Read about the outstanding speakers presenting at the 2022 NAIFA-SD Convention
Kay Norton is a retired English professor and former journalist, business owner, and marketing/advertising/public relations professional. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from Western Illinois University and taught English and public speaking classes at Spoon River College (Macomb, IL) where she also served as Division Chair for English, Communications, and Fine Arts and received SRC’s Illinois Community College Teaching Association Outstanding Full-time Faculty Award. After moving to South Dakota with her husband, Don, in 2017, she first taught at University Center in Sioux Falls before accepting a position at South Dakota State University, teaching composition, business communications, and remedial writing. Kay operated a successful full-service marketing agency for 22 years, providing integrated communications services for a national base of clients in the government, education, non-profit, healthcare, banking, and retail arenas. She continues to provide consulting services for local and national organizations. Professional honors include the Employer Award from the Illinois Division of Rehabilitation Services, and the Individual Achievement Award from the Illinois Association of Employment Professionals. Kay currently serves as the Board President for the Brookings Area Habitat for Humanity affiliate. A Rotarian since 1990, she is the Rotary District 5610 Trainer and Public Image Chair, as well as the PI Chair for her home club in Brookings. Kay and Don have been married for 44 years, and they delight in singing together for church, community, and long-term care facilities. She also enjoys cooking, gardening, reading, and traveling.
Don Norton is CEO of the South Dakota Agricultural and Rural Leadership Program where he delights in building the skills, knowledge, and character of impactful leaders for the state. Prior to joining SDARL, Don directed the leadership programming and served as CEO of the Illinois Agricultural Leadership Program. He has led leadership classes to China, India, Japan, Panama, Germany, Poland, Ireland, Scotland, and held leadership seminar meetings in Russia and Ukraine.
Don’s background is in education and communication. He taught more than 20 communication courses at the college and university level and has received four Associated Press News Awards for broadcast journalism, including as a news anchor/reporter at WGN Radio in Chicago. He has voiced thousands of radio and television commercials and continues to provide voice-over services for clients throughout the Midwest. He has a Master of Arts Degree in Communication from Western Illinois University, is certified in Non-Profit Management from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, and is a Maxwell Leadership Certified coach, speaker and trainer.
Don actively engages in the humanitarian service and international goodwill that are the stated purpose of Rotary International, where he is a 25-year member. He currently serves as President of the Brookings, South Dakota Rotary Club. He is a Paul Harris Fellow. Don and his wife, Kay, live in Brookings and have two grown sons.
Tom Walter is a "serial entrepreneur' author, speaker and a principal in numerous companies
Tom has more than 40 years of experience as an owner-operator in the service industry. He has participated in the startup of 35 companies, is currently active in nine of those companies and has acquired three. He terminated two losing entities.
Tom remains a principal, investor and advisor for several companies, most of whom are part of 80Nine Holdings and have been co-founded by staff.
Tom is a co-author ofthe award winning book It's My Company Too!: How Entangled Company's Move Beyond Employee
Engagement for Remarkable Results
Emerald Award winning academic journal (2015) Creating and Sustaining a Highly Engaged Company
Culture in a Multigenerational Workplace Strategic HR Review, Vol.14, lss:4 PP124-130, John
Blattner PhD, Thomas J Walter Emerald Publishing
Employee Engagement and Positive Psychological Capital, original research journal article,
PhD, Grace Lemmon PhD, Thomas J. Walter, Elsevier Publishing
As a 12-year veteran of the industry, I believe that life insurance in some form is an essential part to most every client’s financial plan, though it is often misunderstood and perceived as overly complex. I enjoy being able translate a complex product for complex scenarios into understandable explanations to ultimately help clients achieve their financial goals.
In my role as Regional Vice President at John Hancock, I focus on strengthening relationships with our distribution partners, developing new opportunities, driving sales growth by positioning our offerings into client’s existing business and partnering to develop net new organic growth. I enjoy connecting all the pieces of a sale: from establishing an initial need, outlining a particular solution, explaining why insurance might be an ideal asset to bring that solution – all the way through to application and process logistics, product mechanics, underwriting, and close. Being able to connect those dots and see the larger picture helps make each step feel impactful and rewarding.’
Jim Effner is founder and President of P2P Group, a company specializing in sales training for financial services professionals. His mission is to help bridge the gap between financial advisors’ potential and their performance.
Prior to forming the P2P Group, Jim was Managing Partner of one of the largest Northwestern Mutual offices in the country. He built the Effner Financial Group to nearly 150 full-time and college advisors, insuring over 65,000 policyholders with a face amount of nearly $27 billion.
A Million Dollar Round Table qualifier every year he worked in the business, Jim is now a lifetime member of MDRT. He was a three-time Recognition Dinner/Forum qualifier, which represents the top 5% of all Northwestern Mutual advisors. In fact, he was the youngest person to make Forum the first two times he qualified. As a new advisor, he led his region in 1990, 1991 and 1992, placing runner-up in the Bronze and Silver awards, and 3rd in the Gold.
Jim has overcome numerous life challenges, including losing his hearing just 30 days after taking his Managing Partner contract. He brings his commitment to excellence, his passion, energy and conviction – along with his perspective of 30+ years in the industry – to every aspect of his business.
Chris Maxwell is the Founder and CEO of Maxwell Strategies. He graduated from Mount Marty University in 1999 with a BA in Business Management and from the University of South Dakota in 2000 with his MBA. As a business consultant, founder, and entrepreneur, Chris has been helping organizations large and small startup or go through change over his 20 year career. In 2015, Maxwell launched Maxwell Strategies to help organizations Think Big and Take Action on What Matters Most. Using their Momentum Model™, Maxwell Strategies is a catalyst in helping organizations Spiral Upward through finding, building, and keeping momentum around What Matters Most.