Thursday, February 23, 2023 from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM CST
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NIU Naperville Conference Center
1120 East Diehl Road
Naperville, IL 60563


Sara Decatoire, CAE, IOM 
NAIFA Illinois 

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 Thank you to our Event Sponsors





















- Meet the Emcee

Mary Ellen Fiflis, FSCP

Mary Ellen has been in the financial services industry for over 20 years and currently serves as a Managing Director in the Chicagoland region for Principal® She is passionate about helping her team build and grow their business and as a financial professional, specializes in Risk Management, Investments, and Retirement Planning for individuals and businesses.  Mary Ellen holds her Series 6, 7, 24, 51, 63 & 65 securities registrations and obtained her Financial Services Certified Professional® designation from American College.

An active member of her community, Mary Ellen is engaged in National Association of Insurance & Financial Advisors (NAIFA), Women in Insurance and Financial Services (WIFS), Women in Manufacturing (WIM), Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association (MHEDA), Board Member for the Chicago District Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) and is a member of the Chief organization.

In her personal time, Mary Ellen enjoys spending time with family and friends.  She loves to cook and enjoys giving back to her community by volunteering at her church.  












NAIFA IL 2023 Winter Conference 

Thursday, February 23, 2023

8:00 AM - 1:30 PM

Ethics - 1:30 - 4:30 PM

The NAIFA IL 2023 Winter Conference will be held on Thursday, February 23rd at the NIU Naperville Conference Center. You will experience great industry speakers including David Kikoen, Ashleigh Hammad, Jeannie Underwood-Kotner and Curtis Matlin. Participants will be eligible to earn 3 hours of CE credits. PLUS, Ethics Training will be moderated by Eric Essex.

 3 Hours of IL General CE AND 3 Hours of IL Ethics Credits are available!

Register Now! 

- Program Schedule -

8:00 - 9:00                   Coffee with Exhibitors

9:00 - 9:10                   Opening Remarks/Exhibitor Intros – Mary Ellen Fiflis, FSCP - Emcee

9:10 – 10:00                Speaker - David Kikoen, LUTCF, CLTC, RICP - The ABC’s of LTC… How To Get Your                                        Share Of The Business…                               

10:00 – 10:30              Break with Exhibitors / Exhibitor Intros

10:30 – 10:50              Speaker - Ashleigh HammadUnderstanding Life Settlements 

10:50 - 11:40               Speaker - Jeannie Underwood-KotnerThe Fragile Decade

11:40 – 12:00              2023 NAIFA IL Distinguished Service Award and YAT Member of the Year Winners

12:00 - 12:30               Lunch with Exhibitors

12:30 - 1:20                 Speaker – Curtis Matlin, CLU, ChFC, CASL - From Near Failure to Consistent TOT                                            Qualification: My 6 Strategies to Success

1:20 - 1:30                   Closing Remarks & Raffle Prizes – Mary Ellen Fiflis, FSCP - Emcee 

1:30 – 4:30                  Ethics Training - Moderator – Eric Essex, LUTCF, FSS, CLTC - IL Ethics Requirement

- Meet the Speakers -

David Kikoen, LUTCF, CLTC, RICP

David Kikoen is a Registered Representative and Financial Services Professional with New York Life. His practice, Think Outside… Financial Strategies, focuses on Long-Term Care and Retirement Income Planning.

David has been a NAIFA member for the past 13 years and serves on the NAIFA IL Board of Directors as the Secretary/Treasurer. He also served as Board Member, Program Director and President of the NAIFA Chicagoland Metro South. David graduated from Northern Illinois University with a BS in business management and economics. He is a Qualifying Member of MDRT and serves as Political Involvement Leader for New York Life in Schaumburg.

David is among the Top National Leaders for Long-Term Care production for New York Life. He has relationships with both AARP and AICPA and works with their members directly on their Long-Term Care planning.

Ashleigh Hammad  

With a background in sales, finance and insurance related fields, Ashleigh Hammad is the Director of Sales for Abacus Life Settlements. She manages a team of Account Executives who exclusively work with insurance producers, financial advisors, CPAs, wealth managers and attorneys throughout the country on this unique funding option.

