Vice President of Marketing
I grew up in Silver Lake, KS, a town of about 2000 people. My parents were educators, being teachers and coaches for over 30 years, and very involved in the community. My parents set a great example, as they have been married since 1982 and really sacrificed a lot for us three kids shuffling us around to sports tournaments and camps and taking vacations when we could.
After my dad transitioned from teaching to being a small business owner, he had a commercial and residential painting and contracting company. Growing up, much of the free time I had outside of sports or playing with my friends, was spent working for Expert Painting. Getting up at the crack of dawn and working through the summer in 100-degree heat, painting an apartment building or a hotel inside and out definitely taught that hard work paid off.
We traveled a lot as kids. It was really spontaneous, load up everything in the car and hit the road type of vacations. We went to a lot of MLB games (14 stadiums and counting), college and NFL football games, made road trips to amazing places around the US (38 states and counting), and the best ones were learning how to ski and snowboard in annual winter trips out to Colorado. That travel bug has definitely been contagious, since I was a young kid and still hit the road to see new places and experience as much as we can outdoors across the U.S, with recent hiking trips through Colorado, Utah, and Oregon!
I loved growing up in a small town and playing sports with buddies. In high school, I was fortunate to be on teams that finished State Runner-Up in football and State Champions in baseball, but my main sport and passion was always wrestling. This is the biggest arena that dedication paid off, struggling as a kid and taking my licks but still being focused and putting in 10,000+ hours allowed me to see dividends through a high school career placing in state four times and earning a scholarship to University of Nebraska. Started college in 2005, moved up to Lincoln, Nebraska to be a Cornhusker! Though only 3 hours from home, not knowing a single person on a huge campus forced me to meet other people and to find my own path. One really cool aspect is I lived with guys from 6 other states throughout college so now have friends scattered all over the U.S. that still connect when we can. I was on the team for two years at Nebraska, and 2X member of Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll, then hung up the wrestling shoes and grind of student-athlete life to have some freedom in time and energy as a college student.
One pivotal event is I took a summer class in 2007 and met Hanna, and as it turns out we grew up about 15 minutes from each other. Wild that we were both 200 miles away from home, in a different state, in a summer class, and crossed paths. Fast forward a bit, and we were married in 2014
Fast forward after college – 2009 I took a job as an underwriter with a large insurance company in Lincoln. Worked there for almost a year and had valuable learning experience but the corporate atmosphere and being stuck in a quiet, gray cubical had me looking for more exciting opportunities. I had actually accepted a job in Denver, but an opportunity came up where Brad Johnson called me and said they might have a fit at Advisors Excel. Really, I never expected to move back to Kansas; but trusting some buddies that joined this startup called Advisors Excel and having good friends working there, it turned into one of those “it’s who you know” things and just took the leap of faith and joined the team here in 2010, where I was the 55th employee.
Moved back to Kansas, dove right into the world of what it means to be an independent financial professional, and really loved the culture of sharing at Advisors Excel and getting to spend time with very successful small business owners and the top financial professionals in the industry.
On the personal side, I was married in 2014 to Hanna. We had a big, fun wedding, in Lawrence, Kansas, where we’ve lived since 2013. In May of 2015, we added Lucille, the first of many children that we hopefully are blessed with. Lucy has been amazing, always easy going, laughing and loves being outside. Our main hobby is traveling; we’ll try to knock off a couple bucket-list trips domestically every year, or going to favorite spots at lakes or in the mountains. We are very fortunate the 3 of us are happy and healthy and have a great circle of friends!
At Advisors Excel, now, one thing I love is just helping a small group of clients really design their ideal practice; getting to know the people that are working with us and committing 100% of our resources to helping them grow is what this job really fun and entertaining. We try to bring that passion and focus to help those financial professionals every day.
GETTING TO KNOW BRADy
Favorite Food: Scallops!
