Spring 2013 Newsletter

Our Own Young Alumni Board Assembles

By Ruth Paarmann

The Vaughan Institute is proud to present its very own Young Alumni Board! Inspired in large part by the example set through the Tippie College of Business Young Alumni Board, the Vaughan Institute's recent graduates came together with unbridled enthusiasm in the summer of 2012.

"Graduates of the Vaughan Institute were willing and eager to step forward and try to give back to the Institute," says Jon Raftis, dental account manager at NCMIC Group Inc.

He, Erin Wonsmos and Jason McKeever — three Risk Management and Insurance (RMI) certificate holders based in Des Moines — connected with Associate Director Viana Rockel in order to form the board.

"We discussed how the Vaughan Institute had a good, close-knit group of graduates, but we wondered if we'd stay connected to each other and the Institute," says Erin, a marketing coordinator for IMT Insurance.  "This Young Alumni Board is making insurance known and creating awareness for the whole risk industry. It also helps the Vaughan Institute, which is a unique and special educational opportunity."

The group held its inaugural meeting in the fall of 2012 in Iowa City, and the members spent time getting to know one another. They also set up working committees to coordinate details for the networking receptions and other events they plan to hold.

"We also discussed the curriculum of the Institute and how we think it might be improved so it more closely matches what we have experienced as young professionals in the insurance industry," says Jon.

T.C. Heath, a 2007 RMI certificate graduate and risk analyst at AIG in New York City, was excited to represent the Young Alumni Board at last November's Institute Advisory Board meeting.

"It gave me a chance to share my experiences while in the program and, based on my work experience, my thoughts on how the program can better prepare students for risk management careers," T.C. says. He was pleased to learn that a Risk Modeling course was being added to the curriculum.

"I think this course will get students excited about risk management careers and show them that these skills are needed in every industry," he says.

A spring meeting will also be held each year. The April 2013 meeting took place in Des Moines.

The board includes recent graduates who currently serve as commercial and life underwriters, risk analysts, account managers and more. They live all over the country, including Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Chicago as well as New York City and Omaha.

"They're all in different roles within the insurance and risk management area and in a variety of companies, large and small," says Viana. "I am so excited to get their feedback so we can continue to improve our curriculum and programs."

The members are as follows:

  • T.C. Heath, Risk Analyst, AIG
  • Jason McKeever, Underwriter, Individual Life Division, The Principal Financial Group
  • Tyler Probasco, Commercial Lines Underwriter, United Fire Group
  • Jon Raftis, Dental Account Manager, NCMIC Group Inc.
  • Dave Rigler, Private Equity Associate, Prospect Partners
  • Matt Ryan, Senior Consultant, AVIVA USA
  • Catie Sebolt, Commercial Lines Underwriter, Liberty Mutual
  • Erin Wonsmos, Marketing Coordinator, IMT Insurance

Ex Officio members include Viana Rockel, the associate director of the Institute, Courtney Blind, the Tippie College director of alumni relations and Aaron Hoefle, the president of Gamma Iota Sigma.

View more information about the members of the Vaughan Institute Young Alumni Board.

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