National Life Insurance Council Spirit of Life 2024 Honoree

Mike James

Executive Vice President, Chief Sales Officer

As NFP’s Chief Sales Officer, Mike James drives the strategic direction of the company’s sales organization. He actively cultivates a competitive edge in NFP’s sales activities that increase market share, revenue and brand awareness. Mike’s responsibilities include expanding opportunities with clients through integrated sales initiatives that leverage NFP’s growing expertise and capabilities across regions, business lines and solutions. He also works closely with NFP’s regional sales leaders to provide clarity on goals, share best practices and ensure consistency in sales efforts.

Mike also serves as a special advisor to the NFP board on race issues, facilitating learning, refining strategy, and collaborating with NFP’s Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer to advance NFP’s diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) efforts. Mike is also a member of NFP’s executive committee, which charts the strategic course for the company.

Mike joined NFP in 2006 as senior vice president of Partners Financial’s business development team, playing an instrumental role in aligning the organization’s business guidelines with its vision and culture. Prior to taking on the Chief Sales Officer role, he led NFP’s Life and Wealth businesses, which include life insurance, wealth management, business management, long-term care and annuities. Before joining the NFP family, he spent more than 14 years with John Hancock Financial Services where he was integral to building a thriving relationship between John Hancock and NFP. Mike’s career began with an internship at John Hancock in 1991.

A Boston native, born and raised in the Roxbury neighborhood, Mike’s “give first” approach continues to have a positive impact on organizations, people, communities and outcomes. He is motivated by opportunities to facilitate connections and cultivate relationships, amplify ideas, encourage perseverance and inspire teams to new levels of success. Mike’s leadership has always been about helping those around him be better and leaving things better than he found them.

In an industry where diversity remains an area for growth, Mike has inspired many Black and Brown professionals to enter the financial services profession. He also serves as a constant mentor to professionals at every stage of their careers, listening, learning and empowering them along the way. He motivates others by sharing details of his own journey, from the challenges he’s faced to the choices he made to overcome them. While no two paths are the same, Mike’s willingness to share his experiences helps others see themselves in his struggles and successes.

Mike is an engaged contributor across the communities of which he’s a member. He is an active participant in Year Up, an organization working to close the opportunity divide by helping young adults acquire the skills, experiences and support they need to reach their potential in the corporate world. Mike advises students at his alma mater, American International College, including members of the men’s basketball team, on career choices, problem-solving and network building. He is also a giver of time and resources to the Roxbury YMCA, the No Books No Ball Basketball Program, which provides basketball, education and life skills, as well as meals, to kids and families in the Roxbury/Dorchester, MA, neighborhoods, and the Historic Charles Street AME Church.  

Mike is also an active member of Finseca (formerly AALU/GAMA), serving on the Executive Committee of their Board of Directors. In 2025, Mike will become the first Black member to serve as board chair in the organization’s 65+ year history. He is a member of the Board of Trustees for Suffolk University and The American College of Financial Services and is a passionate supporter of The American College’s Conference for African American Financial Professionals (CAAFP). In 2020, Mike played an instrumental role in helping Nationwide create the Financial Alliance for Racial Equity (FARE), a coalition of industry peers and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) focused on increasing the number of Black professionals entering the financial services industry.

In 2022, Mike joined the Board of Directors of LL Global, the nonprofit parent company for LIMRA and LOMA, which provides industry knowledge, insights, connections, and solutions to help more than 700 member life insurance and financial services organizations navigate change with confidence. He was also honored with the 2022 National African American Insurance Association Corporate Leader Award, a recognition of his impact on expanding opportunities for Black and other underrepresented people in the insurance and wealth industries.

Mike is frequently called up to speak at industry events and share his business and DEIB insights in various publications, including Financial Planning, Business Insider, InsuranceNewsNet, ThinkAdvisor and African-American Career World magazine.

Mike loves sports, fine wine, jazz, and R&B, and he is an engaging storyteller. But perhaps most importantly, Mike is a husband, father of two daughters and a son, and a dear friend to a beloved Cockapoo.