Just one week after Acentria’s own “Fat Tuesday” we continue to parade on. With over 400 attendee’s, Acentria‘s Annual Conference was one for the record books this year. We Unmasqued with our highest attendee level of employees and carrier sponsors while we built valuable team bonds, networked with existing and new partners as well as learned insights into company culture, ways to think outside the box and were reminded of the importance of making the most of moments in life and to appreciate what’s right before us.
Opening General Session on Friday started with a grand parade entrance lead by the Jammin’ Jambalaya Band and a Second Line consisting of valuable carrier sponsors and Acentria company executives including Kendall McEachern, Kevin Mason, Mitch Weinstein, Mike Freeman, and Mary Lawless. Kelly Johnson, from our Seminole office, sang our National Anthem and Presenting Sponsor, Applied Epic introduced our first guest speaker. Tony Moore, the Culture Architect , spoke to our Krewe and carrier partners about the importance of company culture, cultivating it, believing in the importance of the culture we build as an agency and living day to day. Tony captured our attention with humor and objectivity and kept us wanting more, “That’s Cool”!
Breakout Sessions are an intricate part of Acentria’s Annual conference. This years Breakout Sessions snack break was sponsored by Imperial PFS, a valued partner for insurance premium financing. The Breakout Sessions were sponsored provided poignant department-specific updates from our carrier partners. In Personal Lines, there were market and company updates from Universal Property
& Casualty, AmWins Group, Tower Hill Insurance Group, Imperial PFS, Frontline Insurance, US Premium Finance, and Wright Flood. The Commercial Lines breakouts had updates from Burns & Wilcox, CRC Group, Socius, Imperial PFS, CAIS, XS Brokers, AmWins Group, Bankers Insurance, and Brown & Riding. Liberty National Life, AmWins Group, Sun Life and Benefits Mall provided valuable updates and information for the Benefits departments of Acentria. Having time to listen and engage with each of these carriers is valuable to all.
Kechi Okwuchi, winner of the Golden Buzzer on America’s Got Talent, and a survivor of a catastrophic plane crash was this year’s Keynote Speaker. Her story of survival, bravery, and acceptance was beyond inspirational. She reminds us that anything is possible as long as you don’t give up on yourself, embrace your dreams and accept a little help now and then. There may not have been a dry eye in the room while she sang after her Friday Keynote speech or during our awards dinner. Kechi has been gifted, not just with a beautiful voice to sing with but a powerful voice to remind us each to live life and don’t let fear hold you back.
Team Building this year was a special endeavor. In an effort to try something new, the team created an opportunity not just for the team members of Acentria to come together but our carrier partners to partake in as well. Acentria had their very own Bourbon Street Brigade. The team building brigade consisted of a series of clues, challenges and construction in a race to find pieces to each teams own wagon in order to build, then decorate the wagon as a float in order to participate in the Mardi Gras parade, Acentria style. As teams raced to find, build and decorate the wagons, they discover that it was all in the name of a give back for children in the Orlando and South Florida areas. Each team wagon was donated to The Howard Phillips Center for Children & Families and the backpacks which held the first clue to find the wagons were donated to the children of a local preschool in Fort Lauderdale. In total, we donated 30 Radio Flyer Wagons and over 50 backpacks. The teams then were judged by participating Team Building sponsor P1 Finance and Tony Moore. Participants sang, danced, high stepped, called cadence and even reenacted conference scenes on the parade route. The room was filled with laughter, joy, a little relief and great pride in the ability to donate back to our local community.
Team members enjoyed the Cocktail Reception, sponsored by Socius, just before attending The Inspire Awards Dinner sponsored by Servpro. Dinner was full of excitement and surprise as the names were called in recognition for team members across all of Acentria and Kechi graced us with a closing song. Not to mention, the New Orleans themed dinner and all the delicious accompaniments – Christian Class and the entire team at the JW Marriot Grand Lakes of Orlando did a fantastic job again this year for us.
2019 Acentria Annual Awards & Recognitions
All Day Everyday Award: Adrienne Kuhar
All for One…One for All: Cindy Jewett
Mic Drop Award: Aaron Thomas
Bright Future Award: Paul Tucker
Bob Marley Award: Kristy Sanders
Compass Award: Robin Rudd
Calmer of the Storms: Kathy Weigant
Wikipedia Award: Mike Lee
Grandma’s Dumplings Award: Mike Monroe
Lean On Me Award: Denis Janousek
Glow Stick Award: Yvette Nunez
GO 365 Winner: Denis Janousek
Blue Vase Winner: Roger Perkerson
New Business Producer of the Year: Shawn Budney
Overall Top Producer of the Year: Jeff Baiza
New Business Rookie of the Year: Jo Chonko
Overall Rookie of the Year: Vik Patel
Employee of the Year: Stephanie Earnest
Our Saturday session was full of important Acentria updates, news, insights and information about where we are headed as an agency operating in over 50 offices across 4 states and growing. Acentria’s CEO, Kendall McEachern provided valuable feedback and special thanks to some of the Acentria team members working hard behind the scenes. Charlie Lydecker, CEO of Foundation Risk Partners joined in the conversation too. Rob Strano of the Golf Academy, golf coach, and golf tv host joined us as Guest Speaker. After 15 years s a professional golfer, Rob Strano has his own golf academy with instruction provided for all ages and abilities. Rob shared insight into stepping out of your comfort zone to “Unmasque” or reveal the keys to being a greater version of yourself, raising others up with our own kind words and to be a difference-maker in your own life as well as the life of others. You can learn more about Rob and even watch him on NBC’s Golf Channel. Tom Leek, Chief Legal Officer of Foundation Risk Partners, joined the Acentria stage along with Debbie Tappin, Mary Lawless, Jessica Davis, Doreen Castro, Steve DeSorbo and Blake McEachern to review Acentria departmental updates for Claims, Operations, Personal Lines, Benefits and Council updates. We all learned something new and were able to bring back valuable insights to the agency staff not able to attend.
The final part of Saturday’s session and the culmination of the 2019 Annual Acentria Conference wrapped up with the Blue Vase speeches. Each year a handful of Acentria employees are chosen to present their very own “Blue Vase Story”, based on the book The Go Getter. Brian Stanton, President o of our Fort Lauderdale office made the introductions for this year’s speeches by Denis Janousek, Zandra Morgan, Christy Williams, and Roger Perkerson. Each story was different, heartwarming, vulnerable and evoked tears of all kinds. The stories shared are personal to each presenter and gives their Acentria family a window into what makes them each who they are.
For those of you who attended, we hope you enjoyed this years conference events and sessions as well as took home valuable insights and information. We look forward to the year ahead and seeing you at the conference next year.