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Orange County Office Welcomes Michelle Wulfestieg as GROW Keynote Speaker

Posted by Claudette Renault, Digital Media Specialist on May 30, 2018 at 10:00 AM
Orange County Office Welcomes Michelle Wulfestieg as GROW Keynote Speaker

On May 3, we welcomed Michelle Wulfestieg as our speaker for the second annual Orange County GROW* keynote. As a two-time stroke survivor, hospice advocate, motivational speaker, and award-winning author, Michelle shared her story of perseverance, hope, and the power of living your deeper purpose.

Diagnosed with a rare vascular brain lesion and given a short life expectancy, Michelle vowed to live her best life during the time she had. At a young age, she discovered that she wanted to help others in need, as she believes “everyone has a purpose to serve in some capacity.” Devoted to finding her true passion, Michelle explored volunteering with many different organizations, ultimately finding herself drawn to hospice. 

After suffering a second stroke, Michelle spent eight days in a deep coma. However, after Michelle finally woke, she was free of the lesion. Determined to be able to help her hospice patients once again, she spent years recovering – learning to read, write, walk, and talk again. “It all happens for a reason and there is hope at the end of the day,” Michelle said.

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Topics: GROW, Inside MMA, Leadership

AmyK Hutchens Ignites Brilliance at the San Diego Annual GROW Keynote

Posted by Madalyn Altschuler, Regional Manager, Client Programs on April 16, 2018 at 10:00 AM
AmyK Hutchens Ignites Brilliance at the San Diego Annual GROW Keynote

Thought-provoking, lively, engaging and hilarious. Those are just a few words to describe our San Diego Annual GROW Keynote Speaker, AmyK Hutchens. On Wednesday, April 11, AmyK ignited brilliance in our San Diego colleagues, clients and business partners at what continues to be a jam-packed event year after year. GROW, which stands for Growth in Relationships and Opportunities for Women, hosts the annual keynote to bring the community together for an hour filled with inspiration, development, and usually some laughs, and AmyK didn’t disappoint one bit!

AmyK is a former executive of a billion dollar global organization and was awarded the Vistage UK International Speaker of the Year. She has influenced thousands of executives across the globe with her keen insight and intuitive understanding of the issues leaders face. At the keynote, she spoke to real-world challenges and solutions in both personal and professional situations that the multi-generational room of participants could relate to. Audience members ranged from those just getting started in their career to C-suite players, and AmyK had something for everyone.

Through the course of her presentation, AmyK encouraged guests to think about our own challenges as she walked through a series of questions, takeaways and tools. She started out by really encouraging all of us to slow down and realize that leadership is happening “one… conversation… at… a…time”. As leaders, we are responsible for the critical thinking in each conversation and we may need to increase our critical thinking if we want to drive a better outcome. Further into the seminar, she discussed organizational values and the importance of defining the behaviors behind each value, and leading by modeling those behaviors.

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Topics: GROW, Culture, Inside MMA, Leadership

Bay Area Office Welcomes Debbie Haliday as GROW Keynote Speaker

Posted by Jennifer Christensen, CIC, Client Manager II on June 19, 2017 at 10:00 AM
Bay Area Office Welcomes Debbie Haliday as GROW Keynote Speaker

On May 2, 2017, GROW* hosted its 2nd Bay Area Keynote Speaker Event at Franklin Templeton Investment's San Mateo Campus. The organization was delighted to welcome Debbie Haliday, a former UCLA athlete turned coach and proud wife and mother of three. Her intimate, engaging, and humorous presentation left the audience with the inspiring message that today is everything.

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Topics: GROW

Team Captain of the First American Women's Everest Expedition Inspires GROW to Keep Climbing

Posted by Jennifer Swartz, Communications Associate on May 1, 2017 at 11:45 AM
Team Captain of the First American Women's Everest Expedition Inspires GROW to Keep Climbing

On April 14, 2017, GROW* which stands for Growth in Relationship and Opportunities for Women hosted the 7th Annual Keynote Speaker Event at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla in San Diego. This year, the organization welcomed Alison Levine, Team Captain of the First American Women's Everest Expedition & Author of the New York Times Bestseller On the Edge: Leadership Lessons from Everest and Other Extreme Environments.

