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2018 Innovation Winners

LIMRA is pleased to announce the winners of our contest to recognize this year’s Rising Stars of Innovation under 40 in the financial services industry. The contest searched for industry professionals who demonstrate innovation within their companies.

Tassie Blackstone

Director of Sales and Strategy

“Tassie leads not only the sales team but also product and competitive intelligence at brightpeak financial. She continually pushes the boundaries to drive sales, her team and the company forward by bringing creative solutions to everyday tasks and implementing new ideas to help drive sales.” – excerpt from nomination

Colby Custer

Product Management Consultant

“Within 12 weeks, Colby developed a new IRA product for MassMutual by breaking down each individual component of the IRA business and driving forward a solution that will contribute over $300 million annually to the workplace business.  She is now relied upon by the business for her experience with B/D and IRA solution.” – excerpt from nomination

Anne Do

Digital Marketing Coordinator

“Anne develops and uses innovative site analytic tools to collect and categorize data used in marketing advertising spend decisions for Sagicor Life Company. She has been very successful in improving the site's visibility through SEO and SEM techniques to steadily improve site traffic and site conversions while reducing the cost per click.” – excerpt from nomination

Lauren Kane

Senior Manager, Content Strategy

“Lauren has been instrumental in elevating social presence for Penn Mutual and influencing the adviser community to leverage a new selling and engagement tool with clients and prospects. With Lauren's partnership, Penn Mutual has been able to increase 1.1 million employment brand impressions in 2016 to 5.6 million impressions in 2017.” – excerpt from nomination

Kelly Katz

Vice President, Institutional Retirement Marketing

“Kelly has implemented a top-notch financial wellness offering and account-based marketing at T. Rowe Price.” – excerpt from nomination

Michael Michlitsch

Director, Policy Management Company

“Michael leads an innovative, unique service offering for Valmark Financial Group.  The Valmark Policy Management Company allows agents to outsource active, ongoing policy monitoring and management so that they can focus on what they do best and clients are provided assurance that policies will deliver the promised benefits.” – excerpt from nomination

Carlos Nakandakare

Director Comercial de Vida

“Carlos developed a new commercial team of young professionals at MAPFRE PERU to help engage Millennials in life insurance. He redesigned the working model of the traditional salesforce, implemented a new model of leadership and redefined the model of training, supervising and career line. One of the results of this change has been an average annual growth of 25 percent, an increase of more than three times the market in four years.” – excerpt from nomination

Matthew Prom

Distribution Sales Enablement Technology Manager

“Matt has led numerous mobile- and technology-related initiatives on behalf of Allianz Life and their distribution channels overall. He has led various initiatives, such as developing a compliant means of texting, creating efficiencies through the usage of email campaigns, identifying technology tools to automate personalized correspondence, implementing intelligent calendaring solutions and improving internal processes.” – excerpt from nomination

Ashim Avinash Sahu

Associate Director, Data Sciences

“Ashim employs innovative analysis tools to help AIA understand its customers. In a short space of time, he and his team were able to determine that a key customer need was to have better visibility on the status update of claims. This intelligence was instrumental in the second phase of the My AIA app.” – excerpt from nomination

Sarah Thacker

Underwriting Manager, Voluntary Benefits

“Sarah brings underwriting to the forefront of Voya’s sales and client partnerships, and garners respect as a member of our Employee Benefits leadership team. The results of Sarah’s innovative approaches include better outcomes for clients and their employees, stronger partnerships with brokers, and an accelerated sales trajectory resulting in increased profitable growth. Her collaborative, well-informed, results-driven style is a model to her colleagues across Voya Employee Benefits and within the industry.” – excerpt from nomination

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