The Power and Strength in Connectivity
2022 NetVU Annual Meeting of Members
The NetVU annual meeting on May 26, 2022, got off to an excellent start with opening remarks from Jon Gorman, executive director. After establishing the agenda for the meeting, he handed the stage over to Dean Giem, president and CEO of Paradox Insurance Agency, Kalispell, Montana, and chairman of the NetVU executive board of directors, for his report on the membership.
Dean observed that the tagline, “Strength in Members,” could not be more accurate. He reported that NetVU impressively has more than 400 active and engaged volunteers serving on the board, committees and product work groups and helping as speakers and educators at NetVU events. Currently 40% of NetVU’s entire membership is engaged with the organization in a meaningful way, exceeding the goal that was set for the end of 2023. With such success in mind, Dean said that he has set an ambitious new goal to reach 50% or more active member engagement by the end of next year. It’s a high bar, but we’re up to the challenge!
Dean went on to acknowledge Accelerate, powered by NetVU, as the first major insurance trade event for agency management systems to be held in person this year. The Denver event drew 1,200 attendees, showcased 101 exhibitor booths and 135 educational breakout sessions, and garnered rave reviews as an unprecedented success.
In addition to the long-awaited in-person conference, the organization has continued with popular online events and expanded those offerings with the NetVU Online Community (NCOM). Available to members around the clock, 365 days a year, both the online community and its app counterpart can connect participants with peers who can help to address problems and provide support and guidance. New to NCOM is the volunteer-led Ambassador Program, a “Featured News & Blogs Section” highlighting trending industry topics, and a re-skinned, modernized online community platform including a new “like” button.
While acknowledging that the last few years have had their share of challenges, Dean reported that NetVU finished 2021 with a clean audit and significantly better-than-budget, year-end results. NetVU had a single voluntary staff departure in the last two years from the dedicated team and can boast an astonishing employee Net Promoter ScoreSM of 82.
After all of the chairman’s positive news, the audience welcomed Joyce Sigler, AVP, acquisitions and technology, with SeibertKeck Insurance Partners of Akron, Ohio, and NetVU incoming chair, to the stage for her keynote speech.
Joyce’s positive energy was evident the moment she began her speech. Highlighting the impact of the 1998 arrival of email, she remarked that those three little words, “you’ve got mail,” have changed everything. While much change was for the better, email also resulted in the loss of an easy personal connection, a gap that widened in many ways with the pandemic. Joyce recognized the shift in perspective that the industry needs to embrace in order to move forward and keep members engaged and feeling connected to each other. She emphasized the desire for new programs and the modernization of the corporate message to ensure the sharing of relevant items to the full membership. She also identified the need to recognize and consider the challenges each member is facing and to foster connections and collaboration so that every insurance professional can thrive.
Joyce encouraged the membership to help make NetVU even better by seeking a group of both young and old to share career knowledge through mentorship and to prioritize what matters both professionally and personally. She closed with an inspiring video message.
The meeting then moved on to awards recognizing service. The 2022 Chairman’s Award recipient was Shyla Lankford, COO of Lipscomb & Associates, Dallas. She was an instrumental member of the Fall Conference Task Force, which created Spark, a meeting designed for members who are shaping the future of the independent insurance agency, with a focus on growth, efficiency and talent. Shyla was also involved in the Health & Safety Task Force, which tackled COVID-19 safety measures for the in-person Accelerate this year as well as other health and safety issues for NetVU events in the future.
The Volunteer of the Year Award in Memory of James M. Gibson recognizes outstanding volunteer service and was awarded to Amanda Adams, commercial lines and personal lines manager and operations analyst at Harmon Dennis Bradshaw Inc., Montgomery, Alabama.
Pictured (L to R): NetVU Executive Director Jon Gorman, Volunteer of
the Year Amanda Adams, NetVU Conference Steering Committee Chairman
As the 2022 Leadership Award winner, Brent Rineck, former NetVU chairman, was honored posthumously at Accelerate, and his husband Dan accepted the award on Brent’s behalf.
Pictured: NetVU Conference Steering Committee Chairman Jessica Jeffress and Brent Rineck's husband Dan Wickering who accepted Brent's award (posthumously) on his behalf.
The 2022 Insurance Technology Advocate Award in Memory of Wade S. Dunbar Jr., recognizing outstanding contributions to insurance industry automation and NetVU members, was given to Patty McQuade, vice president and CIO at Moody Insurance Agency, Denver
Pictured (L to R): NetVU Executive Director Jon Gorman,
Insurance Technology Advocate Award Winner Patty McQuade, NetVU Conference Steering Committee
Chairman Jessica Jeffress
Jessica Jeffress, immediate past chairman of NetVU and AVP, business insurance and employee benefits at Peel & Holland, Murray, Kentucky, led the election and swearing in of 2022 NetVU officers and directors. Dean then recognized expiring directors.
As incoming chair, Joyce’s parting words reminded attendees that the more involved one is with NetVU, the more enriching and rewarding the experience and benefits will be.