Fred Sievert started his career as a teacher, later entered the insurance business, and retired early—in 2007—as president of New York Life Insurance Company, a Fortune 100 corporation. Feeling he had neglected his spiritual education and development, Fred enrolled in Yale Divinity School where he earned a master’s degree in religion in May 2011. His passion is to impact other lives, and to that end he writes, teaches business school courses on strategy and leadership, and serves on the boards of five nonprofit organizations and two for-profit corporations. He also mentors young executives and speaks frequently to church and corporate leaders on the topic of business and spirituality. Though Fred was not raised in an overtly Christian family, he found God through various life experiences that started in adolescence. This foundation guided and often moderated his aggressive pursuit of business success and the American dream. The power of the stories in God Revealed—and the extent to which God was with Fred throughout his young life and business career—only became fully apparent to him after retirement, as he reflected on his life, his family, and his successes. His stories of encounters with God have been published in numerous printed and electronic periodicals, attracting a large audience of believers, many of whom in turn have shared their own realizations triggered by the work.
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• The audience will draw on stories of the author’s life to reflect on their own experiences for evidence of God’s guidance and presence.
• The audience will consider the possibility that some of their experiences may have been providential rather than serendipitous
• With a call to action, members of the audience may recognize that they can still act to realize life-transforming opportunities.
• The audience will become more acutely attuned to watching and listening for messages and guidance from God in the future as they learn to balance work, family and spirituality.
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Fred Sievert, FSA, MAAA is the retired president of the New York Life Insurance company. Fred started his career as an actuarial student at John Hancock and prior to joining New York Life in 1991 he spent 11 years in various actuarial and executive roles at the Maccabees Mutual Life Insurance Company in Southfield, Michigan, where, as Senior V.P. and CFO, he initiated and implemented one of the earliest industry demutualizations. He started his career with New York Life as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the Individual Operations and, after a long series of promotions and increased responsibilities, was elected president of the company in 2002. During his reign in overseeing the individual insurance businesses, New York Life first achieved a number one market share ranking in the sale of Life Insurance in the United States and repeated that distinction for seven years. While serving as president, the company also achieved a number one market share ranking in the sale of immediate annuities and in the direct sale of life insurance through the AARP organization. During that same period the company regained its triple-A ratings from all four of the top insurance company rating agencies and significantly expanded its international presence. Fred has held numerous leadership positions in industry related associations and organizations. He is a past-chairman of the Life Insurance Council of New York (LICONY), The American College and the Actuarial Foundation. He also served as a director of The Life Insurance Marketing and Research Association International (LIMRA). He received the highest honor bestowed upon industry leaders by the American College (The Solomon Heubner Gold Medal Award) in 2008 and was also named a “Legend of the Industry” in 2012; a joint award bestowed by the American Council of Life Insurance and The Actuarial Foundation. Following his retirement from New York Life in 2007, Fred attended Yale Divinity School and was awarded a master’s degree in religion in May of 2011. He teaches business school courses at Fairfield University and has been a guest lecturer for the business school at Wayne State University. He continues to serve as a Trustee on five non-profit boards and two insurance industry for-profit corporations (RGA and CNO). In his spare time he has written a book that will be released in early 2014 entitled “God Revealed: Revisit Your Past to Enrich Your Future.” The book recounts Fred’s numerous encounters with God over the course of his lifetime. In addition to remaining active throughout his career in industry activities, Fred has also regularly participated in civic and volunteer activities in his local community and church. Fred earned a B.A. from Amherst College and an M.A. from Wayne State University. He and his wife, Susan, have five grown children and 2 granddaughters.
God Revealed . . . in the Workplace
Too often we try to totally separate our work life from our spiritual life, but I find that they can’t be separated. For much of my life, my work consumed the vast majority of my time—and because God knew exactly where to find me, many of my encounters with Him occurred through work-related experiences The workplace also became the locus for much of my stress and anxiety. I often struggled with my purpose in life, the value of my chosen profession, the difficulty in bringing my faith to the workplace, and the challenge of realizing career success while remaining faithful to my values and beliefs. I suspect it’s the same for many others. In this presentation, I share three work-related experiences in which God’s involvement and presence seemed undeniable. As you search your memory for messages from God that you may have missed, I encourage you to focus on your work life. You may now realize that God was working alongside you. And as you engage yourself in the workplace in the future, don’t do it alone. Invite God in through prayer as I have done daily during my thirty-five years in business. You’re likely to discover, as I did, that you’ve had a very powerful business partner.
