Steve Menzies

Remarks On



“Let this be our leadership mandate: Advocacy… plus personal engagement ….must combine to make financial commitment focused and meaningful.

While education remains the most important form of what ambassadors call cultural diplomacy, we are wedded to the presenting of shared human values beyond borders large and small, as a means of building public spirit – unfettered by pettiness or by the insane folly of political polemics… or, nowadays too prevalent – an all too painfully pessimistic view of our human nature and of our human condition – I mean pessimism about democracy, about our allies, about the world view as it is emerging and about such critical pillars of US relations…

Ladies and gentlemen, let us reject that cynical, negative view with our relentless advocacy and with meaningful contributions.”

Address to Business Leaders
St Regis Hotel, New York, NY
May 2019


Competing and the Spirit of the Entrepreneur

“Some of our inspiration here in Pebble Beach and on ESPN comes from the sporting ambience. Here, there is risk taking, real exertion, focused power, and the self-actualization that anoints success. We watch, study and appreciate talented men playing to win with all they’ve got. We know that, as entrepreneurs, you and I do that every day.

Any leader worthy of the title “gets” that sense of power and feels the feeling that goes with striving. In this room tonight, we have a varied, talented and driven group of intellectually sharp, business savvy, mission-focused and highly experienced competitors – that is, entrepreneurs willing to take risk at precisely the time in our society when corporate risk taking is getting lost in a fog of fear and trembling. It is a kind of a spiritual virus that is growing, spread by academe and caught by weak leaders.”

Address to Stakeholders
Pebble Beach
February 2020



“May I invoke a word that will express the approach that our work together and our joint collaborations will profit by over the years ahead. That word is: boldness.

Now boldness has many meanings and uses, but, overall, it fits an approach that overcomes the awful timidity of the career, corporate bureaucrat, the redundant, paycheck player, and the resignation of executives settling for mediocre results, endured endlessly… and deadeningly.

The new, socially acceptable sense of comfort with shrinking ambition and mediocre results is not for us, any of us. I think you agree. “

Address to Stakeholders
Pebble Beach
February 2020


Boldness as a Virtue

“In the real world of entrepreneurship, boldness is a virtue. I think you know what I mean by it: it is not hubris, arrogance, or braggadocio. No. Boldness is the self-reliant, self-driven assertion of personal power and courage, unapologetically. Power and courage, asserted, again, unapologetically, marks the place where a story begins to become an epic and unfolds as a kind of conquest leading to success. Boldness, as we take it, is pressing down hard on the accelerator to fire our entrepreneurial engines. It works… and it is energizing and life enhancing. Boldness, not rash self-assertion or boorish, amateurish salesmanship, but stand-up trust and confidence in an enterprise’s vision… and the courage to act – that is the formula. Let this continue to be our guiding mantra as “partners,” as we hold fast to our paradigm for growth beyond every prediction.”

Address to Stakeholders
Pebble Beach
February 2020


Temper of our Time

“The temper of the times suggest to me a fresh appetite in business for originality, for innovation, for old fashioned rugged individualism, contrasting to the culture of coddled, spoiled, ‘part-time’ adults…”

Address to Stakeholders
Pebble Beach
February 2020


What We Need to Fear

“All we have to fear is a lack of imagination, a lack of courage and a lack of talent. And so, we have nothing to fear.

We must continue to stand out in the new class of corporate leaders who find ways to say no and take baby steps to nowhere. By contrast, we hold to a willingness to share in heroic vision.”

Address to Stakeholders
Pebble Beach
February 2020


Merit and Branding

“Today, many companies doubt their own mission and strengths, all too often. The fact is, the best and brightest thrive in a meritocracy.

And meritocracy is not a value to be ashamed of.


An individual must become his own best stakeholder; we must be our own best stakeholders.

That is the approach we seek in our partners.

We partner with thinkers and entrepreneurs who are proud of their exceptional abilities, successes, and who thrive economically and socially, unapologetically.”

Address to Stakeholders
Pebble Beach
February 2020


Beyond the Letter of the Policy

“Our first priority is to offer the highest standard of performance and to focus upon the social importance of our mission as insurers. We, like the College, have a commitment to excellence beyond the letter of our contracts and basic obligations.

As a result, we have both stayed ahead of the marketplace. Ten years before the opioid crisis was written or spoken about, we discovered a trend by examining our records and we opened the first M.D. supervised pharmacy inside our company to serve our claimants responsibly. We instituted practices and seamless payment structures to deliver care and strengthen the system.

Each day, we work to ensure, first, that there are fewer injured workers by delivering the best package anywhere of risk management and safety protocols for businesses and we add incentives to business leaders to join in the effort. That is our mission each day. It is one that has been recognized, to our great pleasure, by the insurance industry and by caring institutions, such as the College of Mount Saint Vincent.”

College of Mt. St. Vincent Awards Gala
Cipriani, Broadway, NY
April 2018



“For John Cabot, however, his name change from Giovanni Caboto, his new home, the travel and his humanist scholarship were all transformative. Transformations would mark his life, as he moved from the life of a modest Venetian merchant to the high risk world of daring exploration and bravado navigation. Cabot was a “new man” of the high Renaissance – itself one of history’s great periods of transformation, when this round globe of ours was finally understood in its splendor and variety.

