Speaker Bios

Donnie Atis

Senior Vice President, Partner Experience, Global Atlantic Financial Group

Donnie Atis leads Global Atlantic’s Business Relationship Management team; his organization is focused on building strong relationships with internal and external partners across all distribution channels to enhance the service experience for Global Atlantic’s Life and Annuity partners.

He joined the company in March 2017. In his prior role, Donnie spent 14 years in various leadership roles within Morgan Stanley’s Annuity and Insurance operations management team. Donnie’s first-hand experience and in-depth industry insight into the challenges faced by distributors brings enhanced value to our distribution partners. Donnie has led many industry working groups and initiatives, serving as the Operations Manager Roundtable (OMR) distributor chair in 2014, making him an ideal internal advocate for our distribution partners. He is a member of the Insured Retirement Institute’s Ops & Tech Senior Steering Committee and served as the 2022 Chair. Donnie is also a member of Global Atlantic’s Benefits Committee. Donnie has a bachelor’s in Business Management from Bloomfield College and a Series 99 FINRA registration.

Outside of work, Donnie enjoys time with his wife Lovely and their 3 kids. He is also an accomplished pianist and collector of vintage keyboard instruments.

Jessica Baehr

Women in Leadership Symposium

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Jessica Baehr

Head of Group Retirement, Equitable

Jessica Baehr is Head of Group Retirement for Equitable and a member of the Operating Committee. She is responsible for the strategy, implementation and financial results for the company’s defined contribution business, supporting the education, government and corporate markets.

Previously, Ms. Baehr served as the Head of Investor Relations for Equitable Holdings, responsible for cultivating relationships with the investment community to enhance understanding of the company’s strategy and financial results.

Since joining Equitable in 2011, Ms. Baehr has amassed broad experience across the company, including leadership positions within Finance, Equitable Investment Management, and the Strategic Initiatives Group. She also served as the Chief Operating Officer for the Life and Employee Benefits businesses, where she led strategy, new business development, and communications.

Prior to Equitable, Ms. Baehr started her career in the non-profit sector working in higher education and international development.

Ms. Baehr earned a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies with a focus on Russian and Eastern European Studies and an MBA from Fairfield University.

Adrienne Bennett

Associate General Counsel, Edward Jones

Adrienne Bennett currently serves as Associate General Counsel at Edward Jones supporting the Insurance and Annuity business.

Adrienne has extensive insurance experience and expertise, having spent over 15 years in the insurance industry prior to joining Edward Jones, including 10 years as the Chief Compliance Officer at Kemper Insurance’s Home Service Companies.

Jason Berkowitz

Closing Remarks

Friday, March 17, 2023, 2023

Jason Berkowitz

Chief Legal & Regulatory Affairs Officer, Insured Retirement Institute

As Chief Legal & Regulatory Affairs Officer at the Insured Retirement Institute, Jason Berkowitz provides leadership and support for IRI member company priorities before federal and state policymakers, including the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the Department of Labor (DOL), the state insurance and securities departments, and state legislatures.

Berkowitz leads industry efforts on major regulatory initiatives applicable to the lifetime income industry and is the primary author of IRI’s comment letters regarding various regulatory proposals. He led IRI’s engagement with respect to the DOL fiduciary rule, and he remains at the forefront of IRI’s engagement on standard of conduct activities at the SEC, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), and across the states.

Berkowitz joined IRI in October 2012, serving as the association’s Vice President & Counsel for Regulatory Affairs until March 2019, when he was promoted into his current role. Berkowitz started his career as a corporate attorney at two prominent national law firms before transitioning into government affairs for the Hartford Life Insurance Company.

Christina Brady

Opening Remarks

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Christina Brady

Chief Operating Officer, Insured Retirement Institute

Christina is Chief Operating Officer of the Insured Retirement Institute. With more than 15 years of experience managing membership-driven businesses, she is passionate about bringing strategy to life, delivering outsized value to customers, and building unparalleled workplace culture. At IRI, Christina oversees the organization’s strategy, finance, operations, IT, HR, communications, and research functions.

Prior to joining IRI in 2020, Christina served as chief of staff to the CEO and managing director of operations for the Advisory Board Company, a 500-person research organization within Optum and under the banner of UnitedHealth Group (UHG). In this role, she led operations for a business focused on research, market trends, and best practice sharing in the health care industry. An expert in operational outcomes and strategy setting, the organization achieved record profit margins, launched several new product lines, and laid the groundwork for a multiphase strategy pivot under Christina’s leadership.

Prior to her years in operations and strategy, Christina worked in research roles, exploring how U.S. hospitals and health systems can implement best practices to advance their organizational goals. During this time, Christina worked in and led several custom research teams in addition to facilitating research on health system strategic planning. At IRI, Christina has continued to build on these skills and experiences. Her passion for aligning organizational strategy to maximize member value and her laser-focus on the organization’s mission ensures IRI pivots where members most need support, while her background in research has been instrumental in expanding IRI’s content partnerships.

Suzanne Brazeal

President, SPARK, IPS

Suzanne Brazeal, previously SVP of VERTEX, Incorporated, is now President of SPARK IPS, a professional services organization located in Manchester, CT and employs industry experts who are dedicated to advancing the sales, maintenance and distribution of Life and Annuity insurance product.

Ms. Brazeal has almost 30 years of Financial Services experience working directly with insurance carriers, distributors, and the technology vendors who support them. Suzanne is best known for her work in advancing the Annuity sales/distribution channels by working within an elite group of industry experts that developed the electronic processing formats related to the distribution of the Annuity contract. Her years of dedication to this business has afforded her the ability to help more than 30 insurance carriers embrace, implement and maintain Industry-standard work products such as DTCC IPS; Hexure, iPipeline & Ebix’s Order Entry Platforms (iGo, Affirm, AnnuityNet, AN4, AMP, Firelight); ACORD transactions including the PPfA/DP, IFT; and IRI STP processes. While working for VERTEX, Suzanne developed, marketed, and distributed their flagship PPfA tool, VTXml.

Ms. Brazeal positions her clients to adopt straight-through processing and her role at SPARK IPS enables her to raise awareness of the importance of data standards within this technologically advanced environment. Ms. Brazeal actively participates in the ACORD, DTCC and IRI working groups.

Sharon Brock

Women in Leadership Symposium

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Sharon Brock

Board of Directors, Symetra

Ms. Brock is an accomplished finance leader with over 35 years of insurance industry experience. She was appointed an outside director to Symetra’s Board of Directors in March of 2022. With a background in strategic financial planning, board operations, taxation, financial and accounting matters and insurance risk management, Ms. Brock brings a diverse and unique set of skills to corporate Boards and beneficial insight to Audit Committees, which contributes to thoughtful board governance and respectful partnering with executive management.

Ms. Brock served as a key member of an executive leadership team by bringing a unique tax perspective to the business of insurance. She retired as Executive Vice President and Co-Chief Financial Officer of Tokio Marine HCC in April 2021, having served in the role since 2018. In her role as Co-Chief Financial Officer, Ms. Brock lead Tokio Marine HCC’s finance operations and strategy and served as the primary finance liaison between the company and its board of directors, the audit committee, the investment and finance committee and S&P, AM Best and Fitch rating agencies.

Ms. Brock joined Tokio Marine HCC in 2004 as Vice President and Tax Director. She was promoted to Senior Vice President and Tax Director in 2014 and worked closely with the CEO and CFO structuring the tax efficient mergers and acquisitions of several Tokio Marine HCC subsidiaries and lines of business. Ms. Brock played a principal role and was instrumental in consulting on the tax implications of Tokio Marine Holdings, Inc.’s successful $7.5 billion acquisition of HCC Insurance Holdings, Inc. in 2015.

Prior to joining Tokio Marine HCC, Ms. Brock served 18 years with AIG American General, most recently as Tax Director, and led the areas of federal and state income tax planning, tax structuring of mergers and acquisitions, IRS audit and tax resolution, and taxation of executive compensation.

Ms. Brock is a Certified Public Accountant and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. She holds and Executive MBA from the University of Houston, CT Bauer College of Business and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Xavier University of Louisiana.

Leonard Brody


Award Winning Techno-Economist, Entrepreneur, Venture Capitalist, and Innovation Expert

Regarded as one of the “top 30 management thinkers in the world” and “a controversial leader of the new world order,” Leonard Brody is an award-winning techno-economist, entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and two-time Emmy-nominated media visionary. He has played a key role in raising hundreds of millions of dollars in capital for startup companies, been through one of the largest IPOs in history, and has been involved in the founding and successful exit of numerous companies to date.

