President's Message

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Being Present To Win in Networking 

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”—Arthur Ashe

During the summer months growing up in the 70s, I’d walk to Orange Park and try my best to imitate my tennis idols—Arthur Ashe, Stan Smith, and Jimmy Connors. As an adult, I’ve come to recognize and appreciate that Arthur Ashe’s off-the-court achievements were even more impressive and meaningful. His life and words are good reminders for me about how to move forward in life.

As NASBP President, I continue to use my theme, Must Be Present To Win, as a guide for moving forward in my professional life. Right now, being present with associates, clients, and fellow NASBP members is critical.

Our value as advisor, friend, and confidante for our clients is more important than ever. In a hardening market and stressful economic times, tough discussions and decisions are being had around the country every day. And how we communicate with our clients has taken on a different form and fashion.

So where does the NASBP fit into all of this? The connections I have made with surety professionals across the country and across the globe have given me a broader insight into our business and how to help my clients’ businesses. These personal connections have made the last few years the most enjoyable in my 40-year career.

But that’s just me. I decided to ask a few of my friends what involvement in the NASBP has meant to them.

“Active involvement and the relationships that I have formed over the past 30 plus years within NASBP have been the principal factor in my overall success in the surety business.”
—Todd Loenhert, NASBP Past President 

“Becoming a 5-15 member has allowed me to sharpen my skills through the wealth of knowledge that our distinguished surety producers have imparted to me. This knowledge has enriched me with a roadmap on how to be the best surety producer the country needs me to be. Knowing that I don't have to do it alone is the result and value of networking.”
—Devin Moore, NASBP Director-At-Large  

“The network of surety professionals, both carrier and agent, I have would simply not be possible without NASBP. Having experts across the country to whom I can easily reach out is absolutely priceless. Only by being an active member of NASBP and engaging in committees and in-person events could I have built these invaluable friendships.”
—Monica Donatelli, NASBP Government Relations Vice-Chair   

My takeaway is that, through the NASBP, I have a network of individuals from around the country that I can contact at a moment’s notice and ask for help and I hope that they feel I am available for them as well. This is what Being Present To Win in networking means.

We are all working a bit harder to connect but the benefits are more tangible. The NASBP has made the decision to launch our first ever Virtual Event Series, and I hope you were able join our first one a few weeks ago, “Being Present and Connecting Surety in A Virtual World.” The recording of this event is now available for free to the membership and for a minimum purchase to nonmembers.

Zach Mendelson and Michael Specht presented our Producer Toolkit 2.0—a great resource for connecting in social media. The Toolkit also offers educational resources that bond producers can share with their clients, potential clients, and other stakeholders. There are NASBP articles, documents, and talking points that you will find helpful when speaking with owners, lenders, architects, and contractors and when educating about the surety product and services. You'll find the Toolkit 2.0 in the drop down menu under "Resources." 

We were extremely fortunate to also have Scott Mann of Rooftop Leadership speak to us. Scott’s powerful message is both timely and valuable. This first of our three-set series reinforces the need for connections. Our next event will work to help our members connect virtually. By the time we get to our last of the series in November, I am hopeful that I’ve had the chance to connect virtually with all of you.

As I said in my incoming speech, we do good work. We do good work for our clients, our co-workers, and our communities. Let’s not forgot that.

By being present in Networking, we not only do better work, but also we enjoy better and more fulfilling careers. I’ll leave you with one final quote from John O’Leary. I heard John speak at a Woodruff Sawyer meeting last year and again via video conference recently. Google him. Read his life story and his message. Just another example how the people you meet can truly impact your life.

“Today is your day. Live inspired.”—John O’Leary

Mark Munekawa is Senior Vice President - Surety of Woodruff Sawyer in San Francisco, CA. He can be reached at mmunekawa@woodruffsawyer.com and 415.399.6482.