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Balanced Growth Leads Session at AFA Spring Symposium

(L to R): Bill Hunt, Joe Annotti and John Forbes

Balanced Growth partnered with the CEO of GBU Financial Life, Bill Hunt, and the CEO of the American Fraternal Alliance, Joe Annotti to lead the strategic planning workshop at the American Fraternal Alliance (AFA) Spring Symposium held May 28-30, in Chicago.

The Spring Symposium was attended by approximately 180 attendees from fraternal organizations across the country. Positioned in the Governance track, the session was aimed at board members and senior executives of the fraternal organizations. According to Allison Koppel, AFA COO, the workshop was met with rave reviews from attendees, and was rated as one of the top two workshops by those who attended.

Balanced Growth has significant experience in strategic planning and has helped many of our clients develop and execute their strategic plans. As a value add to the Symposium, Balanced Growth provided the attendees with a white paper on strategic planning. 

(Seated): Bill Hunt and John Forbes
(Standing): John Olvany

The framework provides a holistic view of an organization’s journey in developing, operationalizing, and executing its strategy. It is intended to serve as a guide for organizations that are about to undertake strategic planning activities or may be executing their strategic plan and has been customized for the fraternal sector. Read The Integrated Enterprise – A Strategic Framework whitepaper below.

The AFA, a national trade association, unites 59 not-for-profit fraternal benefit societies, and represents nearly 8 million individuals nationwide. Balanced Growth is an associate member of the AFA and is proud to be working with the following five leading fraternal organizations.

Balanced Growth Consulting specializes in strategic and operational innovation. We create enduring value for our clients by enhancing customer experiences, achieving operational efficiency, and generating new sources of revenue. In collaboration with client leaders and teams, we design, implement, and accelerate high-impact operational, technology, and innovation initiatives.

Balanced Growth Leads Strategic Planning Retreat for Client American Venous Forum

Balanced Growth Consulting (BG) recently led the Strategic Planning Retreat for its client, the American Venous Forum (AVF). The 2-day retreat, held in New York City, included members of the Board of Directors, several past presidents, other leaders, and four staff for a total of 23 participants. 

Incorporating BG planning methodologies used with other clients, John Forbes, BG Principal, served as the main facilitator for the retreat. Significant up-front effort was made to gather stakeholder input, conduct market/member research, and analyze trend data to inform the agenda for the retreat so that meaningful and focused discussion could occur. Dr. Harold Welch, president-elect of the AVF, chaired the retreat.

Following a vigorous discussion and validation of the mission and vision of the AVF and a review of the AVF’s recent history, the participants broke into five working groups each with an area of strategic focus. The groups were charged to creatively and open-mindedly come up with ideas that would enhance member benefits, help the AVF grow efficiently, and move the AVF towards its envisioned future as the world’s leader in venous and lymphatic disease. 

According to Forbes, “The retreat was very successful. Our discussions were authentic, and sometimes vigorous, but always leaning toward creating a better AVF. I was very proud to represent BG in this important effort.”

The next steps include the development of the final report and the review and approval by the AVF Board of Directors at its June, 2019 meeting in Washington, D.C. Following approval, the strategic plan will be operationalized, executed at the Committee and staff levels, and progress monitored on a regular basis.

Balanced Growth Hosts Executive Roundtable

Last week in Chicago, senior executives from the insurance industry met to discuss emerging trends in technology and innovation during Balanced Growth Consulting’s inaugural Executive Roundtable. The meet-up brought together leaders from the life insurance and financial services sector and included executives from American Enterprise Group, Catholic Financial Life, Catholic United Financial, iPipeline, Modern Woodmen of America, Options Clearing Corporation and RGAx. 

The two-day event took place at the beautiful Langham, Chicago and MATTER, an innovation incubator and accelerator located in the iconic Merchandise Mart. Langham, Chicago is the #3 hotel in the USA per US News & World Report and holds the exclusive Forbes 5-star distinction. The discussion revolved around the 4 major themes of vision and values, back-office hyper-efficiency, innovation movement and digital imperative and how each topic creates value for consumers and customers.

