Agenda Overview

This is Important......

You can expect to hear from top national speakers at ASCEND. But there are some important differences from other industry conferences.


Most insurance industry conferences provide a seemingly endless lineup of speakers in never-ending concurrent breakout sessions covering products, regulatory & compliance updates, and plan design. Of course, keeping up with these topics is important and necessary to being a capable benefits advisor.


These topics, however, won’t grow your business. And hanging out with all the producers & account managers who attend other conferences won’t increase your leadership IQ.


How is ASCEND different?


ASCEND is exclusively for benefit agency leaders – owners & principals of their firm – who are focused on agency reinvention and growth. At ASCEND, you are surrounded by your peers, who understand and deal with the same challenges and opportunities you face every day.


And at ASCEND you won’t be discussing the same-old-same-old topics heard at other conferences. Instead, ASCEND focuses on business-building topics that help you improve & grow your firm. Critical topics like Portfolio, Marketing, Selling, Management & Leadership.


Collaboration with your peers.


So the main draw of ASCEND isn’t a huge lineup of speakers. ASCEND’s value is being with and interacting with your peers…other innovative agency leaders who are committed to growth and willing to work collaboratively with you to share & discover agency best practices and proven growth strategies. This peer-to-peer collaboration…what Nelson & Scott call “meaningful conversations”…lie at the heart of ASCEND’s power to change your agency and drive greater organic growth.


In keeping with ASCEND's mountaineering theme (from the idea in Nelson & Scott's book, DO or DIE: Reinventing Your Benefits Agency for Post-Reform Success, that agency reinvention is akin to summiting a daunting mountain such as Mt. Everest), ASCEND programming sessions are based on & named after mountaineering concepts

Base Camp

Climbing Sessions

Reconnaissance Sessions

You gather with your fellow attendees in General Session to get energized & prepared to climb. The base camp will be the conference kick-off featuring our keynote presentation.

You climb higher toward the summit with assistance from our highly skilled & experienced Guides who provide you with business-building, tools, and implementation workshops.

You discover alternate routes (strategies, technology, techniques) to the summit through meaningful discussions as you rotate through the three stations:

Ascend's Unique Programming

ASCEND 2017 Presentations

KEYS TO ORGANIC GROWTH - Three Traits of a NextGeneration Benefits Firm


NELSON L. GRISWOLD – Opening Keynote Address


ASCEND Co-Founder & agency growth expert Nelson Griswold will give the opening Keynote Presentation at ASCEND 2017. Nelson consults with some of the most progressive benefits agencies in the country, successful firms that are experiencing tremendous organic growth. What sets these firms apart from most other agencies that are struggling in the post-ACA world? What characteristics do they share? Drawing from his insider experience with these agencies, he will share the three most important traits that are driving their success and growth. In addition, you will get an inside look at the value propositions and key strategies that have made these firms market leaders.


This high-energy presentation will challenge long-held beliefs and misconceptions that are holding back agency growth while offering you alternative views and actionable strategies that will unleash your firm’s organic growth. Nelson also will provide powerful “little hinges” that you can implement immediately to drive major growth and improvement in your firm.


CRACKING THE PROSPECTING CODE - Designing & Building a Client Attraction Machine for NextGeneration Benefits Firms


SCOTT CANTRELL – Agency Growth Strategy Session


Using strategies from his book, DO or DIE, agency marketing expert Scott Cantrell has been helping benefit firms design and build systems & processes that consistently and predictably yield new clients. One of the biggest challenges for any agency is prospecting for new clients. While most producers are lousy at prospecting, their poor prospecting results aren’t just frustrating, they hinder the growth of your firm.


In this eye-opening and detailed session, Scott shows you how to crack the prospecting code once and for all. He will walk you through the five key systems essential to developing your own client attraction machine and operating it to generate ongoing growth.


You will walk away from this strategic marketing session with an actual blueprint for a proven prospecting system that will create a steady stream of qualified prospects, closed cases, and new clients…producing sustainable organic growth for your firm.


LEADING IN A TIME OF CHANGE - Leadership Lessons from Legendary Trailblazers Who Beat the Odds & Influenced Millions


TONY RUBLESKI – Keynote Address


In the Summit’s second keynote presentation, marketing & leadership expert Tony Rubleski will share proven leadership strategies & insights from his new book, MIND CAPTURE: Leadership Lessons from Ten mindcapturebook4virtualcoverTrailblazers Who Beat the Odds and Influenced Millions.


Tony discovered that these national and global leaders in the fields of religion, sports, business, and the media shared seven common characteristics that underlie their success. The Trailblazers featured in the book include John Stossel, host of the FOX TV show “Stossel”; Dave Liniger, chairman and co-founder of real estate giant RE/MAX, LLC; New York Times bestselling author Sally Hogshead; NHL head coach Dan Bylsma of the Buffalo Sabres; and bestselling business author Seth Godin.


In his foreword to the book, Dave Liniger of RE/MAX wrote that Mind Capture “can unlock your potential. It can change everything. When you encounter a collection of knowledge as worthwhile as Mind Capture, you really ought to pay attention.”


As an agency leader, you face an unprecedented & daunting challenge if you want to emerge a winner in the post-reform world: leading your firm through a time of change and reinvention. In this dynamic and motivational keynote presentation, Tony will share key leadership traits from the seven characteristics that he discovered these Trailblazers shared…and practical strategies that will make you an even stronger leader in your firm during this challenging time of change.