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The Highest Honor

The John Newton Russell Memorial Award is the highest honor that can be bestowed upon an individual in the life insurance and financial planning industry. The award recognizes a lifetime of professional excellence, service to the industry and a commitment to ethical conduct.
web_0011_jordanJohn Newton Russell Memorial Award recipient Joseph W. Jordan is a highly sought-after inspirational speaker, behavioral finance expert, and best-selling author.

Jordan-Living a Life of Significance


Joseph W. Jordan

Joseph W. Jordan, inspirational speaker, behavioral finance expert, best-selling author, and one of the founders of the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI), is the recipient of the 82nd annual John Newton Russell Memorial Award. 

Jordan entered the insurance business in 1974 and later became the Vice President of Insurance Sales at PaineWebber before moving to MetLife. Until 2012, he was Senior Vice President – Retail Product Development at MetLife, where he started their fee-based financial planning program and behavioral finance department.

Over the past 11 years, Jordan has become one of the most sought-after speakers in the insurance and financial services industry. He has been the keynote speaker at numerous events, including MDRT Experience, the LIMRA Distribution Conference, The American College Knowledge Summit, the Asian Pacific Life Conference, and numerous NAIFA events. He has spoken in far-ranging locations spanning the globe, including Mexico, Canada, Brazil, the U.K., Italy, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Greece, India, Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Korea, Japan, and Australia.

On a recent episode of NAIFA’s Advisor Today Podcast series, he said, “What I like to talk about is not just the facts and the numbers. It’s about stories. All wisdom comes from specific human experiences. I’m trying to bring that into play so that we communicate better with people and save lives. I did the research and found out everyone dies. … So what better impact could you have if there are people out there who have really benefited as a result of what you do? Not only in death, but now we have this other problem of people living too long.”

His book, Living a Life of Significance, has sold more than 125,000 copies and has been translated into five languages. It chronicles Jordan’s personal journey and 50-year career in the financial services industry.


Congratulations Joe. You are truly an inspiration to all life insurance agents. Your dedication, professionalism, and empathy to the insurance industry are exemplary. This award is an honor and, in your case, well deserved.
Well Done!

Bill Cassidy, CLU, ChFC, LUTCF, CLTC
Loyal Member Since 1989
Scottsdale, Arizona

Joe Jordan is a force of nature.
With Great Admiration

D. Scott Brennan
Loyal Member Since 1978
South Bend,
IN2016 JNR Recipient

Thank you for recognizing and honoring Joe Jordan, I met him years ago at PHP Agency’s annual convention.  He had been a regular speaker at our annual conventions and his stories that make up the Living a Life of Significance made a huge impact on me as a financial professional.  They always propelled me into motion for the work we do as financial professionals.  He is a charismatic speaker who delivers a message of hope as he cites examples of families who have been impacted by life insurance including his own family.  His message is always new for the financial professional and for the client who questions the value of life insurance.  He is most deserving of this award.

Gilda Moshir
Loyal Member Since 2021
South Pasadena, CA

Joe Jordan and I go back 20-25 years together.  Working and volunteering at MDRT back in the good old days.  I had the pleasure of being Joe’s Host when he would speak at MDRT as well as several other organizations.  Had the opportunity to serve on the MDRT Foundation Board of Directors with Joe, many years ago.A kind Southern gentleman, one who is never at a loss for words and a scholar of many industry subjects. An entertainer at times, and a great friend. Congratulations on a well-deserved award/recognition.

Charles McDaniels, CLU, ChFC, RICP
Loyal Member Since 1982
Fayetteville, GA

Joe has been an inspiration for years and truly is one of the good people. His infectious enthusiasm and passion for our profession have made an impact on me and I am thrilled he is receiving this honor!

Ian Freeman, CLU, ChFC, AEP, CASL
Loyal Member Since 1988
Boca Raton, FL

I first met Joe Jordan as an inspiring newly recruited FP at Prudential. His appearance as a guest speaker was motivational, inspiring, and most relative to the environment at the time. Through the years I have found him to be genuine and passionate with regards to his role in our industry. My hats off and congratulations to Joe Jordan. A true man of character.

Gerald "Jerry" Vinella
Loyal Member Since 2023
Saddle Brook, NJ

I started with Metlife, Mr. Jordan at the time was the head of Metlife. In all his talks whether by recording or in person, were always inspiring. Being a female financial representative and insurance agent is very challenging, but Mr. Jordan always inspired you to keep going. Twenty years later I am still here, assisting my clients. Thank you for your positive role model and love of assisting clients thru insurance and financial services.

Judith Schoon, CSA
Loyal Member Since 2020
Griffith, IN

Joe is a gift. He has touched thousands of financial professionals who in turn have helped their clients provide financial security and dignity to many thousands of families and businesses.I can’t think of a more deserving recipient of this honor.

David Malkin, CLU, ChFC
Loyal Member Since 1963
Boynton Beach, FL

Joe is one of the classiest people I know.  His style, professionalism, and passion for the profession are some of the reasons that earned him this honor. Well deserved my friend!

Anthony "Tony" Boquet, CLU, ChFC, CASL, CLF, FSCP, LUTCF, FIC
Loyal Member Since 1988
Nashville, TN

I am so blessed to say that Joe Jordan is a friend, mentor, and fellow Catholic as well. Thank you, Joe, for everything that you have done for me, my career, and the life insurance industry! God Bless and Godspeed.

