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NAIFA Reveals Pair of Key 2022 Leadership Award Winners

Insurance Forums Staff

NAIFA recently announced that Jeff Chernoff is its 2022 Young Advisor Team Leader of the Year, and Chris Gandy will receive the NAIFA Diversity Champion Award.

The National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors will present Chernoff with the 2022 NAIFA YAT Leader of the Year Award on November 14 at NAIFA’s National Leadership Conference and Belong awards in Washington, D.C. Gandy will also be honored during the celebration.

Chernoff, M.S., LUTCF, LACP, is Vice President of Insurance and Trust in Tampa.

Jeff Chernoff

Chernoff is the President-Elect of NAIFA-FL and has been a loyal NAIFA member since 2011. He is a graduate of NAIFA’s Leadership in Life Institute (LILI) and has remained active in the program, serving as a moderator of classes in Florida. He is a Past President of NAIFA-Tampa Bay and received that chapter’s Dick Cimino Distinguished Service Award in 2018 for his strong support of the chapter’s membership endeavors and public service projects.

As NAIFA-FL’s IFAPAC Chair, he oversaw the growth of the state chapter’s political action committee in both dollars raised and number of contributors. Chernoff currently serves at the national level on NAIFA’s Young Advisor Team Working Group.

“Jeff Chernoff has shown exemplary leadership at NAIFA-Tampa Bay and NAIFA-Florida, and it is my honor to congratulate him as NAIFA’s 2022 Young Advisor Team Leader of the Year,” said NAIFA CEO Kevin Mayeux, CAE. “He has shown great commitment to our industry and NAIFA through his work promoting our political action committee, Leadership in Life Institute, and membership programs. He has been a great mentor to dozens, if not hundreds, of his fellow advisors. Young leaders like Jeff and those who follow his example are the reason NAIFA and the insurance and financial services industry can look forward to a bright and successful future.”

Chernoff’s leadership activities extend beyond NAIFA. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Tampa Bay Chamber and is a graduate of its Leadership Tampa program. He was Chair, Vice Chair, and Sponsorship Chair of the Chamber’s Emerge Tampa Bay initiative. He is also on the Board of the Stageworks Theatre in Tampa. He is Vice President of Partners in Network, an organization that links professionals together to facilitate referral-based business growth, and previously held leadership positions with Instruments of Change, a 501(c)3 charity that provides musical instruments and instruction to disadvantaged children.

Prior to joining Insurance and Trust as a third-generation financial professional, Chernoff worked in higher education at the University of North Dakota, Ferris State University, and Virginia Tech. He graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science and received his Master’s Degree from the University of North Dakota.

“NAIFA looks to our young advisors to provide leadership that will keep our association strong and to promote our growth and continued influence. Leaders like Jeff Chernoff have the energy and ideas that propel us forward,” said NAIFA President Lawrence Holzberg, LUTCF, LACP. “Jeff shows us how important it is for NAIFA members to actively participate. I strongly encourage other young agents and advisors to follow Jeff’s example and explore ways they can get the most out of their NAIFA memberships and support the success of their association colleagues.”

2022 NAIFA Diversity Champion Award

Chris Gandy

Christopher Gandy, LACP, Founder of Midwest Legacy Group in Lisle, IL, and the top-ranked producer for OneAmerica, has been recognized as the NAIFA Diversity Champion for 2022.

Gandy, a loyal NAIFA member since 2003, serves on NAIFA’s Board of Trustees, is a Past President of NAIFA-Chicagoland, and is a Co-Chair of NAIFA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Council. He was also a member of the NAIFA 2025 Strategic Planning Committee, which developed the NAIFA 2025 strategic plan with a goal of increasing DEI in the association and industry. After four years as a student-athlete at the University of Illinois and playing several seasons of professional basketball for the Chicago Bulls and the San Antonio Spurs as well as in L’Hermaine, France, Gandy entered the insurance and financial services profession in 1999.

A renowned thought leader in the insurance and financial services industry, Gandy has been a featured speaker on diversity in the industry and financial planning topics at industry events, including NAIFA’s National Leadership Conference, Performance + Purpose, and annual Diversity Symposia; the Intercompany Long-Term Care Insurance Conference; and NAIFA state chapter events. He has spoken at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Insurance Summit and testified before the NAIC’s Special Committee on Race and Insurance promoting the need for greater diversity in the industry and NAIFA’s goal of ensuring financial security for all Americans.

“Chris Gandy is one of the leading voices on diversity, equity, and inclusion within NAIFA and the insurance and financial services profession. He is a constant advocate for diversity at all levels of our industry, from the producers on Main Street to company C suites and Boards,” said NAIFA President Lawrence Holzberg, LACP, LUTCF. “I’ve had the pleasure of working directly with Chris on the NAIFA Board of Trustees and have witnessed first-hand his passion for our industry and our need to provide financial security for all. It is my pleasure to congratulate him on this honor. He epitomizes the title ‘NAIFA Diversity Champion.’”

Gandy co-hosts NAIFA’s Advisor Today podcast series, interviewing highly successful NAIFA members about their careers and the state of the insurance and financial services industry. He has delivered NAIFA webinars on diversity topics as well as ways agents and advisors can increase their production. His presentation, “Tools for Success: Becoming the 1%,” is featured in NAIFA’s Future Leaders program that encourages and educates college students pursuing careers in insurance and financial services.

NAIFA created the Diversity Champion Award to recognize exceptional efforts to promote the full and equal participation of diverse people within the insurance and financial services profession.

A Diversity Champion presents a unique blend of experience, skills, accomplishments, and other qualities. A nominee must be a member of NAIFA in good standing and have at least five years’ experience in the insurance and financial services industry. The NAIFA Diversity Champion exhibits trailblazing efforts in one or more of the following areas:

  • Creating and promoting diverse and inclusive workplaces
  • Raising awareness and fostering communication within the financial services industry and the community
  • Supporting inclusion and encouraging diverse individuals to reach their professional goals
  • Fostering awareness and commitment to diversity and inclusion within the NAIFA membership
  • Providing insurance and financial services in underserved and diverse markets

NAIFA provides producers a national community for advocacy, education and networking along with awards, publications and leadership opportunities to allow NAIFA members to differentiate themselves in the marketplace. NAIFA has 53 state and territorial chapters and 35 large metropolitan local chapters. NAIFA members in every congressional district advocate on behalf of producers and consumers at the state, interstate and federal levels.




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