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Rising Stars in Marketing and Communications

Every day people are confronted with thousands of messages. Getting through all of that noise takes talent and creativity. Who are the rising stars in marketing and communications helping our members connect with consumers?

LIMRA is pleased to present the winners of the 2016 Rising Stars of Marketing and Communications. These creative and innovative individuals represent the best in marketing and communications across many areas of financial services, including internal communications, product marketing, media relations, executive communications, social media/digital marketing and much, much more!

Winners are under age 40 and were selected from the nominations received from LIMRA member companies.

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL OF YOU — AND THANK YOU FOR DRIVING US FORWARD!
  • Nichole Albers

    Digital Marketing Manager
    Mutual of Omaha
    “Nichole leads the social media program for Mutual of Omaha, working with compliance and our representatives in the field to ensure they have useful and appropriate content that aligns with the company’s message.  She takes time to help individuals better present themselves to potential clients and is willing to spend hours walking them through the process if they request more individualized to supplement the training she helped to create." — excerpt from nomination
  • Matt Berberian

    Assistant Vice President
    Marketing & Experience Design
    MetLife
    “Matthew is responsible for marketing operations and experience for MetLife’s Retail Marketing organization. His efforts have dramatically improved the sales experience by providing the distribution teams with interactive sales tools, including a mobile responsive website. By creating a digital marketing strategy that improved the sales experience for advisors and customers, Matt has proven the value of marketing to his partners in product and distribution.” — excerpt from nomination
  • Yogini Biswas

    Assistant Vice President
    US Retail Marketing
    MetLife
    “Yogini Biswas is responsible for retirement and wealth solutions marketing for MetLife’s Retail Marketing organization. She has designed a marketing strategy that provides a steady drumbeat of product and commercial marketing initiatives for the annuity product portfolio, resulting in integrated marketing campaigns that drive product sales.” — excerpt from nomination
  • Sara Brittingham

    Strategic Communications Consultant
    Columbus Life Insurance Co
    “Sara is the strategic, creative mind behind the organization’s voice and brand, including advertising, publications, and communications, as well as development of content for digital properties and social media. Sara’s understanding of our industry, insight into the independent channel and outstanding marketing and communications skills supported strong sales growth and new company records for policy sales and producer recruiting.” — excerpt from nomination
  • Pete Brown, CLU®

    Assistant Vice President, Digital Marketing
    Western & Southern Life
    “Pete leads Western & Southern’s digital marketing efforts, creating our first digital consumer journey.  This in-depth analysis maps out the current digital journey and the recommend changes that would enhance the overall future experience.  Pete and his team have improved our social media engagement rates and have begun to connect our traditional and digital marketing efforts into a seamless journey for the consumer.” — excerpt from nomination
  • Colin Burns

    Director, Advertising and Events
    COUNTRY Financial
    “Colin is an innovator who has helped drive truly integrated marketing programs at COUNTRY Financial. Most important, Colin is a great partner to our captive sales force. He understands that one size does not fit all and individual rep creativity should be honored at the ground level. A true team player, Colin is an example of generosity of purpose that mirrors our industry as a whole.” — excerpt from nomination
  • Angela Calcagno

    Marketing Communications Manager
    John Hancock
    “Angela's personal drive, professionalism and dedication have resulted in the successful delivery of numerous high quality marketing communications initiatives for John Hancock As she spearheaded the marketing efforts for John Hancock's partnership with The Cooking Light & Health Fit Foodie Race Weekend series, her strong writing skills, creativity and aptitude for technology have earned her the respect and appreciation of her peers and clients.” — excerpt from nomination
  • Ann Callaghan

    Senior Communications Manager
    Penn Mutual Life Insurance Co.
    “Ann is truly a rising star at Penn Mutual.  In her role, Ann straddles the worlds of print and digital, traditional media and new media, seamlessly.  She has led the effort in moving Penn Mutual from a paper-based communicator to a more digital communicator, transforming publications like our quarterly field magazine into engaging digital experiences. Ann is a true marketing communications professional who is helping take Penn Mutual to the next level and reaching the next generation of advisors and clients.” — excerpt from nomination
  • Chia Hsun Chang

