2017 NAFIC Convention

Speaker Biographies

May 1-3, 2017


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Johnny Bench was raised in Oklahoma. An outstanding baseball player, he was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds and in 1967 was named National League "Rookie of the Year." A two-time National League MVP, he is considered by many to be the best "all around" catcher in baseball history. Johnny won the World Series MVP Award in 1976.  

Later in his career Johnny was troubled by bad knees and became the Reds' third baseman in 1982. He retired from baseball following the 1983 season. He became a Reds announcer from 1987 to 1990.  He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility (1988). An avid golfer, Johnny spends a lot of his free time on the golf course.


Pat Bolland has been in media for more than two decades both north and south of the border.  Pat's experience includes  business editor at CNBC & CBC, host at Business News Network, CFRB-radio and Sun News, and writer at AOL, Moneysense, and Sun Media.

After graduating from Queen's University at Kingston, he started work on the floor of the Toronto Stock Exchange as a phone clerk. Over a decade he progressed through retail and institutional sales to help his firm to a leadership position on Bay Street.

Pat has parlayed his media and business background into public-speaking, event hosting & moderating and webcasting for financial institutions and conferences.

He has coached hockey for 36 years, soccer for 14 and lacrosse for 13 years.  He recently retired as head coach of the Queen's University Women's Lacrosse team. 

Despite all his media, business and sport ties he still gets stopped on the street, usually by someone saying ... “You're the guy with the ‘stache'!




Jim Ruta CHS, EPC is a coach, best-selling author and speaker with a difference - he did the job at the highest level.

Former executive manager of one of Canada’s most successful insurance and investment agencies – with over 250 advisors, 15 managers and 50 staff, Jim is now one of Canada’s top keynote speakers, emcees and coaches. His discovery of ICON Protocol™ redefines advisor business development for advisors who want to excel.

Jim’s high energy talks are packed with practical ideas and have highlighted major conferences and online and network media worldwide.



Eileen Chadnick, PCC, ACPC, ABCis principal of Big Cheese Coaching which she established in 2003.  A certified coach, accredited business communicator and a former wellness/fitness professional, Eileen is the author of Ease: Manage Overwhelm in Times of ‘Crazy Busy’ and has been a contributing careers columnist with the Globe and Mail, Canada’s national daily, since 2007.

A champion for personal, professional, and organizational success and well-being, Eileen helps her clients build success and trust one conversation at a time. She draws from emotional intelligence, positive psychology, neuroscience — and now the burgeoning field of Conversational Intelligence® (C-IQ®).

Additionally, Eileen has significant experience in professional communications within the financial services arena. Among other clients, she served Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC) for more than 10 years and on a long-term, multi-faceted campaign to promote financial planning and the value of professional advice to Canadians.

See more at www.Bigcheesecoaching.com / www.EaseRX.com / www.Chadnickcommunications.com




Justin “JJ” Deges, FICF, CLTC, is a 9-year Million Dollar Round Table member with one Court of the Table qualification.  Several times during his 11 years as an agent, Deges has finished top producer for the Knights of Columbus in overall life insurance production, most life applications, most life volume, most life premium, and most long term care applications. 

A former school teacher, Deges continues to educate and motivate while advising his clients on all matters pertaining to their financial security.  He passionately considers this role to be his vocation in life and regards his clients as his extended family. 

Growing up on a small farm in Northwest Kansas has given Deges the competitive edge in work ethic amongst his peers.  J.J. and wife, Susan, reside in Bogue, Kansas along with their six children:  Benjamin, Andrew, A.J., Paul, Julia, & Matthew. 



Joe Annotti is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Fraternal Alliance. The organization represents more than 60 not-for-profit fraternal benefit societies domiciled in the U.S. and Canada. These societies provide a variety of financial services products – primarily life insurance and annuities – to their more than 9 million members, along with a host of other member benefits, from scholarships to financial planning courses, to social networking.

Equally important, member societies contribute millions of dollars in direct financial support and millions more hours of volunteer service to a wide range of community service projects and charitable organizations in all 50 states. In fact, fraternal benefit societies’ volunteer networks are one of the most powerful sources for good in North America.


Melissa Knoll became involved with the LIFE Foundation in 2009 through the realLIFEstories program.  Melissa and her daughters, Neva and Morgan, along with their agent, Joe Fox, were selected as an example of the power of life insurance. Melissa's husband, Greg, was a tough, physically fit SWAT officer for the Minneapolis Police Department, when he was diagnosed with a rare form of gastric cancer.  He died at the age of 37, leaving Melissa, their 10 and 5 year-old daughters, a new business and dreams for their future. Fortunately, he also left life insurance. Melissa has shared her family's story with insurance groups throughout the country in the hopes that it will help other families to make sure that dreams live on even when dads may not. She is busy as a single mom and Managing Director for Behavioral Institute for Children and Adolescents, a non-profit that provides resources and support for parents and professionals who work with troubled youth.  She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.



Doug Lennick is CEO and co-founder of Think2Perform. He is legendary for his innovative approaches to developing high performance in individuals and organizations and is an expert at developing practical applications of the art and science of human behavior, financial and otherwise.
Before founding Think2Perform, Doug, a certified financial planner (CFP), was Executive Vice President for Ameriprise Financial. In that capacity he led an organization of 17,000 field and corporate associates to unprecedented success.
Doug and co-author Fred Kiel, Ph.D., recently released their newest book, Moral Intelligence 2.0: Enhancing Business Performance and Leadership Success in Turbulent Times. 
Doug is in high demand as a keynote speaker as well as an executive and organizational advisor. He has been quoted and referenced in many publications and books.


David R. Koch, FIC  Dave joined Thrivent Financial in Feb 2000 as a Financial Rep in Lexington KY.  In April 2012 he transitioned to full-time field leadership with responsibility for recruiting and launching representatives in Kentucky, Southern Indiana and Metro Cincinnati.

In 2015 Dave was recognized as Thrivent’s leading veteran Partner for his work in recruiting and launching New Financial Representatives, growing sales and growing new members.   

In 2016 he received GAMA’s  Brian H. Early Frontline Excellence Award.  


Based out of Port Charlotte, Florida, Jeffrey Tamas, FIC, CFFM is a Managing Partner for Modern Woodmen of America where he is responsible for recruitment, field development, and personal sales.  His passion is to help people achieve goals they thought were unattainable through proper planning – not only financially, but also in their lives and community.  After serving in the Army and a stint as a union bricklayer, Jeff worked in Christian ministry for 10 years where part of his job was to build volunteer organizations.  He was very successful and still utilizes some of these tools with his work in recruiting.  Jeff is married to Vanessa and has two children.  He enjoys serving his community and church.  He is on the Executive Board of Young Life, a youth organization that offers programs for middle and high school kids to help them make good decisions in life.