You Get What You Give | What LIVING MUTUAL Means to Me


We’ve all heard the phrase, “It is better to give than to receive.” Whether it be the gift of time, money or talents, many studies have verified this ancient adage to be true. According to You Get What You Give: The MassMutual 2018 Financial Wellness and Community Involvement Study, most Americans clearly choose to make time for others. Nearly 9 in 10 Americans believe that it is important to look out for one another, while nearly 7 in 10 Americans say community involvement is important to their overall well-being. Interdependence is more powerful than independence and together we can do more good than any of us can alone. This is LIVING MUTUAL.

“We know people are inherently reliant on one another, whether that’s at home, in the workplace or in the community. We celebrate these relationships, recognizing that when we depend on each other, we are not only more secure – but life if also happier and more fulfilling,” said Harris S. Fishman, President and CEO of MassMutual Greater Philadelphia.

When we look around us, it’s easy to see people who LIVE MUTUAL and do extraordinary things for each other. We’d like to shine the spotlight on some of our associates who are raising the bar for interdependence. Whether they are mentoring colleagues, educating our youth, or reaching out to the underserved, they all continue to demonstrate the power of LIVING MUTUALITY.


Christine Topping | Women’s Resource Center

To me LIVE MUTUAL means to go out of my way to help others, like those who have helped me.

I feel very fortunate to have had and continue to have access to necessary and important resources growing up as well as since starting my professional life, both within the firm and outside.  This includes but isn’t limited to career counseling and leadership training in my high school and college years, to aligning myself with mentors and role models in my professional life.  I realize that many young girls and women don’t have access to everything they need and one of my passions is ensuring I do what I can to bridge that gap.

I initially got involved with the WRC because I truly believe in their mission.  When I began to learn more about the impact (helping 2,600 women and girls last year!!), I truly realized just how important these programs and services are to our community, and that I want to support them much as possible in any way possible.  Often when women are faced with a challenge or situation that they never expected to be in, they don’t know where to begin - to be able to turn to WRC at that time is vital.  

My fondest memory since serving on the WRC board was last year’s Leadership Luncheon.  To see the amount of support for the WRC gathered into one room was incredible…We raised over $110,000 for women and girls in need!


Eddie McCarthy | Make-A-Wish NJ

LIVING MUTUAL is believing that life is not a competition. Life is about helping and inspiring one another so we can each achieve our greatest potential.

I got involved with Make-A-Wish NJ after seeing firsthand how they create life-changing wishes for children and teenagers with critical illnesses.

My fondest memory was attending their 35th Anniversary Gala which was also the night Make-A-Wish NJ was going to celebrating granting over 10,000 wishes by granting yet another wish to a teenager, Brandon Cooper. Brandon Cooper's wish was for a camper to enjoy the outdoors and Make-A-Wish made it happen in dramatic fashion. The camper was delivered by a Monroe Township Police Department motorcade outside The Wishing Place via a live video feed while guests witnessed Cooper rushing out to receive his new camper with his family.


Teresa Devries | Breast Cancer Survivor and Advocate

LIVING MUTUAL means being there to help someone else out.  I’m always thinking how I can connect people when they mention a need.

I first got involved with breast cancer awareness and advocacy after my sister was diagnosed, a few years before my own diagnosis in 2007. As an advocate for breast cancer, I have supported Susan G. Komen, Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition and the American Cancer Society.

I am most proud of the awareness and funds that I’ve had a hand in raising. Cancer doesn’t discriminate and we’ve all been touched by someone who’s had to fight for their life. I’ve been able to reach hundreds of people and raise thousands of dollars.


Ken Podell, CLU, ChFC | Rotary Club of Bala Cynwyd Narberth

LIVING MUTUAL is living with intention to connect and to help.  Its finding something that needs to change for the better and helping it along – because we can, and we should. LIVING MUTUAL is not accepting complacency in our selves or in others. Its recognizing that in the end it is not how much time we’re given on this earth but what we do with the time we’re am given. LIVING MUTUAL is understanding that sometimes we need to be the police officer, the physician, the lawyer, the electrician, the maid or the psychologist because those are the dues we pay for being a member of our world. 

I joined Rotary because I knew they were involved heavily in the community and had programs that were nationwide and international.  I knew that the people in the local clubs had a lot of energy and got a lot done.  And it was an organization that made being involved fun.

I love meeting with my Rotary team every other Thursday morning for breakfast, for planning our service projects and enjoying each other’s stories. The other part of our club that I love is working with the Saint Joseph’s University Rotaract Club that we sponsor. They also have great energy and really want to change the world for the better.


Nathan Shive, ChFC®, LUTCF | Community Leader and Mentor

LIVING MUTUAL means being a part of something larger than myself.  It matters very little what you do for yourself; what will matter, and what will be remembered, is what you will do for others. 

Twenty years ago, I found myself in the role of a church treasurer at the start of a building project.  I agreed to serve for a year until a permanent solution could be found; instead, I served for nine years, longer than anyone else before or since.  I then found myself leading a group of ten men, all but one of whom were older than me, as we worked through the financial, bureaucratic, operational and communication complexities of putting up a church building, which we finally achieved after eight years in the fall of 2005.  I have done other things in my life – personally and professionally – with some success, but I have never been prouder to have been a part of anything as I was to have been a part of that group.

At this stage of my life, however, what is most important is that we establish not only an example, but also create opportunities for young people to understand the importance of service, and learn how they, too, can help benefit others.  I have helped organize mission’s trips for our youth to an impoverished area of southern West Virginia the past four summers and look to do so again to western Pennsylvania in July 2019.  While we did quite a bit of good work for that needy community, the most gratifying part has been witnessing the youth – and even the adults – having their eyes opened to the needs around them and learning how they, even as teenagers, can serve others while learning important skills such as teamwork and communication.  They are all on the threshold of young adulthood, getting ready to make important decisions about college and career, and they have all come away with a greater understanding of service, with some even having made the commitment to pursue such work full-time.

My advice to others is the same I was given as a teenager – get involved in something larger than yourself.  Ideally, that involvement should go beyond just writing a check, which is far too easy.  Devote your talents and abilities to something that is important to you but will also benefit others.  Be active – not merely attending board meetings a few times a year but taking a leading role in helping to build the organization and recruiting others to join you.  It will require sacrifice, and there may be disappointments along the way, but the benefits to yourself and others will far outweigh the costs.  Finally, don’t put this off until “the time is better,” as you will always be able to find obstacles if you’re looking for them.  Start today, and you will have no regrets.

What does LIVE MUTUAL mean to you?


About MassMutual Greater Philadelphia

Pivotal life events often occur without warning. At MassMutual Greater Philadelphia, we take great pride in knowing that we have helped our neighbors, friends, families and business owners make good decisions when it comes to being financially prepared for the unexpected. We put the needs of our clients first and hold the strong belief that doing business the right way leads to long-lasting relationships with the communities we serve.

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