Favorite quote: “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” ~ Dale Carnegie, “How to Win Friends and Influence People”
Best piece of financial advice received:
“If you’ve got your health, you can always make some money. But all the dough in the world can’t buy back your health. Isn’t it clear that the person who compromises his health in the name of making money is cutting himself a really lousy deal?” ~ Peter Barton, “Not Fade Away: A Short Life Well Lived”
Favorite holiday: Thanksgiving
Favorite movie: To laugh… Dumb and Dumber. To be entertained… The Matrix. To be moved… American Beauty.
Hidden talent: Secretly good at video games…
If Brad could meet anyone, past or present, it would be: Elon Musk
What motivates Brad: Empowering others to do and experience what they fear to commit to.
Place Brad would most like to visit: Mars (Thanks for the inspiration Elon!)
Favorite book: How to Win Friends and Influence People
Something on Brad’s bucket list: To write a book. (in progress!)
Biggest accomplishment: Three amazing kids and marrying the woman I love.
I grew up in the small town of Marysville, KS. I was the middle child of three sisters… yes, my dad was thrilled to have three girls! Growing up in the country, just right down the road from my grandparents and cousins, I have always been blessed to be close to family. Some of my most memorable times were “running away” with my sisters and cousins to our grandparents, sledding on the old hood of a car tied to a rope behind dad’s truck, and the many weekends of camping at the lake. Ever since I can remember, I have had a love for sports, staying active, and getting involved. I played just about every sport growing up, was in a dance company from the age of 5 all the way through high school, and was very active in recreational sports throughout college. Now in my free time, I enjoy hitting the gym, participating in adventure runs, and staying competitive in volleyball leagues with friends.
During my time in college at Emporia State University, I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a minor in Psychology. Prior to joining the Advisors Excel family, I was recruited into a Management position with a leading retailer. It was in this position that I had the opportunity to combine my love for fashion, people, and my competitive drive. I feel that the skills I developed there helped build a foundation for my transition into Advisors Excel. Joining the fastest growing marketing organization ever, was one of the greatest opportunities I have had. As an independently owned IMO, based out of Topeka, KS, our mission is simple and straightforward—we never forget our advisors are our clients. We are dedicated to helping our clients reach their goals and dreams. Ever since I was a kid my parents have taught me that surrounding myself with the right people and activities can enrich your life. I couldn’t agree more, and working for AE has been a true testament to this!
Outside of the office, you can most likely find me spending time with family and friends. Together we enjoy going to games and cheering on our favorite sports teams, traveling, going to concerts, and enjoying just about any outdoor activity! Also at the top of the list, is spending time with my niece, Eliza!
“Surround yourself with people who make you happy. People who make you laugh, who help you when you’re in need. People who genuinely care; they are the ones worth keeping in your life. Everyone else is just passing through.”
GETTING TO KNOW MICHELLE
Favorite Food: Spaghetti!
Favorite quote: “Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is acting in the face of fear. It’s being afraid of something and doing it anyway.”
Best piece of financial advice received: “Pray for the best, prepare for the worst, and expect the unexpected.”
Favorite holiday: Thanksgiving
Favorite movie: Anything with Julia Roberts! I think she is great!
If Michelle could meet anyone, past or present: Justin Timberlake
What motivates Michelle: The future—creating a lifestyle for myself and family that will ensure a healthy, happy & fulfilled future
Place Michelle would most like to visit: Paris
Something on Michelle’s bucket list: Sky Diving!
Biggest accomplishment: Having the courage to change professions, even though it meant starting over & learning a whole new field—clearly it was worth it!
I grew up in St. Marys, KS (population of about, 2,700) with both of my parents and my two sisters. I enjoyed it and wouldn’t change it for the world! People always ask, “You’re a small town girl?” Yes! I loved the small town atmosphere, knowing everyone by their first name and our close-knit community where everyone genuinely cared for each other. From the time I was little, both of my parents instilled in me that if I wanted to go anywhere in life, I was going to have to work harder than the next person to get there. From the time I could start earning a paycheck, I was a Water Safety Instructor teaching lessons at the public pool and lifeguarding all summer long. I loved working with all the kids and watching them progress throughout the summer!
