Board of Directors

2024 Catholic United Financial Board of Directors

Catholic United Financial 2024 Board of Directors

Standing: Jason Adkins, William Lucas, Sr. Vice President Paul Zastrow, Marty Seifert, James Wensel, James Gibbons
Seated: Renee Brod, President Michael Ahles, Jean Hart 

Our Catholic Leadership

Sr. Vice President Michael Ahles

Michael Ahles is the President, CEO and Chair of the Board of Catholic United Financial, having served in this capacity since June 2020. He joined Catholic United in 2012 and spent his first eight years with us as Senior Vice President and Secretary/Treasurer. Mike is a 32-year veteran of the life insurance and annuity business and before joining Catholic United, he worked for a fellow fraternal benefit society, The Independent Order of Foresters in Canada, as well as Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America. Mike is a certified public accountant and a graduate of the University of Minnesota having spent his entire life in and around Minnesota’s Twin Cities. He is active in the insurance industry and serves on the Board of Directors of the American Fraternal Alliance and the Minnesota Insurance and Financial Services Council and enjoys his work with the Finance Council of his home parish, St. Bridget of Sweden Catholic Church. Mike and his wife, Sharon, live in Chisago City, Minnesota, have three grown sons, and two beautiful granddaughters who are the light of his life.

Senior Vice President Paul Zastrow

Paul Zastrow was hired as the Senior Vice President and Secretary/Treasurer and began on July 27, 2020. Mr. Zastrow graduated from Creighton University with finance and accounting degrees in 1987 and began his career with the accounting firm Coopers & Lybrand in Omaha, Neb., before moving with his wife Patty to work in the Twin Cities office in 1992. In 1995, he joined ReliaStar Life Insurance Company, working his way up to Assistant Vice President of Financial Reporting. In 2002, Mr. Zastrow joined the fraternal life insurance industry at Thrivent Financial, where he rose to Vice President and Controller. He and his wife, Patty, live in Mendota Heights, MN and are active members of the Holy Spirit Catholic Church and School community in St. Paul, MN. They have eight children, all of whom attended Holy Spirit School.

Board of Directors Member Jason Atkins

Jason Adkins has served as executive director of the Minnesota Catholic Conference, the public-policy voice of the Catholic Church in Minnesota, since March 2011. Jason has significant experience in non-profit governance and leadership roles, including serving as board treasurer for three organizations. He holds a law degree from the University of Minnesota, and undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of St. Thomas. He is a frequent presenter in a wide variety of settings, including schools, parishes, ministry groups, and faith-based organizations. A long-time member of Catholic United Financial, Jason and his wife Annamarie live in Saint Paul, Minn., and have four children.

Board of Directors Member Renee Brod

Renee Brod is a 30-plus year member of Catholic United Financial, with roots in the German/Czech Catholic community of New Prague, Minn. She attended St. Wenceslaus Catholic School in New Prague and graduated from St. Catherine University in St Paul. Brod comes with considerable experience in corporate business and leadership. She is a certified project manager and event planner. She owns and operates Rozsah Consulting, an association management company. Brod has served locally and regionally as a trustee on the Mayo Clinic Health System Community Board, Hospital Foundation and Quality, and Safety & Service Board. She was involved in her hometown parishes of St. Wenceslaus and St. John’s in New Prague, until recently. She is now a member of St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Forest Lake, where she resides with her husband, Jason. Brod served as a Confirmation Catechist, member of the Capital Campaign committee, actively participates as a CCW member, and was the Fraternal Secretary of the St. John’s Catholic United Financial Council. Renee and Jason have two adult daughters, Samantha and Sydney.

