I’ve been asked more than a few times why I left a large, globally known brokerage to join a smaller firm like MJ (but still one of the largest privately held insurance agencies in America). 

The question is a fair one, so let me share the reasons, both professional and personal, and what I’ve learned since.  

There’s nothing quite like a global pandemic to get you thinking. For me, lockdowns and working from home challenged my perspective, and the valuable pause in daily action forced me to review how I was working and where I was working. Ultimately, I was confronted with the personal return on every hour spent on the job versus with my family. Because I seldom do anything spontaneously, this imposed time for reflection was a gift.  

Prior to joining MJ, I spent over 17 years at a global brokerage, where I matured as a leader and enjoyed the challenge. I discovered my passion for building high-performing teams and coaching them to victory. However, I began to realize that the Colorado market had become a bit stagnant. It needed a refreshed approach to client and carrier partnerships, and I was beyond ready to help my customers in the most creative ways possible, without limitations or bureaucracy. I craved a role that allowed me to focus on delivering more impact for my customers, community, industry and Colorado.  

On the personal side of my job review was my family. My two young sons were becoming more involved in school and sports. Prior to COVID, I was spending over 50% of my time traveling. I had to confront how much of their lives I had been missing. 

So then I knew. Career goal: more freedom. Life goal: more freedom. Overall, I wanted what so many others want: balance, a change in pace, an ability to influence change, reward, fulfillment, innovation, energy. But were all those goals even possible? 

It sure has been with MJ. 

Among other reasons, I think it’s because MJ is a place that doesn’t simply support family and flexibility – it truly places this first above all else. This not only enriches the lives of all our associates, it’s a brilliant business move that fosters more job satisfaction.  

Equally brilliant is MJ’s commitment to our community and giving back, as well as the firm’s steadfast insistence on expanding into the Denver market through organic growth, instead of acquisition. By building an entirely new local business led by a community leader committed to best-in-class service, MJ has established itself a market pioneer. I appreciate the unmatched work ethic on display too – what else would you expect from a company that began in the Midwest! – as well as our elegant, straight-forward, yet highly data-driven approach to identifying each client’s greatest opportunities. Of course, there’s also the creative solutions delivered by teams that are encouraged to innovate and challenge the status-quo. 

It’s been a remarkable transition for me joining an established agency that’s light years ahead of the larger firms in terms of technology and nimbleness and the smaller firms in terms of talent, creativity and passion. I’ve been professionally recharged by MJ’s ability to offer a “boutique” approach to mid- and large-size employers—not just the jumbo ones—and our inclusive service that allows limitless possibilities for custom risk and insurance, retirement and compensation plans. 

In addition, I’ve discovered that if I or anyone else on my team has an idea, we can raise it and run with it. MJ has allowed me to own local decision-making too, particularly around talent, recruiting, partnerships and pricing, and I’m surrounded by professionals who are as excited about the future as I am.  

All this and more time to see my son Parker play a few rounds of golf or his younger brother Knox blossom as an artist.  

It just doesn’t get any better than that.