Industry conferences are always full of inspiring moments intertwined with educational, networking and idea exchange opportunities. As a member of the industry media, I was invited to attend the MDRT Annual Meeting in Anaheim last week. Between conducting interviews with MDRT members for upcoming articles, there was ample time to attend many of the main platform and focus sessions. What follows are some quick takeways provided by a handful of the presenters at last Tuesday’s main platform. Enjoy, and revisit any thoughts you might have about skipping the next industry conference on the schedule. All images courtesy of MDRT.
Next: Jeff Wadsworth, M.B.A., CFP
Set goals, dream big
“I learned to set big goals and dream big dreams by listening to the speakers on this very stage,” said Jeff Wadsworth, M.B.A., CFP, during his main platform speech. Goals and dreams do come true, Wadsworth continued. At the first MDRT meeting he attended, he was taking notes, setting goals and dreaming dreams — which included someday being a speaker on the main platform at MDRT. He joyously achieved that goal on June 12.
Next: D. Scott Brennan
The $40 leather briefcase
During his June 12 main platform presentation, MDRT First Vice President D. Scott Brennan showcased his old, well-worn $40 leather briefcase, which has been at his side throughout a career that has seen more than 60 death claims.
“This briefcase has carried hundreds of checks for millions of dollars that kept families together and companies in business,” Brennan said. “It always made sure a widow dressed as well as a wife.”
Next: Jeremy Gutsche
Innovation expert Jeremy Gutsche, founder of TrendHunter.com, talked about the effectiveness of the “Don’t Mess With Texas” slogan as — and I didn’t know its origins — a campaign to reduce roadside littering. With a goal of a 5% reduction, it netted a 72% reduction in roadside littering, and in the process, became synonymous with Texas. But it was another line from Gutsche’s main platform address that stuck with me: “Portray your product as average, and that is all it will ever be.” To illustrate this, he showed a Washington Post video of elite concert violinist Josh Bell — who plays a 300-year-old Stradivarius — playing for tips in a Washington, D.C., Metro station in 2007. Of the 1,097 people who passed by, only seven stopped to listen to him, and only one recognized him. For his 45-minute performance, he collected $32.17 from 27 passersby. He earned considerably more than that playing the same repertoire at a concert the night before, and Post columnist Gene Weingarten won a 2008 Pulitzer Prize for writing about the experiment.