Board of Directors Member Jim Gibbons

James “Jim” Gibbons has worked in the Life insurance and Annuity industry for a total of 41 years, 15 of those years with Catholic United Financial from which he retired. He has also worked for the State of Minnesota in the Department of Commerce as a Policy Analyst regulating the insurance companies doing business in the state. He currently serves as the recording secretary for St. Peter and Clemens Council. He was an Eagle Scout as a youth, played college baseball and graduated with a BS in Education (Social Studies). He has attained professional designations from the Life Office Management Association (LOMA), including Fellow, Life Management Institute, and Associate, Annuity and Pension Administration. He has also provided insurance instruction for the LOMA organization, edited their textbook revisions, and taught insurance courses at the University of Florida. He lives with his wife Jeanne in Lake Elmo, MN. They have six children and eight grandchildren. Jim enjoys charity work (Feed My Starving Children, etc.), gardening, playing with his grand kids, reading, playing bridge and playing golf.​

Board Member Jean Hart

Jean Hart has been a member of Catholic United for more than 40 years and is a life-long member of St. Boniface Church in Cold Spring, Minn., where she has been actively involved in fundraising and leadership positions. She is a product of St. Boniface Catholic Grade School and graduated from St. Catherine University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration/Accounting. As a Certified Public Accountant Hart has nine years of work experience in public accounting, nine years in private accounting as an accounting/tax manager, and 22 years in banking as a commercial loan analyst/underwriter. She retired from her full-time banking job in 2020 and now works full time during tax season for a local tax/accounting/financial firm where she still puts her CPA license to good use. Through the years, Hart has used her expertise to serve as audit/accounting chair for several fundraising campaigns, including the United Way of Central Minnesota and the Cold Spring Area Relay for Life, she also serves on the Catholic United Financial Audit Committee as well as the Catholic United Financial Foundation Audit Committee. Jean resides in Cold Spring with her husband, Gary. They have three adult children and two grandchildren.

Board Member William Lucas

William (Bill) Lucas grew up in Northeast Minneapolis and graduated from the University of Saint Thomas with a B.A. in philosophy. After graduating from college Bill served as an officer in the U.S. Air Force and was awarded three air medals for flying combat missions during the Viet Nam war. While serving in the Air Force Bill also earned an M.B.A. degree from Inter-American University of Puerto Rico. After his discharge Bill worked as an Administrative Analyst for the City of Minneapolis, as the Grants Administrator of the State of Minnesota Governor’s Crime Commission and as Assistant Director of the Minnesota Crime Control Planning Board. While working for the State of Minnesota Bill attended the William Mitchell College of Law and graduated with a Juris Doctor degree in 1976. After graduating from law school Bill worked as a pension consultant and as an insurance agent for Great West Life and then spent 40 years in the private practice of law. Bill and his wife, Claudette, have two daughters and five grandchildren. They are active members of the Church of Saint Patrick in Edina.

Board Member Marty Seifert

Marty Seifert was born in Springfield, MN. Raised on a small family farm, he attended grade school at St. Michael’s Catholic School in Morgan, Minn., and was active in his Catholic United Council. Assisted in part from a Catholic United Scholarship, he attended Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, MN., and received a degree in political science as well as a 7-12 teaching license. As Chairman of the State Government Finance Committee, he assembled, reviewed and oversaw a budget of over $700 million, including legislative and elected Executive Branch departments. After leavi​ng elected office in 2010, Seifert became Executive Director of the Avera Marshall Foundation, raising millions of dollars for a new cancer treatment facility for the only Catholic hospital in the Diocese of New Ulm. The Seifert family has been very active in the Catholic church. Marty and his wife, Traci, have been an active couple at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Marshall and have two children.

Board Member James Wensel

James (Jim) Wensel has been a member of Catholic United for many years. Jim grew up in St. Cloud and graduated from St. Cloud Cathedral. Jim brings two different strengths to Catholic United Financial. First, he was a licensed insurance agent for 40 years, owning his own independent insurance agency. Second, he has credit union experience. He served on the boards of the Catholic United Financial Credit Union and Catholic Credit Union in St. Cloud. Jim has served on the Make A Wish Foundation of Minnesota Board of Directors and on the Central Minnesota committee for Make A Wish. Over the past 29 years Jim has visited with over 150 wish kids and their families. Jim and Debbie are members of Sacred Heart Parish in Sauk Rapids, Minn., where Jim is a member of the Finance Committee. They have a busy blended family of 7 children and 13 grandchildren.