March 20, 2014

Life Happens Announces New Officers and Members to Its Board of Directors

Arlington, Va. — Life Happens, a nonprofit organization formerly known as the LIFE Foundation (LIFE), today announced the appointment of two new officers and eight new members to its board of directors.

Cindy V. Gentry, CLU, ChFC, LUTCF, of Corpus Christi, Texas is the current chair of Life Happens. Effective Jan. 1, 2014, she replaced Stephen O. Rothschild, CLU, ChFC, CRC, RFC of Phoenix and Naples, Fla.

New Executive Committee member Cliff F. Wilson, CLU, ChFC, CLF, LUTCF of Chandler, Ariz. has been appointed to secretary.

Mark A. Bonnett of Phoenix, Michael Doughty of Boston, Michael Kalen, CLU, ChFC of Rocky Hill, Conn., Thomas D. Currey, CLU ChFC, LUTCF of Grand Prairie, Texas, Craig DeSanto of New York, Marty Flewellen of Las Vegas, Jon M. Voegele, MBA, CHFC, CLU of Bloomington, Ill., and Eric Webster, CLU, ChFC of Bloomington, Ill. have also joined the Life Happens board.

“We are especially grateful for the dedication and service of our 2014 board of directors, as we celebrate our 20th anniversary,” said Marvin Feldman. “These individuals represent some of the insurance industry’s leading insurance companies and producer organizations, whose counsel and financial support are essential to helping Life Happens carry out its public education mission.”

Life Happens’ 18-member board of directors includes representatives from seven of the insurance industry’s producer organizations and five Life Happens member companies. Officers are volunteer positions held by members of the board.

New 2014 Life Happens Officers and Board Members include:

Cliff Wilson
Executive Committee – Secretary
Cliff F. Wilson, CLU, ChFC, CLF, LUTCF is president of Chandler, Arizona-based Southeast Arizona Insurance Services, Ltd. Wilson entered the insurance business in 1970, and went on to qualify for the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT), becoming one of his company’s top producers. After several years, he moved to Arizona and went into agency building, and subsequently qualified for numerous company and industry awards, including GAMA’s “National Management Award.”

Wilson is a past president of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA), as well as past president of NAIFA Arizona, and served two terms on NAIFA’s board of trustees. He is a member of GAMA International and The Society of Financial Service Professionals, is a past board member on LUTC board of trustees, and in 2000, was named Arizona’s Life Underwriter of the Year. Wilson is a frequent industry speaker, and has testified before Congress on insurance regulatory legislation and met with top White House and Treasury officials on regulation. He is also a past board member of The American College.

Mark Bonnett
Board Member

Mark Bonnett is a distinguished financial advisor in the Southwest, with 15 years of experience at North Star Resource Group. He is one of North Star’s three senior vice presidents, and currently sits on the Executive Committee of GAMA. Bonnett is based in Phoenix with additional offices in San Diego and Denver.

Thomas D. Currey
Board Member

Thomas D. “Tom” Currey, CLU, ChFC, LUTCF, is a veteran of over 35 years in the financial services industry. He has served in varied leadership positions on his way to becoming president of his local, state and national professional associations (NAIFA) in 2009-10. Currey is a graduate of Baylor University.

Craig DeSanto
Board Member

Craig DeSanto is New York Life’s senior vice president and head of U.S individual life business. He also oversees the advanced markets network, which includes New York Life’s bank and corporate owned life insurance businesses and the retail life products sold through independent agents. He joined New York Life in 1998 in the individual life department. Over his 15 years, DeSanto has had roles of increasing responsibility in the individual life department, individual annuity department, and the advanced markets network. He led the affluent market unit, including Eagle Strategies, prior to his current role leading life products. DeSanto has a bachelor of science degree from Cornell University and is a fellow of the Society of Actuaries.

Michael Doughty
Board Member

Michael Doughty is president and general manager, John Hancock Insurance, for John Hancock Financial, the U.S. division of Toronto-based Manulife Financial Corp. Doughty has overall management responsibility for John Hancock’s life insurance and long-term care insurance businesses, including sales, marketing, product development and service operations. Doughty graduated with a bachelor of arts in history from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.

Marty Flewellen
Board Member

James Martin (“Marty”) Flewellen is senior vice president of Transamerica Life Insurance Co., an AEGON company, and chief distribution officer for the life and protection division (L&P) of Transamerica. Prior to joining Transamerica, Flewellen was a career agent focusing on business and estate planning. He became affiliated with Transamerica as a personal producing sales manager in 1988 and became a brokerage manager in 1990. Flewellen managed a general agency in Las Vegas from 1997 to 2000.

Michael Kalen
Board Member

Michael Kalen, CLU, ChFC, is president and CEO of Futurity First Insurance Group. Futurity First is an independent, nationwide insurance distribution organization specializing in retirement income and insurance protection solutions. Kalen has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware and a master’s degree in business administration from Columbia University. He holds series 7, 24, 9 and 10 registrations with FINRA. Kalen also serves on the board of trustees of American College and serves on LIMRA and GAMA committees.

Jon M. Voegele
Board Member

Jon M. Voegele, MBA, ChFC, CLU, from COUNTRY Financial is a regional vice president of agency from its Illinois region. His achievements include: Western Region Rookie of the Year, three Agent of the Year awards, Western Region Agency of the Year, three-time Western Region District of the Year, and in 2008, the district was awarded the GAMA Leadership Team Award. Voegele is a business and marketing graduate from the University of Washington and holds an executive MBA from the University of Oregon. He is a member of GAMA and NAIFA, and is a board member and national committeeman of NAIFA – Bloomington-Normal.

Eric Webster
Board Member

Eric Webster, CLU, ChFC, is vice president of marketing at State Farm corporate headquarters in Bloomington, Ill. Webster joined State Farm in July 2000 as assistant vice president, customer insights, marketing. He was promoted to his current position in April 2007. Before coming to State Farm, he was vice president of FCB Direct in Chicago, and previously was senior database marketing manager for IBM, responsible for marketing analytics for IBM’s worldwide database marketing group. Webster received a bachelor’s degree in finance and master’s degree in mathematics from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

About Life Happens
Life Happens is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping consumers take personal financial responsibility through the ownership of life insurance and related products. The organization does not endorse any product, company or insurance advisor. Since its inception in 1994, Life Happens has provided the highest quality, independent and objective information for people seeking help with their insurance buying decisions. The organization supports the insurance industry by providing marketing tools and resources and convening the industry each September for Life Insurance Awareness Month. Life Happens is supported by more than 140 of the nation’s leading insurance company and financial services organizations. To learn more, visit

Matt Derrick
Life Happens
202-464-5000 x4442

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