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SILA is pleased to produce the SILA Spotlight, a great way to recognize and highlight SILA members and organizations who are making significant contributions to the overall success of SILA. SILA Spotlight allows members to meet new regulators and to share an appreciation for contributions being made by members and organizations within the Association.

Let us know if you would like to see a member or organization highlighted in the next Spotlight edition by sending your suggestion(s) to silasupport@sila.org.

 

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Member Spotlight - Stephanie Rustad

Posted By Administration, Friday, January 31, 2020
Updated: Thursday, January 30, 2020

Member Spotlight

Stephanie Rustad, Vice President of Compliance Operations, Ameriprise Financial

SILA introduces Stephanie Rustad, Vice President of Compliance Operations for Ameriprise Financial. Stephanie leads various Compliance teams such as Licensing and Registrations, Complaint Resolutions, Field Office Inspections, and Compliance Program Management in her 7 ½ years with Ameriprise.

Stephanie has been in this industry for over 27 years. When asked what led her to enter the insurance and securities regulatory workforce, she replied, “I just sort of landed here, I guess. After 6 years at a “Big 8” accounting firm (that’s dating myself now, isn’t it?) – I took a position with my largest client, which at that time was IDS Financial Services (a predecessor company of Ameriprise Financial). I moved around the company into different business units and ended up in General Counsel’s Organization as part of the Compliance team.”

Stephanie truly enjoys what she is currently doing which helps contribute to her dream job. She has a great team, great company, and is continuously learning and challenged. SILA has played a part in helping her increase her knowledge on licensing and registration. She took advantage of the various educational forums and the excellent networking with industry peers. The SILA organization has also benefitted other team members at Ameriprise. Ameriprise is very supportive of her involvement in SILA including Stephanie’s new leadership position on the SILA Board of Directors as the new SILA Securities Director.

Stephanie grew up in Apple Valley, Minnesota and is married with two adult children (a daughter and a son). She enjoys staying active and likes yoga, golfing, walking or biking. On her bucket list is biking in the Alps. She started down this route with a bike tour in Germany and France in 2018. Switzerland and Italy are scheduled for September 2020.

We will leave you with a quote that inspires Stephanie: “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass – it’s about learning to dance in the rain. - Vivian Greene”

A great saying to take to heart. We can’t avoid life’s storms, but we can control how we respond to them. Thanks for sharing, Stephanie.

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Member Spotlight - Cindy Davidson

Posted By Mary Kay Krambeer, Friday, January 31, 2020
Updated: Thursday, January 30, 2020

Member Spotlight

Cindy Davidson, Director of Content & Compliance at Exam FX, an Ascend Learning Company

For those of you who have not yet had a chance to meet Cindy Davidson at the SILA Conference or in business meetings, then you are in for a treat. Cindy is a long-time SILA member and a friend to many. She has been to nearly all the SILA conferences except for a couple, and at these conferences, you will find Cindy either leading a session, serving as a panelist or participating in session discussions.

Cindy’s expertise comes from working in the industry for over 30 years. In her current position with Exam FX, she manages the content library and new product development for insurance licensing, continuing education and securities, as well as course and provider approvals. Cindy currently serves as the SILA Education Director for both the SILA and SILA Foundation Boards. Prior to this Director assignment, Cindy was the Director of Compliance for the SILA Foundation Board. Cindy also serves on the SILA Education & Training Steering Committee.

When asked what led her to enter this profession, her response was: “It’s kind of a hallmark of the insurance industry that ‘nobody enters it on purpose’. That’s one of the things the SILA Foundation is trying to change with our scholarships program!”

Cindy graduated with a degree in English and entered what she thought was the publishing industry. She became an insurance and education subject matter expert along the way (and admittedly quite by accident!) She always joked if this whole insurance thing didn’t work out, she’d just go live in a yurt on a commune and raise chickens. But seriously, Cindy feels super lucky in life to have this career, to help people enter and be successful in the financial services industry and be able to research and learn about and deeply understand this crazy industry we’re in! Also, as a mom to three great kids, she’d like to think they grew up with a good role model of a working mom who really enjoys what she does.

Cindy grew up in Pennsylvania but moved to California where she enjoys cooking, is a voracious reader of both fiction and nonfiction (currently enjoying "A Gentleman in Moscow") and she has a year-round garden where she grows novelty plants for fun. Right now, she is planting “mini cucamelons” as well as loofah vines; also some heirloom veggies like fava beans, corn mache, lambs quarters and amaranth. After pushing electrons around all week, she shares that it feels good and productive to work in the dirt.