Peter Nelson FICF, LUTCF
Loyal Member Since 2020
Bristol, TN

Joe Jordan has been an important part of my 38-year financial services career.  I have been able to call him a friend for almost two decades.  About 15 years ago, my son, Reed, attended a NAIFA meeting in Salt Lake City where Joe was the keynote speaker.  After Joe’s inspiring message, Reed told me that he wanted to follow me in the industry because “Joe Jordan told me that I could do it.”  He was inspired by Joe’s passion and love for those Joe serves.  Unfortunately, Reed passed away from the effects of a brain tumor a couple of years later and was not able to fulfill that goal in his life.  As a result of Reed’s exceptional young life, we created a foundation to assist underprivileged kids with college scholarships.  Guess who was the first contributor?  You guessed it, Joe Jordan.  My wife, Annette, and I will always have a place in our hearts for Joe and his willingness to share his passion as he inspires industry professionals to live a life of significance. 

Mark Anderson
Loyal Member Since 2008
Salt Lake City, UT

It is with great admiration and gratitude that we celebrate Honorable You, Joe Jordan, who is set to receive the prestigious 2023 John Newton Russell Memorial Award. As a steadfast advocate and a beacon of inspiration in the world of insurance and financial services, Joe Jordan's influence has resonated deeply in my life and throughout my career...Reflecting on my journey, I find solace in the profound wisdom Joe has shared. His insights have instilled in me a deeper understanding of the importance of empathy, integrity, and the relentless pursuit of excellence. Joe's teachings have encouraged me to embrace challenges with optimism and to consistently strive for personal and professional growth..., I am filled with gratitude for the transformative impact he has had on my life and career. His philosophy continues to be a guiding force, inspiring me to strive for excellence, contribute to the well-being of others, and create a lasting legacy.Felicidades Amigo Joe Jordan, en hora buena Felicidades.

Jose Rodriguez, Jr.
Loyal Member Since 2016
Lakewood, CA

Congratulations, Joe! You are a true icon in our profession. Thanks for your inspiring words that helped my wife understand the importance of the work we do. Your passion and excellence are a great reminder to all of us to live a life of significance!

Craig Wright, MBA, CFP, ChFC
Loyal Member Since 2014
Battlefield, MO

I consider Joe Jordan to be a friend to myself as well as to Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation. We have partnered together many times to help educate NAIFA and others on various topics relevant to the many insurance products that NAIFA members use to create a greater financial outcome for their clients. Please extend my sincere congratulations to Joe for receiving the John Newton Russell Memorial Award. Joe is the perfect recipient for all he has done not only personally in the insurance industry but also for all those he has had a direct impact on. Joe was most recently my guest as the keynote speaker at the ’23 NAIFA Texas annual symposium. His presentation was creative, imaginative, and impactful. His use of storytelling (selling) really brings his message to life.

Michael Inkman
Carrollton, TX

Joe, Congratulations on your ‘Life of Significance’ being appropriately recognized by your selection as this year's John Newton Russell Award recipient. Thank you for your tireless, passionate support of our Great Industry all these years. I am very excited for you and honored to call you my friend.

John Davidson, LUTCF, FSS
Loyal Member Since 1982
Moorpark, CA

I have known Joe for a number of years. I have read all of his books and heard him speak a number of times. He is always inspiring and insightful. We have broken bread on a number of occasions and I recently had the privilege of speaking at the same meeting with him. He is more than deserving of this honor and continues to be a beacon for promoting the value of what we do.

John W. Wheeler, Jr., CFP, CLU, ChFC, CRPC, LUTCF, LACP, CLTC
Loyal Member Since 1973
Montgomery, TX

Joe Jordan told us to try always that WHO we are and WHAT we do should be in harmony. Or in the words of Joseph Campbell quoted by Joe, “follow your bliss”. Valuable guidance for life insurance professionals.

Scott D. Colby, CLU, ChFC
Loyal Member Since 1979
Wichita, KS

Joe’s message of service, passion and ultimately significance has certainly impacted our industry. While he belongs on a short list of the best speakers and motivators in our industry, the selfless commitment of time and genuine care for others he has shown through the decades more accurately places him as one of most influential service leaders in our industry. Congratulations Joe on an honor well deserved!

Dustin Will, ChFC
Loyal Member Since 2009
Lincoln, NE

Thank you Joe for all you’ve done for this fabulous industry. I’m grateful to have been able to hear you speak many times in person and virtually. I’ve also enjoyed your book and appreciate the realness of your story. May you continue to be Blessed and I’m looking forward to seeing you real soon.

Richard Coffin
Loyal Member Since 2006
Chino Hills, CA

FinFit Life would like to give a huge congratulations to Joe Jordan for receiving the 2023 John Newton Russell Award, the highest honor awarded by the insurance industry!

FinFit Life

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Gen. Jack Keane
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Joey Davenport, CLU, CLF, CLTC
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Tom Cothron, LUTCF, FSCP
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Bryan Adams
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Tom Hegna, CLU, ChFC, CASL, LACP
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Vince Vitiello
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Gordon Watson
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The John Newton Russell Memorial Award was first conferred at NAIFA’s (then NALU) annual convention in 1947. Because of the war, the award was given to five outstanding members of the field. Each year since the selection committee has strived to honor an exemplary agent or advisor who represents the best of the industry.


View Past Recipients