Senior Leadership Team

 

GERRY BENUSA
CHIEF SALES OFFICER

Gerry works with agents, agent staff, employees and internal business partners to help customers protect their dreams. As chief sales officer, his team includes the East, West and Central sales regions, as well as Sales Strategy and Support, Sales and Service Operations, and Agency Strategy divisions.

Gerry began his career at American Family in 1990 as an agent in his hometown of Arcadia, Wisconsin. He later held sales leadership roles, including district sales manager, state sales director and regional sales vice president.

In 2006, Gerry became Marketing vice president, and in 2007, he led the Commercial-Farm/Ranch Division, before becoming an executive vice president in 2009, and eventually chief sales officer in 2014.

Gerry earned a Bachelor’s of Business Administration Business Finance degree from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

DAVID HOLMAN
CHIEF STRATEGY OFFICER

David is responsible for Business Development, Government Affairs and Compliance, Legal, Strategy, and Strategic Data and Analytics. He also serves as Corporate Secretary to the American Family Board of Directors.

David joined American Family in 1986 as a claim attorney and left after two years to enter private practice. During that time, his firm, Brown & Holman, represented businesses and insurers in litigation. American Family was a primary client.

He rejoined American Family as a senior claim attorney in 1998. In 2000, he was named corporate legal assistant general counsel. Five years later, he was promoted to associate general counsel.

In March 2010, David was named vice president of the Corporate Legal Division. He became chief legal officer in November 2010, and remained in that role until he became chief strategy officer in January 2014. He is a founding member of the company’s multicultural Business Resource Group.

David earned his bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., and his law degree from Hamline University College of Law in St. Paul.

DAN KELLY
CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER

Dan oversees the financial functions at American Family: Investments, Controller, Enterprise Risk Management, Internal Audit, and Reinsurance. His team also includes Business and Workplace Services. Dan serves as Treasurer to the American Family Board of Directors.

Dan began his career at American Family as a financial analyst in 1987 in the Controller Division. He was promoted to accounting manager in 1993 and then was named accounting director in 2000.

In 2003, Dan moved to the Life/Health Division as planning and risk management director, moving shortly thereafter to the Life/Health product design director position. In 2006, Dan returned to the Controller Division as financial analysis director. He was elected vice president of Human Resources in October 2007. In July 2011, Dan was named chief financial officer/treasurer.

Dan received his bachelor’s degree in business administration and MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a certified public accountant, a licensed insurance agent in Wisconsin and has earned his Fellow, Life Management Institute and Associate in Customer Service designations.

KRISTIN KIRKCONNELL
CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER

Kristin is the chief information officer for the enterprise. She oversees Information and Data Management, IT Security, Computing Services, and Business Application Systems Management. Kristin is responsible for leading the transformation of American Family’s technology infrastructure and bringing security, performance and service levels to industry-leading standards.

Kristin joined American Family in November 2008 as senior vice president, Information Services. In May 2011, she was named chief information officer.

Before joining American Family, Kristin served as chief information officer and senior vice president of information services and technology for AGL Resources, Inc. (now Southern Company Gas), a Fortune 500 Atlanta-based natural gas distribution company serving customers in Georgia, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, Tennessee and Florida. In her role, Kristin was responsible for leading the technology strategies, operations, implementation and support functions.

Kristin is a graduate of George Mason University in Fairfax County, Va.

JESSIE STAUFFACHER
CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER

Jessie is the chief operating officer overseeing operations of American Family brand products and services offered through the agent channel.

She works with the chief sales officer and product line presidents (Personal Lines, Life, Commercial-Farm/Ranch and B and A Insurance Solutions). These accountabilities range from the design and pricing of products to the sales and service provided to customers by agents, claim adjusters and call centers.

Previously Jessie served as chief administration officer overseeing Business and Workplace Services, Communications, Human Resources, Strategic Data and Analytics, and Talent Management.

Jessie began her American Family career in 2004 as a senior financial analyst. Her positions at American Family have also included project manager, senior modeling and risk management analyst, planning and metrics manager, executive administration director, internal audit director and chief of staff for the CEO.

Jessie graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a bachelor’s degree in business management, and got her MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. Jessie also holds the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation.

BILL WESTRATE
PRESIDENT

Bill was elected president in 2017, and oversees the American Family enterprise.  

He started at American Family in 1996 as an actuarial analyst. Bill later became the division's actuarial manager, homeowners lines director and risk pricing director. In 2006, he was elected vice president of the Actuarial Division. In 2008, he was named vice president of Personal Lines.

Bill became an executive vice president in July 2011, when he began oversight of the product line divisions: Commercial-Farm/Ranch, Life and Personal Lines. He continued in that position until assuming the role of American Family chief operating officer in January 2014.

Bill is a fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society and a member of the American Academy of Actuaries. He earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Northwestern College.

TELISA YANCY
CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER

Telisa has chief executive accountability for American Family’s Communications, Customer and Marketing divisions. She joined American Family in 2009 as advertising director in the Marketing Division, and was promoted to vice president of Marketing in 2013. Telisa was named Chief Marketing Officer in 2016.

Prior to joining American Family she served in marketing leadership positions at several companies, including Ford Motor Co. and Burger King. She has since overseen all branding, marketing and advertising activities for the company, including launching the award-winning “Dreams” campaign in 2011 and its numerous extensions. She also introduced the concept of inspirational brand ambassadors to serve as “dream champions,” and the company now has seven brand ambassadors.

In 2016, Telisa was named to the prestigious EBONY POWER 100 list, along with many notable and influential leaders, including the Obamas, Michael Jordan and Beyoncé. She also earned spots on Savoy magazine’s 2014 list of Top 100 Most Influential Blacks in Corporate America, and the 2016 Top Influential Women in Corporate America.

Telisa is a graduate of the University of Illinois and earned an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Business.