4.20.20 – Weekly Update from Brian Hetherington

Dear Colleagues and Clients:

Work is the third pillar of our ABD ethos of Work, Love, and Play. In our first two town halls, we chatted about Love, and Play. Check out past Leadership Letters here. In some ways, work originally seemed like the hardest one to distill, process, and get excited about. When I looked for images of “work” busy images of commutes, multi-tasking, or being overwhelmed popped up. And as I digested what it means to work – at something – more clarity surfaced for me.

“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” —Will Rogers

When I think of “our work” at ABD – it congers two distinct images. We have 350 teammates and colleagues as part of the ABD Team.  The work we do together enables a rich array of experiences for our team. By doing our work well, we enable satisfaction of being part of a world-class team. That success has been a growth engine for ABD and in turn provides for our teams needs and wants.  Through our work we are able to pay for our rent and mortgages. We are able to take care of our parents, children and loved ones. We plan for vacations, retirement and celebrations. By filling our work bucket, it enables the ability for us to “work” on our love and play buckets. Through our work, we are able to learn, grow, assist and honor. I’ve borrowed this from Shawn Del Grande (CEO of DGDG) before – “We want ABD to be a place where we “get” to go to work vs. “got” to go to work…”

“Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is success.” —Henry Ford

When I think of the work we do for our clients –  we are dream enablers. We make them better risks over time. Our work helps create healthy and happy employees. Our financial wellness practice and retirement services helps provides stability and peace of mind. We turn start-ups into grown-ups. We activate our clients hopes and dreams to enable a whole ecosystem that our communities depend on. Our clients’ work is truly world changing. We have dozens of life science companies that are finding cures to cancer, ALS, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and several are working around the clock on Covid-19. Our clients provide life-giving substance thru fishing, agriculture and food products. Our sports clients have given us Super Bowl and NBA championship joy and entertainment. The technology clients we serve provide communication tools of video, collaboration software, and telecom. ABD’s VCs and PE firms are keeping the current capital fluid while investing in the future. The construction and real estate firms are providing places to work – and places to live. We are fortunate to support dozens of non-profits who support those most in need in our communities.

“Don’t count the days, make the days count.” —Muhammad Ali

And in the end, we are all a work-in-progress. It is hard not to be a fan of John Wooden, legendary coach of UCLA. We have a number of UCLA grads at ABD, and Kurt has had Wooden’s Pyramid of Success on our shared office wall since we launched the company. One of my favorite Wooden quotes is “Make each day your masterpiece.” Our initial thoughts on founding ABD centered around “Imagine what you could accomplish if you weren’t afraid to fail.” We know work provides meaning. Joy. Satisfaction., Accomplishment. Pride. Personal and professional growth also requires work. The work we do enables the successes of many clients, colleagues and communities.  The ability for ABD to keep our WORK positively impacting the meaningful WORK of our clients is critical. It helps keep the gears of the US economy going.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Let’s emerge stronger on the other side of this pandemic by the work we put into ourselves, and the Work, Love and Play that gives us joy.

Brian Hetherington
The Author
Brian Hetherington


Brian Hetherington is Chairman of Newfront, a specialized insurance brokerage headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle. Newfront is home to more than 750 employees who serve clients across the United States and globally. We are focused on M&A Advisory, Employee Benefits, Property & Casualty insurance, and 401k programs.

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