Named ‘world’s most admired’ insurance company by Fortune magazine in March, Northwestern Mutual has served the St. Louis area since 1906. “And with only seven managing partners in that 105-year time frame, I think that speaks to the longevity of our leadership,” says John Qualy of The Qualy Group, Northwestern Mutual’s largest network office. “I have been in the financial security business with Northwestern Mutual for 41 years and became managing partner for The Qualy Group in 1990.”

Also of historical significance, the Million Dollar Round Table, an international organization that recognizes outstanding sales success, was established in 1937. In all, 55 financial representatives from The Qualy Group received the prestigious honor in 2010. “The top 6 percent in sales in our business qualify each year, and if someone makes it 10 years in a row, that person becomes a lifetime member.” Qualy explains.

    While sales are important, Qualy quickly notes that being in the financial securities business allows many ways to serve, as well. “We help people address their financial security needs and dreams,” he says. “And then we stay in touch to help them achieve their goals. It’s really a process of building long-lasting relationships.”

The Qualy Group has seven offices in the St. Louis region, each honoring the network’s purpose statement: We are catalysts inspiring our communities become the most financially secure in the world; serving one person, one family and one business at a time. Every life matters. “And we also have a value system that includes personal growth, personal responsibility, feedback-rich (open communication), generosity and faith,” Qualy notes. “Generosity is another way we serve our community. Over the years we’ve raised in excess of a million dollars, and last year alone, we approached a half a million dollars with various organizations that our associates are involved with.”

Upcoming events supported by The Qualy Group include the Scramble for Kids golf tournament, with beneficiaries including St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center and St. John’s Mercy Children’s Hospital, on June 6; and the Swing for Hope golf tournament, benefitting Siteman Cancer Center, on June 20. “We’ve been involved with the Scramble for Kids tournament for more than 10 years,” Qualy says. “And Brett Gilliland, managing director of The Gilliland Financial Group in Glen Carbon, Ill., which is in The Qualy Group network, just received a community service award from Northwestern Mutual for his impact in the community and participating for six years with the Swing for Hope tournament.” Other organizations The Qualy Group supports include Old Newsboys, United Way, Kingdom House, Children’s Miracle Network and Variety The Children’s Charity of St. Louis. “We know that we drive our livelihood from our community, and we want to keep making our community better.”

Qualy adds that preparing financially for the future is something that everybody knows they should do, but in reality, they let time get away. “And sometimes they let their health get away from them and they can’t do the things that really they should have done years ago,” he says. “So we need to be catalytic to inspire them to take the time to take a step back and look at where they’re going and see if they have accumulated the assets they need for the life they want to live.”

The Qualy Group is prepared to continue growing. “St. Louis is a great region for financial services,” Qualy explains. “There’s tremendous opportunity to serve others in a very meaningful way, and our goal is to add 94 new financial representatives. We’re looking for candidates with energy, values, passion and the ability to handle adversity and to take risks—emotional more than financial.”

Northwestern Mutual also has received the highest financial strength ratings by the four major ratings agencies: Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s, Fitch Ratings and A.M. Best Company.  LN

On the Cover: The Million Dollar Round Table is an international organization that recognizes outstanding sales success. Northwestern Mutual’s The Qualy Group had 55 financial representatives who received the prestigious honor in 2010. For more information, call 231-3931 or visit

Cover photo by Rob Westrich . Cover design by Erica Fisher