- Connect with me on LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/andyneary/
- Connect with me on Instagram: instagram.com/andy_neary/
This transcript was auto-generated. Please excuse any typos or grammatical errors.
It’s January 2017 and I’m invited to speak at an event down here in Denver. Truth be told, I didn’t do much research on the event. I put my hat in the ring, signed up, filled out the RFP, and I was picked. So in one early winter morning in January, I’m excited to get my car. I drive down to South Side of Denver.
I get ushered into the breakout room that I’ll be speaking from, set up my PowerPoint, get everything ready, and now the attendees start walking in and I’m greeting people and I’m counting the people coming in eight, nine, ten. And then the door shuts and I pause and to myself, nobody heard this. I said, Seriously. I drove all the way down here through traffic to talk to ten people.
Now I gave myself a pep talk and I walked up to the front and I said, Dude, you invested a lot of money in becoming speaker. You need to pour your heart out here. You need to give. You need to teach. This is what you want to do. And so for the next 45 minutes, I poured my heart out.
I taught. I taught more than I wanted to. I gave away everything for free. And I gave a presentation on how to build a better health plan with less money. And I told stories. And after that talk was over, people started coming out of the room, shaking my hand, thanking me. But one gentleman came up to me in particular and he said, Do I have never heard anybody talk about health insurance like that?
He said, that was one of the best presentations I’ve ever seen on the topic. He goes, This is exactly what my team has been talking about. I would love for you to jump on a call. Here’s my business card. And I looked at the card and this is where I learned the lesson, because on that card was the name Duncan MacLean.
Now, the name Duncan Micallef means nothing to anybody in this room. It’s his job title in the company is with that should. You see, Duncan was the director of Total Rewards for a little company called PepsiCo, a Fortune 50 company. Now, what I didn’t realize is this conference was intended to be small. There were only a few attendees, but they were made up of some of the largest local and national companies.
And my story, my ability to communicate, just grabbed the attention of a Fortune 50 company, and it’s there. I learned my second lesson. Plato said this once. Those who tell stories will rule society. Communication is everything. And so I just kept leaning into communication. Two months later, I am running a benefits roundtable for the Boulder County public sector market.
We had State Brain Valley School District, Boulder Valley School, City of Boulder County, Boulder City, Longmont, Heck, Cherry Creek School District was driving up from Denver to be a part of it. We had three of the five largest school districts in the state in this thing, representing over 25,000 employee lives. And I’m running it with my stories by teaching.
We had Clint Flanagan come in speaking about direct primary care, Ryan Schmid from Vero Oil, Jamil Wey come in and we have 25,000 lives we’re influencing. And it hit me again. Yes, those who tell stories will rule society. Fast forward two more years, and this is where I learned my third lesson. This is the one that still grabs too much resistance from this industry.
And I want to share it with you. 2019. I’m no longer with you with Bougainville, they’ve sold the GBS. So I moved on. I’m now partnered with the Olsen group out of Omaha and I’m in the Omaha airport on a Friday night. I’m just ready to come home. It’s been a long week, hard week on the road, and I’m standing in line for Southwest.
I think I’m like a 17. And if anybody’s ever been in Omaha, airport’s not really big, so it’s hard to actually make a line. And this gentleman comes up to me. Never met him, never seen him. And he takes his phone, he goes, Hey, is this you? And I recoil a little bit, regain my focus. And I said, Yeah, and what do you I hear about in the phone with my LinkedIn profile?
You said, Dude, I love your stuff. He said, Keep posting that. I’ve been following you for a year. I’m taking what you’re telling me and I’m sharing it with my employees. As a man, I appreciate that. That means a lot. By the way, what’s your name? Steve Garbarek. It’s cool. So he went back in his line. I stayed mine, got on the plane, and I did what everybody in this room would have done.
I went right to LinkedIn. I’m like, Who is this guy? And and sure enough, Steve is the chr0 of a company called CG, CSG with 5000 employees. And it’s here. I learned the third lesson when he came up. I didn’t know who he was. Within 30 seconds I felt like I knew him forever. And this is the lesson I learned.
Business is no longer about who you know. Business is about who knows you. In a noisy industry like we’re in gang, you got to get people to know who you are.