Exclusively represented by Leading Authorities speakers bureau, Brody is the person behind the scenes and in front of the trends when it comes to innovation, technology, and the future of things. Drawing from his work as a creator in the future tech space, he leads a gripping discussion on “The Great ReWrite,” the confluence of events that have ignited the massive cultural and technological shifts driving the current disruption in business and the world. In his talks, Brody provides future-focused insights for organizations to stay relevant, thrive, and rewrite their worlds in the post-innovation era. He possesses expert-level understanding of various industries, including finance, real estate, tech, media, and consumer goods, and has advised clients ranging from tech giants, high-powered entrepreneurs, and the British Royal Family.

Brody is the co-founder and executive chairman of Caravan, a joint venture with the Los Angeles-based Creative Artists Agency (CAA), where he oversees the building of new ventures for some of the most well-known celebrities and political leaders in the world, including Carrie Underwood, Tom Hanks, and Joe Biden. He is also one of the proud owners of the professional soccer team Coventry City in England.

Previously, Brody was the president of the Innovation and Digital Group for Anschutz Corporation, one of the largest live sports and entertainment businesses in the world. The company is one of the premiere concert promotion businesses in the world and owns assets such as the O2 Arena in London and the Crypto.com Arena (formerly the Staples Center), as well as the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Galaxy, and Los Angeles Kings sports teams. Before that, he was a co-founder and CEO of NowPublic.com, a media company that was later sold to Anschutz.

Brody’s insights on macroeconomic tech trends and where the world is headed have been featured in leading publications, including Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and BBC. He is the co-author of the best-selling books, Innovation Nation: Canadian Leadership from Jurassic Park to Java and Everything I Needed to Know About Business … I Learned from a Canadian, both published by Wiley and Sons. Brody’s latest book, in partnership with Forbes, is called The Great ReWrite and is based on the successful documentary he and Forbes co-produced that has garnered more than four million views.

Brody holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts from Queens University, a law degree from Osgoode Hall and is a graduate of the Private Equity Program at the Harvard Business School.

Tyler Brown

State Regulatory Priorities for 2023

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Tyler Brown


Director of Government Affairs, Legal, Sammons Financial Group

Tyler Brown is the Director of Government Affairs at Sammons Financial Group. He is responsible for communications with regulators and legislators, the development of government affairs strategy, and outreach with trade groups on issues important to the company.

Tyler joined Sammons Financial Group in June 2021 following six years in the Washington, D.C. office of Senator Joni Ernst (R – Iowa), where he served as the Senator’s economic policy advisor. Tyler is a graduate of Saint John’s University in Minnesota and lives in West Des Moines, Iowa.

Phillip Brzenk

Emerging Product Trends

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Phillip Brzenk

CFA, Head of Multi-Asset Indices, S&P Dow Jones Indices

Phillip Brzenk is Head of Multi-Asset Indices at S&P Dow Jones Indices (S&P DJI). His team is responsible for the product management of multi-asset and option indices, which cover a variety of outcome-oriented index solutions including managed volatility, retirement, dynamic allocation, inflation hedging, sustainability, and absolute return.

Prior to his current role, Phillip was a Senior Director in the Strategy Indices team, where he was responsible for product coverage of alternate beta strategies, including factor-based indices, dividends, and volatility, as well as quantitative, thematic, and asset-allocation strategies. Phillip has held various roles in other departments at S&P DJI including research and design, strategy index management, custom, and development.

Phillip is a CFA charterholder and a member of the CFA Society New York. He has a bachelor’s degree in management with a concentration in finance from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Phillip is currently a member of the Investment Committee at the Plan Sponsor Council of America.

Mariann Carson

Vice President, Service & Operations, Raymond James Insurance Solutions

Mariann Carson is Vice President of Service and Operations for Raymond James Insurance Group. In this role Mariann leads teams that are responsible for annuity and insurance operations which include annuity new business, order entry, licensing, commissions and DTCC positions.

Mariann has over 35 years’ experience in Insurance and Annuity operations and sales. In her 35 years with Raymond James she has held a variety of positions related to the insurance and annuity business as well as the Vice President of Educational Savings Product Management.

Mariann holds her Series 7, Florida Life, Health, & Variable Annuity License along with the FLMI designation from LOMA.

Wayne Chopus

Welcoming Remarks

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

CEO Fireside Chat

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Wayne Chopus


President & CEO, Insured Retirement Institute

Wayne Chopus is President and CEO of the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI), the leading association for the entire supply chain of insured retirement strategies. The association champions retirement security for all through leadership in advocacy, awareness, research, the advancement of digital solutions, and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within a collaborative industry community.

Upon joining IRI in 2019, Chopus initiated a reorganization to amplify the association’s longstanding strengths and position it to take on new challenges. Under his leadership, IRI has advanced several critical advocacy objectives, including two major retirement security laws and a significant consumer protection regulation for financial advice professionals.

Under his leadership, IRI also added a new strategic pillar for DEI and a unique initiative to advance digital solutions across the annuity transaction process. Chopus revised IRI’s conference and events strategy to improve member engagement and focused IRI’s research and media communications efforts to extend the association’s reach and thought leadership.

Since Chopus joined IRI, professional organizations have recognized the association’s advocacy and marketing efforts, and Chopus was named a “Top Lobbyist” by The Hill, a notable and respected Washington, D.C. periodical.

Chopus is a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Committee of 100 and a board member of Capital Area Asset Builders, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping low- and moderate-income individuals build financial security, savings, and wealth for the future.

Before IRI, Chopus rose to be a respected retirement income industry executive over nearly three decades with Prudential Financial and The Hartford, two of the nation’s major life insurance companies. He held executive leadership positions in sales, strategy, and business intelligence. He employed this experience to lead teams using data and technology to drive new business opportunities. He is widely recognized for his expertise in annuity product distribution and broker-dealer engagement.

Chopus lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, Caroline, and daughters, Lily and Hannah.

Ellen Cooper

CEO Fireside Chat

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Ellen Cooper

President & CEO, Lincoln Financial Group

Ellen G. Cooper is president and chief executive officer of Lincoln Financial Group. She serves as a director on the Lincoln National Corporation Board. She is also president and serves on the board of the principal insurance subsidiaries of Lincoln Financial Group.

Prior to her current role, Cooper was executive vice president, chief investment officer, head of enterprise risk and annuity solutions at Lincoln. She joined the organization in 2012 and was instrumental in developing and executing on Lincoln’s general and separate account investment strategy, overseeing more than $300 billion in assets and managing the Corporation’s industry-leading hedge program.

Before joining Lincoln, Cooper served as managing director and global head of insurance strategy for Goldman Sachs Asset Management. Earlier in her career, she was the chief risk officer for AEGON Americas. She also served as a principal at Ernst & Young LLP and in an insurance consulting role at Towers Perrin.

Cooper currently serves on the board of the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI). She has also served on the board of the Lincoln Financial Foundation and as the chairperson of the Lincoln Variable Insurance Products (LVIP) Trust board. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Actuarial Science from Temple University, as well as CERA, CFA and FSA designations.

Katherine Dease


Chief Technology & Innovation Officer, Insured Retirement Institute

Katherine Dease is the Chief Innovation and Technology Officer for Insured Retirement Institute. She is responsible for driving the industry forward to achieve the goals set by the CEO, the board, and the member firms. She oversees all aspects of the operations and technology innovation initiatives and works cross-functionally with all divisions of IRI and the member firms to collaboratively ensure the execution of goals and priorities.

Katherine holds more than 21 years of product development, product management, and business development experience within the financial services industry. Katherine has published many papers to advance the industry, posts regularly on LinkedIn, and has spoken as a thought leader at IRI, NAILBA, ACORD, and many other industry conferences.

Before joining IRI, Katherine held leadership positions at Insurance Technologies, including Chief Product Officer, Head of Product, and Head of Market Intelligence; positions as Chief Compliance Officer, VP of Product Management & Integrations at Communications Intelligence Corp; and Senior Director of Product Development at Ebix.

Katherine graduated with honors and holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Birmingham Southern College.

Cheri DeBoer-Stinson

Director, Cooperative Technologies

As a Replacement Automation Evangelist, Cheri helps industry partners with replacement automation initiative adoption strategies. Since 2005 she has been actively engaged in numerous industry workgroups and initiatives, with a focus on replacement automation. For five year she chaired / co-chaired the IRI Replacement Automation Working Group, which vetted and delivered industry initiatives that automate and streamline annuity replacements. Additionally, Cheri has written several articles and been a speaker and discussion leader on insurance industry replacement processing.

