Bill Julius, McClone Insurance
IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Bill Julius, executive vice president of sales, McClone Insurance.
What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job and why?
Right now, the most challenging part of my job is maintaining culture with the rapid growth we’re experiencing. It’s critical that we make sure that our teams are thriving as we add new team members and adjust roles. It comes with challenges, yet I know that meeting those challenges and fostering a great culture will be key to our ongoing growth and success.
By far the most rewarding aspect of my job is the opportunity to support people in reaching levels in their careers that they never thought possible — whether that’s income, sales results, or a leadership role. It’s gratifying to help people develop confidence in their potential to drive great results both personally and for the company. Part of that is pushing team members to not be comfortable with where they are today and at the same time supporting them and helping them see the vision for what they can accomplish.
Who do you look up to or admire in business and why?
I met my future father-in-law when I was in college and I can’t understate the impact he had on my career and, more specifically, my vision for what was possible.
I grew up in a lower middle-class home and as a kid wasn’t exposed to many professional role models on executive career paths.
My father-in-law came from humble beginnings and spent time as a kid in the projects. But he never let that background limit his aspirations for himself. Through hard work, good people skills, and the ability to take smart calculated risks, he became an executive at a major organization.
His journey inspired me to understand that my background was not a limiting factor and that I could accomplish what I wanted to accomplish.
What has been the high point of your career so far?
I feel lucky to say that, to date, the high point of my career has been the work we’ve been doing at McClone the past two years. We’ve added services, instilled a growth mindset throughout the company, and today we’re talking with clients and prospective clients we wouldn’t have dreamed of even four years ago.
I knew the McClone family growing up in the Fox Valley, so it’s been especially gratifying getting to play a role in the transformation of what was once, for me, a hometown company that now serves major regional and national customers.
Thinking back on your career, what advice would you give your 21-year-old self?
This is an easy one. I have a son about that age now and he would tell you that I am not lacking in advice.
What I tell him, and what I would tell myself at that age, is that you should not let fear of risk keep you from exploring and doing the things you want while you can.
There are few mistakes you can make in your early 20s that will become insurmountable and prevent later career success. So, relax, explore, make a mistake or two, and grow.
I was way too conservative when I was younger and fearful of risk. I’d tell my younger self to try out a bigger market for a while. It doesn’t have to be a lifetime commitment, but exposure to opportunities that those larger markets may provide can be a great springboard. And, of course, the hope is that you bring those experiences, connections, and learnings back to a career here in Wisconsin.
What would you say are the best things about living and working in Dane County?
As a big university town, Madison draws so many people to the area from all over. It offers a cultural diversity that’s hard to find in the Midwest. Think about the entertainment, the food, and the culture that you can find here if you seek it out. My kids were exposed to so many more different experiences and things growing up here than I was growing up in Central Wisconsin.
And it may sound cliché but the Midwest, in general, is a great place to raise a family and do business. I’m lucky to have grown up in Wisconsin, made a career here, and raised a family here.
Do you have any secret talents or abilities that people would be surprised to discover?
For several years, I have been the voice of Middleton High School hockey. I started announcing the games when my older son played, and I had fun and got really into it.
My youngest son just finished his senior season and I had fun announcing his games too. I have done some youth football announcing as well, but I really enjoy the hockey games. From time to time, I might even give a McClone client a shout-out if I see them in the crowd. Go Cardinals!
Recently I was “called up to the bigs” when I was asked to fill in as an announcer at a sold-out Madison Capitols game. I guess I’ve lost my amateur status since it was the first time I was paid to announce. Now I’m just waiting on the call from the Badgers or, who knows, maybe the NHL.
What are your guilty pleasures?
As a night owl, late-night movies after the rest of the family have gone to bed are how I wind down. I’ll start a movie at 11 at night to relax and end up watching the whole thing. My only issue now is that it’s hard for me to find one I haven’t seen, despite having multiple streaming services.
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