Tom Mayer is an energetic and resourceful professional with more than 25 years' business experience, predominantly with entrepreneurial growth firms.
Tom entered the business world at age 11 with Kid for Rent lawn service, followed by White Wolf Maintenance, a cleaning restoration company. After graduating from Hamline University in St. Paul in 1991, he sold White Wolf to his brother, Pat, who still owns it today.
Tom then co-founded the Five Star Gourmet Meat Company, grew it into a $4 million home-delivery business with 90 employees, and attracted the attention of business publications including Forbes, Success, and Twin Cities Business Monthly. Tom sold his interest in Five Star in 1991, and then earned an MBA in marketing and strategy from the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management. During graduate school, Tom started Superior Foods, Inc. and happily sold frozen foods door-to-door in his 1995 Nissan Pathfinder.
In 2001, Tom founded Direct Benefits, Inc., a managing general agency specializing in the distribution of dental, disability, life and vision benefits to more than 8000 agents, brokers, consultants and general agents nationwide. Tom and his staff have helped agents write more than 100,000 Americans.
From 2006 to 2009, Tom served as the Retention Chair for Region 4 of the National Association of Health Underwriters and was named National Recruiter of the Year in 2007, 2008 and 2009. His hobbies include backpacking, cooking, dog sledding, kayaking, mountaineering, rabbit hunting, reading, scuba diving, traveling, trout fishing, and tubing with his gas-powered blender. His favorite foods are Nueske's applewood-smoked bacon and oatmeal raisin cookies.
Dana came to Direct Benefits after working as an Account Coordinator in the Cosmetics field for the past 9 years. After high school, Dana went to cosmetology school and worked in cosmetics sales at Bloomingdales and Macys for 11 years. She was born and raised in Saint Paul.
In her free time Dana enjoys to spend time with her friends and family, travel, and check out new restaurants all over the city. Dana has a real love for animals. She currently has 3 rescue dogs that live with her full time. Dana and her husband are fosters for 2 local rescue organizations. She hopes to have her own rescue when she retires someday to the Island of St. John. She loves to cheer on the Wild, Twins and Saints.
Shelly Kramer has more than 10 years of experience in the dental insurance industry. At Capital Benefits Groups she served as an internal operations manager working with customer service, inside sales and marketing, new business enrollment and plan design development as well as helping agents with their renewals. In addition to her role as “Benefits Shaman” at Direct Benefits, she works part-time as a 2nd degree Reiki (energy work) practitioner.
An active member of NAHU since 2004, Shelly has also taught an Ancillary Benefits Class at Kaplan Financial Education. In her spare time, she enjoys volunteering with the Angel Foundation and Toastmasters CC. Shelly's hobbies include building Faerie houses, cooking, gardening, kick boxing, yoga and making the world a better place by laughing as much as possible
Before joining Direct Benefits, Barbara worked as a nurse at St. Joseph's and United Hospitals in St. Paul, then spent time raising her 3 children. In 1997, she began her full-time insurance career with State Farm, working in sales and customer service in Property/Casualty, Life/Health, before expanding to bank products and commercial insurance. In 2007, Barbara moved to Capital Benefits Group and employee benefits. Her many duties included sales, marketing, project management, administration and customer service. She joined Direct Benefits in 2012 as a member of the Individual Dental & Vision team.
Barbara has a B.A. from the University of Minnesota and is NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) certified as a personal trainer and yoga teacher. She enjoys reading, the never ending quest of learning, yoga, kickboxing, weight lifting and spending time with her children, family and friends. The "real" reason for joining Direct Benefits was to conceal her true identity--- Cindy Crawford.
Jennie has worked in a few different roles within health & dental insurance – working as a Human Resources representative handling group insurance for 2 environmental sciences companies before transitioning into individual insurance as a licensed broker and advisor to those seeking assistance with everything from reviewing detailed plan options, to step-by-step enrollment to help resolving claims issues. Jennie has always had a passion for helping others understand and feel confident in their own understanding of the complexities that can be involved with buying and using individual insurance.
Jennie hails from our capital city and headquarters of Direct Benefits in Saint Paul, MN. She grew up as part of not 1, but 2 extraordinarily large families – both of which resided in Saint Paul as well. As the granddaughter of a baker, Jennie enjoys baking sweet treats for her family and friends – thus earning her the title of “Benefits Baker” at Direct Benefits. At one point, she attempted to start a catering company since she enjoyed hosting, cooking food and baking sweets for her family and friends. She has also worked as an independent Tupperware consultant for over 5 years – which utilizes Jennie’s super organizational skill set and allows her to help families save money & stay organized while keeping healthy and clutter-free.
Maca was born and raised in Santiago, Chile. She started learning English when she was three and graduated University as an ESL teacher. She did a Summer Work and Travel Exchange Program where she worked at a ski resort in Colorado and met her husband who is a Minnesota native. After finishing college and doing 2 years long distance, she decided to say goodbye to her high school students and moved to Minneapolis where she started doing translations and interpreting work.
Outside of the office she enjoys time with her husband Joe, family and friends, training her 2 year old Mini Australian Shepherd named Grizzly, learning Italian, French and someday Russian, Going to the lake, working out and baking chocolatey things.
Jodi comes to Direct Benefits with over 25 years of experience in a variety of medical fields. She’s done everything from being a transcriptionist (typing speed of 150 words per minute) to an office manager to being a HR director. In addition, Jodi served as the manager of administrative services for Advanced Practice Solutions for 10 years. During that time period Jodi was able to learn many aspects of a business including contract negotiation and recruiting and sales. One of the highlights of that career was that she was able open a clinic in the Las Vegas airport from an empty shell.
Jodi was born in Iowa and raised in Coon Rapids Minnesota. She initially pursued a degree in nursing but ended up in business graduating from Inver Hills Community College and eventually earning her B.A. in Business Management from Metropolitan State University in 2012. This was a great accomplishment in her life. Jodi want to prove to her children that it’s never too late finish your education and that perseverance pays off.
Jodi has 4 sons; 2 biological sons and 2 “life” sons. She doesn’t like the term “step” so she uses “life.” While the 4 boys were growing up, she was an avid soccer mom. Jodi didn’t miss a game, literally, and was even President of the boys’ soccer for 2 years. Now with the boys out of the house she can have some free time and enjoys cross stitching, sitting in the sun, gardening and traveling; especially to Disney World.
Stacey was born in St. Paul and has always lived in the Twin Cities. She started her working career while in high school working as a DJ at the local roller rink. That experience established her love of music, especially Prince, which happened to be her first concert at the age of 14. Stacey served in a variety of sales and management roles with Dayton’s, Marshall field’s and Macys for 25 years and eventually “retiring” at age 45.
Shes loves spending time with her 2 grown children and with her animals, two German Shepherds and an abandoned kitten. In addition, Stacy loves the St. Croix river for boating, canoeing and camping. Finally, she’s a big supporter of the Southern Minnesota Animal Rescue Team and always looking to round up the stray cats in her neighborhood.