Lester Rosen, CLU–1962

Having been a member of MDRT for over 60 years, it has allowed me to associate with the outstanding producers, both male and female in the United States and, in recent years, countries throughout the world.

The qualifications for MDRT have been, not only volume of production, but ethical operation. The meetings each year are electrifying, not only by virtue of the excellence of the programs emphasizing the “whole person concept,” but the relationship in meeting annually with numerous qualifiers who have become personal and respected friends.

MDRT qualification is recognized by all producing agents as a high and meaningful achievement. Hopefully, life insurance agents throughout the world can qualify for MDRT membership with the same production requirements as those agents in the United States. The internationalism of MDRT will produce benefits of understanding and respect for life insurance agents of different cultures and, undoubtedly, create a relationship of global mutual esteem.

MDRT is an excellent forum for the sharing of ideas both now and in the future. The annual MDRT meeting brings together the best of the industry, thereby making it a breeding ground for inspiration, education and aspiration.

Millard J. Grauer, CLU–1980

The MDRT has been the most dramatic positive long-term influence in my life. The inspiration, the new ideas from leading salespersons in the free world, the whole person concept, the methods shared to strengthen family relationships, the support when going through a crisis in life such as the death of my first wife, the necessity of continuing education, of being an ethical professional, the need for and utilization of staff to grow your practice, the opportunity to see the world through the eyes of International MDRT friends, are just a few of the priceless gems Ive received from the Round Table for over 40 years. MDRT has provided for me the “Joy of Living.”

Wilmer S. Poynor III, CLU, ChFC–1987

When I joined New York Life Feb. 1, 1961, my father had already been an agent with that company for 27 years, a CLU, and a Qualifying and Life member of the MDRT. He laid down two “rules” that have meant so much to my personal and business lives. He stated that I must become a CLU to prove I had knowledge of the business and a member of the MDRT, which would be proof that I could take that knowledge and apply it, with sales skills, as a measure of success in our business. I accomplished both in the year 1964 and attended my first MDRT meeting in June 1965.

I can remember going to that meeting, not really understanding the pride my father had in introducing me to the friends he had made until I had the privilege to introduce my son, Hamilton, at his first meeting.

The MDRT has influenced my personal life through the introduction of the Whole Person Concept, helping me set my priorities as to my relationship with God, family, community and business.

It is an organization that has always stood for excellence in performance and ethical behavior. It is an organization made up of the finest and best-qualified people in the world who could be successful in anything they attempted. I have never been around a more sharing and loving group of people.

No meeting that I attend comes close to the MDRT in motivating and educating me and allowing me to feel a part of something that is very important. After being subjected to rejection and problems, I need to be told that what I do is extremely important by those who truly understand the challenges we face everyday in our work.

I love the MDRT. All of its members are dedicated to trying to be the best that they can be, and I encourage any of your readers, who have the opportunity to qualify, to come and join us.

William T. O’Donnell–1992

Looking back, MDRT membership has meant the following to me:

The chance to sit at the same table with the very best in the business–at an early and uneducated stage.

The chance to make friends with people from all over the world.

The opportunity to exchange sales concepts with some of the brightest minds in our business.

Unparalleled personal development though contact with and listening to some of the worlds finest speakers with messages that hit home.

The chance to gain leadership and communication skills.

The chance to influence agents, home office leaders, association leaders, spouses and children through speaking opportunities.

Dealing with the finest professional staff.

Membership in MDRT has given me more than I could ever give it.

Looking ahead I see MDRT as:

The financial services organization that encompasses the largest, most sophisticated, most financially successful membership in the world.

An organization with a sterling reputation for ethics. “There is no right way to do a wrong thing.”

Not being a politically motivated organization, but one continuing to develop character of its members, the sales growth of individual members and the family values of its members.

Charles D. Marks, CLU, ChFC–1993

MDRT sets a standard of excellence for our industry and challenges members to realize their full human potential. We need to strive for balance in our lives and this is why the Whole Person concept is so important. MDRT affords us an opportunity to network with other outstanding professionals.

