It's So Nice To Meet You, {Insert Name Here}!

“It’s so nice to see you again,” I said.

“Oh, goodness, yes! Remind me where we met?” she asked.

Truth? I have no idea.

Her face looks vaguely familiar - but that could be because it appears in my social feed periodically. The world is small here in Chicago, so it’s also likely we have many common connections.

We probably did meet - but I couldn’t tell you where.

Have you ever been here?

In conversation with a friend this weekend, he confessed to being terrible at remembering names - and asked how I’ve become so good at it.

Clearly I have him fooled!

Name tags are an obvious gift at an event or gathering where strangers and acquaintances will connect - or reconnect.

In the absence of a name tag, though, I will offer up my name to most anyone I’ve met just once or twice - even if I know we’ve met before. Doing this deflects any stress or shame that she may be feeling for not remembering my name, and also gives her an opportunity to do the same for me.

“Hi! It’s Meg, so nice to see you again!” I say as I smile warmly.

“Meg! Great to see you! Viv, we met at the rooftop event last fall,” she replies.

And we’re off!

What techniques do you have for recalling someone’s name? Thanks for sharing in the comments below.


Farewell Summer!

Wearing my summer wardrobe staple poppy red jumpsuit for what I sense will be the last time for a while, last night I joined a group of fascinating women as we said farewell to summer with a perfectly curated evening, on a rooftop overlooking Chicago’s magical skyline.

Our hosts, Megan Wessels and Joanna Sobran, to no one’s surprise, considered every detail. E

ach of the 30 or so women in attendance had the opportunity to introduce herself to the group. She shared a bit about her work and finished by sharing her superpower with the group.

Many women, as you’d imagine, were connectors. Others could see the good in most situations.

One gal proclaimed her superpower was simply not complaining. I love this so much.

Making complicated things - like insurance, risk-taking and even getting dressed in the morning - simple is my own superpower.

I’d love to know - what’s your superpower? Tell me in the comments below.

Chicago gals! Megan’s next Powerful Partners Forum launches in October. The Forum is a unique opportunity for female business owners who are looking for clarity and support to fuel their business growth. You can learn more here: Powerful Partners' Forum

Summer Soiree

Women In Insurance | Chicago

If you're ever invited to get really vulnerable, really quickly, in front of a room full of strangers, I highly recommend you answer the call.

Earlier this week, at Chicago's Women In Insurance conference, I joined Lainie Dorneker, Liz Walker, Lisa Weiland and Megan Bock Zarnoch in a candid conversation about imposter syndrome; how it's presented in our lives and careers, and how we can succeed in spite of it.

There was so much strength on stage - but there was also so much humility - and humanity.

How we define leadership in the insurance industry is changing, and I am beyond proud to be in such good company!

Thank you Jesse Friedl and Insurance Business America for including me in the conversation.

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18 Years Later

I was a naive underwriter living and working in rural Ohio when September 11th became more than just another date on the calendar.

On the heels of the Y2K “crisis,” the insurance industry now had to process and position - quickly - as the word “terrorism” was woven into nearly every conversation.

There were so many questions - and so few answers - in the days and weeks that would follow.

Were the events that day one single event or four?

Did “terrorism” fit the definition of “war?”

And how would the myriad insurance policies in place respond?

The providers of insurance considered carefully what is referred to as their total exposure; what would their financial loss - in property and human capital - be that day - and if events like this would occur again?

Corporate risk managers reviewed and revised policies and procedures to include evacuation plans; executive leadership no longer traveled together in the same plane. T

he insurance industry changed that day, but in ways so insignificant compared to those who lost their lives and their loved ones.

Remembering all who were, and continue to be, impacted today.


Too Soon?

Are you caught up in the PSL debate?

PSL, for those not following along, is a nod to Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte, which has historically been a limited edition offering that has people flocking to their stores to enjoy during the fall.

Starbucks released PSL last Tuesday, a decision that has many squealing with delight - and others taking to social media to rant (check out #PSL for some light reading).

As it feels to some like Starbucks releases PSL earlier and earlier in the season each year, there are two general opinions on the matter:

🚫 August is too soon for pumpkin anything! It’s still summer!

