BGSU summer grads urged to persevere in face of life’s curve balls


BG Independent News

Almost 15 years ago to the day, Brady Young got some bad news, and he was flown to Zurich, Switzerland, to get it.

Brady Young

He’d been summoned to Zurich before, so he thought little of it. Then his boss informed him in short order that the company was closing down the division he headed, and in 90 days his and the entire staff’s employment would be terminated.

Young, a 1982 graduate of Bowling Green State University, apologized for talking of such things at graduation. After all the 958 candidates for degrees at Saturday’s BGSU commencement, were here to celebrate moving forward.

Divorce, health problems for oneself and loved ones, job lose, and financial problems — in the 1990s, Young said he encountered all of these “curve balls.”

“I hate to be the bearer of bad news on a day that’s all about celebration but each of you will face challenges like these as you move into this new phase of your life,” he said. “Job, relationship, and family are a potent brew that brings all kinds of wonderful but also challenging experiences. … Dealing with success is easy. Your life will be defined by how you deal with uncertainty.”

So in that office in Zurich, Young let the bad news sink in, and then he made a proposal. He asked whether the company would sell the division so it could continue as a smaller, independent company.

Young sealed the deal to do just that several days later, on Aug. 8, 2002. So he continues as the president and CEO of Strategic Risk Solutions, a company that helps other firms set up and manage their own insurance as a way to save money. It’s the largest such firm in the world.

His BGSU education and upbringing in Zanesville helped give him the qualities needed to deal with life’s challenges, he said. He had the perseverance and grit that’s necessary. Often in business meetings he’ll be in meetings with graduates of Ivy League schools, but he’s confident his college education has provided him what he needs to compete.

Young also encouraged the graduates to share their success. “Give something back to others. The world is a tough place these days. The safety net is getting smaller.”

That can be in time or money. “Find something that resonates with you and get involved.”

That could be a church, a charity, he said, or even their alma mater.