Cheri oversees business development, client relationship management, and product operations for Cooperative Technologies (CT). CT is the premier provider of exchange / replacement solutions, including the 1035YellowPages Ceding Carrier Database.

Esfand Dinshaw

CEO Fireside Chat

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Esfand Dinshaw

Chairman & CEO, Sammons Financial Group

Esfand Dinshaw is president of Sammons Enterprises, Inc., and serves on the Sammons Enterprises, Inc. Board of Directors and Executive Committee. Esfand is also Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sammons Financial Group. As president of Sammons Enterprises, Inc. and a member of the Executive Committee, Esfand is responsible for the strategy, growth, capital allocation, and oversight for all insurance and non-insurance businesses. In his role as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sammons Financial Group, Esfand develops the strategic direction for the insurance organization and turns that vision into a clear path for business units to follow. Since joining Sammons Financial Group in 1999, Esfand has held several roles. He has nearly 40 years of experience in the insurance industry. In addition to his positions at Sammons Enterprises, Inc. and Sammons Financial Group, Esfand serves as a board member of the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) and is a past Chairman of the Board of Directors for LL Global (LIMRA and LOMA), both insurance-related organizations. He is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries and a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries.

Mike Eustic

Head of Insurance, Invesco

Michael Eustic is the Head of Insurance at Invesco. In this role, he leads the firm’s product innovation and distribution strategies for Insurance and Annuity investment solutions. Mr. Eustic has led the way in diversifying the solutions offered by Invesco to include Indexes for RILA and FIA products. He has also maintained a focus on the development of VI Funds for use in traditional Variable Annuity products. Most recently, this included the launch of the Invesco Defined Outcome Funds, a series of buffered VITs. As Head of Third Party distribution Mr. Eustic manages a dedicated team of full-time insurance sales professionals. His team works with executives, senior leaders, analysts, field sales, and key home office personnel, sharing insights, research, strategies, and tools to help clients meet their investment and distribution goals.

Mr. Eustic joined Invesco when the firm combined with OppenheimerFunds in 2019. His role at OppenheimerFunds included head of insurance/sub-advisory sales and national accounts. Prior to joining OppenheimerFunds, he was director of sub-advisory and retirement for Lord Abbett and before that, he spent 13 years with AllianceBernstein, serving as director of sub-advisory business development. Earlier in his career, Mr. Eustic was a financial advisor for UBS (PaineWebber) in New York City. In the industry since 1995, Mr. Eustic has experience as an advisor, wholesaler, relationship manager, national sales manager, and head of insurance. Through this broad experience, he offers his clients a unique perspective and range of knowledge.

Mr. Eustic earned a BS degree in business administration with a major in finance from the University of Rhode Island. He holds the Series 3, 7, 24, 51, and 63 registrations, as well as a New Jersey Life Insurance License.

Dev Ganguly


Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, Jackson National Life Insurance Company & IRI Board of Directors

Dev Ganguly is executive vice president, chief operating officer of Jackson Financial Inc. (“Jackson”). In this role, he has strategic oversight of Jackson’s operations, enterprise technology, digital, data and information security functions. He also serves as an executive sponsor of the company’s diversity and inclusion program as well as chair of the company’s Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) working group.

Dev previously served as chief information officer at Jackson, a role he held from July 2018 until assuming his present role in February 2021. In this position, he directed all aspects of application development, infrastructure engineering, IT service management and enterprise architecture. He also led the company’s digital transformation and was responsible for its overall technology strategy. Previously, Dev served as vice president of Jackson’s Systems Innovation Group since 2013 and, before that, he held a variety of roles in the IT group, including director and assistant vice president.

Dev joined Jackson in April 2000 from global software firm Infosys®, where he was responsible for leading major technical initiatives for Nordstrom, one of the company’s top retail clients. He earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering, electronics and power from Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology in India. Dev currently serves on the boards of the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) and Junior Achievement of Mid-Michigan.

Zoe Gruber

Assistant Vice President, ESG & Governmental Affairs, Security Benefit

Zoe Gruber serves as Assistant Vice President, ESG and Governmental Affairs for SECURITY BENEFIT LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY. With the Company since 2016, she serves as co-chair of the ESG Working Group, partnering closely with senior leadership and internal and external stakeholders, to monitor rapidly changing legal and regulatory requirements, provide recommendations and ensure the Company is well positioned to move forward with continued development of its ESG program and meet stakeholder expectations. She also leads the Governmental Affairs team, monitoring and disseminating information on legal and regulatory issues at the state and federal levels, and works with other internal stakeholders to ensure associates receive information and key training on cybersecurity and ethics issues. She previously worked for the State of Kansas leading workforce development efforts and has been instrumental in the development and continued management and implementation of the Financial Services Leadership Program/ Kansas Insurance Certificate for the Kansas Insurance & Financial Services Education Foundation. Zoe received her Bachelor of Science in Law and Juris Doctor from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego.

Rona Guymon

Senior Vice President, Annuity Distribution, Nationwide

Rona Guymon is SVP, Annuity Distribution for Nationwide Annuities. In this role, she is responsible for distributing commission-based and fee-based annuities across all channels, including broker/dealers, wires, banks, IMOs, registered investment advisors, technology platforms and other partners. Rona is a seasoned executive in the financial services industry, committed to creating greater value for financial professionals and their practice. Rona is also the Executive Sponsor of the Nationwide Pride ARG at the Scottsdale campus.

Rona was previously the Vice President of Brokerage Annuity Distribution. In this role she was charged with leading a group of 100 wholesalers, managers and home office team members in the strategic initiatives required to meet Nationwide’s distribution goals.

Before joining Nationwide, Rona was with Protective Life in the role of VP Business Development, where she led a team of National Account Managers whose focus was on building successful distributor relationships in order to broaden Protective’s Annuity Distribution footprint nationwide. In her thirteen years with Protective, Rona also held responsibilities as a National Sales Manager, Divisional Sales Manager and a Regional Wholesaler with Protective.

Rona has over 24 years’ experience in the financial services field, including 14 years as a financial services wholesaler. Her experience includes wholesaling mutual funds, annuities, and life insurance. She holds the Certified Retirement Counselor designation and is also Series 7, 63, 24, Variable Life & Annuity, and Arizona Life Insurance licensed.

Rona graduated Valedictorian from her high school in Phoenix, AZ and then went on to graduate Cum Laude from Vanderbilt University with a Bachelor’s degree of Musical Arts.

Rona maintains a very active lifestyle that includes playing drums in a local rock band and while she’s retired from playing on a competitive women’s softball team that traveled the country playing tournaments, she has become more focused on golf. Recently, Rona has accepted a position on the board of St. Mary’s Food Bank in Phoenix to help fight food insecurity. Rona resides in Phoenix, AZ with her spouse of 19 years and their dogs Bert and Ernie.

Tina Haley

Emerging Product Trends

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Tina Haley

Senior Vice President & Head of Product, Corebridge Financial

Tina currently serves as Sr Vice President & Head of Product for the Individual Annuities business at Corebridge Financial (formerly AIG Life & Retirement). She is responsible for the management of the company’s currently sold and in-force book of individual annuity products. Her span of accountability includes innovation and new product development, implementation of new product and she leads several sales support functions (advanced markets, illustrations, competitive intelligence). Tina has an in-depth knowledge of the annuity business and is actively engaged in mentoring colleagues, supporting D, E & I communities and serving in her local home and church communities. She is a recent graduate of the AIG’s Women’s Executive Leadership Initiative and is a champion for learning and development at Corebridge and beyond. She and her husband Mark reside in El Segundo, California and have two adult children.

Issa Hanna

Partner, Eversheds Sutherland

Issa Hanna assists broker-dealers, investment advisers, investment funds, insurance companies and insurance distributors in navigating the regulatory requirements applicable
to their businesses.

Issa’s experience includes guiding clients through registration and compliance issues and representing them before federal and state regulators and self-regulatory organizations. He also has deep experience counseling and advising clients on the evolving standards of conduct in the financial services space, and closely follows developments relating to SEC
Regulation Best Interest, the investment adviser fiduciary duty, and state securities and insurance laws imposing standards of conduct on broker-dealers, investment advisers and
insurance distributors.

Issa frequently helps clients develop, revise and update policies and procedures, distribution and service agreements and disclosures to reflect the impact of new rules, regulations and interpretations.

