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UP CLOSE: Darren Brown


New job title: Senior vp and team leader, employee benefits, with ABD Insurance & Financial Services in Redwood City, Calif.

Start date: March 1

Former position: Vp-employee benefits with ABD.

Reason for joining: Joining ABD in November of 1998 was the best move I ever made. The entrepreneurial, client-focused culture and fast-paced "make it happen" environment is a perfect fit. As a sales executive at CIGNA looking from the outside in, I was always impressed with the people who worked for ABD. They were all winners and that was something I wanted to be a part of.

Vital statistics: I was born and raised in California and grew up in Mountain View. I graduated from Colgate University in 1993 with a B.A. in history.

Job history: I began my insurance career with CIGNA Healthcare right out of college. I started as a new business sales executive in the commercial HMO market in Southern California after six months of Group School. I moved back to the Bay Area in 1996 with CIGNA, working in the Northern California Sales Office in San Francisco at 101 California St.

Goals for new position: My focus will remain the same. Continuing to do what is right for our customers, my team members and our insurance company partners. A simple approach that should lead to continued success at growing and retaining business, attracting and keeping the very best talent and preserving our strong, top-level relationships with our insurance company partners.

First time in job market: I had a summer job working for Benham Capital Management, now a part of American Century, manning customer service calls for the Capital Preservation Full Faith and Credit Fund. I was 16, talking to people about their retirement. I stuck to the script! Prior to that, I worked odd jobs in construction.

Top advice: "Don't moan, don't groan, do your work and go home." My older brother circa 1985.

Outside the industry, a dream job: This time of year, I think following in (sports broadcaster) Jim Nantz's footsteps would be a pretty cool thing: NCAA basketball tournament, Final Four, right into the Masters. I could get used to that. Seriously, I played basketball competitively through college and continue to play today. Coaching at any level would be my dream job.