NAFA Annuity Distribution Summit Speakers

Keynote Speaker

Tom Flick, former 7-year NFL quarterback, has garnered a reputation around the world as an authority on leadership and leading change by helping organizations like Google, Starbucks, Mercedes-Benz, and the Pentagon develop leaders, lead change effectively, seize opportunities for growth, and increase teamwork and organizational performance. By aiming for the heart — where real power is unleashed —he helps people discover a newfound belief in themselves and their purpose motivating change in the world.

The keynote speaker presentation is proudly sponsored by:

Featured Speaker

Chip Eichelberger, formerly Tony Robbins International point man, has “Switched On” over 1,000 conventions for companies like Apple, Hyatt, Astra Zeneca, GM, Equitable and RE/MAX. He understands audiences are NOT craving another speech; they are craving the energy and engagement that he brings to EVERY presentation! Chip’s contagious energy will change the entire atmosphere of the room and help attendees discover how to become the best versions of themselves in even the most challenging circumstances!


Hal Hershfield is a Professor of Marketing, Behavioral Decision Making, and Psychology at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management. His research, which sits at the intersection of psychology and economics, examines the ways that people consider their future selves, and how feelings of connection to these distant selves can impact financial decision-making over time. Hershfield publishes in top academic journals and also contributes op-eds to The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and other outlets.

Kirk Bowman travels throughout the Western U.S. as an Advisor Practice Consultant (APC) for Global Atlantic, presenting at group meetings and special events. With more than 20 years in financial services, he brings a wealth of knowledge to his presentations, addressing highly relevant industry trends and best practices. Kirk joined Global Atlantic in 2018 as a Vice President, APC. Prior to Global Atlantic, he was a Business Development Consultant at Jackson National. He was also Divisional Sales Manager at Stryker Corp and Wright Medical Technology.

Heather Schreiber prides herself in her ability to customize potential solutions to meet the needs of each client as well as her ability to turn complex strategies into easy-to-understand terms. In her 28th year in the industry, she has worked among top organizations including Franklin Templeton Group of Funds, AXA Advisors, SunTrust Bank and leading field marketing organizations nationwide. Heather’s breadth of knowledge includes Social Security planning, retirement income distribution strategies, charitable giving, the rules that govern qualified plans and IRAs, multi-generational planning, tax mitigation techniques, and IRS reporting issues.

Paul Epstein worked his way through the ranks of the NBA on the power of his passion and willingness to follow his guiding purpose: to make an impact. He eventually became the Clippers’ sales manager before following his purpose to the NFL — serving in the league office, leading a record-setting Super Bowl XLVIII national sales effort, and overseeing a $1 billion campaign for the 49ers while opening Levi’s Stadium. Paul left the boardrooms of major sports leagues to begin sharing his message of purpose, activating your WHY, and Playing Offense in life and work around the globe.

Walter White currently serves as an independent director for Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (Allianz Life), and was formerly a senior adviser as well as president and CEO. Prior to assuming his position as CEO in 2012, Walter served as chief administrative officer, leading operations, IT, compliance, suitability and the Central Project Office. Previously, he was president of Woodbury Financial Services, a securities broker/dealer, and led the formation of the company after Hartford Life purchased Fortis Financial Group in 2001.

Dan Acker is president and chief marketing officer of SILAC Insurance Company (“SILAC”) and Sterling Investors Life Insurance Company. Before joining SILAC, he served as chief financial officer and later president of Sentinel Security Life Insurance Company (“Sentinel”). While at Sentinel, Dan was responsible for creating several new products for the senior market including Medicare supplement, fixed and index annuities, and hospital indemnity plans. He also expanded the agent distribution network to more than 16,000 appointed agents. During this time, he also successfully started a third-party administrator and an independent marketing organization.