God Revealed . . . According to His Timing
Like many people, I often pray and hope for—even expect—almost immediate answers to my yearnings . . . only to learn that answers don’t come on my timetable. God’s response to many needs seem to be either nonexistent or significantly delayed. However, in God’s infinite wisdom, His timing is unfailing. Sometimes it is years later that things we have prayed for actually materialize. In other cases, God knows what we need to shape our future, to fortify our faith, or even to advance our careers. His reinforcing messages may come with incredible timing even when we haven’t explicitly prayed for anything. In my view those providential experiences of exquisite timing can only have come from a God who knows us and knows what prodding, encouragement, or nurturing we need at a particular juncture in our lives. God’s perfect timing is the theme of this presentation. I hope my stories will trigger your memories—times when your needs (whether you prayed about them or not) were separated by months or years from an event that later seemed to address them. And if you make such a discovery from your past, think about actions you can take now or in the future to be more attuned to God’s providential nurturing. Ask yourself why the prayers went unanswered for so long and how the final answer may indeed be in God’s perfect timing.
God Revealed . . . in Our Family Relationships
Who among us does not see God in the attachment to our own parents, in the miracle of childbirth, in the love we have for our family, and in the glorious experiences we share with those so close to us? Much of my spiritual growth and most of the important messages and revelations I’ve received from God have come through family experiences and interactions. God has revealed Himself to me many times in incredible family experiences that reminded me not only of my blessings but also of my responsibilities. In this presentation I highlight three particularly poignant stories of family experiences that generated unforgettable and lasting joy—experiences that were embraced by God and infused with His love. The audience is encouraged to think about their own family times and traditions. If you aren’t already tuned in to the messages God has sent you through your family, try listening carefully for what God is telling you through your interactions with close family members. For instance, I am certain those of you with children or grandchildren will find it easy to recall moments when the love of God manifested itself in the warmth of cherished family relationships and experiences. It may be that you have felt God’s presence in the faithfulness and support of a beloved brother or sister. Or perhaps yours is a story of finding family along the way, not by blood, but by God’s love and grace. Searching my memory banks for earlier messages has been a richly rewarding experience, and I am convinced that your future will be enriched if you too can recognize, anticipate, and even create more opportunities to experience the love of the family God has given you.
Fred Sievert retired from a successful business career as the highly respected president of New York Life to pursue his deeper passions, including attending Yale Divinity School and writing about his lifelong encounters with God. I have been studying, writing, and speaking for decades about the ways in which longer life affords us second chances and new beginnings. Fred’s story is a dazzling example of an individual, who in his post-career life, is attempting to make the transition from success to significance. — Ken Dychtwald, Ph.D., psychologist/gerontologist, founding CEO of Age Wave
Sievert engages us in an exploration of faithfulness and the sacred in life. His rich experience of family, business leadership, and personal growth is coupled to a theologically trained approach that challenges him and the audience to discover, listen, trust, and receive the very complicated blessings of faith. — Laura Nash, Ph.D., co-author of Just Enough. Former senior lecturer, Harvard Business School
I was in New York City when Fred Sievert spoke to more than 10,000 New York Life agents and employees at Radio City Music Hall. He was electrifying as the leader of a great company. But his greatest inspiration is found in the pages of this book, where he quietly shares the lessons he’s learned from listening to the kind and benevolent God who quietly guides our lives. His experiences will remind you of the crucial times when God was part of your life. Draw deeply from this well of inspiration. — Jerry Borrowman, co-author of A Distant Prayer—Miracles of the 49th Combat Mission with Joseph Banks, DFC, deceased
Sometimes it’s hard to see God’s hand at work; however, looking back, God’s fingerprints are often visible everywhere. In order to help us learn how to recognize God in our personal experiences, Fred Sievert has put together a wonderful collection of stories about how God has been revealed in his life. — David M. Holland, Retired President and CEO Munich American Reassurance Co.