I’m also a very competitive person, playing every sport I could growing up. I remember my parents shuffling me from practices to games all over Kansas and camps every summer and again, I wouldn’t change it for the world! I think all of that has helped shape the person I am today. I was lucky enough to earn an athletic scholarship out of high school to a small community college here in Kansas, Cloud County Community College, home of the Thunderbirds. From Concordia, Kansas I made my way to Kansas State University, home of the wildcats. #EMAW Transitioning to the business world from college, and after 10 years in the real estate market, I was blessed with the opportunity to get my foot in the door at Advisors Excel and was hired as the 42nd employee back in 2008. Advisors Excel is an independently owned, world-class insurance marketing organization focused on helping independent financial professionals increase their life insurance and annuity business.
Our mission is simple and straightforward yet exceptionally powerful – we never forget those financial professionals that we work with on a daily basis, are our clients. When not at the office you can usually find me at one of my son’s sporting events or practices. He’s following in my footsteps and playing every sport known to man! Ok, not really, but some days it feels like it. He’s involved in football, basketball and baseball! Taegan is a great Christian young man actively involved in Young Life and when summers allow, he attends Kanakuk Kamp down by Branson, Missouri.
GETTING TO KNOW SHANNAH
Favorite food: Anything Spicy!
Favorite quote: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou
Best piece of financial advice: Most people don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan
Favorite holiday: Thanksgiving
Favorite movie: It’s so hard to name just one, but I’ll say Top Gun
If I could meet anyone past or present: My maternal Grandmother
What motivates Shannah: Seeing other people succeed and winning at life
Place Shannah would like to visit: Paris
Favorite book: The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
Something on Shannah’s bucket list: To run a marathon
Biggest accomplishment: Raising my son to be the best he can be
I was born in West Haven, Connecticut. Before being old enough to grow irremovably fond of it, moved at a very young age to Post Falls, Idaho where I grew up the third oldest in a family of seven, six boys and one girl. Let’s just say our household never lacked excitement and crazy, and my only sister is one special and spoiled lady! I also have the privilege of having my older brother as a priest, for this I am truly blessed and quite honored. Growing up in the relatively large town of Post Falls, I engaged in community events, competed on local sports teams, and made great memories with childhood friends. As a boy in a family surrounded by brothers I learned quickly the advantages of having a competitiveness that at a young age quickly instilled the mindset of, ‘challenge to be best’.
My parents are both extremely important in my life, having been my mentors and role models for years. My father is a Regional Sales Distributor for Rigi Enterprises, and my mother achieved her Master’s Degree in Psychology from Boston College, working in a Psychiatric Unit caring for and rehabilitating the lives of the less fortunate. From my parents, I have been taught, excellent work ethic and the intermingling of sales and psychology, which created a unique approach to my career. This approach is what pushes me to give 110% every day and overcome all obstacles that inevitably await.
Come high school, I was enrolled in a private education Catholic boarding school, LaSalette Academy of Georgetown, Illinois. This was a campus surrounded by vast cornfields of the Midwest, where I spent my high school rounding off my initial education and playing sports ranging from soccer, cross country and my favorite of all, basketball. I played varsity and enjoyed every bit of winning rivalries with my teammates and staying in the best shape of our lives. This school is essentially what instilled the mindset of growth in me to this day.
After graduating high school, I travelled quite a bit and visited various states of the US, not shy of living my youthful and crazy dreams before I settled down into college and a career. Gaining experience in various areas of work, I moved to North Dakota where I dabbled in the oil industry, then on to San Jose focusing on developing people skills, and happened upon New Mexico for a wink in time as well. I saw many places and captured so many memories that I can always fall back on.
My career really started when I took a job doing outside sales, for Rigi Enterprises. Here I learned the ‘ins and outs’ of sales and this ultimately created the strongest foundation a person could ask for within the sales industry. After seeing the beauty of what the sales life offered, I started school and took a part-time job in phone sales. I got a job with Sears Marketing, where I sold to clients over the phone. I moved up rather quickly in the company and became a Sales Manager. After a few years as a Sales Manager for Sears Marketing, I was recruited by a Security Company in Kansas, Livewatch, founded in St. Mary’s. Quickly transitioning my experience and abilities, I moved off the phones, into training and development there. After almost two years there, I realized I had capped out on my potential within the Company’s development, and that is when I was contacted by Advisors Excel for a position in Sales and Marketing. I took the leap of faith and that brings me to today! I chose Advisors because of the culture it had to offer and its overall outstanding reputation which I had gathered from the local community. Here at my job I hope to impact people’s lives every day, not only within this company but spreading that affect within client and advisor relationships all over the country!