The one thing Cindy is proud of is her influence in finding opportunities to women and people of color. Especially in an industry like ours, which has been very traditional and (yes even) patriarchal, she likes to help open doors and create a space to hear new voices.

Cindy is an avid hiker and outdoors-woman. Last spring, she became certified as a California Naturalist! She leads a women’s hiking group (they jokingly call themselves the Alpha Chicks) and they travel together twice a year to tackle some of the most challenging ascents in California. They have hiked the Grand Canyon, Sequoia, Big Sur, the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, Bryce Canyon, Death Valley, Catalina Island, and Joshua Tree. This Fall will be their 25th trip. In March, she’s going to complete a bucket list challenge and hike the Lares trail to Machu Picchu in Peru with her sister!

SILA has been a great resource for Cindy over the years. She reports that by getting involved, she has made many connections and friends. Her involvement with SILA has helped her grow as an industry professional and helped advance her career. Like Cindy, there are opportunities for SILA members to grow in their profession using SILA connections. She encourages members to step out, share their experiences and get involved in the industry.

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Meet SILA's Board of Directors for 2020

Posted By Mary Kay Krambeer, Friday, January 31, 2020
Updated: Thursday, January 30, 2020

SILA Board of Directors

Immediate Past President Tracy Sloan, Waddell & Reed
President Barb Gavitt, A.D. Banker & Co.
President Elect Kathy Halverson, Farmers
Secretary Tim Owen, Vertafore
Treasurer Donna Robinson, Physicians Mutual
Governance Margie Webber, RegEd
Education Cindy Davidson, Exam FX
Communications Diana Ivey, Marsh
Membership Nikki Brown, Asurion
Nominations Paul Willis, AXIS
Regulatory Advisor Karen Vourvopoulos, Ohio Dept of Insurance
Regulatory Advisor Bill Swanstrom, FINRA
Regulatory Securities Advisor    Lilah Blackstone, DC Dept of Ins, Securities, Banking
Regulatory Advisor Jeff Baughman, Washington Insurance Dept.
Securities Stephanie Rustad, Ameriprise
aising Jason McCartney, PSI
Vendor Relations Paula Sisneros, Pearson VUE
Legal Liason Fred Karlinsky, Greenburg Traurig

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SILA Designation Recognition

Posted By Administration, Friday, January 31, 2020
Updated: Thursday, January 30, 2020

SILA designation holders know they stand apart from their co-workers because they have proven, now more than ever, they’re driven, dedicated, focused and willing to work hard. A SILA Designation demonstrates achievement, participation and education upon successful completion of the steps required to earn a SILA Associate or SILA Fellow designation.

If you do not already hold a SILA designation, review the requirements at https://www.sila.org/page/Professional or we suggest you reach out to us at SILASupport@sila.org to get started.

SILA is honored to recognize the SILA Associate and SILA Fellow Designation recipients since the last edition of the SILA Spotlight (July 2019 – January 2020).

SILA Associate (SILA-A) Designation Recipients:

  • Carole Bergin, Schmitt, Sussman Enterprises
  • Jacob Bourdon, Vertafore
  • Roxanne Browning, AssuredPartners
  • Shawna Bryson, Sedgwick Claims Management Services
  • Sintia Chowdhury, Starr Companies
  • Michael Dosey, Vertafore
  • Kayontay Green, US Risk
  • Alyson Kellner, Vertafore
  • Courtney Kolenda, Acrisure
  • Kelsey Linden, Beazley Group
  • Shelley McEachen, Sentry Insurance
  • Colleen Miesse, Grange Insurance Companies
  • Nancy Sheehy, Munich Reinsurance America
  • Ebony Smith, Midlands Management Corporation
  • Anna Tang, Starr Companies
  • Julie Tucker, QBE Americas

SILA Fellow (SILA-F) Designation Recipients:

  • Kaylene Bowler, Eberl Claims Services
  • Cristy Edwards, BetterCE
  • Carolyn Marshall, Brown & Brown
  • Natisha Whitesel, URL Insurance Group

Tags:  Designation 

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Industry Spotlight - Beth McCullough

Posted By Mary Kay Krambeer, Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Industry Spotlight - Beth McCullough

Meet Beth McCullough, Sr. Manager, Regulatory Compliance at Asurion. Beth manages the Licensing Department in Leawood, KS and Nashville, TN. She has oversight with licensing Agencies, Producers, Adjusters, Portable Electronic Insurance, Warranty Registrations, Secretary of State and Business Licenses and has been in her current position since 2014 but reports that she’s been in the insurance industry practically all her life (sometimes it feels that way).

