On June 7, 2018 I have the privilege of representing Marsh & McLennan Agency (MMA) in sponsoring the Bay Area CFO of the Year Awards presented by the San Francisco Business Times and Larkin Street Youth Services. As a Board member of Larkin Street, I am proud to support this nonprofit’s ground-breaking work, while honoring world-class CFOs leading their organizations.
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.
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.
Marsh & McLennan Agency (MMA) is committed to giving back to the community and we fulfill this commitment though the work of the Barney & Barney Foundation. Since 2009, the foundation has awarded more than $2.8 million to over 80 nonprofits.
Each year, the Barney & Barney Foundation holds three events in order to raise awareness and provide grants to local nonprofits. In total, the Barney & Barney Foundation awarded $260,000 in grants to nine nonprofits in California this year.
Rock the Foundation Benefit Concert
On September 29, 2017, MMA hosted the 8th Annual Rock the Foundation benefit concert featuring cover band Liquid Blue. Attendees also enjoyed great food, drinks, a fun green screen photo booth and much more at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Home Start and Alzheimer’s San Diego each received $35,000 and Foundation of the Children of the Californias and Access Youth Academy both received $20,000 to further their mission.
Each fall, Marsh & McLennan Agency (MMA) kicks off a season of giving through the Barney & Barney Foundation. The foundation awards grants to local non-profits, raising funds through the annual Rock the Foundation rock concert and golf tournaments in Orange County and the Bay Area. In addition to donating their time and resources at these events, our colleagues enjoy getting to know the grant recipients and the work they do by spending time volunteering. This year colleagues took advantage of volunteer opportunities at Home Start in San Diego, George Mark Children’s House in the Bay Area, and Laura’s House in Orange County.
Here’s a recap:
At Home Start
Home Start is dedicated to effectively preventing and treating child abuse. The team at Home Start provides a variety of services in the community to help eliminate the causes of abuse. From their Maternity Shelter Program to parenting classes to child development specialists and so much more, children and their families depend on Home Start. Key to their success is a focus on a variety of self-sufficiency programs which allow their clients to develop the skills needed to thrive.
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.
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.
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.
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.