In my free time here in Topeka, I love spending time with friends, meeting new people, exploring local unique areas, and so much more! I love hitting up the golf course as well to play a quick 9 holes. I am also a BMW fanatic and have owned about 5 of them, my dream car is an M6. I must say, I love being able to live in a city where we can make such an impact, how we live and act truly can affect the people around us. AE gives me the opportunity to help the local community, and that is one of the biggest blessings of them all. I write a blog (https://rigiweb.blog) on motivation, sales and personal growth as a hobby, with the end goal being of helping others in their personal lives. I believe, that we all have the ability to touch the hearts of others and if we truly live with that mindset, we can make the world an even better place than it is!
GETTING TO KNOW Jordan
Favorite Food: Chicken
Favorite quote: “Usque ad Finem.”
Best piece of financial advice received: “You are never too poor to give.”
Favorite holiday: Christmas
Favorite movie: Les Misérables
If Jordan could meet anyone, past or present: Babe Ruth
What motivates Jordan: Knowing that my actions every day, affect those around me. That being said, living life to the fullest and helping others in anyway possible.
Place Jordan would most like to visit: Paris.
Something on Jordan’s bucket list: Sky Dive.
Biggest accomplishment: Taking the leap of faith and moving across the country to pursue a career.
I grew up in Topeka, Ks with my parents and younger sister. My mom ran a daycare from our home and my dad worked long hours as a mechanic. At a young age, I recognized how hard my parents worked and it instilled a strong work ethic in me. I went to parochial school and earned good grades. I spent most of my free time outside riding my bike, playing sports and working on cars in the garage with my dad. I tried almost every sport available to me, but baseball quickly emerged as my favorite. I started playing baseball when I was 6 years old and by the time I was 14 I was playing year-round and traveling around the Midwest to tournaments.
I started working at age 12 for family-friends and neighbors. Around school and sports, I did yard work and household labor. At 14 I was eager to start my first legitimate job and I worked at the same auto repair shop as my dad. What started as just maintaining the shop and property eventually turned into working on customer vehicles. A couple years later, while still in high school, I worked at a metal fabrication company maintaining the property and that turned into driving fork lifts, cutting, grinding and painting.
After graduating high school, I had to choose between going to junior college to play baseball or pursue an engineering degree at the University of Kansas. I chose the latter. At the end of my freshman year I began working in direct sales for Cutco. This was my first opportunity to gain not only sales and marketing experience but also communication and time management skills. Surprisingly, I was the number one new sales rep that summer and quickly advanced in the company. I ran a marketing office for Cutco the next two summers while on break from school, recruiting and training sales representatives. At this point I realized I liked business and sales so I decided to change my course of study. I graduated with a business-finance degree and accepted a promotion to district manager. I ran the Topeka district office for a couple years and gained valuable experience, but I decided to look for new challenges and opportunities.
I wanted to work in the financial industry and I knew a few people that worked at Advisors Excel. I learned about the company’s success and accepted a position working with the top independent financial advisors in the country. What I love most about Advisors Excel is the culture of growth. When I’m not working I spend most of my time with family and friends. My hobbies include traveling, biking, and attending car shows. I also enjoy personal growth books and videos.
GETTING TO KNOW ZACH
Favorite Food: Steak or Pizza
Favorite quote: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts” – Winston Churchill
Best piece of financial advice received: pay yourself first and put your money to work
Favorite holiday: Christmas
Favorite movie: It’s A Wonderful Life
Hidden talent: learning lyrics of most songs/genres quickly
If Zach could meet anyone, past or present, it would be: Benjamin Franklin
What motivates Zach: fulfilling my potential and creating a future of freedom
Place Zach would most like to visit: Costa Rica