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Topics: GROW

MMA GROW Welcomes Allison Compton as Orange County’s Inaugural Keynote Speaker

Posted by Claudette Linzey, Digital Media Specialist on November 14, 2016 at 10:00 AM
MMA GROW Welcomes Allison Compton as Orange County’s Inaugural Keynote Speaker

On November 2, 2016, MMA GROW* hosted its Inaugural Orange County Keynote Speaker Event at Center Club in Costa Mesa. U.S. Paralympian Allison Compton inspired the audience with her personal story of empowerment.

Allison lobbied to create the first U.S. Women’s Paralympic Volleyball Team and played for the team for many years. The team brought home the gold from Rio this past summer.  In addition to her success on the court, Allison has developed a successful career in business. In her address, she shared her experiences, the things she’s learned as a competitive athlete and how those lessons positively impact her life today.

Allison was born with an undeveloped femur and has worn a prosthetic leg since she began to walk. While she encountered obstacles along the way, Allison never let them keep her from living her life and playing the game she loved. She says, “It was never a matter of if I could do something, it was how.”

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Topics: GROW

MMAGROW Welcomes Ramona Pierson as Bay Area's Inaugural Keynote Speaker

Posted by Jennifer Swartz, Communications Associate on October 26, 2015 at 1:00 PM
MMAGROW Welcomes Ramona Pierson as Bay Area's Inaugural Keynote Speaker

This past summer, MMA GROW* hosted its Inaugural Bay Area Keynote Speaker Event at Franklin Templeton Investment's San Mateo Campus. The organization welcomed keynote speaker Ramona Pierson, Co-founder and CEO of Declara, a tech startup that is revolutionizing the way people share knowledge. Declara aims to shape the future by focusing on what is possible instead of impossible, a mission inspired by Ramona’s own story of resilience in the face of extreme adversity.  

At the age of only 16, Ramona, a mathematics prodigy, attended the University of California, Berkeley where just two years later she was recruited by the Marines to write algorithms aiding F-18 fighter missions. Four years later, tragedy struck. Ramona was hit by a drunk driver while running and spent the following eighteen months in a coma and the next eleven years blind. This life-changing event forced her to relearn simple human functions: everything from breathing and seeing to walking and smiling. Refusing to let the accident hold her back, Ramona used the many skills and insights she gained during her recovery to propel her forward. Her experiences fostered the drive and determination in her to build two companies where personalized learning and relearning are the center of all products.

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Topics: GROW

Associate Mentoring Program: 5 Years and GROWing

Posted by Cindy Nevarez, Organizational Learning Manager on July 13, 2015 at 10:00 AM
Associate Mentoring Program: 5 Years and GROWing

In 2010, Marsh & McLennan Agency launched GROW, a women’s initiative which stands for Growth in Relationships & Opportunities for Women. Designed to address the historically male-dominated culture of the insurance industry, GROW aims to provide tools and resources to support women in the workplace and increase the number of women in leadership roles. In its inaugural year, GROW developed the mentoring program, pairing individuals in leadership with female associates aspiring to advance their careers through professional development.

At its core, the GROW Associate Mentoring Program was created to:

  • Provide career enhancement through increased self-awareness, improved communication skills and a broadened understanding of the organization as a whole
  • Provide a forum to exchange ideas and increase understanding of the different organizational divisions and specializations
  • Develop leadership and decision-making skills
  • Motivate and engage participants in order to increase job performance and satisfaction

Lasting Results

In its fifth year, the program has produced significant results, providing mentoring opportunities for associates at various stages of their career. Both mentors and mentees report learning from one another and developing skills from the supportive relationships, with 84% of pairs having met their individual goals during the span of the program in 2014.  The confidential nature of the relationship gives associates an opportunity to voice their concerns, overcome hurdles, and find solutions, resulting in refined interpersonal and professional skills and increased confidence.  Pairing has been extremely successful, with 98% of last year’s participants continuing their mentoring relationship after the program ended.

