New Leaders, New Vitality
September 8, 2012In my opinion, one of the most important aspects of any fraternal organization’s annual meeting/convention is the election of new board members. It’s the best way for delegates to point in a strategic direction and say, “That’s where I want my organization to go in the future.” The election of new leaders is also the way an organization stays relevant. Bringing new blood onto the board means bringing in new ideas and fresh perspectives on all the issues being faced today, as well as in the future. The vitality that new board members bring with them is always inspirational and definitely something that should be celebrated. So, with that, I’m very pleased to announce that the delegates at this year’s American Fraternal Alliance Annual Meeting have elected new Board Officers and Directors! Allow me to introduce the folks that will help lead the Alliance into the future. The new American Fraternal Alliance Chair is Joseph E. Gadbois of Catholic Financial Life. In this leadership role, Gadbois chairs the Alliance’s Board of Directors, provides oversight and counsel for Alliance staff, leads policymaking decisions and represents the fraternal benefit system at both insurance industry and fraternal gatherings throughout the United States. On behalf of the Alliance, he represents 72 member societies with more than 9 million members. Fraternal benefit societies are not-for-profit membership organizations offering volunteer, social and networking opportunities, along with insurance and other financial products. In his acceptance speech, Gadbois had this to say, “Perhaps the greatest challenge for those who work each day in the fraternal system is to continue to truly believe in the most basic principles of fraternalism. We need to believe in the effectiveness of the fraternal model before we can see the good that it can do. Without ‘believing’ – ‘seeing’ won’t happen.” The new American Fraternal Alliance Vice Chair is William B. McKinney, Vice President of Marketing Development, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. As Vice Chair of the Alliance Board, McKinney will continue to provide strategic direction to the association that represents 72 fraternal benefit societies. Fraternal benefit societies are not-for-profit membership organizations offering volunteer, social and networking opportunities, along with insurance and other financial products. The new American Fraternal Alliance Secretary-Treasurer is David C. Gautsche, Senior Vice President of Products and Services, Everence Association, Inc. As Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance Board, Gautsche will continue to provide strategic direction to the association and will oversee accounting procedures for the handling of the Alliance’s funds. Fraternal benefit societies are not-for-profit membership organizations offering volunteer, social and networking opportunities, along with insurance and other financial products. The American Fraternal Alliance Immediate Past Chair is now Stuart B. Buchanan, High Secretary-Treasurer and CFO, Catholic Order of Foresters. As Immediate Past Chair, Buchanan, who was the 2011-2012 Chair of the Board, will continue as an officer of the Alliance and continue to represent the association’s societies. This morning the delegates also elected three new directors who will serve for a three-year term. The directors are Jaki Gardner, CEO, Catholic Holy Family Society; Timothy L. Kuzma, President, Polish Falcons of America; and Kristin McDaniel, Chief Marketing Executive, Royal Neighbors of America. Gardner spent 38 years as an insurance regulator, working in all areas of compliance, most notably financial solvency issues before joining Catholic Holy Family Society. She worked extensively with the NAIC on developing standards of financial reporting, standardized insurance regulations, policies and procedures, and staff development. Kuzma has been active in the Polish-American Community and fraternal movement since joining the Polish Falcons of America (PFA) in 1977. Tim’s administrative service with the Polish Falcons began in 1985, when he was hired as Editor of the Sokol Polski (The Polish Falcon), the official publication of the Polish Falcons and one of the oldest, Polish-American publications in the United States. Tim was elected National First Vice President of the PFA in 1996 and National Secretary/Treasurer in 2000. Tim became National President at the Falcons’ 2008 National Convention and was reelected in 2012. McDaniel became Chief Marketing Executive of Royal Neighbors in January 2011. She is responsible for helping articulate Royal Neighbors’ vision and mission; establishing goals, objectives, plans, and policies for the marketing division; directing and executing corporate marketing plans; and expanding the membership of Royal Neighbors. Please join me in congratulating them on their elections! I know they are going to do a great job representing the Alliance and leading it into the future!