He also counsels clients through regulatory issues arising out of transactions they engage in, such as obtaining regulatory approvals of transactions, obtaining end-client consents, and assessing the regulatory risks associated with proposed transactions.

In addition to his client work at Eversheds Sutherland, Issa is actively involved in the firm’s Pro Bono, Diversity and Professional Development Committees. He is also a frequent
speaker with respect to current regulatory issues and has been published in a number of industry publications and treatises.

Scott Hawkins

Managing Director & Head of Insurance Research, Conning

Scott Hawkins is a Managing Director and Head of Research for Conning Insurance Research. Mr. Hawkins has over 35 years of experience in the insurance industry. Prior to joining Conning in 2006, he was Senior Research Fellow for Networks Financial Institute at Indiana State University, where he focused on developing the Institute’s strategic research agenda. Before that, he spent 16 years with Skandia Insurance Group in the US and Sweden as an analyst and senior researcher advising the Group CEO about emerging strategic issues impacting financial services, as well as managing Skandia’s research projects with the European Commission.

Inky Johnson

Embracing Change

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Inky Johnson


Motivation expert, author, and mentor

Husband, father, collegiate athlete, entrepreneur and author, Inky Johnson is one of the most highly sought after speakers in the world. For over a decade, executives, professional sports teams, business owners and people all over have benefited from the raw energy of his thought provoking and inspirational presentations. Whether the topic is leadership, teamwork, excelling in the midst of adversity, embracing change, mental agility or perseverance, Inky’s message is effective and efficient.

Inky’s gift of being an effective communicator has allowed him to crossover into different industries. He is a leader called upon by leaders. A partial list of his clients include Chick-fil-A, Dell Technologies, Aflac Insurance, Cooks Pest Control, State Farm, AT&T, Comcast, Coca Cola, Bank of America, Stryker, The University of Tennessee, The University Of Alabama, The University of Texas, The University of Oregon. UCLA, Clemson University, Orlando Magic, New York Knicks, Minnesota Timberwolves, The New England Patriots, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Los Angeles Rams, New York Knicks, Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves.

Inky earned his Master’s Degree in Sports Psychology from The University of Tennessee. He was a three year letterman and two year Captain on the Football team, where he started as a cornerback. In his junior year he was projected as a top thirty draft pick. Unfortunately, on September 9th, 2006, he sustained a life threatening, career ending injury that paralyzed his right arm and hand. From that day to present day Inky has had a burning desire to use his situation and experiences to add value to people’s lives.

Inky’s words have resonated all over the world — “The one thing we all have in common is that we will encounter adversity, but we have to decide how we respond to it. My arm and my hand are paralyzed but my heart isn’t, my mind isn’t, my dedication isn’t, my work ethic isn’t, my commitment isn’t.” Inky is on a mission to serve and is someone that takes tremendous pride in what he does.

Inky is the host of “Serendipity with Inky Johnson Podcast.” He devotes time to mentoring athletes and underprivileged youth and is one of the founders of The Inky and Allison Johnson Foundation. Inky and his wife, Allison, live in Atlanta, Georgia with their two children, Jada and Inky Jr.

Andrew Jorg

Emerging Product Trends

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Andrew Jorg


Head of Key Accounts & National Sales Manager, Retail Insurance, Goldman Sachs

A.J. is a Vice President, Head of Key Accounts & National Sales Manager for Goldman Sachs Asset Management’s Retail Insurance team. In his current role, A.J. is responsible for providing investment knowledge, thought leadership, practice management solutions and other value-added resources to our variable insurance partners and their clients, while overseeing the team of five Regional Sales Directors & Key Account managers. Prior to joining Goldman Sachs in 2014, he spent nearly eight years at Jackson National Life Distributors in various roles and most recently as a Regional Vice President based in Los Angeles, CA. . He graduated with a B.A. Business Administration from the University of Puget Sound and is a Certified Investment Management Consultant®. A.J. and his wife reside in Colorado Springs with their son Cooper and their daughter Peyton.

Heidi Kaiser

Vice President, Chief Compliance Officer, Jackson National Life Insurance Company

Heidi Kaiser is vice president, chief compliance officer and counsel for Jackson and chief compliance officer for Jackson National Life Distributors LLC (JNLD), Jackson’s marketing and distribution arm. Heidi leads the teams responsible for designing, implementing and monitoring insurance and broker‐dealer compliance requirements and for managing regulatory affairs.

Prior to joining Jackson, which recently became an independent, publicly traded company, Heidi was co‐general counsel and chief compliance officer for a global, quantitative asset manager in Baltimore. She was a member of the firm’s four‐person executive committee and oversaw the legal, compliance and audit functions. Before working at Campbell, Heidi handled legal and regulatory matters for the private wealth management division of a large foreign bank and represented the firm and employees in litigation and arbitration.

Heidi holds a Bachelor of Science from Ohio University and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Baltimore School of Law. She is a member of the Maryland State Bar Association and holds FINRA Series 7 and 24 licenses.

Chin Kim


Assistant Vice President, Retail Compliance, Pacific Life

Chin Kim is Assistance Vice President, Retail Compliance for Pacific Life. In his role, he supports the retail business (both annuity and life insurance) focusing on sales, distribution, and marketing matters. He joined Pacific Life in 1998 and has held numerous leadership roles in sales & marketing before joining the compliance team in 2019.

He lives in Southern California with his wife and four kids. In his spare time, he enjoys playing & watching soccer and learning new things.

Carter Lawrence

State Regulatory Priorities for 2023

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Carter Lawrence

Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance

Carter Lawrence serves as the Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance and the State Fire Marshal. Before his appointment to Governor Lee’s cabinet, Lawrence served in a variety of roles in the Department, including Chief Deputy Commissioner, Chief Operating Officer, and Assistant Commissioner. He has spearheaded initiatives to lower fees on licensed professionals, increase customer service through better tools for customers, and has advocated for the removal of overly burdensome regulations.

As Tennessee’s Commissioner of Commerce and Insurance and State Fire Marshal, Lawrence is responsible for the divisions of insurance, fire prevention, regulatory boards – including twenty-six regulatory entities, TennCare Oversight, Tennessee Law Enforcement Training Academy, Tennessee Police Officer Standards and Training Commission, and the administratively attached Tennessee Emergency Communications Board.

In 2020, the department collected approximately $1.25 billion in fees and premium taxes which go to the state’s general fund.

On behalf of the Governor’s administration, Commissioner Lawrence has served on several initiatives including: the Tennessee Economic Recovery Group, Law Enforcement Training Advisory Council, and the historic economic development announcement of Ford Motor Company’s Blue Oval City.

Lawrence is an attorney who studied law at the University of Tennessee, where he also obtained a Master of Business Administration. For undergraduate studies, he obtained a Bachelor of Arts from Wheaton College in Illinois. Lawrence is a Nashville-area native. He and his wife, Amy, are the proud parents of three children and attend Nashville’s Church of the Redeemer.

Lawrence remains focused on leading Commerce and Insurance to protect Tennesseans through balanced oversight of insurance and regulated professions while enhancing consumer advocacy, education, and public safety.

David Lau

Emerging Product Trends

Thursday, March 16, 2023

David Lau

Founder & CEO, DPL Financial Partners

David Lau is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of DPL Financial Partners, a firm focused on the distribution of financial products geared toward the Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) and fee-based advisory channels. Prior to founding DPL in 2014, David served as COO and architect of Jefferson National, a leading insurance carrier focused on RIAs and fee-based advisors. Earlier in his career, David helped build E*Trade Bank, and its predecessor Telebank, which was the nation’s first internet bank.

Bill Lowe

President, Sammons Institutional Group & IRI Board of Directors

Bill is President of Sammons Institutional GroupSM, Inc. (SIG), a member company of Sammons Financial Group. SIG provides individual retirement solutions to financial professionals in banks and broker/dealers through its wholesale divisions, Sammons Retirement Solutions® and Midland Retirement DistributorsSM. Prior to joining Sammons Financial Group in 2011, Bill spent 17 years at ING in a variety of leadership roles. In his over 35 years in the financial services industry, Bill has managed a broker/dealer, run 401(k), IRA, and annuity businesses, and has a successful track record creating and distributing 401(k)s, variable annuities, fixed annuities, life insurance, mutual fund products, and managed accounts.

Bill has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Computer Science from Doane University. He has participated in executive programs at Dartmouth and the University of Chicago, and completed the CEDEP General Management Program at Insead in Fountainebleu, France. He is a General Securities Principal, Investment Advisory Representative, Chartered Life Underwriter, Chartered Financial Consultant, and Fellow of the Life Management Institute. He is currently on the boards of the Insured Retirement Institute in Washington, D.C. and Meals from the Heartland in West Des Moines, Iowa.

