Leadership Council

The Christensen Group Leadership Council is a group of business unit leaders focused on CG’s long-term business strategy. The 2025 Vision Plan is our written long-term strategy, and includes yearly initiatives by department. Review it here.
We meet monthly to discuss critical issues and collaborate on topics meant to propel profitable growth, value innovation, share cross-company best practices and honor our commitment to the 4Cs (Carrier, Client, Coworkers, Community).

COmpany Leadership
Bruce Christensen
Bruce Christensen
Eden Prairie
Ross Dahlof
Ross Dahlof
Eden Prairie
Sam Olinger
Sam Olinger
Eden Prairie
Jake Olinger
Jake Olinger
Monticello
Rick Redding
Rick Redding
Eden Prairie
Bob Schmitz
Bob Schmitz
Eden Prairie
Tyler Simmons
Tyler Simmons
Eden Prairie
Announcements

How to Read Your ESOP Statement

May 7, 2024

MOCK STATEMENT Are you going to receive your first statement on Wednesday or need a refresher on how to read it? Check out this knowledge center article: ESOP Mock Statement

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April Leadership Update

April 20, 2024

Our goal is to recruit 6 or more producers a year. We reviewed the 3 producer hires this year. We have a few more producer candidates in the pipeline. We’re confident we’ll reach our 2024 goal by June. We are excited to have already welcomed these producers and apprentices in 2024: David Steenstra, Ralph Solis, and Mark Alt.


We’ll continue to explore candidates and remain opportunistic. As with every producer hire, we are carefully reviewing each candidate to ensure they fit with our service model and CG values.


*Spotlight on a 2024 Initiative within People & Culture category:


We spent most of the Leadership Council meeting discussing the single-system project. We received an update on the Applied Epic exploration from our project leaders, Kyle Simmons, Sarina Khariwala and Linda Jackson.


*Spotlight on a 2024 Initiative within Operations category:


What we’re doing: Currently completing our due diligence before deciding. 

…If you’re still reading this, thank you. We’re open to feedback on these updates. Share your thoughts with anyone on Leadership Council. Are these hitting the mark? Are you wanting something else? Let us know. 

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March Leadership Update

March 25, 2024

ASSUREX CONFERENCES Assurex hosted two conferences in March. Employee Benefits Leaders Conference was attended by Kelli Kaup and Eric Svobodny. The North America Leaders Conference was attended by Charlie Christensen.

Kelli, Eric and Charlie provided a recap of their learnings and a-ha moments from the conferences. Our biggest takeaways included:

  • Assurex is a network of talented individuals and agencies that are growth-focused and willing to share their expertise.
  • The conferences are limited to a small group of attendees, mostly from brokers. Conferences are focused on building connections and fostering relationships to call on when you need thought partners. Each person walked away with a few folks they’ll call on to talk about Operations, Sales, Technology, etc.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a continued hot topic. Some brokers shared how AI is creating workflow efficiencies and automating the manual work. A key point for us “AI won’t eliminate the broker. But brokers who don’t use AI will become eliminated.”

*The above topic aligns to a 2024 Initiative within Products & Service category: Assurex: Engage and utilize benchmarking groups, attend segment/department conferences to learn and build relationships with insurance agency thought leaders.

What we’re doing: We will send 1-3 people to each Assurex conference. People are chosen based on their role and expertise. These folks will make connections with other Assurex leaders and identify opportunities for CG.

After each conference, they will report out their learning to the Leadership Council. This information will allow us to understand the best ways to engage with Assurex and ensure we’re reaping the benefits of this network.

10 YEAR VISION DOCUMENT & 2024 INITIATIVES We discussed our cadence to review the 2024 Initiatives progress, and Leadership Team owners for each initiative. You can expect to hear updates on department-specific initiatives during your all-department meetings (i.e. State of P&C, State of PLD, EB Department Meeting). In July, we’ll share overall updates at the State of CG.

RECOGNITION We mentioned at February’s State of CG that we were working on a Recognition program for all non-sales employees. We continued our work on this project and decided on a program that we’re excited about. There are a few details to coordinate before we can announce and launch. Expect news in April!

*The above topic aligns to a 2024 Initiative within People & Culture category: Launch a Service Recognition Incentive (to align with Sales Growth/Recognition Incentives).

What we’re doing: Making something happen!

SYSTEM UPDATE We discussed general thoughts from the Applied Epic demos conducted earlier this month. We paused the conversation and review on the system until April. This allows our project leaders, Kyle Simmons, Sarina Khariwala and Linda Jackson time to roll-up all department feedback into a final proposal. We’ll discuss in April’s Leadership Meeting.

*The above topic aligns to a 2024 Initiative within Operations category: Go/No Go on single-system - 5/1. If "Go," select and begin implementation.

What we’re doing: Currently completing our due diligence before deciding.    

…If you’re still reading this, thank you. We’re open to feedback on these updates. Share your thoughts with anyone on Leadership Council. Are these hitting the mark? Are you wanting something else? Let us know. 

