As I think back on the past week, I feel reaffirmed that we are better together. This week, the 5th Annual Comp Laude™ Awards and Gala celebrated the good things our industry does to help those experiencing a workplace injury or illness, just as our dear friend the late David DePaolo, founder of WorkCompCentral, envisioned when he first proposed the annual gathering. I was there five years ago for the first event and, oh my, how things have changed from our small, intimate, one-day gathering in Burbank to this year’s bustling week of sessions, inspirational talks and networking. It is amazing to sit down with competitors and talk about how we can continue to improve as an industry and get people back to living their lives, sharing ideas freely on best practices that benefit the people we interact with on a daily basis.
It was truly humbling to hear about our industry friend Dwight Johnson, the 2016 Comp Laude People’s Choice Award winner, who passed away earlier this year, but inspired so many. His son, who is attending college thanks to a Kids’ Chance scholarship, reminded us that our support is vital to improving the lives of others. Kids’ Chance, a charity dedicated to providing educational opportunities and scholarships for the children of workers who are seriously injured or killed, also shared incredible stories of other young people who are going to make a difference in the world because of the scholarships they receive. The organization’s biggest need is actually to find students who need scholarships. It is important for those in our industry to continue to support Kids’ Chance and more broadly share the availability of its resources.
During the Comp Laude event, we also stood as a group and applauded five injured workers who were honored for overcoming profoundly difficult circumstances and showing courage as they go about life with a “new normal” and changing the lives of others for the better. Their stories were uplifting and inspiring, and we were all motivated after hearing them speak about those in the claims industry who had helped in some way along their journey toward recovery and health.
There is still much work to be done in our pursuit of helping those in need – we all agree on that. Many smart people within our industry are constantly looking for ways we can, and will, keep innovating – attorneys, judges, TPAs, vendors, doctors, nurses – the list goes on, representing those who truly care about people and passionately strive to be there at the moment when a person unexpectedly experiences an injury or illness on the job.
I encourage you to become involved, both at work and in your community, to show that we are better together. Be the change. Help others understand what you do and then find collaborative ways to show how caring counts within our industry and in your daily lives. And consider coming to San Diego next year for Comp Laude to experience a few days of celebrating achievements, making new friends, making a difference, and keeping David DePaolo’s dream alive.
Jonathan Mast, Social Media Director, Sedgwick