    Associate Vice President
    Marketing Strategy & Initiatives
    MetLife
    “Chia Hsun is responsible for marketing initiatives for MetLife’s Retail Marketing organization. She leads a team that examines the significant amount of data coming into the company from a range of disparate sources, streamlines it and leverage data insights to develop marketing campaigns and leads generation techniques that increase business. In addition, Chia Hsun built predictive models that allow the product marketing teams to better target advisors based on their propensity to sell, and shedeveloped client personas that the entire Retail Marketing organization now uses to better understand the end consumer.” — excerpt from nomination
  • Bridget Esposito

    Director, Advertising & Creative Services, Group Insurance
    Prudential Financial
    “Bridget brings a level of creative thinking and fast execution that makes an impressive impact. In just two years, her design team has supported a firm rebrand and full redesign of our entire suite of sales and enrollment material. By consistently challenging the status quo and daring to create more innovative solutions, Bridget is an inspirational leader who is guiding our organization into the future.” — excerpt from nomination
  • Michelle Fischbach

    Assistant Vice President
    Life & Annuity Marketing, Insurance Sales Support Marketing
    Voya Financial
    “Michelle developed and implemented Voya’s marketing strategy to encourage its distribution partners and customers to view individual life insurance holistically, as part of a well-balanced retirement strategy.  She also leads the team that launched multi-faceted marketing campaigns to support various initiatives, including Voya’s mobile selling system, Voya Life Journey.” — excerpt from nomination
  • Keith Gormley

    Director, Social Media Management
    Prudential Financial
    “Keith led the launch of Prudential’s first official branded social media presence, which has grown to become an invaluable resource for consumer and B2B marketing and customer service.  His expertise in launching/managing the program has produced an industry leading and multi-award winning presence for the company.” — excerpt from nomination
  • Rumana Hafesjee

    Senior Marketing Manager
    Digital Communications
    Guardian Life Insurance Co.
    “Supporting Guardian’s Group & Worksite business, Rumana has helped to elevate Guardian's presence in social and search engine optimization in a very short period of time.  She provides guidance around content development and lead generation/management.  She also led the creation of our LinkedIn Showcase page and LinkedIn sponsored ad strategy which, according to LinkedIn, has generating levels of engagement far above the financial services industry average.” — excerpt from nomination
  • Tara D. Harkins

    Vice President, Marketing
    Lincoln Financial Network
    “Tara has shown tremendous marketing leadership during her career at Lincoln Financial Group.  She partners with leaders of Lincoln Financial Network (LFN) to develop strategies to drive better customer experiences and deeper engagement. Tara is instrumental in shaping LFN’s approach and go-to-market strategy, leveraging technology and core capabilities such as research, and data and insights to help transform how advisors run their businesses.” — excerpt from nomination
  • Ashley Julig

    Integrated Marketing
    USAA
    “Ashley did an amazing job launching the ‘Protector’ campaign for life insurance at USAA, which earned a national TV spot, the first in 50 years.  This campaign was instrumental in driving year over year growth in life insurance for the first time since 2007.” — excerpt from nomination 
  • Michael A. Kazanjian

    Vice President, Marketing
    Lincoln Financial Group
    “Michael has been a strong marketing leader for Lincoln Financial, introducing a new technology solution that helps close the information gap between wholesalers, advisors and consumers by visually and dynamically illustrating how Lincoln’s annuity products work in various scenarios.  As a senior member of Lincoln’s taskforce focused on the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule, Michael developed collateral that was used to help policymakers understand key issues and areas of improvement before the proposal was finalized.” — excerpt from nomination 
  • Lindsay Kelly

    Vice President
    Corporate Communications Manager
    Swiss Re
    “Lindsay is responsible for Swiss Re’s communications strategy in the U.S. Her strong understanding of content marketing, media relations and social media has led to greater engagement with stakeholders, highlighting Swiss Re’s leadership.” — excerpt from nomination 
  • Jillian Kiernan