Kristen Malinconico

Director, Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Kristen Malinconico is a Director for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness. She leads the Center’s portfolios for asset management, derivatives, and fiduciary issues.

Kristen joined the U.S. Chamber from Grant Thornton LLP, where she was a Director for Public Policy & Governmental Affairs. At Grant Thornton, she was responsible for directing federal legislative campaigns focused on capital formation and tax initiatives. Preceding her work at Grant Thornton, Kristen specialized in bond underwriting and credit assessment for universities and not-for-profit institutions at Lehman Brothers. She also worked for an international consulting firm developing business strategies for start-up technology companies.

Kristen earned a Master of Arts degree in International Relations from The Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Vassar College.

Greg Masucci

Trends in Annuity Distribution

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Greg Masucci

Senior Vice President, Strategic Relationships, Jackson National Life Insurance Company

Greg Masucci is senior vice president of strategic relationships at Jackson National Life Distributors LLC (JNLD), the marketing and distribution arm of Jackson National Life Insurance Company® (Jackson®). In his role, he is responsible for leading Jackson’s national accounts group, which serves as the liaison for the company’s distribution partners and third-party asset managers across the country.

Prior to joining Jackson in March 2018, Greg served as executive director of the global strategic relationships department at J.P. Morgan Asset Management. He held various roles during his tenure there, including leading the national accounts teams for both the wealth management and institutional advisor channels and managing strategic partnerships within the independent and regional broker-dealer channels. Prior to joining J.P. Morgan in 2011, Greg was senior vice president and head of strategic relationships at Genworth Financial, where he managed distribution relationships across the company’s retirement and protection division. Before joining Genworth, Greg worked with Merrill Lynch for 12 years in various distribution leadership roles across both Global Wealth Management and Global Bank Group divisions.

Greg holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Jacksonville University. He is a Certified Investment Management Analyst and holds FINRA Series 7, 24 and 63 registrations. Greg currently serves on the board of directors for Habitat for Humanity in Tennessee’s Williamson and Maury counties.

Beth Maziad

Senior Vice President of Insurance Solutions, Raymond James

Beth Maziad is Senior Vice President of Insurance Solutions within the Raymond James Global Wealth Solutions division. Insurance Solutions encompasses insurance and annuities for both Raymond James owned insurance agencies— Producers Choice Network and Raymond James Insurance Group. In her role, Beth oversees operations for the two divisions to ensure our advisors, agents and clients receive world class support. Her responsibilities include partnering with Raymond James technology to maintain our industry leading efforts in the insurance and annuity space. Raymond James Insurance Group provides the back-office support for insurance and annuity products for over 8,500 financial advisors affiliated with Raymond James & Associates, Inc. and Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. Producers Choice Network is a wholesaler of certain fixed and index annuities and life insurance products both within Raymond James and also for our outside broker/dealer, bank, RIA and independent agent relationships.

Beth’s almost 40 years in the industry have all been with Raymond James. Beth is insurance licensed in the state of Florida and holds FINRA Series 7 and 26 registrations. She is a LOMA Fellow, Life Management Institute (FLMI), Associate in Insurance Agency Administration (AIAA), Insurance Regulatory Compliance (AIRC) and Customer Service (ACS). In addition, she is an active participant in various insurance industry groups including IRI’s Operations & Technology Committee and its Senior Steering Committee, DTCC’s Senior Advisory Board and Data Strategy Council, and the Life Operations Managers Roundtable. Her mission is to get us to a full automated process where we are transmitting the data needed to effect annuity and insurance transactions without the proliferation of forms used today.

Christopher Nikolich

Trends in Annuity Distribution

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Chris Nikolich

Head of Glide Path Strategies (US), Multi-Asset Strategies, AllianceBernstein

Christopher Nikolich joined AllianceBernstein in 1994 and is the Head of Glide Path Strategies (US) in the Multi-Asset Solutions group, leading the research efforts relating to effective target-date and lifetime income fund construction. Nikolich also works closely with clients in the structuring and management of their customized target-date and lifetime income funds. He was previously a DC senior investment director, a Blend Strategies senior portfolio manager based in both NY and London and a portfolio manager in the Index Strategies Group. He holds a BA in finance from Rider University, an MBA in finance from New York University, is the Vice-Chair of the Investment Subcommittee of Rider University and a member of the Executive Committee of the Defined Contribution Institutional Investment Association (DCIIA). Location: New York.

Suzanne Norman

Trends in Annuity Distribution

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Suzanne Norman


CIMA, CPCC, Education Fellow, The Alliance for Lifetime Income and Retirement Income Institute

Christopher Nikolich joined AllianceBernstein in 1994 and is the Head of Glide Path Strategies (US) in the Multi-Asset Solutions group, leading the research efforts relating to effective target-date and lifetime income fund construction. Nikolich also works closely with clients in the structuring and management of their customized target-date and lifetime income funds. He was previously a DC senior investment director, a Blend Strategies senior portfolio manager based in both NY and London and a portfolio manager in the Index Strategies Group. He holds a BA in finance from Rider University, an MBA in finance from New York University, is the Vice-Chair of the Investment Subcommittee of Rider University and a member of the Executive Committee of the Defined Contribution Institutional Investment Association (DCIIA). Location: New York.

Frank O’Connor


Vice President, Research, Insured Retirement Institute

Frank is Vice President of Research at IRI. Prior to joining IRI, Frank was a product manager for Asset Manager Annuity Solutions at Morningstar, Inc., and held various positions at Morningstar since joining the firm with Morningstar’s 2005 acquisition of VARDS, including leading development of the Variable Annuity Database and the Morningstar Annuity Research Center/Annuity Analyzer tool suite, and product management roles in Morningstar’s Licensed Data and Data Redistributor business lines.

Prior to joining VARDS and Morningstar, Frank worked in insurance based executive benefits consulting from 1997 to 2001.

Frank holds an MBA with Finance Concentration from The John H. Sykes College of Business at the University of Tampa and a BA in International Relations from the University of South Florida. Frank resides in Roswell, GA with his wife Allison and children Ryan and Sarah and is an avid runner and Peloton addict.

Anna Palmer

Inside Politics

Friday, March 17, 2023, 2023

Anna Palmer


Founder & CEO of Punchbowl News, Best-Selling Author, and Former Co-Author of POLITICO Playbook

Anna Palmer is a New York Timesbest-selling author who has been writing about congressional leadership, the lobbying industry, presidential campaigns, and the politics of governing for more than 15 years. She is the co-founder and CEO of Punchbowl News, a news community focused on power, people, and politics in Washington. Named after the Secret Service’s nickname for the Capitol, the company covers the congressional leadership and the White House, and tracks the industries and companies trying to influence them.

From 2016 to 2020, Palmer was the co-author, along with Jake Sherman, of the top-rated POLITICO Playbook franchise, where they chronicled President Donald Trump’s first term and his relationship with top Congressional leaders. Under their leadership, the platform more than doubled in revenue and tripled its readership. They also created a widely acclaimed daily podcast, afternoon newsletter and event series where they interviewed top political and business leaders across the country about pressing issues of the day. Palmer joined POLITICO in 2011 and was its senior Washington correspondent. She also led Women Rule, a nation-leading platform aimed at expanding leadership opportunities for women and hosted the critically acclaimed Women Rule podcast.

In speeches, Palmer offers a candid analysis filled with colorful anecdotes about what’s driving politics and policy inside the nation’s capital. She has a unique perspective that comes from more than a decade of covering Congress, political campaigns, the White House and working in the Washington press corp. With incomparable access to the highest offices in Washington, Palmer is an expert on the policies, players, and personalities driving politics today. She has spoken and moderated conversations at the World Economic Forum, the Milken Institute Global Forum, UN General Assembly, Aspen Ideas Festival, Texas Tribune Festival, and SXSW, and is a frequent political commentator on CNN, Fox News, NBC, and MSNBC.

In 2019, Palmer and Sherman authored The Hill to Die On: The Battle for Congress and the future of Trump’s America, which was the inside story of Congress in the first two years of Donald Trump’s presidency. An instant New York Times and national bestseller, Trevor Noah of The Daily Show said the book turned “Congress into a Game of Thrones book.”

Prior to writing POLITICO, Palmer covered House leadership and lobbying as a staff writer for Roll Call and got her start in Washington journalism as a lobbying business reporter for the industry newsletter Influence. She has also worked at Legal Times, where she covered the intersection of money and politics for the legal and lobbying industry, first as a staff writer and then as an editor. A native of North Dakota, she is a graduate from St. Olaf College.