Beth has been a SILA member since 1998 and has been very active in the organization, including a term as President. Beth admits that she is not someone who likes the limelight but while attending her first SILA Conference, Tamara Dietrich (SILA member) got Beth excited about starting up a Chapter, so she did (the Heartland Chapter). Then Margie Webber (another SILA member and former SILA President) suggested that Beth join the Board of Directors, so she did. These positions forced her to speak in front of people as well as collaborate with people throughout the industry. These ‘uncomfortable’ activities were extremely valuable in moving Beth forward in her career. From there, Beth’s involvement continued to grow, and she learned so much. Beth, in looking back, is very grateful that those two gave her the push and supported her.

Beth’s company, Asurion, sees great value in SILA and supported Beth’s involvement. In fact, they have become strong financial supporters to SILA and the SILA Foundation because of Beth’s and her staff’s involvement . One of Beth’s proud accomplishments is her staff. Every member of her team has earned a SILA Associate or SILA Fellow designation. This is an outstanding accomplishment!

On a personal level. Beth grew up in Edwardsville, Kansas (a small town outside of Kansas City, Kansas). Beth has been married to her husband, Merle, for 31 years, and they have 3 children (1 son, 2 daughters), 3 grandchildren (2 boys, 1 girl). Her mom and her children all live within 5 miles of her. They all enjoy boating at the Lake of the Ozarks. In fact, one of the things on Beth’s bucket list is to buy a trawler and cruise around the Florida Keys.

When asked to name one thing most people may not know about her, Beth said that she coached recreational and competitive cheerleading squads for 11 years. She started with a 2nd grade squad of 5 girls and ended with a High School Squad of 30.

And to you, SILA members, Beth says to get involved! Join SILA sub-groups, Chapters and volunteer. You won’t believe how many friends you can make and how much information you can gain.

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Introducing Regulator - Lorelei Brillante

Posted By Mary Kay Krambeer, Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Regulator Spotlight - Lorelei Brillante

SILA is pleased to introduce a newer regulator to its membership, Lorelei Brillante from the great state of Maryland. Lorelei is the Producer Licensing Customer Service Supervisor and Education Analyst with the Maryland Insurance Department. She joined SILA in June, 2018 and immediately became involved in Task Groups and Subgroups in addition to attending last year’s SILA conference. Lorelei states that she enjoys the community of professionals, from different areas of the industry and different levels of experience who are committed to find practical solutions to common issues.

Lorelei was born in the Philippines, in Quezon City, the capital. She spent summers at her grandparents, in a very small rural town where everyone knew everyone. Wood burning stoves were still in use and water had to be hand pumped and brought in the house. The ocean was three blocks away so seafood was AMAZING! After Martial Law was declared, her family immigrated to California. She became a bona fide Valley Girl (you have to be of a certain age to know what she is talking about).

Her great grandmothers and grandparents were Lorelei’s greatest influences. They lived through WWII in the Philippines where they lost so much, not only in terms of property but of loved ones. Still their humanity and grace were evident in their daily lives through and after the war. It was inspiring to hear unsolicited stories from people they helped during that time and continued to help even after the war. Her parents took her to symphonies and theater and her aunts and uncles exposed her to the Beatles and Harley Davidson. These things of opposites interwoven with people and things she loved seems to be a theme in her life. It helped to keep her grounded while allowing her to explore and enjoy the next adventure.

Lorelei is most proud of her children. She has four, all of whom have graduated from college and are well on their way in their chosen careers. She is a first-time grandmother so spending time with her granddaughter is in a unique category of enjoyment. Other activities include reading, cooking/eating, Yoga and recently Tai Chi.

When asked what led Lorelei to enter the insurance or securities regulatory industry, she replies that she always said that insurance was in her genes belonging to the third generation of insurance professionals. Her grandfather and both parents retired in insurance. Her younger brother is a producer. Two of her daughters had brief stints in insurance as well.

