Our Team

Vincent Spaniolo, CLU®, ChFC®

Managing Partner

Vince is the Managing Partner of the Michigan General Office, which is a multi-location, 100+ employee insurance and investment agency in the Greater Michigan area. He is a seasoned professional with over 15 years of financial services experience and 2 advanced industry designations.

After running a successful financial services practice for 4 years, he found his “true calling” by entering into leadership in 2001. Since then he has personally recruited, trained, and/or worked with 100 Insurance Agents and Financial Advisors to assist them with the growth and development of their practice, many of whom now run some of the most respected and successful financial services practices in the region. Vince is a graduate from Western Michigan University where studied Finance. He and his wife, Amy, have three children and live in Hudsonville, MI.



Charles "Chuck" Selinger


Chuck joined New York Life in September of 2017 following being a State Farm agent/owner in Lansing and a 16 year career in pharmaceutical sales as an executive sales consultant and 5 years in event management working with General Motors traveling the country.

While earning bachelors and masters degrees from Central Michigan University, Chuck was a four year starter and two time All-MAC kicker.  Volunteer activities include premier travel soccer coach and referee and CMU National Alumni Board Emeritus member, former regional commissioner for AYSO 1097, Junior Achievement and Olivet Schools.

Chuck currently lives in Battle Creek area with his wife Kari, son Clayton and eight dogs.



John L. Smith


John L Smith developed a knack for sales at a very young age. At the tender age of 10, John started selling scented candles door to door. He won second prize (a Timex watch). He’d found his first love. Although awkward, he knew being a salesman was in his blood.

John Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business communication from Jones International University and studied Organizational Psychology Master’s program from Western Advance Colleges. He served 12 years in the United States Army where he earned the rank of a senior Non-Commission Officer(E-7). He has trained and mentored hundreds of soldiers under his command as platoon Sgt. He is also a decorated war veteran. After the military, he worked as sales agent for Art van stores and was quickly elevated to sales manager and director of training.


John Smith comes to New York Life Insurance Co. after 12 years in the insurance and financial industry. He has achieved high levels of success, earning Regional Vice President with a Fortune 500 company called Citigroup, the parent company of Primerica Financial Services. During his tenure with Primerica, John and his Partners operated three offices in three different states. John was regionally recognized as one of the top regional managers of 2007 and 2008 in recruiting and production.

John lives with his wife and business partner Jeri A Smith of 25 years. Together they have raised 4 Children; Jawhan (28), Devaughn (25), Desire (24), and Dominique (22).

“Serve with humility and faith. While mentoring a new generation of professional sale leaders.”



Craig A. Potter, CLU®, ChFC®, CLF®

Senior Development Manager

Craig started his career in Financial Services with New York Life in 2007. After earning multiple Life Insurance sales awards as a part of the Michigan General Office New Organization, he became a three time Council qualifier as an established agent. Craig is a lifelong resident of Cedar Springs, MI with his wife Heather and their two children, Daniel and Lenora.

He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Aquinas College where he was a member of the Cross Country and Track & Field Teams earning “All-Region” honors in Cross Country in 2002. Craig is currently a Senior Development Manager in the Michigan General Office and has earned his Chartered Life Underwriter ® and Chartered Financial Consultant® designation from the American College. He is a Registered Investment Advisor with Eagle Strategies and is licensed as a Limited Principal.


Benjamin AC Fisher, LUTCF®, CLU®

Development Manager

Ben Fisher started his career in Financial Services with New York Life in 2004. Ben was a career agent for 13 years, achieving Council status 10 times. In 2017, he made the decision to join the Management Team as a Development Manager. Through this role, Ben draws on his experience to help develop newer agents as well as helping established advisors in the Michigan office grow their practices. Ben is also the Political Involvement Leader for the Michigan General Office. This volunteer position has been incredibly fun and has strengthened his political efforts within the entire industry.

Ben received his Bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University. He stays very busy in Grand Rapids with his wife Jennifer and their 4 children; daughters Sylvia and Lilla and identical twin sons Graham and Charlie. The family stays involved at church, kids’ activities, occasionally sneaks in a vacation, and loves an outdoor adventure.


Chip Whalen, FLMI, ACS

Corporate Vice President - General Office Administration

Chip started with New York Life Insurance Company in June 1994.  He currently supervises 8 staff members in 3 locations and provides administrative support to 100 agents and 9 managers.  Prior to coming to the Michigan General Office, Chip worked in the New York Life Offices in Detroit, MI, Philadelphia, PA, Lawrenceville, NJ and at the New York Life Home Office in New York.  Chip graduated from Ferris State University with a degree in Business Administration.  Chip and his wife, Amy, have been married for 20 years and reside in Ada with their 8 year old son Jonah.


Eric W. Deems, AAMS

Agency Standards Director

Eric is a Senior Associate, Director of Agency Standards and provides field operations and supervision support to the Michigan based field offices of New York Life. Eric was born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan and has worked in finance for the past 7 years including roles in both supervision and wealth management. Eric is a graduate of Aquinas College with a focus in business administration. He is a veteran of the United States Army, including one tour of duty in Baghdad, Iraq. Eric enjoys spending time with his wife, Lisa, traveling the world, and working on his motorcycle.


Janina Valenza, MS

Marketing Director

Janina Valenza began working with New York Life in 2010 working with agents assisting them in their practice and developing their business. In 2015 she began working as the General Office Marketing Director. Prior to New York Life , Janina’s background was a government contractor for social programs through the US Department of Labor. Janina has her Masters in Executive Management through Minot State University. She and her husband, Patrick, have 5 children.



Constantine G. Zourzoukis

Business Development Consultant

Constantine is the South Central Zone Business Development Consultant helping to grow Worksite. He brings with him over 20 years of extensive management experience and the ability to influence sales towards increasing case rate and reoccurring premium.

Zourzoukis joined New York Life in December 2011 and has since achieved many of the company’s highest honors. He achieved case rate leader in 2012, 2013 and 2014, Life Foundation award winner in 2013 and Centurion winner in 2013 and 2014. He made Executive Council in 2013 and was awarded Executive Council Premier in 2014.

Constantine attended George Mason and is working towards a major in English. He became an agent mentor in 2012 and continues in that capacity today.


Scott Tagliareni

Investment Solutions Consultant

Scott has been in the financial industry for over 15 years. He started his investment career at Smith Barney where he was an associate Financial Consultant. Scott came to New York Life in 2005 working with the RIS Third Party Distribution team covering annuity investments within the Bank channel. Scott was promoted to an Associate Wholesaler and traveled extensively in the field for a period of time. In the later part of 2009, the team merged with the New York Life mutual fund team therefore, Scott's product lineup included both mutual funds and annuities while working with a mix of wire houses, independent institutions and bank firms.

Currently, Scott has been coaching New York Life representative with their clientele. Scott has help hundreds of individual create successful retirement solutions while ensuring that they will never have any worries of running out of money. He has worked with all type of clients which include business owners, physicians, professionals and millennials.

During his career, Scott adopted his core believe that a financial professional needs to become more client centric and the focus should be on the client’s needs before their wants. Finally, he would like to see agents become their clients' trusted financial professionals, someone that a client can rely on to help them through all stages of their lives not just parts.

Scott and his wife, Brandy, reside currently in Grand Rapids with their two daughters. Scott enjoys watching the New York Giants and the New York Rangers when he can. He also enjoys traveling and drinking good wine.

^ Please note that neither New York Life Insurance Company nor its subsidiaries offer property or casualty insurance