Karen Spillers
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NMChicago-CampGreyfield.jpg Camp Greyfield Experience Drives Purpose with Learning, Thinking and Doing

Finding purpose in work is driving today’s young professionals, and a new innovative career development program at Northwestern Mutual - Chicago is leading the way. The Chicago-based financial planning firm kicked off its 1872 Leadership Development Program helping guide the financial advisors to understand themselves and know their leadership “why.”

“The 1872 Leadership Development Program is a great way for our financial advisors to define their purpose and discover growth opportunities that are available to them,” said Andrew Higney, chief development officer.  “By first helping them articulate what drives them in their personal and professional lives they have a clearer focus on their leadership “why.”

The firm brought in outside experts that worked with the financial professionals to develop their mission, vision and values.

“Although it was challenging at first, making the time to reflect and think deeper of my purpose, gave me direction and focus,” said Alison Fyhrie, a financial advisor in the firm’s Rosemont district office. “By honing in on what drives me, I have a clearer understanding of what value I bring to my clients and my team,” added Eric Fenton, a financial advisor in the firm’s downtown Chicago office.

While developing your ‘why’ is a first step to building a successful financial planning practice, often what is holding someone back from success is negativity and fear. 

”We’re surrounded by negativity, it’s emotional cancer,” said John Wright, founder of Greyfield Legacies. “We created Camp Greyfield to help people take the blinders off, harness change and use it to enhance the quality and focus in their lives.”

Camp Greyfield, a highly-respected learning and training center has welcomed CEOs of Fortune 100 companies, professional athletes and world famous authors to the 80-acre facility in St. Joseph, Illinois. Now, the eight advisors in the 1872 Leadership Development Program took part in the highly-acclaimed program to push through and find true purpose and meaning.

“John is extremely good at building confidence in people and at the same time enhancing their leadership effectiveness that develops skills and drives vision,” said Corey D. McQuade, Managing Partner.

Wright, a former professional football player who built a distinguished career as one of Northwestern Mutual’s leading managing partners, started Greyfield Legacies to show individuals their highest potential and how to achieve it.

Believing firmly that focus follows fun, Wright engages team members in activities at his “field of dreams” performance camp that includes a world-class shooting facility; high ropes challenge course, a football field, golf course, equestrian center, basketball and tennis courts. The activities range from team building to personal growth activities.

For Fyhrie the day meant facing her fear of heights. “I convinced myself that I am tough and I can do this and if not I would go down trying,’ she recalls.  She succeeded in climbing a 30-foot telephone poll.  “We all have natural strengths, but there is something meaningful to be said about pushing through your fears,” added Fyhrie. 

For Fenton, the aha moment came climbing 40 feet in the air, and linking hands with Zack Wallace, another team member during a high ropes challenge course. “It was emblematic of the teamwork that goes into building a successful financial planning practice,” he said.

Following the fun, the day ends with an introspective discussion on the strengths participants have as individuals and opportunities for growth.

“Escaping the concrete jungle of downtown Chicago and spending time in nature, being coached by a former professional athlete and respected, successful Northwestern Mutual Managing Partner was a great experience from which I have grown a great deal,” said Fenton.

“The Camp Greyfield experience gave me the confidence to persevere through the valleys, so the path to the peak is clear,” added Fyhrie.

Fyhrie and Fenton are among the financial planning firm’s young aspiring leaders who are learning to lead themselves, lead others, attract and select, and lead a team through the firm’s innovative 1872 Leadership Development Program. Each advisor is building a financial planning practice and discovering their leadership potential whether that be in their own personal practice or leading a larger team of financial professionals. In addition to Fyhrie and Fenton, participants include: Joe Cannon, Taylor Overman, Corey Quaglia, Hayley Tuitman, Chase Vedrode and Zack Wallace.

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