One of the 2014 mentees, Daniela Posada, describes the benefits of the relationship she has built with her mentor, Principal Shawn Pynes:

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Topics: Inside B&B, GROW

First Female F-14 Tomcat Pilot Inspires MMA GROW to Fly Higher

Posted by Claudette Linzey, Digital Media Specialist on April 8, 2015 at 10:00 AM
First Female F-14 Tomcat Pilot Inspires MMA GROW to Fly Higher

On March 25, 2015, MMA G.R.O.W.*which stands for Growth in Relationship and Opportunities for Women hosted the 5th Annual Keynote Speaker Event at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla in San Diego. This year, the organization welcomed Carey Lohrenz, the first female F-14 Tomcat pilot, to share her inspirational message with our associates, clients and business partners. As a pioneer in military aviation, Lohrenz’s keynote focused on winning under pressure, overcoming obstacles and thriving in a male-dominated profession.

Lohrenz drove home the message of teamwork and the mechanics of building a successful team. To build a strong team that can win under pressure, she says to make sure team members understand the goal and their unique part in accomplishing that goal. Communicate to the team that they matter and why.

To overcome obstacles and perform at the highest level, Lohrenz described the importance of the team sharing a common vision and a deep commitment to the “mission over self”. Great teams believe in the mission and trust in each other.

Lohrenz advised the attendees to not let anyone else’s agenda pull them off course. She speaks from experience. Graduating during a time when women were not allowed to become fighter pilots, she was given two choices: get out of the Navy or take an administrative job. Unswayed, Lohrenz forged ahead in the direction of her dream. When options are given that don’t align with the intended goal, Lohrenz encourages women to seek out a third way.

One of the organization’s most highly attended event to date, the response to the Lohrenz’s keynote was overwhelmingly positive. Keep an eye out for a future guest post from Carey Lohrenz.

*Marsh & McLennan Agency's women’s initiative, MMA GROW, was formed in 2010 to attract, retain, educate and support women in the firm.

Learn more about MMA G.R.O.W. 

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Topics: Inside B&B, GROW

Intern Diaries: Foster Our Growth

Posted by Marie Wathen, Employee Benefits Communications Intern on September 8, 2014 at 10:00 AM
Intern Diaries: Foster Our Growth

Marie Wathen is a junior at Hillsdale College studying History and Graphic Design. This summer, she worked at Marsh & McLennan Agency (MMA) as our Employee Benefits Communications Intern. This is part two of Marie Wathens 3-part blog series that provides tips on retaining Millennial employees.

By 2020, nearly 40% of the U.S. workforce will be comprised of Millennials, according to U.S. Census data. As Millennials become more prevalent in the workplace, they’ll also need to take on increasing levels of responsibility. This leaves employers wondering- will their millennial employees be ready?

Though Millennials may be young and inexperienced, there’s good news for employers. We want to be transformed into the leaders your organization needs.

Millennials aspire to grow professionally, and look to employers to help. The 2014 Deloitte "Millennial Survey," which polled more than 7,800 Millennials in 26 countries, found that 50% of Millennials believe their organizations could do more to develop future leaders.

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Topics: Inside B&B, GROW, Human Resources

Opportunity for GROWth: Negotiation Strategies for Women in the Workplace

Posted by Molly Fletcher, Sports Agent and Keynote Speaker on July 7, 2014 at 10:00 AM
Opportunity for GROWth: Negotiation Strategies for Women in the Workplace

We are happy to introduce Molly Fletcher as our first guest blogger. Molly Fletcher's third book, "A Winner's Guide to Negotiating" will be released this September. Molly was our G.R.O.W. Keynote Speaker in February, inspiring women to “believe in their ability to make change." Through education, mentoring and networking, G.R.O.W. strives to give women in the workplace the tools to become tomorrow's leaders. 

Negotiation. Type the word into Google Image and you get what you might expect. Images of men in power suits, posturing at opposite sides of a massive table. Comparisons to arm wrestling and tug of war.  Firm handshakes.

No wonder many of us, especially women, are intimidated by even the idea of negotiating! As a sports agent, I experienced a lot of high-stakes negotiations and I learned to love it. At the core, negotiation is a conversation. We negotiate all the time in our daily lives, and it’s a skill we can develop with practice.

Studies have repeatedly shown that women are less likely than men to negotiate, and when they do, they ask for less. With that in mind, here are some tips for women:

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Topics: Inside B&B, GROW

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