Like all of the great Italian navigators, we may come to see the world as it is, in its fullness and resplendence. We may all take pride in the fact that JCU is far more than “cultural tourism” for young adults, as I have come to learn. Providing studying and living experiences in the heart of Rome, at a University that bestrides the historic Tiber River offers meaningful, transformative experience. Whether they study architecture, history, art, or politics at a University that is steeped in the history of each discipline, there is the potential for personal, intellectual, and spiritual transformation. And, for those of us here who do business across borders, we can attest to the value of a student’s exposure to the international scene that places graduates at a great advantage.”

John Cabot University Annual Award Gala
University Club, New York
April 2019


“To Do”

“To do,” is the operative infinitive for us in the 21st century – and it must be. “To do” – that is the point. For me or for any of us to be described as a Renaissance man or woman is a nod to our ability to appreciate beauty and it is a nod to the great artists of that time. Yet, to be a true Renaissance person is first to gain the sensibility of the leaders of that period: from the merchant families like the Medici’s to the Royalty and the Popes of the day, the dynasties whose shared spirit of adventure and love of beauty and learning resulted in the refined expression of genius… that very genius that found its way up to the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and on to the pages of Leonardo’s lofty plans – 500 years ago – for an airplane, an elevator, and a means of enabling humans themselves to fly.

The fact is, that institutions of all types, leaders of all types, from governments and churches to the noble or “landed” families of the day – much like today’s family offices, foundations, and charities – enabled the Renaissance. They paid for it, to be blunt. They were engaged and committed.”

Awards Gala, Santa Fe, New Mexico
July 2019


Spirit of the Renaissance

“The Renaissance itself was built upon a much deeper sense of intellectual and social continuity – a continuous progress of the human spirit. That spirit mirrored itself in the public well-being that art and education alone can transmit. This is the enduring gift of the Renaissance: the belief that art and education of themselves are uplifting for the soul and that we, as leaders, are responsible for sustaining the educational level of our citizenry.

Today, we know that a renaissance – lower case – of any kind, but especially in the arts and education, is a public / private act of advocacy for leaders whose passion for the arts and education drives the refreshing and regenerating of public spirit. It is an advocacy that requires serious attention… and more than money. A renaissance comes wrapped carefully in a beautiful package that bespeaks profound leadership engagement.

Advocacy plus engagement make financial commitment meaningful.

May I repeat that once more:

Advocacy… plus engagement ….make financial commitment meaningful.”

Awards Gala, Santa Fe, New Mexico
July 2019


Pessimism Rejected, Social Diplomacy Espoused

“Art and education remain the highest form of what ambassadors call cultural diplomacy, the craft of presenting shared human values beyond all borders large and small, as a means of building public spirit – unfettered by pettiness or the insane folly of political polemics or by an all too prevalent, painfully pessimistic view of our human nature and our human condition.
We reject that negative view.

Our task is thus a kind of social diplomacy through art and education, realized by the most dedicated, disciplined and visionary of artists and educators – whose work is realized through our advocacy, our generosity and through our bright, penetrating vision.

There is a renaissance within our sight, at our fingertips in the arts and education. I see it often in the opera – that brilliant, complex form of human expression and enlightenment – one that has reportedly been fading away since 1825… but that we know will endure like all of the best in our society if we are all its exponents, actively and devotedly engaged.
For the arts and for education, we must be the new Medici’s.”

Address to Business Leaders
St Regis Hotel, New York, New York
May 2019


Bold Thinkers

“To be an educated man or woman has changed and should, but not through a temporary mistrust of the past, but through precisely the opposite. The bold thinker accepts all that has gone before, good and bad, and moves ahead in the Archimedean manner, needing only a place to stand upon to move the world.”

Address to Stakeholders
Pebble Beach
February 2019


Priorities for a New Headquarters

“Applied has a soul, a good one, and does good work for our clients. And does it profitably. Herein lies a kind of reward unto itself that augurs a bright, rich future.
We are known as a premiere employer in Omaha and our new center will boost that even higher, with its in- building covered parking, gymnasium, expanded cafeteria and services, multi-media conference and meeting rooms, light-rich and energy efficient design, its use of green space externally, its simply remarkable operating systems, and its elevated site on the campus.
We chose the words “Heartwood Preserve” instead of Park or any other corporate cliché to reflect the manner in which the 500 acre site has been developed: we have preserved the contours of the property, preserved the natural feel of the place, preserved the prestige of its position along a major corridor and preserved the tradition of integrity in the choice of construction materials and plans. The Preserve will be ecologically responsible, aesthetically pleasing, and practically conceived, from the convenient roadways – our own Exit on Dodge called Applied Parkway, to the light-rich, conducive office environment.

Heartwood Preserve is a mark of our commitment to the future of Applied and to Omaha itself, where we will have a prestigious location and presence.”

Speech to Staff
Heartwood Preserve, Omaha, Nebraska
September 2019