Homesteaders Heroes Awards Honor Outstanding Employees

Funeral Industry News Funeral Industry Press Releases Homesteaders Life Company December 1, 2022

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Homesteaders Heroes Awards Honor Outstanding Employees

West Des Moines, Iowa — Homesteaders Life Company, a national leader in preneed funeral funding, has announced the recipients of its annual Homesteaders Heroes awards. The peer-nominated awards recognize employees who support Homesteaders’ mission and values, making a positive impact on the success of the company and its customers. This year there were nearly 50 employees nominated for the awards, with many receiving multiple nominations. An internal selection committee reviewed each nomination to determine a recipient for each category.

“Year after year, our Homesteaders Heroes showcase the ‘best of the best’ of our employees,” said Senior Human Resources Generalist Jayne Thovson. “These peer-nominated awards demonstrate how well-respected each recipient is and are a true testament to the quality and dedication of our team.”
Homesteaders Heroes award recipients were named in five categories:

Rising Star Award: Allison Schaeffer, Business Analyst
This award recognizes an employee who demonstrates eagerness to learn, commitment to Homesteaders and engagement with the company and peers early in his or her career. Since joining Homesteaders, Schaeffer has hit the ground running and has even accelerated in the year she’s been here, quickly becoming widely respected as a critical member of her team.

Innovation Award: Jeff Shepherd, Director – Project Management
This award recognizes an employee for the successful implementation of a new or updated product, service or program that results in a measurable improvement in the company’s performance, processes or brand strength. Shepherd is always innovating, including recently revamping our corporate initiative tracking system, which has transformed the way we do business at Homesteaders.

Outstanding Teamwork Award: Ariana Rodriguez, Senior Graphic Designer
This award recognizes enthusiasm, cooperation, problem-solving skills, commitment to success and a consistently positive attitude. Rodriguez’s organization, persistence and willingness to drive things forward really helps keep teams in forward motion.

Inspiring Leadership Award: Jason Richards, Project Manager
This award recognizes an employee who has shown incredible leadership skills and can be described as inspiring, decisive and visionary, yet humble and willing to give credit to others. In his 11 years with Homesteaders, Richards has served as a humble leader, willing to tackle every new challenge with calmness, insight and a focus on the best manner to achieve the business objective.

Enduring Impact Award: Judy Ralston-Hansen, Executive Vice President – Human Resources
This award recognizes an employee for a significant, long-term contribution or body of accomplishments to Homesteaders that make a lasting impact on the company’s success. Since joining Homesteaders in 1997, RalstonHansen has dedicated her knowledge, skill and heart to the people of the organization and has always gone above and beyond, never giving less than 100% of her time and effort.

Homesteaders Life Company, a mutual company owned by its policy holders, is the national leader providing products and services to help people design a better farewell. Visit to learn more.