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2016 Retirement Winners

LIMRA is pleased to announce the winners of our contest to recognize this year’s Rising Stars of Retirement under 40 in the financial services industry. The contest searched for talented and passionate young professionals who are successfully and creatively navigating all the changes in the retirement industry to keep workers financially optimistic and prepared for retirement. 

Christopher Adams

Investment Product Specialist

“Chris provides product development, product management and oversight associated with underlying investment offerings to retirement products. He works tirelessly to maintain strong relationships to cross-departmental teams to positively influence outcomes for all that hope to retire someday.” — excerpt from nomination

Prudential Retirement

Bill Bainbridge

Vice President, Head of Annuity Product Development

"As vice president and managing actuary, Bill is responsible for product development and in-force product management. In 2015, he was instrumental in the launch of Voya’s Wealthbuilder Plus Annuity, which has outperformed expectations and positioned Voya as an innovator in the fixed indexed annuity market.” — excerpt from nomination

Voya Financial

Rachel Barrow

Director, Guardian Individual Markets

“Rachel is a leader in her field. She has made a significant mark on our client communities with her online, gamified tool, My Retirement Walk. By offering clients thoughtful education and easy to use tools, this campaign strives to take the fear out of the process while emphasizing the importance of starting young.” — excerpt from nomination

Guardian Life Insurance Co.

Matthew Bryan

Assistant Vice President, Head of Distribution Marketing

“Matt is an innovator with a passion for representing the voice of the customer. He has championed a groundbreaking research study on the various mindsets brewing around retirement.” — excerpt from nomination

Guardian Life Insurance Co.

Jared Christensen

Vice President, Participant Guidance Solutions

“Jared works with the some of the world’s largest firms to ensure their employee retirement programs offer the right platforms to access Fidelity’s guidance. As a result of Jared’s efforts, over 70,000 of his clients’ participants used Fidelity’s guidance and education offering in 2015.” — excerpt from nomination

Fidelity Investments

Kellie Desrosiers

Assistant Vice President, Head of Relationship Management & Planning

“Kellie is a leader who brings energy, enthusiasm and a sense of accountability to everything she does. While delivering great value to our customers, she cut our customer attrition rate in half in just one year and created a capability being leveraged by other business units across the firm.” — excerpt from nomination

Voya Financial

Travis Gavinski

Regional 401(k) Sales Director

“In his role as regional 401(k) sales director, Travis is responsible for the distribution of qualified retirement plan solutions through financial advisors and third party administrators in Wisconsin and Michigan. He sets himself apart by the experiences he creates, the value and support he provides, and his unparalleled commitment to his clients.” — excerpt from nomination

Lincoln Financial Distributors

Rob Goodman

Assistant Vice President, Program Management Office and Strategic Alignment,
Retirement Solutions Division

“Rob has been instrumental in crystallizing senior management’s mission, vision and strategy, creating a clear message for leaders to effectively cascade to all employees throughout the division.” — excerpt from nomination

Pacific Life Insurance Co.

Elizabeth Griffith

Senior Vice President, National Sales Development

“Elizabeth leads the largest sales desk in the annuity or asset management industry. As senior vice president, she directs the efforts for 225 internal wholesalers via her sales management team of 20. Elizabeth also helped launch Jackson’s Women & Business Network, the New Parent Mentor Program, and the New Manager Leadership Program.” — excerpt from nomination

Jackson National Life

Jennifer Harmer

Assistant Vice President, RPS Customer Experience

“Jennifer was integral in developing the strategy behind the new participant experience, which resulted in a clean, easy to navigate, mobile-enabled portal for Lincoln’s participants. Thanks to the work of Jen and her team, participants can now see how saving more is one of the most critical elements impacting their retirement income.” — excerpt from nomination

Lincoln Financial Group

Jaron Havens

Assistant Vice President, Implementation,
Retirement Plan Services

“Jaron Havens is dedicated to building strong relationships with plan sponsors, intermediaries and advisors. Thanks to Jaron’s leadership and commitment, thousands of participants across the country are better positioned for retirement.” — excerpt from nomination

Lincoln Financial Group

Alexandra Henry

Internal Sales Supervisor

“Bold. Dynamic. Impactful. These are just some of the words used to describe Alexandra. As sales desk manager of a new division, she supported the growth of eight new territories and helped take sales from almost nothing to $330 million. With 15 years of experience, Alex is the model of hard work and getting results.” — excerpt from nomination

Allianz Life Financial Services

Dylan Huang

Senior Managing Director, Head of Retail Annuities

“Dylan is an innovative leader in product development and sales for New York Life. As senior managing director and head of Retail Annuities, he is responsible for leading all aspects of New York Life’s retail annuity business across the company’s career agency, third-party and direct distribution channels.” — excerpt from nomination

New York Life Insurance Co.

