NAIFA-NYS Announces New Leadership Team to Strengthen the Voice of Life Insurance Agents in New York

Albany, New York, July 3, 2019 — A new leadership team of financial professionals from across New York State has taken charge of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors-NYS (NAIFA-NYS), giving an even stronger, more energized voice to the association’s advocacy and educational initiatives.  The new Officers and Board of Directors, whose terms expire on December 31, 2020, take over at a time of intense pressure on the industry and its clients.

“It is an honor to lead an organization that, since 1919, has been the exclusive voice for life insurance agents in New York,” said President Phillip Held, LACP, “and to work with colleagues who, representing towns from Buffalo to Long Island, have a true understanding of the business climate throughout the state.”

“We face real threats today—not small challenges that we can push aside and deal with later—but laws and regulations that cut to the heart of what life insurance and financial planning is all about,” Mr. Held said, “and NAIFA-NYS is our best hope for a secure and healthy future.”

Mr. Held said that the next 18 months will take NAIFA-NYS on a critical journey of membership growth and that the association will intensify its already strong advocacy before New York legislators and regulators.  NAIFA-NYS also, he said, will offer additional programs that make agents and advisors even better at what they do.

On a personal note, Mr. Held commented, “I would be remiss if I failed to recognize outgoing President Donald Damick, who stepped up when NAIFA-NYS needed him and who has dedicated decades of his life to the association.  He and the outgoing Board members have set an example for the rest of us.”

The new NAIFA-NYS Officers and Board of Directors include:


President:                                      Phillip Held, LACP

President-Elect:                            Thomas Palmeri, LUTCF

Secretary-Treasurer:                      Gary Cappon, LUTCF, FSCP, RICP, CLTC

Immediate Past Pres. and

National Committeeman:             Donald Damick, CLU, LUTCF

Board of Directors

Vice Pres. – Buffalo Region:          Joshua Lauer

Vice Pres. – Capital Region:          Jason Lurie, MBA

Vice Pres. –

Chautauqua Region:                     Thomas Wade, CLU, ChFC

Vice Pres. – Hudson Valley:          Dean Purdy, MBA, LUTCF

Vice Pres. – Ithaca Region:           Chris Gibbons, CLU, ChFC

Vice Pres. – Mohawk Valley:         John Hobika, CLTC

At-Large Board Member:              Neal Miller

NAIFA-NYS delegates approved the new leadership team on June 6, during the NAIFA-NYS Annual Meeting at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino.  The Officers and Board members began their duties on July 1, 2019.

For more information—or to arrange an interview with a member of NAIFA-NYS leadership—please contact Gregory Serio, NAIFA-NYS Executive Director, or Candace Thorson, Deputy Executive Director, at 518-915-1661 or at  or

The National Association of Insurance & Financial Advisors-NYS (NAIFA-NYS) represents the interests of life insurance agents and financial advisors throughout New York.  It advocates for a positive legislative and regulatory environment, enhanced business and professional skills, and the ethical conduct of its members in order to protect consumers and to encourage a healthy marketplace.  Further details are available at

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