Where she “strayed” is going to the regulatory side of the equation (said with a smile). She has been a regulator for nearly three years. Before then, she was in the Insurance Operations side for more than two decades. In her twenties, she started as a temp in Data Entry ad eventually became a New Business Trainer. She left the work force to raise her family. When she returned to insurance, she managed a Licensing and Compliance Team for an MGA in California.

How did she leave California for Maryland? She visited her daughter who was doing her residency in Maryland. The “visit” was longer than expected and she joined the Insurance Administration. Her daughter moved on to Chicago but Lorelei stayed in Baltimore.

The advice she wants to share with SILA members is to keep on learning and to be open to share your learning. Learn about the industry and share this with your community. Learn about your firm/state and share this with your clients/customers. Learn about your customers/clients and share this with colleagues. As you go on learning and sharing, you may find you learn more about yourself too. Earning the SILA designations is a great place to start.

In closing, Lorelei shares one thing from her bucket list. She wants to watch the Total Solar Eclipse on April 8, 2024. If any of the SILA members live in the path of the eclipse, the Path of Totality, she is inviting herself over. Don’t worry, she’ll bring the wine!

Tags:  Regulator 

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Regulator Spotlight - Karen Vourvopoulos

Posted By Mary Kay Krambeer, Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Regulator Spotlight - Karen Vourvopoulos

Karen Vourvopoulos is the License Division Chief of the Ohio Department of Insurance and a long-time member and friend of SILA. Karen was born in Columbus, Ohio but grew up in the Dayton, Ohio area. Karen began her career somewhat by accident. After college, someone suggested she look into insurance. The industry intrigued her so she became a licensed insurance agent. A short time later, she learned about a job opening at the Ohio Department of Insurance that interested her. She honestly did not plan to work for the state more than a few years, but enjoyed what she did and never left.

Karen has been married to her husband, Terry for 31 years. She has two sons, Michael and Nicholas. Michael works for Amazon. Michael and his wife, Elena currently live in Chicago while she completes Optometry school. Nicholas works for Midstate Tools and lives in Columbus Ohio.

Karen enjoys sailing, traveling and spending time with family and friends. A safari adventure is on her bucket list of things to do. One of her joys is volunteering. Assisting her community and giving back is the right thing to do and it makes her feel gratified that she is doing something that helps others. In fact, her dream job is one that has a positive impact on others.

Something you may not know about Karen is that she is an identical twin. She said that her poor mother and father did not know they were having more than one baby until after they were born.

When asked about the best advice she received, she said it was never to ask someone to do something you would not do yourself. She tries not to ask someone to do something for her that she is physically and/or mentally capable of doing herself.

Karen wanted to share with SILA members to take advantage of the opportunities SILA offers and when needed, reach out to fellow SILA members for assistance. Like her, get involved with SILA’s subgroups, conferences, website, etc. SILA offers the ability to connect with so many different people in the insurance industry. SILA’s “Latest News” offers regulators a convenient means to communicate regulator updates. SILA’s structure facilitates open communication among its members to discuss industry issues. For ways to get involved with SILA, contact silasupport@sila.org.

Tags:  Regulator 

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SILA Designation Recognition

Posted By Mary Kay Krambeer, Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Do you want to stand-out? Do you want to appear more confident? Do you want to show your company that you are committed and in this for the long-term? Then you must continually work on advancing your education as it has proven to lead to the production of higher quality work, increased productivity and stronger client confidence. SILA designation holders know they stand apart from their co-workers because they have proven they are willing to work hard and they are focused, dedicated and driven. I know you know how proud we are to recognize our designation recipients; but, can you imagine how your company would feel if your name was listed below too? It’s easy to get started, simply reach out to us at SILASupport@sila.org..

SILA Associate and SILA Fellow Designation recipients since the last edition of the SILA Spotlight (February 2019 – July 2019):

SILA Associate (SILA-A) Designation Recipients:

  • Andrea Ball, ProSight Brokerage
  • Lisa Black, NFP Corporation
  • Andy Buquet
  • Beverly D’Onofrio, Segal Company
  • Kristin Doyle, AF Group
  • Clay Grant, Lockton Companies
  • Camille Knight, Philadelphia Insurance Companies
  • Janice Myers, Glatfelter Insurance Group
  • Brian Niemiec, Vertafore
  • Karen Parl, Asurion Protection Services
  • Lisa Propes, Swiss Re
  • Ericka Richardson, Sedgwick Claims Management Services
  • Jeannette Sanders, American Equity Underwriters
  • Emma Sanjurjo, Insureon
  • Kevin Schemm, Asurion Protection Services
  • Heidi Schwarzenbart, American Family Mutual Insurance Company
  • Teresa Smith, Glatfelter Insurance Group
  • Lesley Jill Wrenne, Asurion Protection Services