    Digital Media Manager
    Knights of Columbus

    “Jill and Matt (St. John) are a formidable duo in the marketing efforts at the Knights of Columbus, working together to cross-pollinate between traditional marketing methods and social media.  Jill has effectively modernized our messages using LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social media platforms.” — excerpt from nomination 

    (Note: Jillian and Matthew St. John were nominated together)

  • Kirsten Lees

    Vice President, Channel Marketing,
    Life, Health and Disability
    AIG
    “Kirsten is an innovative marketer who creates successful marketing programs and campaigns driving sales and increasing productivity for the Life, Health and Disability division of AIG. She displays an incredible breadth of business acumen and leadership skills.  Kirsten has proven to be one of the most effective marketers, employing thoughtful strategies that generate brand awareness and increased loyalty and advocacy among our field customers.” — excerpt from nomination
  • Erica McGowan

    Director of Marketing
    Athene
    “Erica has been instrumental in driving Athene's value-add programs for agents – most recently taking proprietary research on Happiness in Retirement to create marketing content that frames the retirement planning conversation in a new way using social media and other platforms.” — excerpt from nomination 
  • Shiva Mirhosseini

    Vice President, Digital & Customer Experience
    MassMutual Financial Group
    “Shiva is a change maker, leading a collaborative transformation that builds upon and integrates social, web, mobile and app experiences that meet the rapidly changing needs of today's digitally savvy customer.” — excerpt from nomination 
  • Shawn Semmes

    Interactive Designer
    John Hancock Insurance
    “Shawn has created effective marketing campaigns using Responsive HTML email, video animation and front-end development for John Hancock. He’s always looking for ways to improve the experience of our customers while finding ways to do so more efficiently.” — excerpt from nomination 
  • Scott Sivinski

    Director, New Client Acquisition
    Western & Southern
    “Scott heads Western & Southern’s efforts to provide qualified leads to our distribution channels, using a customized version of Salesforce.com he designed to track ROI and allow ongoing contact points for the producer. He led the development of Western & Southern’s producer microsites, designed to offer each of our producers their own branded webpage that can be personalized.” — excerpt from nomination 
  • Julie Spugnardi

    Assistant Vice President, Marketing
    Group & Specialty Division
    Gen Re
    “Julie is responsible for Gen Re's North American Life/Health marketing communications strategy, including our social media strategy. She is a creative marketing strategist who uses innovative approaches to design campaigns that showcase our value proposition through a variety of unique and entertaining visuals.  Julie is involved in our marketing activities from the very initial prospecting period through new client implementation.” — excerpt from nomination 
  • Matthew A. St. John

    Director, Insurance Marketing
    Knights of Columbus

    “Matthew and Jill (Kiernan) are a formidable duo in the marketing efforts at the Knights of Columbus, working together to cross-pollinate between traditional marketing methods and social media. Matt brings a new perspective to Knights of Columbus’ communications, developing print ads and direct mail.” — excerpt from nomination 

    (Note: Matthew and Jillian Kiernan were nominated together.)

  • Nicole Vasile

    Senior Public Relations Manager
    Corporate Communications
    Voya Financial
    “Nicole manages public relations for Individual Life and Employee Benefits for Voya Financial’s Insurance Solutions business.  Her proactive efforts to engage the media have effectively supported Voya’s vision to be America’s Retirement Company.  Nicole is a ‘go to’ public relations resource for Voya as it manages insurance industry issues. In addition, Nicole has improved the external visibility of Voya senior Insurance Solutions executives, highlighting their thought leadership.” — excerpt from nomination 










Happy 100th, LIMRA!

A Happy Birthday Wish

100 Birthday Wish
    From left to right: Jean Pelletier, Joe Krukas, Carolyn Burton, Paul McClain, Rita Baccaro, Frank Santa-Donato, Reba Nassau, Tom Fahey, Gene Mayfield (with spouse Sue), Arch Edgar, Kent Jamison, Don Kauke, Jim Mitchel, Barbara Norton, Dave Logie, Ram Gopian, John Donahue, Bruce Hamstra.