Corporate Culture

Climbing the Ladder to Success

Dan Keough
Dan Keough
Chairman & CEO

Have you ever heard the names Nick Nurse or Nate Bjorkgren? If you’re a fan of professional basketball, you might be nodding. But, for the rest of the world, the names are a bit unknown…or, they were, until now.

These two guys (who are both originally from Iowa) led the Toronto Raptors to the NBA championship series this year, and subsequently, the title. Winning an NBA championship is great in and of itself, but what makes these two guys especially unique is their climb to success. They worked for it…and hard.

Take Nick Nurse for example. In his 30-year career, he’s coached 15 different teams in five different countries; he’s worked with big, well-equipped staffs and very small operations; he’s coached college walk-ons and the best players in the world; and he’s found a way to win. He never gave up. He started from basically nothing; put in the time, effort, sweat, and dedication; worked overseas; and kept pushing forward…always looking for something bigger. In 2018, Nurse took on the Toronto Raptors in his first-ever NBA head coach position. And, well, look what happened. It wasn’t an easy path getting to where he is now, but Nurse put in the time and just kept climbing (even when it may have felt the top of the ladder wasn’t within reach).

Even more of a Cinderella story than that is his assistant coach Nate Bjorkgren’s rise. I recently read an article in the Des Moines Register where it noted Bjorkgren spent nearly a decade in the development league (D-League). He coached the Dakota Wizards, Santa Cruz Warriors, and Bakersfield Jam. But, what’s interesting about this all is that his first experience with professional basketball altogether was on the bench with the Iowa Energy, working for Nurse, ironically…for free. Yes, I said for free. He was so devoted to getting a foot in the door and accomplishing great things, he went unpaid that first season.

Both of these men are examples of what true grit and determination will get you. It’s that “never give up” attitude that catapults people’s careers.

While we don’t have that same exact story with any of our employees at Holmes Murphy, I can tell you our culture is one with a “never give up” mindset. I’ve watched our team members with clients, and I know their sole goal is to ensure our clients are always successful. Our employees put in the time, are dedicated, have skin in the game, and champion our clients’ causes to always look for ways those clients can win…whether it’s through reducing risk or saving time, money, and lives. While they may not climb the ladder to a championship trophy, I think our team is just as happy knowing you, our clients, are coming out on top. I hope you see this same thing through our service to you. You are our No. 1 priority, and your success is our success.


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