Be Intentional. Find Your Purpose and Build Your Pathway.
At Deeley Insurance Group, we’ve been talking a lot about what this means. How do we make intentional decisions? What impact do our choices make on our community, and how can we deepen our connections with our team and our customers by leading with purpose and creating pathways for them to make a difference?
We’re proud to make a difference in a place where people might not expect: the insurance industry. Our passion is to create pathways for your future by reducing risk and helping you make the most of what life gives you.
As businesses, we face external forces—the economy, consumer demand, market shifts. These variables require us to be intentional about the decisions we make for our organizations. Focused leadership and thoughtful direction are ultimately what guide a business toward success, and we’d like to share some of those stories with you.
Growing a Dream
Tim Cureton remembers the very first customer Rise Up Coffee served from a tricked-out trailer rigged up in a parking lot in St. Michael’s, Maryland. It was March 15, 2005, and the former Peace Corps volunteer was following a dream to “bring the world to this community through coffee.”
Some of those first customers still frequent Rise Up’s first location, which has evolved from the mobile “coffee shack” Cureton started with a $16,000 loan. “When I think back to the early times, thank goodness we were naïve enough to try this! This concept was so out-of-the-ordinary for the area, so different.”
But it was a mainstream thing out West. Cureton traveled through Montana, California and Oregon after his time in the Peace Corps and he thought, “Why not?” He decided to bring the concept back home.
Today, Rise Up has 127 employees and roasts up to 7,000 pounds of coffee every week. “The reason I got into this business was the global connection, the culture of growing coffee,” says Cureton, “and I thought maybe one day we would be the ones making those connections and friendships in other countries. And, sure enough, that is what has happened.”
Cureton and his team travel to coffee-growing countries in South America to visit farmers. “We committed ourselves to fair trade coffee from the get-go,” he says of this intentional decision. His team sees the Rise Up company motto as a way of life: Grown by friends. Roasted by friends. Enjoyed by friends.
Cureton says Rise Up is as proud of its people as it is of its coffee. The business has provided career pathways for individuals who are passionate about Rise Up’s mission. This spring, they opened Rise Up Rehoboth Beach, their ninth location.
Business expansion means dealing with “stuff” that Cureton didn’t plan for when he opened the first coffee shack 14 years ago. He relies on Deeley Insurance Group to advise on risk exposure and provide programs that give back to his employees, such as health insurance. “I appreciate the expertise they have in areas where we do not have expertise—and frankly don’t want to,” Cureton says with a laugh. “They help control the variables to protect us from things we don’t even know about, and that gives us peace of mind.”
“We are truly living the coffee dream,” Cureton continues, adding that growth is inevitable. “If you think about it, 99.9% of humanity currently does not drink Rise Up Coffee, so we have our work cut out for us. Our online store is thriving, and there is much to be excited about.”
Caring for the Community
The view of the healthcare industry has shifted from an expectation that human error exists in our hospitals—there is some risk to receiving care—to today’s zero-harm mission that calls for fine-tuning operations, infrastructure, and messaging to the community.
“The language is intentionally being changed to ‘zero harm,’ and we recognize we need to change the way we operate,” says Michael Franklin, CEO, Atlantic General Hospital.
These intentional changes include analyzing facilities design to reduce exposures for spreading infection and focusing on health literacy to educate the public about the importance of wellness. “How do we teach people to embrace good health and make healthy behaviors a part of their daily lives,” Franklin relates, “and to appropriately engage in the healthcare system?”
Franklin emphasizes the importance of developing relationships with primary care physicians who partner with patients to manage healthcare proactively. The Atlantic General team is focused on making health information accessible—for example, through its weight-loss blog.
“Nationally, health literacy is emerging as a priority, and for us, we have been engaged with educational efforts with local school systems and churches for the last 10 years,” Franklin reports.
Responding directly to needs in the community, Franklin and his team opened the Atlantic General Pulmonary Clinic and Pain Center and expanded the provider network for women’s healthcare.
Atlantic General Hospital partners with Deeley Insurance Group to make intentional decisions that improve the safety of its properties. “We work together to create an environment for patients that reduces the risk of accidents, and that goes back to being focused on the language of being error-free and doing no harm,” Franklin says.
The hospital’s 2020 Vision—The Right Path to Good Health—embraces the need to be intentional. Goals include improving the population’s health, enhancing patient care, and reducing cost of care. “We want to be the leader in promoting our region’s good health and prevention of disease,” Franklin says.
Rooted in the Region
In what could be a very transaction-oriented business, the Bank of Delmarva takes pride in getting personal with clients. There’s no stiff, corporate attitude here. Last year, the Bank of Delmarva logged more than 5,500 community service hours, shares John Breda, President and CEO of a community bank that holds true to its values: “We recognize our community responsibility.”
“But a really big difference is, with community banks our decisions are made locally,” Breda relates. “There is prompt turnaround with decisions, and our management team and board of directors live in the community. It’s where we raise our families. It’s where we socialize. So, as a bank, we want to meet the credit needs of the community and we want to give back.”
The Bank of Delmarva is growing in a thoughtful, strategic way through mergers and acquisitions, giving their customers the best of both worlds. They’re reaching new communities and expanding services while keeping the personal, hometown banking feel Delmarva loves.
Today, the independent bank operates 14 full-service branches and has more than 165 officers and employees. Its goal is to be a progressive, friendly place to conduct banking.
“In addition to being out there to meet the credit needs of clients, our commitment goes beyond that,” Breda says. “It’s about reinvesting in the community, giving back—and leading by example.”
On Your Side—Nationwide Supports Independent Agencies
“We need to continue to adapt our business model to align with where the world is going,” says Mark Berven, President and COO of Nationwide Insurance. Recently, Nationwide made a strategic decision to shift its exclusive agency channel to an independent agency model that allows the firm to be more responsive to the market.
“Customers appreciate choice, so as you look at buying behaviors, people choose agency partners that partner with a group of carriers that can best serve their needs,” Berven says. “Having an independent agency model allows our partners to work with more customers, and gives them the ability to serve them in a broader way.”
Berven says the move is about “being thoughtful” and running the business from an outside-in perspective based on what customers demand. “You have to constantly assess your business model as it relates to serving customers. It’s scanning the environment and analyzing how that impacts your business, and then taking actions to adapt your business through very clear communication and implementation strategies.”
No matter your business, “one size doesn’t fit all,” Berven says of guiding change. “You have different customers and different partners. Making sure you are intentional about our communication approach is critical because people absorb information in different ways.”
Nationwide Insurance is building pathways for its agency partners and their customers. For example, its Nationwide Agents Council solicits input from key stakeholders, including Deeley Insurance Group. “We are focused on helping them become more efficient, helping them drive more revenue, and providing support—whether it’s technical or marketing—so they can drive performance,” Berven says. “All of this is critical as you think about building pathways for business owners.”
“We are excited about the change because it allows us to create more focus,” Berven adds. “At the end of the day, insurance is a relationship-driven business. When you’ve got someone right there in the community that cares for customers and is part of the fabric of the environment like Deeley Insurance Group, the Nationwide brand wants to stand behind that.”