✔️ Bring it on! And why isn’t it available all year ‘round?

Of course, there are those that have no opinion - but, any day now, holiday decorations will appear in retail stores and undoubtedly similar conversations will be had again.

We’ll be focusing on goal setting for 2020 in my newsletter this month; it feels perhaps a little “too soon,” but also like the right time to begin to plan for success in the new year.

What do you make of the PSL debate? And have you started to make your 2020 plans? Let me know in the comments below!

Let’s keep you up to date! Subscribe for updates here.


Unexpected Outcomes

Sometimes we challenge ourselves in new and different ways - and the outcome is growth in ways we couldn’t have anticipated.

Yesterday I shared a bit about my journey to better health, which began many years ago with a sense of curiosity and a self-imposed 30 day challenge.

Have a listen here to learn more about the unexpected outcome I experienced as a result, and how it’s helped to shape who I am, in life and in business, today.

Would you believe that “I could never give up cheese” is the most common response I get when someone learns how I eat? Our love for cheese is legit!

Is there something - food-related or not - that you’re certain you couldn’t live without? Would you consider giving it up for 30 days? Tell me in the comments below!

Our Customers Have Options

There’s no shortage of opportunities in our daily lives to learn essential business lessons.

Yesterday was no exception.

Many years ago, feeling uninspired and wanting to test my own boundaries, I challenged myself to change my eating in a dramatic way. I chose what I perceived to be the most restrictive diet, and set out to eat vegan for 30 days.

And it stuck.

While Chicago is an exceptionally vegan-friendly city, periodically I find myself away from home and in search of food. I was happy to learn years ago that a certain fast food restaurant that might be known for their, let’s say, tacos, could accommodate in a pinch.

I always place my order very carefully. “That’s right: no meat, no cheese, no sour cream. Right, no dairy. No, I’m grateful it’s not an allergy, just a preference.”

More often than not, the result is not what I ordered. I smile as I walk back to the counter and it’s prepared again.

Would your customers keep coming back if you failed them 75% of the time?

Our customers have options - far more than a hangry vegan in search of tacos at a truck stop in the middle of America - and they may not give us another chance to get it right.

Do you pause for lunch or eat on the fly? Let me know below!


What's In A Title?

If you make your living earning commission from the sale of insurance products, you might be an insurance agent. You might also be a producer, or even an account executive or a broker. Even still, you could be a risk management consultant or a risk advisor.

The title may vary from one organization to another, but the job function is the same.

In the insurance industry, unless you are in - or inching toward - the C-Suite, titles rarely translate.

In fact, I’ve been largely oblivious to titles in our industry as my own career path has taken shape. The focus has been on the function of the job - the responsibility, authority and opportunity.

This isn’t always the case, though, as I was reminded when a friend in an unrelated industry recently turned down a job offer. The title was Manager, not Director, a title she’d earned in her last position, and one she wasn’t willing to let go.

And yet another negotiated a substantial raise with the stipulation that the VP title she coveted must be bestowed within 6 months - and it was.

Titles can be a non-negotiable - or they can be a non-issue.

What weight do titles hold in the industry you serve? Let me know in the comments below!


Meg Time

Hitting the ground running this morning after a delightful weekend exploring Milwaukee with friends. Our hearts hurt a bit after a disappointing loss on Saturday night, but hope was restored with a win yesterday - such is the life of a Chicago Cubs fan!

I love trips like this - new neighborhoods to discover, interesting food choices, lots of laughter, easy conversation and strengthened connections.

And I also love when these trips come to an end.

It’s taken me time to recognize - and honor - my need to recharge after being “on.”

These days, “Meg Time” is a real thing for me. Sometimes I hold this space as an appointment on my calendar when life is particularly messy. Or, as it was yesterday when I returned home, it was a long walk with a favorite podcast to clear my mind.

However it takes shape, I know it is necessary for me to take this time in order to be able to show up wholly for those in my life.

Love to know - do you get your energy from being with others? Or do you need time to recharge? Let me know in the comments below!