Dave Paulsen

Trends in Annuity Distribution

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Dave Paulsen

Chief Distribution Officer, Annexus Retirement Solutions

As Chief Distribution Officer for Annexus Retirement Solutions, Dave Paulsen is leveraging his years of experience in product and distribution to help bring innovation to the retirement plan industry.

Dave has been helping Americans become more retire ready for nearly three decades. He has a long history of executive leadership in the financial services industry along with years of experience leading and growing businesses focused on using data and technology to attain better overall outcomes. As President of Individual Solutions, Dave led the largest division in the U.S. for Transamerica focused on delivering solutions to individual consumers in the U.S. and Canada. Paulsen focused on the importance of creating and managing sustainable asset management, annuity, and life insurance solutions that balance the needs of the consumer, distributors, and the shareholders. Continuous improvement and industry innovation has been the cornerstone of how Dave has approached this business and his role in helping people save, invest, protect, and retire.

Dave spent a large portion of his career as Chief Distribution Officer for Transamerica. During that time, he led sales and marketing for Retirement Plans, Annuities, Mutual Funds, Life Insurance, Voluntary Benefits, Long-Term Care and Stable Value in North America. In addition, Dave led the retail advisor platform, career agency network, and was CEO of World Financial Group.

Prior to his work at Transamerica, Dave held numerous sales and leadership positions at ING USA.

Arron Price

Chief Operating Officer, Financial Independence Group

Arron is originally from Ipswich, England. In 2013, Arron graduated with a B.S. in Computer Science with minors in both English and Mathematics. Prior to college, Arron spent two years at a golf academy in Brisbane, Australia finishing high school before being recruited to play on Gardner-Webb’s golf team.

Arron joined FIG in May 2013 as a Software Developer, becoming part of a talented and experienced development team. He was instrumental in the complete buildout and release of FIG’s internal CRM that powers all areas of the business. In 2015, Arron assumed the role of Director of Software Engineering, tasked with leading and growing an innovative team to spearhead the charge in the Financial Services industry. During this time, Arron implemented a culture of growth and autonomy to empower all team members to understand and solve some of the industry’s hardest problems.

In November 2019, Arron joined the FIG Executive Team by accepting the role of Chief Operating Officer. As COO, he is responsible for the overall business operations of the company and oversees the technology, operations, onboarding, commissions, and business support units within FIG. He works closely with his colleagues on the Executive Team to develop global strategies and direction. Arron brings a wealth of process and technical leadership experience, highlighting the unwavering direction the industry is headed.

In his spare time, Arron enjoys spending time and traveling with his family, with an occasional round of golf here and there.

Sri Reddy

Senior Vice President, RIS Income Solutions, Principal & IRI Board of Directors

Srinivas D. (Sri) Reddy is senior vice president, Retirement and Income Solutions at Principal Financial Group®. He is responsible for the Income Solutions businesses, which includes Retail Annuities, Individual Savings, Pension Risk Transfer, Retail Annuities, Principal Bank and our Principal Trust and Custody Solutions business.

Prior to joining Principal, Reddy was the head of the investments and retirement income businesses for Prudential Retirement. Before that, he led the product lines for USAA’s investment management and life insurance companies and held several roles at ING in the defined contribution business as well as the rollover & retirement income business. Previously, he served as a consultant with Ernst & Young.

Reddy has a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Baylor University and a master’s degree in International Management from Thunderbird, The American Graduate School of International Management and holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. Reddy is a frequent contributor to national media outlets and an expert resource on a range of retirement and financial security topics. He has served on various industry and regulatory groups including as the chair, vice-chair and council member of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) Advisory Council at the United States Department of Labor from 2017 to 2019 and currently is on the board of directors of the Insured Retirement Institute.

Paul Richman

Opening Remarks

Friday, March 17, 2023, 2023

Paul Richman

Chief Government & Political Affairs Officer, Insured Retirement Institute

Paul has 36 years of experience working in both government and the private sector, where he has directed federal and state government affairs programs. Currently, Paul serves as the Chief Government and Political Affairs Officer at the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI), where he leads the association’s legislative and political strategy for all efforts before Congress and the Administration.

In 2022, Paul has been recognized by Association Trends as a leading lobbyist and innovator who has helped further the mission of IRI. In 2020, Paul was chosen as one of the “Top 20 in 20” advocates by the Advocacy Association in recognition of his leadership and innovation to help advance the profession through thought leadership and mentoring the advocacy community. Paul’s advocacy leadership for IRI was also recognized by the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) with their “Power of A” Gold Award for Advocacy in 2020 and their “Power of A” Silver Award for Advocacy in 2021.

Before joining IRI, Paul served as the Vice President of Government Affairs at the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations; the Director of Federal Affairs for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs at NSI, Inc. a national government affairs firm representing fortune 500 clients; and Vice President of State Government Affairs at the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Paul also has had a distinguished career in public service where he served in senior policy-making positions during the Clinton Administration at the White House in the Office of the Vice President and the U.S. Department of Labor in the Secretary’s office. Prior to coming to Washington, DC, Paul served as the Special Counsel for Economic Development to former New York governor Mario M. Cuomo.

He is a lawyer admitted to practice in New York, where he had received his Juris Doctor degree from Cardozo School of Law and his Bachelor of Arts degree cum laude from Brooklyn College, City University of New York.

Laird Rixford

Chief Executive Officer, Hexure

As Chief Executive Officer, Laird leads the overall strategic growth, operational, marketing, and technology vision for Hexure. With over 25 years of building and leading companies in the financial services and insurance technologies industries and an entrepreneurial spirit, Laird provides the Hexure leadership team with a wealth of #insuretech expertise and guidance to achieve transformational growth and product innovation. Laird oversees the development and execution of the company’s short- and long-term goals and objectives and continued product development to deliver the industry’s products of choice. Before joining Hexure, Laird served as CEO of Texas-based Insurance Technologies Corporation (ITC), a provider of marketing, rating and management solutions for property and casualty agencies. As CEO, Laird oversaw the direction for each of ITC’s products while leading the company’s sales and marketing department. Laird also led ITC through multiple successful acquisitions. Prior to ITC, Laird founded and served as CEO of Evolution Designs, a provider of automation and technology systems for financial services companies, which ITC acquired in 2008. Laird began his career in technology consulting services for banks, mortgage companies, real estate firms, and insurance agencies. Outside of his passion for #insurtech, #fintech, marketing and informative and motivational speaking, Laird is an avid pilot.

Adrienne Robertson

Head of Regulatory and Fiduciary Services, Transamerica

Adrienne is Head of Regulatory and Fiduciary Services for Transamerica’s retirement services business, and is based in their Denver office. Adrienne has more than 30 years of experience in the retirement services industry.

Her expertise is in ERISA and employee benefits plans, including fiduciary concerns; operational compliance; plan design strategy; merger, acquisition and controlled group issues; and record keeping and administrative considerations.

Adrienne has previously worked at Alvarez & Marsal in their Denver-based benefits consulting group, and as an attorney at Sherman & Howard LLC in Denver, and at Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP (now Faegre Drinker) in Philadelphia. Prior to that, she was in-house counsel at the Vanguard Group.

Her ASPPA certifications include the Certified Pension Consultant and Qualified Pension Administrator. Adrienne is a SPARK Institute Advisory Board member, and has authored numerous articles for 401(k) Advisor, has served on ASPPA’s Education and Examination Committee, and is currently a member of ASPPA’s Government Affairs Committee. She has also conducted numerous presentations for clients, advisors, and industry groups. Adrienne holds a Juris Doctor degree from the Widener University School of Law, and a Bachelor of Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Aliya Robinson


Senior Legal Counsel, Legislative and Regulatory Affairs, T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc.

Aliya Robinson is Managing Legal Counsel, Legislative and Regulatory Affairs for T. Rowe Price. In this role, she leads the Legislative and Regulatory Affairs team’s work on all retirement-related public policy issues, which includes highlighting emerging retirement and compensation issues, coordinating the company’s policy position, and engaging with industry associations, policymakers, and thought leaders.

Aliya previously served as Senior Vice President of Retirement and Compensation Policy at The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) and as the Executive Director of Retirement Policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In these roles, Aliya successfully advocated for retirement legislation, most notably the SECURE Act of 2019, the Pension Protection Act of 2006 and the Multiemployer Reform Act of 2014. In addition, she has testified before Congress, the Department of Labor, and the Department of Treasury.

