Management Team

Please feel free to contact one of our management team members to learn more about New York Life.



 Bob Palmer, CLTC  Senior Partner

Bob received his Bachelors of Science in Business Administration from California State University, Sacramento in 1982. Upon graduation Bob went straight into a leadership roll as a General Sales Manager with a Fortune 100 Company. After several years Bob decided that a change was needed. He took an offer and exercised his entrepreneurial drive to become a licensed Insurance and financial professional in 1987. As it turned out, it was the right decision. Not only was Bob a success in his new profession, he went on to qualify five consecutive years, 1991 - 1995, for the prestigious Million Dollar Round Table.1 He also achieved the highest of honors with his company as an upper council producing agent six consecutive years:  Executive Council in 1990, President's Council in 1991 and 1992, and Chairman's Council in 1993, 1994 and 1995.  In 1993 Bob became the Regional Operations Manager where he was responsible for all agency operations in three western states.  In 1997, Bob saw an opportunity and eagerly accepted a position as a Partner with New York Life.  Bob's roll in the agency expanded in 2002 when he was given additional responsibility of expanding the Santa Rosa Sales Office's operation into the three major counties in the North Bay Area.  Bob has established himself a student of leadership and a strong advocate for personal growth and development.  Bob is a lifetime member of the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies as well as an active member in his community.
Today Bob resides in Sonoma County, California.

(707) 569-7101



Mark Zander, MA, FLMI, ACS, AIAA, AIRC, ARA  Corporate Vice President, Field Service Leader

Mark Zander began his career with New York Life in 1999 as an agent in the Jacksonville General Office in Florida.  He moved on to train as an Adminstrative Manger in the Atlanta GO in 2000 and then took over the Macon GO later that same year.  Mark then managed the Indiana GO and the Tacoma GO after that. Mark accepted the role as CVP - Administrative Manager in the Alask GO in September of 2012.  Mark joined the Northern California GO in May 2017.  Mark has a Masters Degree in Counseling and is married to Serenity with two children - Zach and Katie.  The Zanders love the outdoors with hiking, fishing, and camping as their favorite activities along with being involved with their church. 





Laird Smith, CLU®, ChFC®, MSFS, LUTCF, CLF®, CLTC, CASL Senior Director of Development

Laird joined New York Life in 1988 as an Agent. In 1993 he became a Training Supervisor, in 2000 an Associate Sale Development Manager, in 2004 a Sales Development Manager and in 2016 Manager of Development.

In 1999 he earned his Chartered Life Underwriter, in 2000 his Chartered Financial Consultant, in 2004 his Master's Degree in Financial Services, in 2007 his Life Underwriter's Training Council Fellow, in 2009 his Chartered Leadership Fellow, in 2010 his Certified in Long Term Care and in 2016 his Chartered Advisor for Senior Living.

Laird has a strong passion for working with Agents and Leaders within the Northern California General Office.  His objectives are clear…lead and assist them in reaching their greatest potential.

Laird is a native of Oregon, obtaining his Bachelor of Science Degree from Oregon State University.  Prior to New York Life, he worked as a Business Analyst and Training Manager for Dun & Bradstreet in Portland and Sacramento.

In his spare time, Laird enjoys the outdoors and does extensive volunteer work.     

(916) 774-6252






Shauri Tobias, RICP, CLU, ChFC, LUTCF, CASL, CLF  Director of Development 

Shauri joined New York Life in 2003 as a client and then in 2004 as an agent in the Idaho General Office located in Boise, Idaho.  She was promoted to the role of Development Manager in 2006.  She joined the Northern California General Office in July 2014.  She is a believer in life long learning and is continually working on professional growth and designations through The American College.  Shauri is the Volunteers for Good Coordinator for the Northern California General Office, helping agents and employees earn grants for local non profits.  She is passionate about volunteering and is proud of the work the New York Life Foundation does to support local communities. 

Prior to New York Life, Shauri spent 11 years teaching elementary school in Idaho.  The training role allows her to combine her educational background with her agent skills.  Shauri and her husband Joe, reside in Auburn, CA.  In her spare time she enjoys trail running, mountain biking, and water skiing.





Marlene Carruthers, CPA  Director of Agency Standards 

As a native Californian, Marlene has resided the last twenty-five years in the Sacramento area.  She graduated from California State University, Sacramento in 1981 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with an accounting specialization.  After graduation she was employed by a CPA firm where she obtained a CPA license in 1984.  Her public accounting experience includes a variety of industries, such as retail, wholesale, medical and non-profit.  She has also worked in private industry as a Controller and Financial Analyst in the construction and real estate development industry.  Marlene joined the New York Life in 2002 as an Agency Standards Consultant.  In her spare time she enjoys the outdoors, and is an avid golfer.

(916) 781-7466

1MDRT, the Premier Association of Financial Professionals, is recognized globally as the standard of excellence for life insurance sales performance in the insurance and financial services industry.