not without some mixed emotions.  I know others feel the same.  One of the things that makes us truly unique is that we are a company that cares deeply about our employees and their collective well-being. As a result, we have many employees who have been with us for decades. So, it’s easy to understand how this rebrand can create a little melancholy. 

On the other hand, this also represents an exciting time for our company, as we continue to grow and prosper and expand into new markets. Becoming part of Marsh & McLennan Agency has served as rocket fuel for our engine. In fact, we have experienced double-digit growth every year since joining the MMC family. 

A Community Partner

One of our key core values as a company has always been to give back and do good work in the community. It’s this core value that motivated us to form the Barney & Barney Foundation in 2009, when we celebrated our Centennial. In hindsight, this was a really great decision. Even with our rebrand to Marsh & McLennan Agency, the Barney & Barney name will live on in the form of the “Barney & Barney Foundation” and the good work we will continue to do in our communities.

Looking ahead, we know we will always be defined not by our name, but by the quality of our people and the great work we do for clients.  

Those of us who have been around forever can take great pride in being part of an incredible legacy associated with the Barney & Barney name. We can find solace in knowing that our name will survive in our Foundation and will continue to contribute to the community.

And oh, by the way, when it comes to our new name, Marsh & McLennan Agency, we might also find some comfort in knowing that this is also a great brand with roots dating back more than 146 years.

So, onward and upward as Marsh & McLennan Agency, with a nod to the past and a wonderful legacy in Barney & Barney, a name that will live on forever.   

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Topics: Culture, Inside MMA

MMA Partners with Beyond School Walls

By Claudette Linzey, Communications Associate, Digital Media

clock May 23, 2017 at 10:00 AM

In the spring of 2016, our Marsh & McLennan Agency's San Diego office began a partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego County (BBBS) through Beyond School Walls (BSW). BSW is an innovative one-to-one youth mentoring program that matches colleagues from neighboring companies with students from area schools in the professional workspace. Through BSW, youth can learn the ins and outs of working for a corporation and the educational requirements needed to achieve professional success. And most importantly, the mentoring program builds strong, supportive relationships.

Roughly twenty MMA colleagues (Bigs) were matched with students (Littles), ranging from ages 11 to 13. A BBBS staff member then managed the program on site while Bigs and Littles worked together on curriculum provided by BBBS. They also toured the office and other times just talked with one another about things like friendship, getting along with teachers, life goals, peer pressure, etc.

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Topics: Community Outreach, Culture

From One CFO to Another: Look for the Game-Changers

By Steve Berk, CFO, Marsh & McLennan Agency - West Region

clock May 15, 2017 at 10:00 AM

As a CFO, I understand the importance of vetting and selecting business partners to support the needs of a growing business. From accountants to law firms, commercial real estate brokers and banks, who you choose to do business with can have a significant impact on the bottom line, your workload and the level of risk to your organization.

When it comes to insurance, I have the benefit of understanding the business as well as the key traits CFOs should look for when evaluating and selecting a broker. The time you gain from partnering with the right insurance broker leaves you more time to focus on your core business strategies and growth opportunities for the future.

The No-Brainers

For most brokers these traits are a given, and for good reason they should be. If they aren’t core strengths, keep looking.

  • Reputation - A solid and long term reputation in your community and the industry often points to a track record of success.
  • Intellectual Capital – Experienced, seasoned and intelligent colleagues, who possess the technical insurance knowledge to guide you on what risks to cover and how best to cover them.
  • Industry Expertise – Depth of knowledge in your specific industry is key. Access to benchmarking data, trends, and industry changes are essential when evaluating your organization’s risk profile.
  • Insurer Relationships – Strong and deep relationships with insurance companies help provide the leverage you need to get the best coverage, best terms and best price available.

The Game-Changers

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Topics: Culture, Inside MMA, Leadership

Work Hard and Play Hard at Marsh & McLennan Agency

By Claudette Linzey, Communications Associate, Digital Media

clock January 1, 2017 at 10:00 AM

Brian McMann, Recruitment Manager at MMA since 2008, gives us the inside scoop on what he looks for in the next MMA associate and what new hires can expect once they become part of the team.

What do you look for in candidates?

For all of our open positions, I look for candidates that are career-oriented, professional, motivated, accountable and have the aptitude and excitement to learn. For sales roles, I would also add dynamic, focused, persistent, fearless, and being big-picture oriented. Those attributes are the differentiators for us. Don’t get me wrong - technical knowledge is important. But knowledge and expertise can always be acquired and developed. Possessing these key qualities as a foundation, however, generally makes a person a great fit for our team.

