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Announcing the 2021 RISE Award Winners

RISE stands for Rising Insurance Star Executives. The RISE Award designation goes to those who truly embody RISE. 2021 is the 5th annual RISE Awards and a common theme throughout all of the nominations we received was resilience, a desire to help others, and a passion for the insurance industry.

The young professionals below are receiving the RISE Award as a testament to their achievements in their career thus far and their communities. All winners are under 40 or have less than 10 years in the insurance industry.

We are so proud of what each of them have accomplished and cannot wait to follow and see what they do next!

Aleksey Klimatoff
Andrew Holland
Ashley Fiffer
Christian Grofcsik
Dr. Claire Muselman
Daniel Huber
Devin O'Brien
Dominic Cerniglia
Douglas Bird
Liz Riepnieks
Elliott Long
Ian Davis
Jessica Elsass
Joe Longhini
John R Henley
Joe McDonald
Kaci Ireland
Kelly Nishikawa
Kevin Thompkins
Kristen Chavez
Pit Wen Lee
Melanie Herring
Melissa Harlow
Mitch Gibson
Mohamad ElHaley
Nicole Velino
Petyah Pierre
Raisa Herrera
Samantha Jones
Stephanie Flores
Stephanie Hawkins
Taylor Jones
Tony Finnegan
Vasko Alexander
Zachary K Smith


RISE Mentor of the Year is a prestigious award which recognizes the hard work and time commitment put in by those who mentor our RISE community. A mentor is a counselor who helps develop self-awareness, character, skills, goal development and fulfillment. They provide guidance and accountability.  Characteristics of a good mentor include: self-awareness, good listener, humility, committed, personal investment in mentee, patience, and persistence. Whether part of our program or on their own, mentees nominate their mentors and we have the difficult job to narrow it down to just one recipient.


Angela Noble

Vice President Innovation

EMC Insurance Companies


“Angela and I were matched as a part of RISE's Mentorship Program this Spring and she could not have been a more perfect match in every aspect. Angela guided me through one of the toughest times in my career... It was during this time that she gave me her undivided attention and wisdom to help me navigate this unfamiliar territory. I couldn't have asked for a better mentor, especially as a young woman in insurance, where we are the minority. Angela has given me the confidence and courage to look and strive to be a better version of myself.

I am the next generation. We are the next face of insurance. I never understood the real importance of a mentor until Angela. Her impact on my career has no words to fully describe. To have a mentor that can guide you based on their past experiences, offer connections with others, or just truly give you that undivided attention is infinitely valuable.

She has gone above and beyond as a mentor during these last months. Our relationship goes further than just our meetings. She has made herself available after hours, assigned purposeful "homework" and thought-provoking questions.

I am beyond thankful for this relationship, professionally and personally. She has added immeasurable worth to my career and where I am today!”


A special congratulations to the RISE Mentor of the Year finalists! Thank you so much for all you do and keep rising up the next generation!

Read more about the finalists in the digital RISE Award Magazine.

chris greene

Christopher Greene

Chief Claims Officer

Canal Insurance

susan atkins

Susan Atkins

Assistant Vice President

Golden Bear Insurance Company

Tandeka Nomvete - Headshot

Tandeka Nomvete

Director, College Recruiting


If you have trouble viewing the above digital magazine,  Click Here to view the 2021 RISE Award Winners and Featured Articles and Content in an interactive PDF format.

Click through the above digital magazine to view a full list of the winners, a special feature on each, and articles featuring top executives:

  • Navigating Your Career Path
  • Promoting Inclusion Through Hiring and Development
  • Rock n' Roll Through Change
  • Speak Up and Be Heard
  • Early Careers Early Success
  • Rise Above: Should I be a mentor, could I be a mentor?
  • ... and more

Want to request a printed copy?

Fill out this form to be mailed an official 2021 RISE Award Magazine featuring the RISE Award winners, Mentor of the Year, and articles by top industry executives. Due to work from home, we will not be automatically mailing the magazine to addresses on file unless you update it here.

Countdown to the video celebration of the 2021 RISE Awards