Jerry Lyphout, EVP of Modern Woodmen of America, shared a shift in the way they are planning for the life insurance industry of the future. “Our near-term priority is to become more efficient as an enterprise and move from a transactional-centric organization to an organization that focuses on customer engagement. People are living longer and we need to help them live healthier lives.”

Attendees noted the trend toward complex value chain innovations involving partnerships between mature industry participants and new, emerging technology players. Companies are developing separate business entities to pursue innovative business models which can bring new products and process improvements to market more quickly. 

AI and the potential for dramatic shifts to the underwriting process driven by data intelligence also stood out for their potential to up-end the status quo.  Participants shared innovations in business analytics through data warehousing in the Cloud, accelerated underwriting opportunities based on behavior patterns, and incubator-style innovation centers designed to help carriers test-drive new product configurations.

Of the opportunities for value creation, Eric Rea, EVP of iPipeline, observed “We are now at a stage where the risk of not doing something is greater than the risk of pursuing change”. 

Balanced Growth Consulting specializes in strategic and operational innovation. We create enduring value for our clients by enhancing customer experiences, achieving operational efficiency, and generating new sources of revenue. In collaboration with client leaders and teams, we design, implement, and accelerate high-impact operational, technology, and innovation initiatives.

Closing the Year with Executive Roundtable Dinner

In conjunction with the Executive Roundtable Meeting, Balanced Growth hosted a cocktail reception followed by dinner at Truluck’s Seafood & Steak Restaurant. Truluck’s is a favorite of the Bordui family and has recently received the Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator.

The evening was an enjoyable end to a year marked by new partnerships, emerging collaborations and enduring client relationships. Among the group were executives from American Enterprise Group, Catholic Financial Life, Catholic United Financial, iPipeline, Modern Woodmen of America, Options Clearing Corporation and RGAx.

Balanced Growth Consulting specializes in strategic and operational innovation. We create enduring value for our clients by enhancing customer experiences, achieving operational efficiency, and generating new sources of revenue. In collaboration with client leaders and teams, we design, implement, and accelerate high-impact operational, technology, and innovation initiatives.

Final American Fraternal Alliance Annual Meeting in the Books

Earlier this month, Balanced Growth leadership traveled to Minneapolis to attend the last annual meeting of its kinds of the American Fraternal Alliance. The Meeting attracted over 300 attendees who gathered to network, learn and have a great time. Balanced Growth has significant experience in the fraternal, insurance and non-profit sector.We are currently privileged to be working with Modern Woodmen of America, Catholic Financial Life and Catholic United Financial, and are committed to the future of this sector.

A highlight of the event included keynote speaker Bradford Hewitt. Brad Hewitt is CEO of Thrivent Financial, a not-for-profit Fortune 500 organization dedicated to helping Christians be wise with money and live generously. He speaks regularly on how a redefined relationship with money can help us find and live out our calling in life. Brad spoke about his experiences as a participant in the Itasca Project, an employer-led civic alliance in the Twin-Cities area, focused on building a thriving economy and improved quality of life.

The American Fraternal Alliance unites the not-for-profit fraternal benefit societies operating in 50 states, the District of Columbia and Canada. Alliance member societies represent nearly 8 million individuals, making it one of America’s largest member-volunteer networks.

Balanced Growth Consulting specializes in strategic and operational innovation. We create enduring value for our clients by enhancing customer experiences, achieving operational efficiency, and generating new sources of revenue. In collaboration with client leaders and teams, we design, implement, and accelerate high-impact operational, technology, and innovation initiatives.

