Corey Walther, 1993 finance graduate, joined the MSUM Foundation Board in July of 2022. As president of Allianz Financial Services, LLC, he reflects back on his MSUM experience, especially his time as an athlete on the Dragon Track & Field team.
How are you connected to MSUM?
I graduated from MSUM with a business degree. While working toward that degree, I was a student-athlete on the men’s track and field team. I also met my wife, a fellow Dragon, on campus. We both had a wonderful experience.
What energizes you in your role serving on the Foundation Board?
I am excited to work with the staff and fellow board members to enhance the educational experience for students, amplify and promote the MSUM story and engage alumni, donors and friends of the university.
What inspires you to give back to the university with your time and talent?
It is important to me to never forget where I came from or the people who helped me along the way. My parents, coaches, mentors and others who supported me personally and professionally are some of my sources of inspiration. Giving my time and talent back to the university is a small way of paying it forward for me to honor all of those who lifted me up, believed in my potential, and given me an opportunity. I am incredibly grateful for their support and the chance to make a positive difference for the students of the university.
Who at MSUM inspires you?
Ron and Barbara Masanz – The positive impact they have had on so many people and how they have helped student-athletes transform their lives is truly inspiring. They are passionate about MSUM and truly care for the students, commitment to excellence and servant leadership.
What experiences at MSUM have influenced your life the most? Which have helped you succeed?
Being a student-athlete on the men’s track and field team was one of the many memorable experiences at MSUM. Hard work, teamwork, preparation and mental toughness were cornerstones of our success. My MSUM experience also taught me how to effectively manage my time, work collaboratively, deal with adversity or setbacks, and be a leader who helps other people become the best versions of themselves.
How do you hope to support MSUM and/or students with your philanthropic involvement? What good do you hope will come from it?
I hope to show current and future students that there are people who care about their individual success even without meeting them. There is a bond among those connected with MSUM – past and present. I also look forward to capitalizing on opportunities to expand and deepen engagement with alumni, especially those who may not be as connected today. Everyone can make a difference — even if that difference affects one person.
What’s one thing you’re learning now, and why is it important?
The future work model and organizational culture. The global pandemic has changed the way in which people perform their job with many of them now working remotely on a full- or part-time basis. This nuance can have a material impact on employee connectedness, customer feedback loops, communication, collaboration and future innovation. Allianz Life is recognized as one of the best places to work in Minnesota for its strong workplace culture and high employee satisfaction. With this shift, I have had to evolve the way I communicate in order to sustain a great culture and high levels of employee engagement.
What’s the most interesting project you’re working on right now?
In my role, I collaborate with our product innovation team to develop new retirement solutions designed to offer protected growth and/or guaranteed retirement income. Today’s investors are encountering major risks like equity market volatility, rising interest rates, inflation and longevity. Helping clients secure their future by making informed financial decisions, building wealth with a level of protection and designing sustainable retirement income is a passion of mine.
What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
Despite being on the track team in college, I had never run more than about six miles at one time. In an effort to stay mentally and physically fit, I exercise daily and have run the marathon distance of 26.2 miles several times, including the 2013 Boston Marathon, which was the year of the terrorist bombing.
What’s the best advice you were ever given? Who was it from?
Early on in my career, one of my managers challenged me to pursue new career opportunities. One of his favorite sayings was, “If you’re comfortable, you’re not growing”. He would remind me that stepping out of my comfort zone is a step towards growth. Whenever I feel uncomfortable about something, I try to remind myself that it means I’m growing.
Where’s your favorite spot on-campus?
Nemzek Fieldhouse. I have a lot of great memories of the time spent in this facility with my track and field teammates – from the camaraderie at practices, competitive meets, or in the locker room to watching other Dragon athletes compete in sports like basketball and volleyball games. Of course, my second favorite place would have to be the library!
What personal or professional achievement are you most proud of?
I never would have thought, as a kid who grew up in Bismarck, N.D., that I would ascend to my current position. I have been incredibly blessed to work for and with some great people who have helped me grow personally and professionally. One of my hopes is that others will see my success and it will instill a belief that anything is possible for them.
In what ways have grit, humility and heart helped you in life?
These are all attributes that are closely aligned with my personal values. There is a popular saying that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it. Whenever I have faced personal or professional adversity, choosing a growth mindset with these attributes as cornerstones has helped me navigate those situations and find a way to thrive rather than survive.
What does being a Dragon mean to you?
Living the core values of grit, humility and heart in my everyday life
How does being a Dragon continue to transform you today?
My experience as a Dragon laid the foundation for how I think about learning, leadership and looking beyond the classroom. I see learning as a continuous process of gaining knowledge and new skills – life never stops teaching us. Continuous learning is important for our growth, especially in our professional life. As a result, I am a lifelong learner focused on the journey rather than the destination.
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