What makes Marsh & McLennan Agency unique?

The people are engaged and passionate, which creates a great working environment. There is also a ton of opportunity for growth and development. We have been growing steadily for years, which makes it possible to advance within the company, take on more responsibility and earn more money.

We also have a Personal Excellence Program (P.E.P.) led by our organizational learning team. Our associates have access to programs and resources which allow them to earn designations and certificates, go to association meetings, and attend seminars in an effort to continue to develop their expertise. Within a relatively short period of time, there’s no reason not to be better than when you started here.

What is the culture like at Marsh & McLennan Agency?

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Topics: Culture, Inside MMA

Why Gratitude is the Secret to the Happiest of Holidays

By Hal Dunning, President & Chief Operating Officer

clock December 19, 2016 at 10:00 AM

Throughout the year at Marsh & McLennan Agency, we hold core value training for our associates.  In these sessions, we talk about our values and explore how those values impact our work and personal lives.

I enjoy each one of these trainings, but I especially like discussing our core value attitude. When the group is sharing about how to foster a positive attitude, the importance of approaching life with a spirit of gratitude always comes up in our discussion. It’s no accident that attitude and gratitude rhyme. They go hand-in-hand.

Gratitude shapes so many aspects of our lives and leads to the natural outflow of connection with others.  When I take the time to  make a list of all the “things” I’m grateful for, what always comes up first is not a “thing” at all, but the people in my life. I’m guessing the same is true for you, too.

In this way, an attitude of gratitude is intertwined with another one of our corporate values—community involvement. When we appreciate all that we have, especially our close relationships with family, friends, colleagues and clients, we naturally feel a strong pull to pay forward all that we have received. 

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Topics: Inside B&B, Culture

Sneak Peak of the RTF 2016 Headliner: Atomic Groove

By Arlene Lieberman, Executive Director, Barney & Barney Foundation

clock September 6, 2016 at 10:00 AM

Returning to the Paddock at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, this year’s Rock the Foundation benefit concert is sure to be another fun-filled event that you don’t want to miss! This year, the Barney & Barney Foundation will be awarding over $200,000 in grants, part of which will be presented to San Diego non-profits at Rock the Foundation: Boy’s & Girl’s Club of San Dieguito, Junior Achievement of San Diego County, Social Advocates for Youth, and Women’s Resource Center of Oceanside.

Check out the video below for a sneak peek of our awesome headliner, Atomic Groove. With a repertoire ranging from classic rock to dance jams from the 60’s to today's hits, Atomic Groove is a high-energy band, sure to get you on your feet and dancing!

Join us on Thursday, September 29th at the Del Mar Fairgrounds as we rock out with an amazing band, enjoy delicious food and drinks and celebrate our 2016 grant recipients. Get your tickets today: http://bidpal.net/rtf2016

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Topics: Community Outreach, Culture

Making the Math Work: Inside the Head of CFO Steve Berk

By Erin Swain, Corporate Communications Director

clock February 29, 2016 at 10:00 AM

Marsh & McLennan Agency Western Region CFO, Steve Berk, has spent the last three decades (and counting) with the same company. If words like “predictable” or “uneventful” come to mind when you hear about his long-term tenure with the firm, you don’t know Steve very well. We recently sat down with him to discuss his CFO journey, an unexpected detour into sales, and what he sees as the most important business opportunities CFOs need to navigate today.

After starting his career as a CPA with Deloitte & Touche, Steve joined Marsh where he held various finance roles, ultimately becoming Western Regional CFO in 1992. He enjoyed his years in finance but after the heartbreaking loss of a number of his colleagues in the World Trade Center in 2001 and growing weary of ongoing travel, in 2005, Steve declared a need for a change.

Unwilling to lose a dynamic leader, Marsh asked Steve to run the sales division in Portland. The request seemed unconventional at first, but with his experience as CFO, Steve knew exactly what kept prospects up at night. With his CFO insider knowledge and extroverted personality, Steve proved to be the perfect candidate to reenergize sales. Soon, Steve was made head of sales for Marsh’s Western Region.

Fast forward to Steve’s relocation to San Diego in 2009, his career would soon come full circle. In 2014, Marsh & McLennan Agency acquired Barney & Barney and folded in much of Steve’s Marsh office a year later. With CEO Paul Hering and COO/President Hal Dunning’s roles expanding, Steve was the perfect addition to the team – once again as CFO.

We sat down with Steve to get some insight on his experience as CFO.

How does your sales experience help you in your role as CFO?

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Topics: Inside B&B, Associate Spotlight, Culture

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