Balanced Growth attends GlobalSTL Health Innovation Summit in St. Louis with client AE Ventures

GlobalSTL, the international company recruitment initiative of BioSTL, recently held its Second-annual GlobalSTL Health Innovation Summit on June 27, 2018. We had the opportunity to accompany our client, AE Ventures, a leading sponsor of the event and potential investor. AE Ventures is the new corporate venture capital arm of American Enterprise Group, established in early 2018 with the help of Balanced Growth Consulting.

The highly curated event introduces transformational technologies to the St. Louis healthcare industry that can improve quality and access while lowering costs by solving challenges in patient care, health care delivery and hospital operations. After reviewing more than 600 digital health companies, 14 companies were invited to pitch their cutting-edge technologies to decision-makers from St. Louis area hospitals and corporations, as well as venture capitalists looking to invest in new companies.

“We specifically select companies that represent compelling, high-value technology for St. Louis’ health care systems and corporations, come with proven track records, and have the 1 CONTACT Maggie Crane 314.422.6783 mcrane@biostl.org ability to immediately enter the U.S market,” Donn Rubin, President and CEO of BioSTL, said. “This approach has led to a total of 15 international companies with a new St. Louis location.”

Some of the types of digital health technologies GlobalSTL is bringing to St. Louis hospitals and corporations include: telehealth technologies, remote monitoring of patients with chronic conditions, cybersecurity, big data solutions that include predictive and risk stratification technologies, as well as solutions for lowering operations costs, improving behavioral health, preventing physician burnout, and reducing hospital readmissions.

According to Vijay Chauhan, Project Lead for BioSTL, “The Summit was a large success. We plan to continue to assemble our health care innovation leaders group three to four times per year to advance initiatives of common interest across our region’s health care organizations.”

BioSTL is a unique public/private partnership between St. Louis’ premier academic institutes and key private sector leaders. BioSTL’s GlobalSTL initiative aims to build a direct link between St. Louis and other countries by recruiting international companies to establish a United States presence in St. Louis.

Founded in 2006 by Jason Bordui, Balanced Growth is a Chicago-based, innovation consultancy. Our mission is to create enduring value for our clients and their customers through strategic innovation and operational transformation. We focus on collaborating with clients in the Insurance, Financial Services, and Healthcare sectors to design, implement, and accelerate their Operational, Technology, and Innovation initiatives.

Balanced Growth Sponsors and Attends ACLI Forum 500

Balanced Growth was privileged to attend and sponsor the ACLI Forum 500CEO Leadership Retreat event for the first time on May 6 to 8 at the majestic Silverado Resort and Spa in Napa Valley, California. The Forum 500 is a group of CEOs and senior executives of over 90 insurance companies that cover 33 states with over $100B in assets.

The event featured Governor Dirk Kempthorne, President of ACLI, who is the former Governor from Idaho, Senator from Idaho, and the 49thSecretary of the Interior. His outstanding leadership was on display throughout the conference as he provided clear vision for the future while creating an inspiring environment of fellowship and service. Governor Kempthorne focused on the importance of Forum 500 companies to meeting the needs of middle America, and the millions of American citizens who represent main street, not Wall Street in the heart of our nation. He emphasized the impending retirement crisis in the United States.

Cynthia Tidwell, the President of ACLI’sForum 500 and CEO of Royal Neighbors, led the three-day meeting. She spoke about the unique mission of fraternal benefit societies in providing insurancewhile making a difference in communities and the importance of meeting changing consumer expectations in the digital age.

Carlo Mondavi, the great grandson of Robert Mondavi, regaled the group with stories of great winemaking and introduced the group to the latest project with his brother, Dante, called RAEN. The winemakers of Opus One founded RAEN winery with the goal to produce world class Pinot Noir on the western hills of the Sonoma Coast using sustainable means.

Jeff Poulin, CEO of London Life Reinsurance, received the Forum 500 Distinguished Service Award. The award is presented annually to an individual whose work has greatly contributed to the life insurance industry, especially to the small- and medium-sized life insurance companies the Forum 500 represents.

