First job: I was an insurance defense attorney at a Detroit law firm. Meadowbrook was one of my clients, and I got to know them. I joined the company in 1987 as the general counsel. I was their 85th employee.
Whom do you admire most in business and why?
I admire people who start their own businesses and put their blood, sweat and tears into them, grow them and involve their employees in the equity and ownership. Merton Segal (Meadowbrook’s founder and chairman) is an example of that. He had a vision and the dedication to continue to put money back into the business.
What has been your toughest business challenge?
Making sure we maintained a culture of discipline as we returned to profitability.
What is your greatest lesson learned?
You don’t want to see people sinking back into the mindset of, ‘Now that we are making money, maybe we can delve into things outside our specialties.’ Stick to what you know and don’t take unreasonable risks.
Describe your leadership philosophy.
I listen a lot and I make sure that I hear what people have to say. You don’t shoot the messenger if he brings you bad news. You work with him to create a solution.
We have a very open communication structure here open-door is putting it mildly. We interact on a daily basis, and I try to keep things light. Humor plays a large role in how you release stress and keep things from getting to overwhelmingly serious.