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February Leadership Update

February 16, 2024


We discussed the kick off to the "Single System" project. Our goal is to have every department, save QP, all working from one system (CL, PL, EB, Producers, Accounting, Life). Qualified Plans (401k) will remain outside of the system to ensure their client data, which is highly regulated by the SEC, is outside of our system and domain. That said, we do plan to track which clients are 401(k) clients, so we can run better reporting and find cross-sell opportunities from this single system.

This initiative marks a significant step in our long term commitment to enhancing our operational efficiency and ensuring we have the best tools in place to support our work.

Over the next two months, we will be conducting an in-depth comparison of the systems offered by two leading companies in our industry: Vertafore and Applied. Our aim is to perform an "apples to apples" comparison of these platforms. This is a comprehensive evaluation to determine which system best meets the needs of our entire company.

The outcome of this project will play a crucial role in shaping our long-term operational capabilities and, ultimately, our success.


We reviewed a draft of our 10-year vision and the 2024 initiatives that were provided by managers and teams. Thanks for everyone who has shared ideas! We will be sharing the final copy of the document at our February 29 State of CG meeting.


We believe recognition is important to motivating individuals and rewarding our team for work well done. We talked about ways we could increase recognition across the company. We brainstormed ideas and decided to continue the conversation in the next month. 

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January Leadership Update

January 25, 2024

PERSONAL LINES As a follow up to our December meeting, we discussed our approach with Personal Lines. As a reminder, Personal Lines clients are facing challenging times. There is less of an appetite from carriers to write new business. Carriers renewing business are giving major increases, if they decide to renew at all. Our Personal Lines team is staffed with amazingly talented folks. We have an opportunity to win business or plant seeds to win business in the future.   At a recent Sales Meeting, Tony Larson (Personal Lines Practice Leader) reiterated the market conditions and talked to producers about how they might set expectations with Personal Lines referrals. We are open to consulting and advising clients, however we need to understand most clients won’t have options to move now. We believe having consulting and advising conversations with prospective clients now, and then consistently following up when the market softens, is a smart long-term growth opportunity.

2024 STRATEGY PLANNING SESSION We hosted a session on January 22 with all managers (leaders of people) to discuss our 10-year vision for Christensen Group. It was an energizing day to hear ideas and what obstacles we may have to grow our business. On January 23, the Leadership Council met to refine and finalize the 10-year vision and 3-year goals.   Over the next 2 weeks, your manager will be connecting with your team to recap what we talked about and gather your ideas on 2024 initiatives/projects to tackle to assist in achieving the 10-year vision and 3-year goals.   We will host a State of CG in February or March and share the finalized 10-year vision, 3-year goals and 2024 Initiatives. We look forward to hearing from the team what ideas you have!

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December Leadership Update

December 19, 2023

MN SAFE & SICK TIME We reviewed the additions to our PTO policy with the new MN law going into effect on January 1. We decided that all employees will receive the Safe & Sick time, even those who live in another state. Watch for an email from Alicia Williams in the coming weeks with what this means for you. 

PERSONAL LINES This is no surprise to the team – Personal Lines clients are facing challenging times. There is less of an appetite from carriers to write new business. Carriers renewing business are giving major increases, if they decide to renew at all. Our Personal Lines team is staffed with amazingly talented folks. We started discussing, what if we were to open our doors for more business. Ultimately, we decided this would be a better-suited conversation for the Personal Lines leadership group. The PLD leadership team (Lynn Pettis, Laura Falconer, Tony Larson, Charlie Christensen and Sam Olinger) will be discussing and coming back with a strategy and game plan.

P&C CARRIER APPRECIATION We discussed the P&C Carrier Appreciation event. It was a great success with high turnout from carriers and CG employees. We see the benefit from doing this event every year, because it strengthens our relationships with carriers and it’s a way to differentiate ourselves from other agencies. We explored if we should expand the event to Employee Benefits and 401k. Our initial thought was to host department specific events every year and come together for an All-Carrier event, once every 5 years. We decided to revisit this in the coming months.

2024 STRATEGY SESSION PLANNING & APPROACH Every 3-5 years we’ve done a deeper dive on our long-term vision. In 2024, its time for our leaders to gather to focus on the long-term view of our organization. It’s an exciting opportunity to pause and envision the future state of CG. One thing is for certain – protecting our team and culture will remain a priority for us.   This January we will bring together all managers and Leadership Council members to an offsite to discuss what’s ahead. As an outcome of this strategy session, all employees will receive updates on our long term vision and shorter term goals (2024 initiatives). This offsite will be held in late January and our launch of the 2024 Strategic Plan will be delayed. You can expect to hear more information at the State of CG in February or March. If you have any questions, please ask your manager, department leader or anyone on the Leadership Council.   Currently, leaders are filling out a pre-session survey to help us collect everyone’s input and insight to today’s realities and our future goals. 

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