If you are involved in the insurance industry in Texas or active in the Blue Goose, you know Linda Meik. In July at the 110th Grand Nest Convention, Linda will be named the “Most Loyal Grand Gander,” the highest and most prestigious position in the Blue Goose organization. She will be the third women who has achieved this nomination and to hold this position in the organizations century old history. The enthusiasm and dedication she holds for the organization is abundant and inspirational.
As an admiring peer and fellow gander, I am privileged to have had the opportunity to interview this accomplished and humble leader about her involvement with Blue Goose, the industry, and her take on success.
Honorable Order of The Blue Goose, International
Blue Goose was founded in 1906 during the Wisconsin Field Men’s Club annual meeting. Today the organization has 3800 members, who they call “Ganders,” across the United States and Canada. The organizations’ headquarters, or “Home Nest,” is still located in Wisconsin, and has 41 chartered regional chapters, or “ponds.” It is a fraternal organization that was formed for any professional in the insurance industry including, insurance executive, adjusters, auditors, underwriters, brokers, regulators, attorneys, and vendors.
The Texas Pond
Linda started her affiliation with Blue Goose in 1995 when she joined the Texas Pond. Since its’ initial chart in 1907, the Texas pond has faced many ups and downs in growth. When Linda accepted a board position in 1999 as Wielder of the Goose Quill the Texas pond was experiencing a decline in membership, along with several other Southern Region ponds. These ponds considered terminating their charters and even merging some of ponds in the southern territory. Taking on the challenge, she claimed “the south would rise again,” and alongside her board members they worked hard to revive membership and attract new interest. Emphasizing flexibility and focusing on the needs and interests of the local insurance community, membership quickly doubled.
The Grand Nest
In 2005, she decided to join the national leadership ranks at the Grand Nest as Keeper of the Golden Goose Egg. For the past decade she has held many national positions within the Grand Nest and traveled all over the USA growing and building fellowship.
When the Grand Nest was experiencing a decline in membership nationally, she once again was steadfast in her resolution to encourage the importance focusing on the interests of the current market of insurance professionals. Stating she simply felt that “insurance was not dying,” but rather growth and evolution while maintaining their founding purpose was necessary.
It is essential to the organization to preserve their core standards nationally but to also allow each pond to be creative in building a flock that fits their territory and flocks prerogative. Consistently taking inventory of the interest of their ponds the organization is able to thrive and engage their ganders.
It is evident that the key to the Blue Gooses’ survival and success has been its resiliency and willingness to evolve.
In her current role as Grand Supervisor of the Flock, she travels across the nation to work with established ponds on budget management, event coordination, and increase membership.
“Linda Meik has been instrumental in growing Blue Goose as a whole and especially the TN Pond. She is our go-to, whenever we have questions about the organization’s procedures and events. She is a driving force to keep the ponds active and relevant. The TN Pond is grateful for her assistance over the years!”Kathy Johnson, MLG TN Pond
Blue Gooses’ founding precepts are “character, fellowship, and charity.” And by no surprise these values seem to be the core to Lindas’ philosophy and approach to professional success.
A graduate of Dakota Wesleyan University, Linda built a successful career in the insurance industry spanning over 30 years, amassing a wealth of industry knowledge and a vast network of resources.
She says often people remark, “you know everyone.” Her explanation? “No. I knew who to call. I got out and I met with people face to face. When I needed help, I had that network. People must reach out and [authentically] network, not market themselves, but to meet them. You would be surprised, people are marvelous and want to help. It is one thing to have a lot of [industry] acquaintances, but if you don’t have friendship and trust, you will not make it to the top of the ladder.”
We discussed the impending shift the insurance workforce will face with the immense amount of baby boomers anticipated to retire from the industry. Her outlook on how we are to bridge the gap is by preparing and mentoring professionals just entering the market place, similar to how Blue Goose was able to thrive. “Young professionals can teach and mentor the old, it’s a two way street.” She feels it is imperative for older professionals to impart their experience, guide the new generation, and also be open new applying fresh ideas from the new workforce.
During our conversation a quote from Dorris Roberts struck me, “She doesn’t give in. She does not give up. And she never takes no for an answer.” I have not had the opportunity to know Linda long, but I firmly believe this is her philosophy for success.
I took many lessons from our brief interview. When you find an organization, whether it be for career or social association, it should inspire purpose and drive you. She reminded me as a young professional in pursuit of achievement, you must be persistent and deliberate, but the most important thing is to be your authentic self and build meaningful relationships—and then success will follow.
Thank you Linda for sharing your insight and experience. Congratulations on your upcoming appointment as “Most Loyal Grand Gander.” We look forward to seeing the impact you will continue to inspire in our industry.
To find out more about Blue Goose or to find a pond near you, visit the organization here!