MDRT will become a leader within the financial services industry. Emphasis will continue to be placed on performance, professionalism and creating lifetime relationships.

Lyle L. Blessman–1994

MDRT and its members have had a mind-expanding and electrifying impact on my personal and family life as well as my business career. I have experienced that there are no limits on what you can do. Leadership by example is the most productive way and when you lose yourself in serving others and their needs, the greatest rewards and satisfaction come to you.

I am very positive in my outlook for the future of our wonderful industry as long as we build our foundations on “sound relationships” with the buying public, our clients. We need to develop greater “high touch” with our clients as well as providing high tech services. We cannot ever trade all the computerized bells and whistles for our genuine, one-on-one human touch and understanding. The MDRT way!

John Cruikshank III, CLU–1997

Membership in the MDRT has impacted my life and career in a way similar to the way world travel impacts our perspective about people, history and diverse cultures. It has kept me from being parochial in my outlook toward life and my business. The “magic of MDRT” has motivated me to strive for excellence in all that I do. Year after year, the gathering of members from countries throughout the world at the MDRT Annual Meeting has recharged my batteries, and focused me on living a balanced life and being a “whole person.”

In a financial services world dominated by products designed to accumulate assets, MDRT stands almost alone in preaching the “religion of life insurance,” that is, the fervent belief that this unique product is the cornerstone of any sound financial plan. It is the only product that can protect your loved ones, or company, from the financial hardship of an untimely death, a disability, or a serious illness or injury.

Reginald N. Rabjohns, CLU, ChFC–1999

MDRT membership, and active participation, over these past 33 years, has had an enormous impact on my entire life, not just my business. MDRT represents a “whole person,” “best practices” model for living life in the most productive ways. MDRT is about excellence in all facets of ones life. Its about balance in our personal, family, civic, spiritual and business lives.

MDRT has helped me become a better son, husband, father, friend, teacher, advisor, leader and citizen of the world. MDRT has provided me with role models and mentors that have set superior standards to strive for. MDRT is all about striving to reach ones human potential.

Looking ahead, I do not envision principles changing, since all MDRT is about is values-based, which is timeless. The life insurance business is in a great growth era in many countries around the globe. My hope would be that MDRT leadership stays centered on our global constituencies needs and doesnt become over-weighted in their decisions by what is happening just in the U.S.

Brian Ashe, CLU–2000

I have often said that MDRT is not my life. But my life would be very different without MDRT. And that relates to both my business life and my personal life. Regarding business, MDRT has pretty much defined what the standard for professionalism and productivity is in our business. Individual producers and companies measure their relative success against an MDRT standard. It has also been the place where ideas can be shared instead of being locked behind proprietary fences. On a personal basis, MDRT has provided long lasting and treasured relationships with some of the finest people I have ever met. They have supported me with good wishes and acts in times of great difficulty and have helped me to have realistic perspectives on life when things began to get out of balance.

As long as MDRT continues to focus on relationships, both among its members and the clients its members serve, MDRTs future is very bright. Significant growth outside of North America should continue, and I would look for South American membership to grow, though not as quickly as we have seen in Asia and the Pacific Rim. Managing that growth will be a significant undertaking, both to keep membership standards relative and to provide forums around the world, not just in the U.S., where more people can be exposed to the MDRT ethic.

A friend in the investment business, who is familiar with MDRT, once told me he had approached the head of his company and told that person they should have an MDRT. The response he got was: “That would not work here. We dont share.” As long as MDRT and its membership promote sharing, volunteerism, excellence in productivity and balance in ones life, in 10 years it will be even better than it is today.

Tony Gordon–2001

MDRT membership has given me the opportunity for growth in business and in my personal life. It has also given me the opportunity to be a citizen not just of my country but of the world.

I see MDRT becoming a global force for good both within financial services and in the influence our members have in their communities.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Life & Health/Financial Services Edition, December 2, 2002. Copyright 2002 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.