Northwestern Mutual, Barb McNulty Honored for Impact in Financial Education
McNulty and leaders from Northwestern Mutual each received 2016 Lloyd Levin Difference Maker awards Thursday during the annual Make A Difference – Wisconsin Appreciation Reception. The Lloyd Levin Difference Maker Award is chosen by the board of directors and staff to recognize one volunteer and one organization for their exceptional commitments to our teen financial empowerment mission in the community. The awards and reception also served as a reflection on Make A Difference’s 10 years of empowering teens in our community, with special recognitions of early and ongoing support. (Click here for a Facebook photo gallery.)
Barbara McNulty says the most powerful financial tools she can offer teens are her ears.
As a classroom volunteer on financial fundamentals, Barb says she’s takes inspiration during lessons from the curiosities and concerns voiced by students. From there, she said she can guide Money Sense lessons, which she peppers with financial expertise as well as challenges from her own life.
“Students understand that they need to know about money. The most critical part is to listen to the group that’s in front of you in the class. What questions are coming out of their mouths?,” said Barb (pictured above in between Lloyd Levin and Brenda Campbell from Make A Difference). “Listen to that and you’ll know what they’re interested in and how they can make their own mark.”
For those reasons and many more, Make A Difference – Wisconsin is proud to announce Barb McNulty as the 2016 Lloyd Levin Difference Maker Volunteer.
Barb began volunteering not long after we started in 2006. She’s brought budgeting and saving fundamentals to hundreds of teens at high schools including Prairie School, Racine Case, Burlington, Racine Horlick, Indian Trail, Audubon and Veritas. When strung together, her classroom time since 2010 would last nearly three-straight 24-hour days.
Brenda Campbell, president and CEO of Make A Difference – Wisconsin, called Barb the type of volunteer who always gives students and educators a likeable and real connection to money management, especially in and around Racine.
“Barb has been one of our ‘go-to’ volunteers for almost a decade. She brings students an admirable mix of reliability and honesty, with lots of personal stories. Teens can tell she cares. Educators know she’ll provide memorable lessons,” Campbell said, adding, “Her consistent role at high schools near her home gives the Racine community a positive advocate in the financial futures of teens.”
Barb began volunteering while she was a bank branch manager, but has continued even as her career shifted to Realtor and CFO for her husband’s machinist company. She continues to see adults struggle with their finances and she recalls an early home purchase by her two teen sons that almost put them underwater. Barb said parents and volunteers make an investment in young people when they take the time to talk with them about personal finance.
“This program opens the doors to them about what needs to happen. It prepares them for adulthood,” she said. “Hopefully I can change the future for some kids. I hope I’m helping for tomorrow.”
Northwestern Mutual puts the power of community behind its teenage financial literacy efforts.
In 2015-16 alone, Northwestern Mutual empowered nearly 1,000 teens through 19 volunteers teaching 29 programs over the course more than 100 hours of in-class time. Some of those lessons were the product of two Northwestern Mutual employee groups – African American Employee Resource Group and Chrysalis Group – concentrating volunteer time at one school, Washington High School of Information Technology. Other volunteers shared Money Sense information on credit and banking in day-long workshops with high schoolers, or took on their first Money Coach financial mentoring lessons at a young leadership community site.
These figures and examples just touch on the funding, support, outreach, volunteer time and board dedication Northwestern Mutual employees have made to our organization since the start in 2006. As such, Make A Difference – Wisconsin is proud to announce Northwestern Mutual as the 2016 Lloyd Levin Difference Maker Organization. (Accepting the award was Mike Conmey, volunteer and board director, pictured at left between Lloyd Levin and Brenda Campbell.)
Brenda Campbell, president and CEO at Make A Difference – Wisconsin, said Northwestern Mutual has been a source of volunteers and support from the start.
“Northwestern Mutual is a champion for financial literacy. Their nationwide corporate support is present in neighborhoods across Milwaukee and the state. This funding is in lock-step with active and community-minded employee volunteers,” she said.
“The compassion and presence of Northwestern Mutual volunteers in the lives of teens in our programs has and will continue to shape positive change in our communities.”
Mike Conmey, assistant general counsel at Northwestern Mutual, has seen the impact of Make A Difference program on teens from two levels, as a classroom volunteer and on our board of directors.
“Volunteering in the classroom is rewarding because it gives you the opportunity to watch the students learn about the basics of financial literacy first hand. Their enthusiasm around the program is fun to see,” he said. “Serving on the Board gives me the opportunity to share my time with others in the local community who understand the importance of financial literacy education and want to serve where a very real need exists.”
Allison Malone, a senior life underwriting specialist, is one of the nearly 60 active volunteers from Northwestern Mutual who have led financial literacy programs since 2006. She said it is impressive to have their organization and employee groups get behind “such an important issue.”
“Financial literacy is very important and it is important to reach young people as soon as possible to help guide them to make the best decisions,” she said. “I was blessed to have parents who talked to me about finances at a young age and I want to be able to give back what they gave to me. Having the right tools and resources to guide you financially can have a humungous impact on your day-to-day living.”
Past honorees of the Lloyd Levin Difference Maker of the year award include James Neubauer, Cecil Jackson, Karyn Conklin, Stacy Leuty, Tom Parks, Tabatha De Leon, Associated Bank and the CFA Society Milwaukee.