As an individual who spends a lot of his time writing (and reading the writing of others), I’ve always had reservations about the notion that “a picture is worth a thousand words,” though I’ll grant you that an image, a well-crafted graph, or even a flow chart can, in certain instances, more quickly and more effectively convey an idea or concept than words alone.
I remember a conversation with a friend of mine a couple of years ago about EBRI’s Lillywhite Award. My friend, who had been something of a mentor to me over the years, was asking me about the award, the selection process, and what type of individual/accomplishments we were seeking to acknowledge. I tried as best I could to go over the history and purpose of the award: that it was established in 1992 to celebrate contributions by persons who have had distinguished careers in the investment management and employee benefits fields and whose outstanding service enhances Americans’ economic security. That it was intended to recognize lifetime or long-term contributions to the fields of pension/retirement administration, investment management, legislation, marketing, research-education, consulting on investments or benefits, or publications/reporting.
And then I mentioned Ray Lillywhite, for whom the award is named, and—in an instant—my friend “got it.”
Ray was a true pioneer in the pension field. For decades he guided state employee pension plans, and helped found numerous professional organizations and educational programs, finally retiring from Alliance Capital at the age of 80 after a 55-year career in the pension and investment field. Throughout his career, Ray exemplified not only excellence, but also innovation in lifelong achievements, teaching, and learning.
While I never had the pleasure of meeting Ray in person, it has been my great fortune to meet and benefit from the work, education and guidance of a number of Lillywhite Award recipients over the course of my career: Principal Financial Group’s CEO Larry Zimpleman, who was last year’s recipient; Stanford University’s Bill Sharpe; Pension & Investments’ Mike Clowes; Russell Investment’s Don Ezra; and, of course, EBRI’s own Dallas Salisbury, to name a few.
These individuals, as well as the rest of the long and distinguished list of EBRI Lillywhite Award recipients do indeed help paint a picture of what the award was designed to acknowledge—individuals who have each, in their own unique way, influenced the direction of employee benefits, and over the course of their careers helped make things better for others, whose “outstanding service enhances Americans’ economic security.”
Indeed, a picture” may, or may not, always be worth a thousand words. But sometimes a “picture” can be worth more than mere words can say.
Nevin E. Adams, JD
EBRI’s Lillywhite Award acknowledges the best of the best in the investment management and employee benefits fields. I’m betting you know, admire, and would like to acknowledge the contributions they’ve made. If so, I’d encourage you to nominate them for this prestigious award—today, online here.
More information about the EBRI Lillywhite Award is online here.
 The list of previous EBRI Lillywhite Award recipients is online here.