The offer to stand in for your own brother at an awards gala set to honor his achievements was not an opportunity I took lightly. Would this, at last, be my public forum to embarrass Andrew with an acceptance speech in his absence? Since our identities are often confused in public–could I simply show up as him? The possibilities were endless.
Of course, this was not a night about me and no place for such shenanigans–this was Andrew McNeil’s night, as well as 39 other youthful, deserving individuals in our community.
The recent 2016 “Forty Under 40” event hosted by the North Bay Business Journal up in Rohnert Park was a joyous evening to be a part of. There is something rather life-affirming in celebrating the work of those still early in their careers. The irony of “Forty Under 40” is it’s an event that celebrates work already done, but in truth it’s really more an event about the work still to come. It’s a night that exudes optimism of ambitious goals unfinished. And what better group of people to achieve these goals?
Still quite early in my own career, I benefit from identifying the trends in what makes our communal youth see their success: Is it setting personal goals? Good mentors? A hard work ethic? Working for a company willing to support you? Perhaps to no surprise, for everyone it seemed to involve a mixture of all of the above.
Since Andrew and I are part of a local family business in a competitive insurance broker environment, having this award to our name is a great validation for the work we do at Arrow. More importantly, it’s a great validation for the work Andrew has done to benefit the health of our local community and to propel our business forward.
Andrew McNeil–my brother, coworker, and office next door neighbor–is not only incredibly deserving of the award, but it was a rewarding experience to be there in his place. His coworkers are proud, those he helps in the community are proud, and most of all his brother is proud.
Stephen McNeil, GBA
Arrow Benefits Group