Last week, on September 24th, 16 individuals from Parker, Smith & Feek’s Bellevue office participated in the King County United Way Day of Caring, partnering alongside industry friends, Alaska National. Our firms’ combined efforts provided a day of labor and support to two local organizations, the North Seattle Family Center and our local chapter of the Humane Society. While some of our team collected pet food contributions from shoppers at local grocery stores, the bulk of our group got busy painting walls and reorganizing resource materials at the Family Center.
Although the groups worked hard and were physically exhausted by the end of our day, I think we all walked away feeling buoyed by our contributions. So tangible - a real before and after shot coming to life right before our eyes.
I am reminded of a quote by John Heywood, “Many hands make light work”. How true this is. In a mere five hours, our teams had managed to paint room after room at the Family Center; transform a resource center into a more welcoming and user friendly environment; and collected a significant amount of food and funds to care for the numerous animals who find their way to our local shelters.
We also saw firsthand the good work these organizations perform day in and day out with limited resources and could see how vital volunteerism is to their success. I know I personally walked away that evening thinking about how I could help the Family Center even more and am grateful to the Day of Caring program for having opened my eyes.
On October 6th 2010 Parker, Smith & Feek will be hosting its first ever Health Reform Tweet Chat.
Join us to discuss what "Healthcare Reform will mean for your organization".
To find out how to join the discussion and for more information visit: http://www.psfinc.com/heath-reform-twitter-chat
The following video from the Henry J. Kaiser Foundation provides a good overview of the Healthcare Reform Legislation. Though some of the content can be debated, we think this is a good primer and we welcome you to contact us to discuss it.
One of our employees was telling me today, how he uses Twitter to log his training for an upcoming Marathon. When I asked him why he uses Twitter, he said for “accountability mainly, but it also gives me the motivation I need”. Knowing that the information is public, and that anyone could find it, gives him extra motivation to run faster and train more consistently.
This got me thinking. Our employee is motivated by competing with friends. So what motivates you? Is tracking goals and seeing the result enough or do you need some other form of motivation?
Let us know by leaving a comment. Click here to comment.
On Friday September 10th, the Ted Spread closed with a value of 16.03 bps. Two years ago, on September 10th, 2008, the Ted Spread closed at 117.97 bps, and just five days later, after Lehman Brothers collapsed into bankruptcy, the spread closed at 201.38 bps. The global financial credit crisis tsunami was underway and soon reached ‘100 foot rogue wave’ proportions. The credit melt down moved rapidly toward its’ peak on October 10th when the Ted Spread reached 463.62 bps.
The Ted Spread is considered an indicator of credit risk. It is the difference between three-month futures contracts for U.S. Treasuries (which are considered risk free) and three-month contracts for Eurodollars (which reflect the credit ratings of corporate borrowers) having identical expiration months. The Ted Spread has historically remained in a range of 10 to 50 basis points.
In the autumn of 2008 the economy was in frenzied freefall as liquidity in the markets disappeared. The Equity markets which had been at an historical high in late 2007 when the Dow Jones industrial average reached 11,400 were now at 8,400, and on the way to a 6,600 low in March 2009. Consumer and business spending declined sharply and employment collapsed. The nation’s unemployment rate went from 6.2% in September 2007 to 9.5% by June 2009.
On October 13th 2008, then Secretary of the Treasury Hank Paulsen and Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernake and their consortium took dramatic action. Nine major domestic bank CEO’s were called to meet that weekend and all were asked to sign on to the ‘solutions’ term sheet with no CEO allowed to leave until all had penned their names to the ‘agreement’. The markets swayed and strained- Merrill Lynch, Wachovia, Countrywide, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were deemed unsinkable and ‘life boated’ by Bank of America, Wells Fargo and the U.S. Congress. A few weeks after the 2008 November general election General Motors and Chrysler were deemed too unionized to fail and transformed into Government Motors, auto executives were dismissed and company bond holders were considered forfeitable capital providers.
We in the insurance industry always wonder if our clients actually read their insurance policies. I realize this is not something that appeals to most normal people, but for most of us it is a necessity, whether it is in our personal or professional lives. With our personal lives, it’s fairly straight forward. We have property and car insurance for our belongings and liability insurance in the event a third party is injured on our property. However, within an organization, there can literally be hundreds of different risk exposures. As your insurance broker we spend an incredible amount of time examining the possible exposures you face and offer insurance and other risk transfer solutions that meet your individual financial and risk tolerance requirements. But in today’s economy it is not all that uncommon for a business to move into new markets and even entirely different businesses that add a completely new set of exposures. Such decisions are often time sensitive and your broker may not be notified in time or simply overlooked, so we are unable to do a full review of the new exposures. The secret I always tell my clients’ is that if they don't do anything with your insurance policies, at least read the exclusions. A simple review of the exclusions can often surface any unknown exposures or raise questions about if you are covered for a certain type of event. So before moving into new markets or businesses spend a few minutes and read over the exclusions in your policies and then communicate with your insurance broker/partner.
This week saw an abrupt change in the weather here in Seattle. Long gone are the 90 degree temperatures of summer and we have now settled down into the low 60’s that indicate that winter is just around the corner. Financial and economic reports over the last month have also brought new perspective to where our economy may be headed.
While news of slowing job growth has been alarming for most, I always try to look for the positive. A key indicator of global economic activity, and believe me when I say this, is the use of shipping containers.
There has been a sharp upturn in the use of shipping containers in 2010 as reported by Moller-Maersk and DP World, two of the world’s leading container companies. The upturn in traffic of goods to and from developed and emerging economies has been exceptionally strong and a surprise to shipping analysts. This indicates that international trade is on the rise, money is changing hands and there is demand for these goods.
With so much gloom around as we head into winter, we get consumed by the negative and forget to look at the positive.
One thing that I have seen over the last 18 months is that when it comes to wellness, every company is different. One wellness challenge or initiative may work for one company, but not achieve the desired results for another.
The key is to adapt each initiative and challenge to fit with your own company’s culture and resources. It also helps to empower your employees to use their creative side, and their talents that may not be necessarily related to their job function.
I have one client that has amazingly talented singer and video editor within their committee, and to launch their programs they produce these high quality videos to get there staff energized. While not every company has those skills many companies have other skills that can be equally impressive; Graphic designers, musicians or even budding actors that could roam the office hallways to promote an upcoming wellness event.
If you use and appreciate their talents, they too will feel energized and become your leading wellness cheerleaders.
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