Jack Aiken is president and marketing officer of LTA Marketing Group. Initially licensed for life products in 1969, he added Series 6 and 63 in 1972 and began brokerage distribution of fixed annuities in 1978. He has since managed several IMOs distributing both life and annuity products. Periodically, Jack has engaged in industry legal and regulatory matters as a registered lobbyist, consultant and plaintive. He has periodically been active in product industry associations and carrier advisory committees, and is currently the chair of NAFA’s Education Committee.

Bryce Biklen is vice president and chief distribution officer for North American Company for Life and Health Insurance, a Sammons Financial Group (SFG) member company, leading all annuity sales and distribution efforts. In his role, Bryce is responsible for driving sales growth through building and maintaining relationships with key independent marketing organizations (IMOs) and their financial professionals. He spent the past 20 years at SFG in a variety of roles across multiple distribution channels, and has also been an independent financial advisor, regional vice president with an IMO, and a regional vice president for another insurance carrier.

Laurence Black is the founder of The Index Standard, a provider of ratings, insights and forecasts, and an index advisor to Robert J. Shiller, Sterling Professor of Economics at Yale University. Previously, he was a managing director and head of quantitative indices and Strategies at Barclays where he oversaw the development of the Barclays index family. In addition to designing some of the first smart beta/factor indices, Laurence spearheaded Barclays’ index partnerships with Professors Robert Shiller and Nouriel Roubini, as well as Novus Partners.

Phillip Brzenk is head of multi-asset indices at S&P Dow Jones Indices (S&P DJI). His team is responsible for the product management of multi-asset and option indices, which cover a variety of outcome-oriented index solutions including managed volatility, retirement, dynamic allocation, inflation hedging, sustainability, and absolute return. Prior to his current role, Phillip was a Senior Director in the Strategy Indices team, where he was responsible for product coverage of alternate beta strategies, including factor-based indices, dividends, and volatility, as well as quantitative, thematic, and asset-allocation strategies.

Melissa Buccilli, director, is head of retirement insurance home office in BlackRock’s Retirement Group. She joined in 2018 and is responsible for driving BlackRock’s strategy with life insurance and protected income providers. Previously, she worked at Schroders for 5 years as a manager focused on maintaining and developing relationships with the firm’s largest insurance and sub-advisory clients and prospects. She also spent 8+ years at JPMorgan Asset Management covering insurance and sub-advisory clients nationally and held a variety of roles in institutional marketing. Prior to working at JPMorgan, Melissa held a marketing and communications role at Voya (formerly ING Financial).

Jay Charles leads Luma’s annuity business as director of annuity products. He joined Luma in August of 2020 from Prudential Financial, where he led teams focused on developing and commercializing new strategic solutions for Prudential Annuities, including helping launch the carrier’s annuities on multiple fintech platforms. Previously, Jay served as vice president, commercial banking strategy at JP Morgan Chase & Co., where he managed projects focused on developing commercial banking growth strategies and improving operational efficiency and effectiveness, and as an associate for McKinsey & Co.

Chuck DiVencenzo joined NAFA in 2019 as its president and CEO. As a lawyer and tax professional who has a wealth of experience in the retirement planning industry, Chuck is poised to leverage his sales, marketing, advanced markets and leadership capabilities to guide NAFA in its quest to protect the future of fixed annuities, as well as those who develop, distribute and market them. Previously, he held positions with Allianz Life and The Hartford, as well as Edward Jones, M&T Bank and National Benefits Group, developing relationships across the industry that help propel his vision for the association forward.

Alfred Eskandar is co-founder, president and COO of Salt Financial. He is responsible for driving the vision, business strategy and day-to-day operations of the firm. Alfred has more than 20 years of experience in financial technology and has been recognized multiple times as one of the most influential and innovative trading technology executives by Institutional Investor Magazine. He serves as an advisor to multiple emerging tech firms, a frequent industry speaker and a popular press contributor. Alfred holds a BBA in Finance and Economics from Baruch College.

