Meet the Speakers
Eric J. Giglione also known as Coach Gigs has dedicated his life to providing and teaching leadership to business leaders across the country. As one of the most successful leaders at American Income Life Insurance Company, Eric has learned life lessons and built his success the old fashioned way: with hard work, integrity, dedication to excellence and visionary leadership. His business has garnered countless awards for top-level performance, and his mentees have gone on to win awards of their own all over the U.S.
Eric has been a featured speaker at Lehigh University’s Global Village program, which aims to develop leadership skills in students internationally. In cooperation with Lehigh, Eric has also hosted the students of this program in his offices as he works to continue mentoring the next generation of leaders around the world.
Named Businessman of the Year several years in a row in the early 2000s by the New Jersey State AFL-CIO, Eric has prided himself on sharing his success with those he leads, both in his business and in the larger leadership community.
The Daily Locker Room, Eric’s daily video blog, features motivational messages and dynamic guests continuously since February 2010, and is seen in 24 countries and by thousands of people daily. Eric began the project several years ago to share his blessings with a wider and continuously growing audience.
He recently celebrated his 33rd year with American Income Life and is currently responsible for providing leadership to more than 150 associates.
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Simon Arias was born in Youngstown, Ohio. He played football at Youngstown-Ursuline where he led his team to a state championship as team captain his senior year. Simon received a scholarship to play football at Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pennsylvania where he was again voted team captain. Simon took the leadership skills he developed over the years on the football field and was hired by the Surace-Smith Agencies in Ohio after obtaining his Bachelor’s Degree. Simon excelled and very quickly moved to a top level management position in the organization- becoming a Regional General Agent within his first year.
Simon worked closely alongside the State General Agents in Ohio, Jim Surace and Marcus Smith, as Regional Director of Sales for the agency and as a key figure in expansion efforts. The results he got helped him surface as one of the top leaders in the company. In 2008, Simon accepted a promotion and the challenge of being the State General Agent in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at the age of 24. He excelled as a State General Agent and has won his category numerous times breaking all of the production records for his territory.
Simon has subsequently expanded into West Virginia, Maryland, and Florida and currently operates 9 offices. Simon spent two years on the company’s Executive Council which dictates the direction of the company internationally; he is viewed as a mentor to many of the top leaders in the company, and for the year 2011 & 2012 Simon was chosen as the SGA of the year- the highest honor an SGA can receive.
On May 4th, 2013, Simon threw a birthday party for his long time girlfriend, Natalie Plescia. It was there, surrounded by their closest friends and family, that Simon proposed to Natalie. This August 2014, he and Natalie will say “I do” at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Pittsburgh, PA. This obviously just being the start to their long, happy life together.
Simon believes that if you aren’t getting enough you aren’t giving enough. His agency gives back to the community through charitable donations, volunteer work, and through food banks and turkey drives that he facilitates. Simon constantly looks for ways to enrich and better the lives of others and if you ask his team they will tell you that giving as much as possible to as many people as possible is at the heart of his mission.
Growing up in a tough neighborhood for much of his life, Simon knew what it meant to have good role models like his mother, Chrissy, who serves as the operations manager for his agency. He has taken it upon himself to seek out and find young people to mentor and impact- especially at-risk youth. In his spare time Simon enjoys travelling, visiting with family, working out, and is a student of jiu jitsu and mixed martial arts.
Have a question for Simon? Ask it here
David Ackerman has led a career highlighted by leading and developing others. Born and bred in New Jersey, David is the oldest of two children. His parents are both entrepreneurs, and created an environment in which David learned the value of hard work.
After graduating from Washington University in St. Louis with a degree in English and American Literature, David turned to writing as a career and became a financial journalist in New York City. Starting as a reporter covering Wall Street for a business-to-business publisher, he quickly became an editor, then bureau chief in London. After moving to a start-up publisher and helping create and develop several publications there, he decided to find a career that could be both financially rewarding and allow him to tangibly help other people.
David has been with American Income Life since 2003 and oversees more than 150 associates and managers in three offices across New Jersey. He started as an agent in the agency’s Leadership Development Program. David adapted quickly to sales, despite having no background in the field, and quickly became a top leader. Within his first year with the company he had already become a Master General Agent, building a successful team of growing leaders.
Every step of the way, David remained coachable, absorbing everything he could from successful leaders in the company. None were more influential than Eric Giglione, who shared with David a passion for leadership and a powerful work ethic.
In 2011, after more than seven years of success with American Income Life, Eric and David became partner State General Agents in New Jersey, where they benefit from each other’s experiences in leadership.
David is now focused on sharing his dreams and goals with others. He has devoted himself to giving back to the agency that launched him to heights he’d previously only imagined. Whether it’s through one-on-one coaching sessions or teaching leadership classes, David’s greatest desire is to see others succeed and come up higher.