According to Jason Bordui, “Balanced Growth was a first-time attendee of the Forum 500 event. The members are a unique group of business and civic leaders dedicated to meeting the protection and retirement needs of middle America. Balanced Growth was honored to be part of this event.”

The American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) advocates on behalf of approximately 290 member companies dedicated to providing products and services that contribute to consumers’ financial and retirement security. ACLI members represent 95 percent of industry assets, offering life insurance, annuities, retirement plans, long-term care, insurance disability income insurance, reinsurance, dental and vision and other supplemental benefits.

Founded in 2006 by Jason Bordui, Balanced Growth is a Chicago-based, innovation consultancy. Our mission is to create enduring value for our clients and their customers through strategic innovation and operational transformation. We focus on collaborating with clients in the Insurance, Financial Services, and Healthcare sectors to design, implement, and accelerate their Operational, Technology, and Innovation initiatives.

Balanced Growth Leaders Visit Midwest Innovation Communities

The leaders at Balanced Growth recently visited the innovation communities in Kansas City and St. Louis in an effort to establish deeper relationships with some of the key players in the innovation movement and to stay informed of new developments in innovation. A primary purpose of our visit was to extend our appreciation to each of these organizations who have supported our efforts to help develop the innovation capabilities of one of our clients, the American Enterprise Group (AEG).

In St. Louis we met with the leaders of The Cortex District, RGAx, CIC St. Louis, ITEN, T-REX, BioSTL and GlobalSTL. The St. Louis region has a thriving startup community with new companies innovating in plant and life science, financial services, information technology and advanced manufacturing. The regional startup ecosystem combines multiple innovation hubs, top-tier support organizations and highly skilled mentors ready and willing to lend advice. The region has the perfect mix for a growing startup hub: premiere educational institutions, top cultural amenities, strong mentors, competitive cost-of-living and affordable real estate.

In Kansas City we met with the leaders of KCSourceLink, Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute and Kansas City Area Development Council. Through foundations, research institutions and major business initiatives, Kansas City has turned its focus to innovation in many spheres. Recently named one of the top five emerging cities in the world for entrepreneur ecosystems, Kansas City has become a thriving hub for tech, entrepreneurship, innovation and the arts.

Founded in 2006 by Jason Bordui, Balanced Growth is a Chicago-based, innovation consultancy. Our mission is to create enduring value for our clients and their customers through strategic innovation and operational transformation. We focus on collaborating with clients in the Insurance, Financial Services, and Healthcare sectors to design, implement, and accelerate their Operational, Technology, and Innovation initiatives.

Balanced Growth Enters its Second Year as a Sponsor of Chicago Innovation

Balanced Growth Consulting is pleased to announce it will continue to sponsor Chicago Innovation as a Corporate Member in 2018. Chicago Innovation is a year-long series of events and activities with one overarching mission — to create a thriving innovation ecosystem in the Chicago region by educating, connecting, and celebrating innovators. According to Jason Bordui, Founder and President of Balanced Growth Consulting, “The mission of Chicago Innovation aligns very well with our efforts to advance and accelerate the innovation capabilities of our clients. We are once again pleased to partner with Chicago Innovation to help advance the innovation movement through our involvement.”

Most recently, Balanced Growth leaders, Jason Bordui and John Forbes, attended The Innovator’s Guide to Chicago, hosted by Chicago Innovation last month. This event showcased Chicago’s ever-growing leadership as a highly desired innovation center that helps companies get started and grow.

Balanced Growth is a leader in the innovation space guiding clients to unprecedented performance improvements. We have established working relationships with innovation ecosystems in a number of leading cities in the Midwest, allowing us to remain on the cutting edge of the innovation movement.

Founded in 2006 by Jason Bordui, Balanced Growth is a Chicago-based, innovation consultancy. Our mission is to create enduring value for our clients and their customers through strategic innovation and operational transformation. We focus on collaborating with clients in the Insurance, Financial Services, and Healthcare sectors to design, implement, and accelerate their Operational, Technology, and Innovation initiatives.