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DerekBoydenjoysworkingwithstudentsandtakeshistalentsto the classroom where he teaches economics for Junior Achievement of Wisconsin at John Muir Middle School. He also works with students at Northcentral Technical College. The Business News photo by Jerry Rhoden

Whether to help others was never up for debate in Derek Boyd’s mind. The native Ohioan was raised by the Bible’s teachings, including Luke 10:27: “ You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

For Boyd, director of risk management at M3 Insurance in Wausau, the reference to loving his neighbor is something he has embraced from early on. Its message was reinforced by the action of his parents. His father was a volunteer fighter, EMT and paramedic and his mother’s career as a nurse was rooted in serving people.

“That’s my lens for viewing life,” said Boyd, who has called the Wausau area home since

"People

who make a difference

! Derek Boyd

director of risk management, M3 Insurance,

Wausau"

2005. “My father was an incredible example of servanthood. He literally ran into burning buildings as a younger man. He was my mentor. It meant that Itagged along and volunteered for a number of things like summer festivals and fish frys to benefit the church or fire department. It just became a way of life.”

Now, as a leader to his 17-member staff at the M3 Wausau location and father to daughters Adah and Layla, and son, Jude, Boyd has assumed that role alongside his wife, Christy. The family is deeply entrenched in the Wausau community. The hometown feel of the area “real- ly gripped me,” he said. “The caring and hos- pitable nature of the people of the area is very important to us because we don’t have family here.”

Not surprisingly, Boyd’s volunteerism included serving as a volunteer firefighter and EMT for several years after turning 18 and through and after college. When he moved to Pennsylvania to work for a Fortune 100 company out of college, many of his volunteer activities revolved around the United Way. And so, for the past 14 to 15 years, Boyd says he has been involved in the United Way organization “in some way, shape or form, starting with contributing to the campaign, doing community service projects and escalating into leading teams to donate and volunteer,” he said

Locally, that’s taken many forms including participating in Make A Difference Day and Adopt A Classroom, serving as co-chair or chair of the local campaign, and being the service project lead for projects at The Neighbors’ Place in Wausau, the area’s largest food pantry that also offers community gardens, a learning center, furniture and basic needs and more programming and services free of charge.

For several years, Boyd has led specific projects for the United Way of Marathon County at the Neighbors’ Place, including cleaning, painting, building sheds and a project that proved to be a bit more ambitious than he had bargained for.

“We demo’d a kitchen for the Bridge Street Mission, which was no small undertaking, but it was amazing. And talk about the looks on their faces when we were done,” he said. Efforts to benefit the organization extended to Boyd’s family

"Volunteerism is actually part
of my routine and if often
involves my wife and/or the
entire family. Having community
involvement as a way of
doing life together certainly
takes some of the pressure off
of juggling work, family and
volunteerism."


— Derek Boyd,
director of risk management,
M3 Insurance,
Wausau

That lesson-in-action extends to a number of other causes including having the children attend the AWANA youth at Wausau Alliance Church on Wednesday evenings, which both Boyd and his wife teach, he as a youth leader and she as

director of the program, as well as volunteering as a family for the Ghidorzi Green & Clean trash pickup event around Wausau every spring since 2011.

“It’s a great way to give back to the community while collecting tons of trash in the area, making  a huge difference alongside Wausau’s roadways,” he said.

Learning pathways are also on the benefiting end of Boyd’s work, as he serves as a development advisory board member for business management and leadership programming at Northcentral Technical College. In addition, he is

vested in work with students participating in The Branch, a cohort of students from NTC who are solving a challenge presented by a business, in this case, a community-wide challenge M3 Insurance posed to them.

“M3 has been involved in this knee-deep, as have I personally as we gave the students a community challenge that has the potential to benefit business far and wide, whether a business is a farm, manufacturing plant, restaurant or something else,” he said.

Boyd met with the students every week over the period of a few months, even Facetiming with them from a sales meeting at Miller Park when one of the meetings coincided with travel out of town for work.

“They were surprised I’d find a way to meet and I said, ‘Well, we’re invested and we care and this is a commitment,’” he said.

His student-focused work extends to volunteering as a classroom teacher teaching economics for Junior Achievement (JA) of Wisconsin as well. He has taken the curriculum supplied by JA and tailors it to the 8th grade students. He’s been positively surprised by how well received the classes are, as well as how much the students respect and appreciate him.

“When I went back and started another (session), students from the last series came up and asked how I was doing,” he said. “I realized I really impacted these kids; they just need people who care about them. I do that by pouring into them and talking about opportunities in life.”

Pouring care into the community is also the impetus behind Boyd’s involvement in Wausau Metro Strong, founded to help community members help, heal and learn more about domestic violence. He serves on the main committee and co-chairs the communications subcommittee focused on efforts such as creating general domestic violence procedures that businesses can internalize and make their own.

“It’s an amazing organization, made up of all volunteers, that I’m excited to see where we can take this next,” he said. “We’re very proud we helped to establish Sara’s Law (a measure meant to provide increased protection to guardian ad litems and other lawyers in family law–related cases.)”

Boyd’s list of community activity goes on, and he acknowledges that it’s through the support of both his work family and his family at home that

it’s even possible.

“Volunteerism is actually part of my routine and if often involves my wife and/or the entire family,” he said. “Having community involvement as a way of doing life together certainly takes some of the pressure off of juggling work,

family and volunteerism.”