Aliya is a graduate of New York University School of Law, where she also received a Master of Laws in Taxation. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and African studies from Yale University.

Lauren Scott

Women in Leadership Symposium

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Lauren Scott

Senior Vice President, Regulatory & Government Affairs, Global Atlantic Financial Group

Lauren is the Senior Vice President, Head of Regulatory and Government Affairs, at Global Atlantic with responsibilities for developing and directing the company’s regulatory and government affairs strategy in line with GA’s business objectives. Lauren joined Global Atlantic in April 2020 from AIG, where she led their international advocacy efforts in D.C. Prior to her role at AIG, Lauren held various government affairs roles at Sumitomo Corporate of America, the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI), Insured Retirement Institute (IRI), and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). Lauren received her BA in International Affairs and MA in International Communication from American University. Lauren is based in Washington, D.C.

Tim Seifert

Embracing Change

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Tim Seifert


Senior Vice President, Head of Retirement Solutions Distribution
Lincoln Financial Group

Tim Seifert serves as a Senior Vice President and Head of Retirement Solutions Distribution for Lincoln Financial Distributors, Inc. (LFD), the wholesaling distribution organization for Lincoln Financial Group. In this role, Tim leads distribution for the Annuities and Small Market Retirement Plan Services businesses, as well as the training and professional development efforts across all of LFD.

Seifert has more than 30 years of experience in the financial services industry. Earlier in his career, he spent 23 years at PLANCO Financial Services Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Hartford, where he grew sales from $10-$35 billion. After PLANCO, he held senior sales leadership roles at RS Investments and Prudential. At Prudential, he grew annuity sales from $10-$22 billion in three years.

Tim joined Lincoln in 2014 to lead Small Market sales for the Retirement Plan Services business. Known for creating an optimistic culture and championing sales excellence, Tim assembled an exceptional sales team and excelled with a focus on wholesaler productivity during his tenure with RPS setting year-over-year sales records.

In 2017, Tim was named Head of Annuity Sales, where he focused on fostering consultative partnerships between wholesalers and financial professionals as they worked with clients to solidify their financial futures and build portfolios based on their specific needs.

Seifert is a graduate of Elizabethtown College and holds FINRA Series 6, 26, 51 and 63, as well as his Pennsylvania Life Insurance license. He is a guest lecturer on the topics of “Traits of the Great” and Leadership at Villanova University, Temple University and Elizabethtown College. Tim enjoys spending time with family and friends, watching football, and conquering his fears, including a 2018 summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Camille Simpson


Head of Government Relations & Industry Affairs, American Equity Investment Life Insurance Company®

Camille Simpson, Head of Government Relations & Industry Affairs for American Equity/ Eagle Life Insurance Company prior to her role at American Equity she was Regional Vice President, State Relations for the New England States at the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) is a Washington, D.C.-based trade association with approximately 290-member companies operating in the United States and abroad.

Prior to her career at ACLI, Ms. Simpson worked as Assistant Vice President, Associate Secretary & Counsel for MassMutual Financial Group for over 15 years. In this position she represented the company before legislators and regulators in the company’s federal legislative and regulatory matters regarding tax and retirement security; worked with various trade associations and led the company’s government relations position; and developed and implemented government relations strategies. In addition, she is an ERISA expert and worked on corporate governance matter in here role of Associate Corporate Secretary of the MassMutual Board of Directors.

Ms. Simpson also worked for the United States House of Representatives – Committee on Education and the Workforce working on retirement, healthcare and labor issues.

Ms. Simpson received her B.S. in Finance from Syracuse University and her J.D. from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey School of Law.

Eric Steigerwalt

CEO Fireside Chat

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Eric T. Steigerwalt

President & CEO, Brighthouse Financial

Eric Steigerwalt has served as the president and chief executive officer of Brighthouse Financial since the company’s launch in 2016. Prior to joining Brighthouse Financial, Steigerwalt held multiple leadership roles at MetLife, Inc. (MetLife) over the course of 18 years, most recently serving as executive vice president of MetLife’s U.S. Retail business from 2012 to 2016. Steigerwalt also served as MetLife’s interim chief financial officer from 2011 to 2012, chief financial officer for MetLife’s U.S. businesses from 2009 to 2011 and MetLife’s treasurer from 2007 to 2009. Steigerwalt began his tenure at MetLife in 1998, managing many of the operational aspects of MetLife’s demutualization and IPO, and went on to become the company’s first head of investor relations.

Prior to joining MetLife, Steigerwalt worked in finance at Equitable Companies and at Fossett Corporation, where he was a derivatives trader. He is the chairman of the Brighthouse Financial Foundation and the chairman of Brighthouse Scholar Connections, Inc. He also serves on the board of directors for the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) and as chair of the ACLI PAC. In addition, he serves on the board of directors for the Wells Fargo Championship’s Champions for Education foundation. Steigerwalt graduated from Drew University with a bachelor’s degree in economics.

Jeremy Stephenson


Assistant Vice President, Head of Business Development Operations, Sammons Institutional Group

Jeremy Stephenson is Associate Vice President (AVP), Head of Business Development Operations for Sammons Institutional Group®. Having joined the company in May 2008, he oversees the day-to-day operations of the Sammons Retirement Solutions® and Midland Retirement Distributors® business.

Jeremy brings over 20 years of industry experience to this role, including operational oversight of annuities, life insurance, and mutual funds within the broker dealer, bank, and Independent Marketing Organization (IMO) channels.

Jeremy is an engaged in numerous industry committees as a member of OMR and was a past chair for the Insured Retirement Institute’s Ops & Tech Community.

Jeremy earned his Bachelor of Science & Master of Business degrees from Excelsior College in Albany, NY and holds his Series 6, 63, 26, and 99 licenses.

Scott Stolz

Managing Director, Annuities Solutions, SIMON from iCapital

Managing Director of Annuities Solutions at iCapital, Scott is helping to create the annuity industry’s first one-stop platform for every aspect of an advisor’s annuity business. Prior to joining iCapital, Scott served as the President of Raymond James Insurance Group for 15 years. In that capacity, he was responsible for Insurance and Annuity Sales, Marketing, Operations and Due Diligence for Raymond James, a company with 9000+ financial advisors. Before joining the distribution side of the business, Scott spent over 20 years in various sales, marketing and operations capacities at Jackson National Life, AIG/SunAmerica and North American Security Life.

A frequent speaker and panelist on any topic related to annuities, Scott has served on the Executive Committee of IRI, been a board member of LIMRA’s Secured Retirement Institute and served as a Trustee for the American College of Financial Services. Scott is the author of “Unlocking the Annuity Mystery: Practical Advice for Every Advisor,” available on Amazon. He received both his MBA and BSBA in Finance from Washington University in St. Louis.

David Stone

Founder, Chief Executive Officer, RetireOne

As a former senior legal counsel to major life insurance companies, mutual funds and broker dealers, David has more than three decades of financial services experience as well as specific expertise in annuity product development and distribution.

Before co-founding RetireOne, David was chief legal counsel for Charles Schwab’s insurance and risk management initiatives and he was a member of the firm’s Insurance Services management team.

Prior to Schwab, David was in-house counsel at Allstate Financial, where he served as lead counsel on numerous product development projects for broker dealers and bank distributors.

David is a frequent speaker at industry conferences as well as an active participant on numerous committees dedicated to retirement income product solutions.

Jeff Strunk

Managing Partner, Forbes Tate Partners

Jeff Strunk is a Partner at Forbes Tate Partners – he joined the firm in 2013.

Mr. Strunk spent eight years on Capitol Hill, including six years with House Republican Leadership – most recently serving as Deputy Floor Director to former Speaker of the House John Boehner.

Jeff regularly works with Fortune 500 companies, trade organizations, and coalitions. He represents client interests on a range of issues, and brings particular expertise in regards to financial products and services, banking, energy, and telecommunications issues. He also operates at the nexus between these policy areas and tax and cybersecurity issues.

Prior to serving as Deputy Floor Director to former Speaker of the House John Boehner, Mr. Strunk spent three years as Floor Assistant. Prior to his time with Boehner, Mr. Strunk worked for former Congressman Patrick J. Tiberi, a previous Chairman of the influential Ways and Means Committee’s Subcommittee on Health.

During his time in House Leadership, Mr. Strunk formed incredibly strong relationships with members of Congress from both sides of the aisle – and, also, their staffers. He developed expertise in parliamentary procedure, House Rules, and a thorough understanding of the inner workings of House Leadership and Congress.

