Dave Downey Receives Peter W. Mullin Visionary Leadership Award

May 28, 2024

Dave Downey Receives Peter W. Mullin Visionary Leadership Award

David (Dave) J. Downey, a longtime principal of Member Firm The Downey Group, Inc., was selected as the inaugural recipient of Finseca’s Peter W. Mullin Visionary Leadership Award. The award was presented at Finseca’s Advanced Markets event in Washington, D.C., on May 23, 2024.

“It is a real honor to be carrying Peter’s name into the future,” Mr. Downey said of receiving the award. “This is a true honor and a true surprise.”

Peter W. Mullin, a co-founder of M Financial Group, was a visionary leader who reimagined the industry with thoughtful guidance and commitment to innovation and excellence. To honor his legacy, Finseca established the Peter W. Mullin Visionary Leadership Award to recognize an individual who exemplifies Peter’s leadership skills, inspires others, embraces philanthropy, and demonstrates loyalty, integrity, innovation, and a commitment to excellence.

Several M Member Firm principals offered their perspectives on Mr. Downey in a prerecorded video presented at the award ceremony.

“When Dave talked, the M Board and Peter Mullin truly listened,” said David Byers, Principal of Member Firm Capital Strategies Group, Inc., and Chair of the M Financial Board of Directors. Mr. Byers nominated Mr. Downey for the award. “We often say that we stand on the shoulders of giants. To me, you were one of those giants. I can’t think of anyone more qualified to win this award than you. So, congratulations, again.”

Mr. Downey focused his career on working collaboratively with colleagues to drive positive change in the profession while prioritizing the needs of clients. His message of consistency, commitment, and making a positive impact on people’s lives has helped insurance producers across the industry become better client advocates and life insurance professionals.

“Dave, you’re one super guy,” said Neal Groff, President of Member Firm Groff Team Partners LLC. “You are absolutely the gold standard in our industry — you looked at details. People thought early that you were a nitpicker, but I looked at the details you were looking at and I learned so much from you.”

Mr. Downey has played an active role in numerous industry leadership groups, including Top of the Table, the International Forum, and as President of the Association for Advanced Life Underwriting (AALU), which merged with GAMA International in 2020 to form Finseca. As an influential advocate for clients and the industry, he routinely encouraged insurance producers to engage in legislative efforts and worked to preserve the tax benefits of life insurance through organizations like AALU.

“I can’t think of a more worthy recipient of the inaugural Peter Mullin Visionary Award than David Downey,” said Kristi Barens, Principal of Member Firm Mullin Barens Sanford Financial. “David is such a genuine and authentic person. He’s always interested in how he can help you, and how he can help forward and advance the life insurance profession. And he genuinely wanted to make sure he was leaving a legacy so that the profession would be better after his significant time and influence.”

Outside of the industry, Mr. Downey has embraced the spirit of service to his community and charitable causes, serving on the University of Illinois Board of Trustees, the University of Illinois Foundation Board, First Busey Corp. (BUSE), the University of Illinois Athletic Board, the Illinois Board of Higher Education, the Marajen Stevick Foundation, and 27 years of service on the M Financial Board of Directors.

Mr. Downey and his wife, Jane, have made major philanthropic contributions to the Carle Illinois College of Medicine; University of Illinois Athletic Association for the renovation of the State Farm Center and in honor of his teammate and friend, Mannie Jackson; the Parlin-Ingersoll Public Library; the University of Illinois College of Law; and United Way of East Central Illinois.

About M Financial Group

With more than 130 Member Firms across the United States and in the United Kingdom, M Financial Group is one of the nation’s leading financial services design and distribution companies. Since 1978, M Financial’s network of independent insurance and executive benefit firms has served the needs of high-net-worth individuals, corporate executives, successful entrepreneurs, and Fortune 1000 companies.

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