SILA Fellow (SILA-F) Designation Recipients:

  • Jenna Colebank, Allianz Life Insurance Company
  • Vicki Johnston, USABLE Life
  • Marlene Marten, RCIS
  • Carole Petrovics, Eberl Claims Services
  • Chris Reetz, Allstate Insurance Company

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Industry Spotlight - Tracy Sloan

Posted By Mary Kay Krambeer, Thursday, January 31, 2019

Industry Spotlight - Tracy Sloan

Please welcome SILA’s new President! Many of you may already know Tracy Sloan of Waddell and Reed since she has been a SILA member since 1998 and has been in the industry for 30 years. When asked why she wanted to serve as SILA’s next president, she said that after serving two terms as the Securities Chair and a term as Secretary on the SILA Board, she felt taking the President role would be a great way to continue to support the organization. We couldn’t agree more.

Tracy has managed the Licensing & Registration Team at Waddell & Reed for the past 10 years that includes oversight of registrations, license, and appointments held by their independent financial advisors and employees. In addition, Tracy’s team manages the Broker-Dealer, Investment Advisor, and insurance agencies’ licenses, branches, and registrations. Little did she know that when she took a position opening the mail for this department that it would lead to a career of 30 years.

Tracy grew up in Kansas City, Missouri and is married to her husband (Kevin) for 27 years and they have a son (Mason) age 12. She loves spending time with family and friends, scrapbooking and horseback riding. In fact, one of the items on Tracy’s bucket list is to go horseback riding on the beach. She also volunteers with the local Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Chapter.

The life experience that helped shape Tracy in the person she is today was working alongside her grandfather on the farm. It taught her that you don’t get to play until the work is done, even if that means digging potatoes on your birthday. She lives by the golden rule of treating others as you would like to be treated. You don’t know what someone is going through at any moment.

Some goals that Tracy has set for SILA this year is to increase SILA’s social media presence, increase SILA’s membership and to assist members with designations to complete requirements in order to keep their SILA designations. All great goals and ones that offer visibility and growth to the SILA organization while meeting current member needs. We look forward to where Tracy will lead SILA in 2019!

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Regulator Spotlight - Andrea Bourgoin

Posted By Mary Kay Krambeer, Thursday, January 31, 2019

Regulator Spotlight - Andrea Bourgoin

SILA is pleased to spotlight Andrea Bourgoin, South Carolina’s Licensing and CE Supervisor. Andrea has been employed with the Department for nearly 12 years and all those years have been spent in the Licensing and CE division. Andrea has been the Supervisor for Licensing and CE for the past three years. Her mother, Nancy Bourgoin, was the Licensing and CE Supervisor many years before Andrea assumed the position (and SILA’s 2003 Regulator of the Year award recipient). Andrea saw firsthand how much her mother cared about her employees and helping individuals with licensing. Andrea never thought that she would end up in the same position as her mother, but she found that she also has the same love of helping people!

Andrea is a Columbia native, born and raised in South Carolina. She enjoys painting and creating different types of art with various mediums…all thanks to Pinterest. On her bucket list of things to do, she hopes to travel to Spain.

As a movie lover, one of Andrea’s favorite movies is Road House. In the movie, Patrick Swayze says, “…I want you to remember that it’s a job. It’s nothing personal”. This is so appropriate in the Licensing area as she handles escalated calls from licensees upset about their licenses being canceled for failure to renew or comply with CE. No matter how angry or frustrated they become and are directing their frustration and anger towards her, she remembers this line from the movie. This allows her to ignore their anger, get to the bigger problem and work to come up with a solution that is fair to them yet remain compliant with statute.

Andrea’s favorite quote that she shared is: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. This is a great life lesson for all of us that we improve only when we discover where mistakes were made, and then work to change the process to avoid them in the future.

And before ending our interview with Andrea, we want to congratulate Andrea for recently obtaining her SILA Fellow Designation. We appreciate Andrea’s commitment to the industry and her support of the SILA community.

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