Mr. Strunk’s roots connect him to a wide variety of House Committees. He frequently works with members of the House Ways and Means, Financial Services, Energy and Commerce, Judiciary, and Transportation and Infrastructure Committees. Jeff also maintains deep ties to both the House Intelligence and Homeland Security Committees.

Jeff has long been active in the Republican Party – both in Ohio and at the national level. He has worked on the campaign of Patrick J. Tiberi, as well as volunteered on numerous other Congressional campaigns.

Strunk’s background also includes his ongoing role with an organized volunteer campaign effort in his home state of Ohio. For more than six years, he has led an independent GOTV program in the Buckeye State that helps to provide grassroots support to Republican candidates at the local, state, and federal levels.

A native of Columbus, Ohio, Mr. Strunk is a graduate of Xavier University, where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science.

He and his wife and three children live in Washington, DC.

Dan Surber

Vice President, Relationship Management & EDI, Fidelity and Guaranty

Dan Surber is the VP, Relationship Management & EDI at Fidelity & Guaranty in Des Moines, IA. His primary role is leadership oversight of F&G’s Distribution Relationship Management, Vendor Relationship Management, and eApp/Order Entry teams. Dan has a wealth of experience in insurance operations and technology, spanning 27 years. Prior to F&G, Dan served as Vice President of Operations at AIG Annuities (now Corebridge Financial) where he successfully led a multi-site Business Systems Support team focused on project management, testing, production support, reporting, and annuity order entry. He earned his BA in Psychology from Purdue University, as well as his Charted Life Underwriter (CLU®) and Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC®) designations from The American College.

Joe Toledano

Managing Director, Head of Insured Solutions Group,
Morgan Stanley Wealth Management & IRI Board of Directors

Joseph Toledano is currently a Managing Director and Head of Insured Solutions for MS Wealth Management and its E*Trade subsidiary. His team’s responsibilities include managing product, strategy, training and distribution activities surrounding Annuities, Life & Health and Property & Casualty insurance. Joseph currently participates as a board/advisory committee member to numerous lobbying & trade organizations including IRI, LIMRA, Saltzman Associates & DTCC.

Joseph has over 22 years of experience at Morgan Stanley & Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in business line management, financial reporting and business development. Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, Joseph was employed at Bankers Trust Company (1996-1998) where he is received the BT Award of Excellence while managing a team in the Private Client Group.

Toledano is a Finance and Investment graduate of Bernard M. Baruch College where he also received his M.B.A. He is a Series 7, 24, 63 and is a Property, Casualty, Life and Health Licensed Representative. He lives in New Rochelle, NY with his wife and two daughters. In his spare time, Joseph dedicates his time working with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Westchester Day School.

Harlan Wenig


Director of Insurance and Annuities, Investment Professional, Cetera Advisor Networks, LLC

Harlan D. Wenig, based in Boca Raton, Florida, has been a well-respected member of the financial industry since becoming an agent with Guardian Life Insurance Company in 2002. In 2004, he left to become an independent advisor with Mutual Service Corporation, specializing in estate planning, asset protection, and retirement planning by using annuities, life insurance, and other investment vehicles.

Harlan joined Summit Brokerage Services in 2009 as an advisor and moved in-house as the Director of Insurance and Annuities in January 2012, a role he continued after Summit’s acquisition by Cetera Financial Group. In his current role with Cetera Advisor Networks, as both the Director of Insurance and Annuities and a financial professional, Harlan consults both advisors and clients on the ever-changing landscape of insurance and annuity products through his expertise.

Harlan enjoys consulting with advisors to help them utilize the benefits of annuities and insurance products to help their clients.

In his downtime, Harlan enjoys spending time with his wife, son, and daughter traveling the globe and spending a significant amount of time visiting with Mickey, with the highlight being the annual Food and Wine Festival each Fall. “Relaxation” to Harlan is never standing still and finding new places to visit and new restaurants and drinks to try.

Rich White

Inside Politics

Friday, March 17, 2023, 2023

Rich White


Senior Vice President, Government Relations Playbook, Jackson National Life Insurance Company®

Richard (Rich) White is senior vice president of government relations for Jackson National Life Insurance Company (Jackson®). Rich is responsible for leading Jackson’s government relations efforts at the local, state and federal levels. In this role, he assists in formulating Jackson’s policy positions and strategies as well as directing the company’s advocacy efforts.

Additionally, Rich oversees Jackson’s engagement with elected officials and with various regulatory agencies. He also manages the company’s relationship with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), and with other insurance industry stakeholders such as the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) and the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI).

Prior to joining Jackson in July 2017, Rich served as a partner at Thorn Run Partners, a leading federal lobbying and policy consulting firm based in Washington, D.C. He also previously supported Jackson as a consultant for over two decades on a variety of initiatives. Rich is a member of the District of Columbia Bar Association. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Franklin and Marshall College and a law degree from The Catholic University of America.

Kelley Williams

Senior Vice President, Government Relations, Forbes Tate Partners

Kelley Williams is a Senior Vice President of Government Relations at Forbes Tate Partners where she focuses on Democrats primarily in the financial services and banking sphere. She also lobbies on telecom, fintech, energy, and transportation issues for the firm’s clients.

Prior to joining Forbes Tate Partners, Williams was an Associate Vice President of Legislative Affairs at the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). In this position, she served as the lead Democratic lobbyist for the House of Representatives. While at MBA, she lobbied on real estate investment trust issues, GSE reform legislation, flood insurance, High Volatility Commercial Real Estate loans, regulatory relief, transitional licensing, LO comp, and other issues important to the real estate finance industry.

Before her position at MBA, Williams was the Director of Government Affairs at The Hartford where she lobbied on insurance issues for the company. Prior to that, she was the Manager of Government Affairs at the American Land Title Association, where she split her duties between direct lobbying on association issues and managing the operations of the association’s political action committee. She was also a government affairs associate at KPMG LLP.

Eric Wilson

CFA, Managing Director, Head of Subadvisory, J.P. Morgan Asset Management

Eric Wilson, managing director, is Head of J.P. Morgan Subadvisory Americas, the team responsible for oversight of relationships with financial institutions such as insurers, recordkeepers and fund distributors. He previously spent ten years as a Subadvisory National Accounts Client Advisor. Prior to that Eric was responsible for managing client relationships with Corporates and Financial Institutions throughout Europe and the Middle East as a member of the Global Liquidity Sales Team, based in London. An employee since 2002, Eric worked as a Sales Analyst for Global Liquidity in New York and Corporate Strategy for J.P. Morgan’s U.S. Mutual Funds business. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Michigan and is also a CFA charterholder.

Igor Zamkovsky

CFA, Head of Indexed Annuity Strategy, BlackRock

Igor Zamkovsky, CFA is Head of Indexed Annuities within BlackRock’s Retirement Insurance Group, where he focuses on product development, index partnerships, research and platform initiatives.

Prior to BlackRock, he worked in Barclays Investment Bank’s cross-asset solutions business focusing on distribution of quantitative investment strategies (QIS). He also worked with insurance companies on annuity hedging and product development. Mr. Zamkovsky began his career with Deutsche Asset Management’s hedge fund business.

Igor holds an MBA degree from Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, a BS from Binghamton University, and is a CFA charterholder. Igor serves on the board of the National Association of Fixed Annuities (NAFA).

Dan Zielinski

Closing Remarks

Wednesday, March 15, 2023, 2023

Dan Zielinski

Chief Strategic Communications Officer, Insured Retirement Institute

Dan Zielinski is IRI’s Chief Strategic Communications Officer and responsible for media relations, executive communications, social media, and digital communications.

Dan joined IRI in 2018 and initiated a strategic plan to boost IRI’s visibility, credibility, and reliability with media outlets. He works closely with all IRI departments to identify opportunities to demonstrate IRI capabilities, strengths, and programs. IRI media efforts deliver frequent positive attention in mainstream and trade press outlets.

Before IRI, Dan served as Senior Vice President, Public Affairs for the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association. In that role, he directed media outreach and government relations activities. He led the association’s external communications efforts through multiple crises, managed a national consumer education program, and worked to successfully enact federal and state legislation while defeating numerous onerous legislative initiatives. He represented the industry in hundreds of print, radio, and local and national television interviews.

Dan began his career in Washington, DC, serving as press secretary to two New York U.S. House of Representatives members. Following his Capitol Hill tenure, he was Director of Communications for the American Insurance Association. He then worked at APCO Worldwide, a renowned global public affairs firm, where he assisted clients in public affairs positioning and media relations.

Dan lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and two sons.

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