Jonathan Kreider

Assistant Vice President, Investment Products

“Jonathan leads the stable value /general account fixed interest product management team and a number of product development initiatives, with over $35 billion under management. Jonathan also contributes to the public policy issues facing our industry, standing up for the interests of plan sponsors, advisors and participants.” — excerpt from nomination

Great-West Investments

Meredith Kroger

Regional Director

“Meredith is one of the leading retirement income planning resources in the Midwest. She possesses a deep knowledge of annuity and investment products. Her holistic approach to retirement planning has differentiated her as a truly valuable partner with the financial professionals with whom she partners.” — excerpt from nomination

Protective Life

Kim Lisella

Head of Distribution and Retirement Solutions

“Kim has been essential to L&G's rapid growth. Currently head of Distribution and Retirement Solutions, Kim leads business development and client solutions — leveraging her technical experience to develop a stronger, more effective distribution model for service providers and achieve better outcomes for clients.” — excerpt from nomination

Legal & General Retirement America

Renée Markiewicz

Director, Product Development

“Renee leads the team who develops and delivers new innovative products/services for our retirement and retail customers. She consistently demonstrates the ability to think strategically about our business while executing flawlessly. Renee is always focused on delivering well-thought-out customer experiences, taking the complexity out of the process wherever possible.” — excerpt from nomination

Prudential Retirement

Luke Schroeder

Relationship Manager

“As a relationship manager, Luke provides consultation and leadership to plan sponsors and their advisors. By combining powerful data with a clear understanding of his clients’ businesses, he partners with advisors to help plan sponsors strategically leverage DC retirement programs to help meet their corporate objectives." — excerpt from nomination

T. Rowe Price

Katie Taylor

Director of Thought Leadership

““Katie helps to shape and define Fidelity’s point of view on workplace retirement trends by working closely with employers, employees, policymakers and the media. Her ability to bring the power of Fidelity’s thought leadership in the areas of plan design, investments and employee communication helped drive relevant content to employers.” — excerpt from nomination

Fidelity Investments

Ketul R. Thaker

Director, Consultant Relations

“Ketul consistently raises the bar as he immerses himself in his role, always focused on the end game of driving retirement readiness and better outcomes for plan participants. Working with a high level of integrity, Ketul always drives activity and achieves results. Ketul is the future of our company, and he is building his legacy.” — excerpt from nomination

MassMutual Financial Group

Michelle Tortorella

Communications Consultant, Institutional Marketing

“Michelle has keen insights into the plan sponsor and plan participant audiences. She is a strong advocate of plan sponsors and easily uses this strength to develop marketing and education campaigns and plans that help plan participants become more retirement ready. She has unrivaled passion for what she does every day for the company.” — excerpt from nomination

VALIC

Tony Truax

Senior Internal Retirement Consultant

“In partnership with his external wholesaler, Tony has contributed close to $1 billion in annuity sales over the span of his career – helping financial professionals and their clients to address retirement needs for the future. Tony represents the best of what Allianz has to offer in support of the financial professionals who address the complex issues facing today’s retirees." — excerpt from nomination

Allianz Life Financial Services

Brandon Willett

Financial Advisor

“Brandon is rapidly rising to the top of OneAmerica’s leader board with the work he is doing to help Main Street America create and enjoy a worry-free retirement knowing they have improved income, liquidity, and legacy.” — excerpt from nomination

OneAmerica

Lindsey Wills

Marketing Manager, Retirement Plan Services

“Uber-organized. Innovative. Perceptive. These words have been used to describe Lindsey, product marketing wunderkind in Lincoln Financial’s Retirement Plan Services group. Business partners know they can rely on Lindsey to provide recommendations, information and marketing materials that best meet their clients’ retirement needs.” — excerpt from nomination

Lincoln Financial Group

Martin Woll

Head of Institutional Savings

“Since joining AXA, Martin has exhibited an entrepreneurial spirit. He spearheaded the launch of AXA’s first insurance-backed escrow solution for the M&A market in late 2015, which offers full principal protection, an opportunity for higher yields, daily liquidity for claims, and no direct fees.” — excerpt from nomination

AXA U.S.