Marc’s Remarks Upon Receiving 2015 John L. Lewis Award
Thank you, Randy, and thanks to the Executive Board and all of you for this award. I am very touched by the presence of so many friends and colleagues, most of whom I am delighted to see.
A note on the venue, I was here the first week the new Diplomat opened. Years before in the 1990’s, I worked on a settlement of Diplomat litigation including arbitration before the late great Nell Hennessy. And have been here many, many times. Oddly enough, my spouse has never been here. Stacia Davis LeBlanc, Esq., please raise your hand. She is not the power behind the throne, she is the throne. Staci said, oh cool I finally have a chance to see the Dip (but I bet Randy makes you do a session – that of course was true). I told Staci she should been here years ago – the heyday oh so long ago – Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr. and my friend Bill Sweeney, the leader of the Plumbers’ National Fund.
I want to speak today particularly to the fund staff, the administrators, executive directors, processors, receptionists, etc. It is you, more than counsel (I know I was one), actuaries, or investment professionals who are the hearts and souls of our funds. Sorry my Segal friends, you know it is true.
Fund staffers must never hope that plan administration will be easy. Do not dream that that you’ll be free from change, from struggle, from worry. Remember it is not our objective to make things easy, to reach a point of having arrived, to be at rest. We have a saying at my Fund, “Tell the Trustees something is hard, and they will tell you to do it.”
There is no rest in this business. Your objective is to use each day and every crisis to further the mission. Always ask when something seems important or serious, or challenging or even demeaning – what does this have to do with paying benefits? The less it has to do with that, the less important it is.
When Randy told me about this honor, I demurred. I rarely suffer from false modesty…
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