Kristine M. Wolfe, CAE, Receives NAIFA’s 2014 C. Carney Smith Award

August 21st, 2014, No Comments, be the first ».

Kristine M. Wolfe

The National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors has recognized Kristine M. Wolfe, CAE, with the association’s most prestigious honor in association management: the C. Carney Smith Award. Wolfe has served as the executive director for NAIFA-Greater Detroit since 2005 and previously held the position from 1985-1987.

“I am very pleased to congratulate Kris Wolfe as NAIFA’s 2014 C. Carney Smith Award recipient,” said NAIFA President John Nichols. “Her service to NAIFA members in the Detroit area and nationally is an inspiration to all of us who revere this great association. It’s the work of Kris, and dedicated executives like her around the country, that has helped make NAIFA so successful over the past 125 years.”
Wolfe is the 39th recipient of the C. Carney Smith Award. The award was created to honor the legacy of C. Carney Smith, CLU, who served as the National Association’s Executive Vice President for 15 years, ending in 1978. Established in 1976, the C. Carney Smith Award promotes the advancement of professionalism in the field of association management among NAIFA state and local associations. Through the years, it has come to symbolize a lifetime achievement award for association executives. The recipient is chosen by his or her peers, who strive to select an executive who embodies the very best of what NAIFA stands for: education, involvement, integrity and service to others.

“Hands down, Kris is one of the finest executives I have ever worked with,” said NAIFA-Greater Detroit 2013-2014 President Michael D. Vukich. “She is a real pro in all aspects of her life. She’s talented, motivated, dedicated and a natural leader. She just makes things happen—and always the right way.”

“Kris ranges from cheerleader to task master for the NAIFA-Greater Detroit Board, and she seems to know which hat to wear at the appropriate time to encourage the Board to stay ever-vigilant regarding membership recruiting and retention,” said NAIFA-Greater Detroit 2012-2013 President Gregory R. Kreiner. “She is respected and well-liked by our membership, and she is always cheerful and ready to serve them above and beyond.”

Wolfe’s achievements include:

  • Wolfe plans and executes the NAIFA-Greater Detroit annual Sales Congress. Due largely to her efforts, attendance at the event has exceeded 400 in each of the last four years and more than 40 exhibitors have purchased booths. She secures sponsors and prominent speakers for the event, which receives strong approval ratings from attendees.
  • As part of a membership partnership with NAIFA-National, Wolfe secured 40-plus new memberships during the 2014 Sales Congress, setting a federation record for securing the most new memberships at a one-day event. Due to this and other efforts, NAIFA-Detroit achieved membership growth during the past membership year.
  • Under Wolfe’s leadership, the financial reserves of NAIFA-Greater Detroit have increased. She emphasizes that all expenditures must have a goal of growing membership or providing services to members.
  • Among other public relations work, Wolfe has done a cable TV interview on Life Insurance Awareness Month and initiated a partnership with D Business magazine, Detroit’s premier business publication, to promote NAIFA membership.
  • Wolfe sits on the Estate Planning Board at Oakland University; has served as the executive director for the Financial and Estate Planning Council of Metropolitan Detroit since 2005 and FSP Detroit Chapter since 2005. She has been a member of the American Society of Association Executives since 2007 and the Michigan Society of Association Executives since 2010, and earned the CAE designation in 2013.
  • Wolfe received NAIFA’s Jack E. Bobo Professional Education Scholarship in 2007; chaired the NAIFA Association Executives Advisory Council in 2012; has been the local executive liaison for NAIFA’s Subcommittee on Political Involvement since 2013; and is a 2011 graduate of NAIFA’s Leadership in Life Institute.


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NAIFA to Kick Off 125th Anniversary Celebration at Career Conference

August 15th, 2014, No Comments, be the first ».

It’s official—NAIFA is turning 125 next year! The association is marking this important milestone with a yearlong celebration, which starts at the 2014 Career Conference and Annual Meeting in San Diego.

When 70 insurance agents gathered in Boston to form the National Association of Life Underwriters in 1890, little did they know they were sowing the seeds for the nation’s largest group of insurance and financial advisors. NALU is now NAIFA, whose members reside in every U.S. congressional district, with influence that extends throughout the halls of Congress and to all 50 statehouses.

Over the years, the association has used this influence to provide a favorable business environment for its members and their clients, working tirelessly to make sure that their interests are protected and advanced. And it has helped thousands of agents and NAIFA125logo0advisors succeed, providing them with the tools and resources they need to build their businesses, advance their careers and connect with clients and peers.

To kick off the celebration, NAIFA has created a 125th anniversary website, which features creative content, including a digital timeline of NAIFA’s government relations victories and other major milestones.

Over the course of the anniversary year, NAIFA will also supplement Voices From the Field, the 1990 book commemorating NAIFA’s 100th anniversary, with a series of video interviews with past NAIFA presidents. These interviews will highlight the association’s history over the past 25 years, and blog posts will feature recollections of NAIFA executives, leaders, and long-time members.

“Our amazing history is part of the reason NAIFA is the leading association for insurance and financial advisors today,” says NAIFA President-Elect Juli McNeely, CFP, CLU, LUTCF.

NAIFA state and local associations can celebrate along with NAIFA-National and share photos, videos and other media on the anniversary website. “We invite everyone to take part in this celebration by telling their story about the role NAIFA has had in advancing their business and developing their professional growth,” McNeely adds.
To take part in the anniversary celebration, please visit

Focusing on the future

A look back at NAIFA’s 125-year history shows that the financial-services industry, together with NAIFA members, is constantly changing, and NAIFA is using its prestige and long-term success to position and lead these members into the future. “We can reflect on our past, and even celebrate it, but we can never rest on our laurels,” McNeely says. “When we look beyond the celebration, NAIFA’s past provides a solid foundation from which we will continue serving our members.”

It’s this forward vision that prompted NAIFA to team up with GAMA International to sponsor cutting-edge research on the future direction of the industry. Advisor 2020, published earlier this year, provides a blueprint of how NAIFA members can thrive in changing market conditions in the coming years.

“This is really important intelligence for the advisor community,” McNeely says. “But we aren’t just putting it out there in a vacuum. We are providing resources–a workshop, webinars, and white papers—that NAIFA members can use to put the research into practice.”

Also with an eye toward the future, NAIFA has teamed up with the College for Financial Planning to revitalize and modernize the Life Underwriters Training Council Fellow program and the association is launching the LUTCF designation’s updated curriculum during the NAIFA Conference. Ever vigilant on the government relations front, NAIFA is also focused on a wide range of issues that are Important to the future success of its members and the clients they serve, such as the tax status of life insurance and annuities and NARAB licensing.

“The real message I hope everyone takes away from our 125th anniversary,” McNeely says, “is that because of our strong history, NAIFA is perfectly positioned to help our members take on the challenges of the future.”