Alan Grissom currently serves as an industry consultant for Grissom Enterprises after 15 years with S&P Dow Jones Indices, most recently as head of business, North America. He has a track record of repeatedly building 10 figure+ businesses in the financial services industry and a keen understanding of the financial services’ complete ecosystem, from retail investor to and through to the product/asset management. With knowledge in strategy, sales/marketing, operations, asset management, retirement planning, investment advisory and estate planning, he is a true asset for the businesses he serves.

Heather Kane is vice president of sales and marketing for EquiTrust and responsible for meeting the company’s sales targets. She oversees the distribution structure and network of independent marketing organizations in order to recruit and retain skilled sales professionals. Heather is also responsible for planning and execution of marketing, communication and advertising initiatives. For more than a decade, she has served in varying capacities with the NAFA, including as a member of the Government and Legal Affairs Committee, on its Board of Directors, and as a member of the Executive Operating Committee.

Jason Kestler serves as chief distribution officer, annuity, for Highland Capital Brokerage. Since starting in the financial services industry in 1997, he has employed innovation and determination in his marketing efforts. His goal is to build the organization every day, ensuring a long and prosperous future for Highland and its representatives. Furthermore, Jason is a founding Annexus Group partner, based in Scottsdale, Arizona, and a founding Market Synergy Group partner, based in Topeka, Kansas. He is also a two-term board member with the National Association for Fixed Annuities (NAFA).

Luke Loewen leverages more than 13 years in the industry in his role as president of Gradient Annuity Brokerage, an independent marketing organization that is part of the Gradient Financial Group family of companies. Founded in 2005 with a vision of empowering financial services professionals to expand and elevate their businesses through powerful tools, technology and support, Gradient’s mission is to connect both consumers and financial services professionals to a confident financial future.

Doug Massey is the executive vice president of sales for Insurance Technologies. Doug helps define and manage product and go-to-market strategies for Insurance Technologies. Doug is a 30-year veteran of the insurance and financial services technology space, helping streamline and automate the marketing and sales of insurance products. He has helped develop three successful startups, InsurQuote, Blue Frog Solutions, and CapitalRock, and worked with firms across the industry to automate the sale and processing of annuities and life insurance. Doug participated in defining the IRI standards and helped design and bring to market annuity and life order entry solutions.

Dennis Mattern, vice president of market development for CreativeOne, believes in helping advisors become the best possible version of themselves. Throughout his career, he has worked in the financial services industry in roles as salesman, financial advisor, recruiter, sales consultant, team manager, regional sales director and even founding member of a financial services firm. Every role has taught him something about the industry and provided him with invaluable experience he leverages as an educator and strategist. He uses those lessons every day in Right on the Money, his online talk show, as well as in presentations to advisors and colleagues.

Robert “Bobby” Powell, vice president of wealth management sales, joined iPipeline in 2017 following the acquisition of Laser App software. He spent 15 years with Laser App as the vice president of sales and marketing. In his current role with iPipeline, Bobby leads the wealth management and Insurance distribution sales teams. The focus of these two teams is to support the wealth management and insurance distributors with the tools needed to succeed.

Matt Tarkenton relies on 30 years of diverse business experience to lead Tarkenton Financial across every aspect of the company, from sales and marketing, to product strategy and distribution, to operations. Matt serves on the board of the National Association for Fixed Annuities (NAFA) and speaks in numerous settings about the value of guaranteed income in retirement. Prior to joining the Tarkenton Companies in 2004, Matt worked in investment banking and wealth management for several of the nation’s largest financial services firms, including Wilmington Trust, J.P. Morgan, and Alex. Brown & Sons.

James Wong is the area executive vice president of Partners Advantage ─ A Gallagher Company. Agencies looking to elevate their business growth strategy, enhance production, and eliminate inefficiencies have come to depend on his expertise. James entered the insurance industry in 1999 and has served in all facets of agency operations, so he knows first-hand the issues agencies face. In 2006, Partners Advantage acquired his agency and since then he has served in an executive leadership role. During his tenure, he helped facilitate dozens of mergers and acquisitions, which fueled the company’s growth.