 She forms and manages relationships with financial professionals throughout the country, and regularly presents at insurance related conferences and study groups. She helps her team build lasting relationships within the industry, and, ultimately, helps Abacus grow as a leading life settlement company.

 Ashleigh has her Life and Variable Annuity Producer License and Financial Security Advocate badge through NAIFA. She is a graduate of University of Florida with a degree in Management and currently resides in Clermont, FL.

Attendees will be guided through a market discussion of the latest pricing, underwriting and submission trends in the Life Settlement industry and how Advisors and their clients can benefit from Policy Valuations and Audit.

  • Why the Life Settlement exists.
  • How simplified submission and underwriting has changed the process.
  • How the Market Value is determined.
  • Different Settlement Options. 

Jeannie Underwood-Kotner 

As head of Global Atlantic Consulting, Jeannie travels nationally presenting at conferences and special events. Jeannie delivers impactful and inspiring trainings, presentations, seminars and workshops. With nearly 25 years in financial services, Jeannie brings a wealth of knowledge to her presentations and she continuously keeps abreast of industry trends and best practices affecting financial services to keep her workshops fresh and current.

Jeannie joined Global Atlantic in 2018 as a Vice President, Advisor Practice Consultant. Prior to Global Atlantic, she was a Sr. Regional Vice President at Invesco/Van Kampen Investments, where she was named wholesaler of the year in 2006, 2008, 2009, and 2016. Previously, she was an Internal Sales Consultant on the Variable Insurance team with Van Kampen Investments. She also held various sales and marketing roles at Edward Jones and Northwestern Mutual Life.

Jeannie resides in Springfield, IL, with her husband Marcus, and their two children, Lexi and Kody. In her spare time, Jeannie indulges in the arts, specifically painting, and is very involved in her children’s activities, including figure skating, gymnastics, soccer, and swimming.

Curtis Matlin, CLU, ChFC, CASL

Curt Matlin President of Matlin Financial Services, an insurance and investment advisory firm in Northbrook, IL.  He is a 32-year member of NAIFA and a 26-year member of MDRT, with eight Court of the Table and six Top of the Table qualifications.  But it wasn’t always easy: Curt struggled to stay in business during the early years.  He will share his journey from near-failure to success. 

In his presentation he will share steps you can take to improve your business practice and success:

  • Six strategies to achieve and maintain Top of the Table production
  • A simple diagram that helps clients and prospects understand how life insurance works; and, how an over-funded permanent policy provides multiple benefits to families
  • How to describe Long-Term Care insurance as “the purchase of future, tax-free dollars at a deep discount” and how to help people see the value of a LTC policy
  • How employee benefits and retirement plans can help you reach business owners
  • How a simple question on the golf course led to $2MM of AUM
  • How Curt transitioned from a product salesperson to a trusted advisor to 34 families and businesses

Curt has served on over 10 MDRT committees through the years, most notably:

  • Chairman of MDRT Ethics Committee
  • MDRT Program Development Committee for Toronto 2014 Annual Meeting
  • Chairman of MDRT Foundation - Finance Committee for 2022

Curt is involved with several charities in IL and serves as Board VP for www.saluteinc.org –an organization that has helped over 18,000 veterans and their families since 2003. 

- Ethics Training Moderator - 

Eric Essex, LUTCF, FSS, CLTC 

Eric Essex, LUTCF, FSS, CLTC is a registered representative with Wela Financial in Yorkville, IL.  For over 25 years he has specialized in developing strategies for individuals, families and small businesses to replace their income and protect their lifestyle, allowing them to realize their goals and dreams while insuring their retirement.

 He began his career as an agent with Liberty Mutual and then moved into management. From there he served the industry as a manager with Prudential until deciding to go back to personal production with New York Life and then became a Life and Financial Sales Specialist with Farmers Insurance. Almost five years ago, Eric seized the opportunity to work with Wela Financial and their amazing team.

 Eric and his beautiful and talented wife Roxanne live in Yorkville and have 2 children and 4 grandchildren. He is involved in his community through his local chamber of commerce in Yorkville and Sandwich, Yorkville Kiwanis Club and the Three Fires Council BSA.  He enjoys spending time with his family, camping, hiking and continuing to sharpen his saw.