Management Team


Minh-Thao Tran, CLF®Executive Partner

“New York Life family” is more than just a phrase for Minh-Thao Tran. She joined New York Life in 2005, followed by her younger sister, Minh-Thuan Tran, and her youngest brother, Nhan M Tran. All three grew up in Vietnam, immigrated to the United States. Minh-Thao began her career in the U.S. as a realtor and became a full-time New York Life agent in 2005. She spent more than a decade primarily serving the Vietnamese market in the San Francisco Bay area. After many successful years as an agent, Minh-Thao was promoted to Partner in 2011 in the Santa Clara General Office; Senior Partner in 2015 and Executive Partner in 2018.

Minh-Thao is an alumna of San Jose State University, and has won numerous achievement awards during her career with New York Life. She achieved Council, every year she was an agent—seven consecutive times. In management, she qualified for Gathering of Eagles, four years in a row since 2012 and is a two-time winner of the company's prestigious Val Ivanov Award awarded for the best personal performance by an Executive Partner in three key areas of New Organization Production, Recruiting and Retention.

Minh-Thao also earned the CLF® (Chartered Leadership Fellow) designation from the American College in 2017 and plans to graduate with a Master's of Science in Management (MSM) in May of 2019.

Lien Bui, CLF® - Executive Partner

Lien is a Executive Partner in the Santa Clara Office.  Lien's career started as an Agent in 2005 and she achieved two Executive Council Awards in 2006, 2007.  In addition, Lien was Pro-rata for Centurion 2007, Life Stars Individual Life Award 2007, Pro-rata MDRT* Aspirant 2006, Career Life Producer Award, Career Success Award, and Class Leader of 2005.  In 2007 Lien was promoted to Partner and achieved the Top Winner #1 in the Pacific Zone of “Gathering of Eagles Award.”  Lien won 6 consecutive years 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 of Top 50 Partners in the company and Partner View From Top Award 2013. Lien was promoted to Senior Partner in 2014.  Lien was promoted to Executive Partner in 2018.

Lien has a BA degree in Economics year 2000 at Trinity University in Washington D.C.  She was the National and State Honoree of the Prudential Community Service Award representing the District of Columbia 1996.

Nga Ha - Senior Partner

Nga joined New York Life's Santa Clara General Office as an agent in October, 2012 after many years working as a chemical engineer. Her hard work, dedication, and contribution to the office has paid off to earn the Career Life Success Award, Career Life Producer Award, Life Star Individual Life, 40-40-40 Campaign Winner 2014, Centurion 2014, Life 2014 Leader Class of 2012, Executive Council 2013 and 2014, and a qualifier for Million Dollar Round Table* in 2014. She has been a financial professional with New York Life since 2014. Nga was promoted to be partner on March, 2015 after over 2 years as an agent.  She takes on the challenge of growing herself and the office in her new role.

Nga has a BS degree in Chemistry year 2001 in Vietnam. She lives in San Jose, CA with her husband and a daughter Thu.

Vuong Mai - Partner

Vuong joined New York Life in 2009.  Vuong quickly qualified for the Career Life Success Award, Life Producer Award, and Life Foundation Award.  As an Agent with New York Life, Vuong achieved Council each and every year. One Quality Council and 6 Executive Council.  Vuong also received the Agency Builder Award in 2014.  He achieved Life Star Awards in 2011 & 2012.  In 2013, Vuong earned the Top 25 Face Amount Challenge.  Vuong became a Financial Services Professional** in 2016.  Prior to his promotion to Associate Partner, Vuong qualified for the Million Dollar Round Table(MDRT)*.  In October 2016, Vuong was promoted to Associate Partner, and then Partner where he now focuses on others to become successful entrepreneurs in a career with New York Life.

Vuong graduated with a dual major in Economics and Computer Science in Vietnam. Vuong is a current member of NAIFA.  In his spare time, Vuong volunteers as a choir member and has been doing so since 1998.  He enjoys fishing, hiking, playing the guitar and piano, computer graphic design, and photography.

Tu Nguyen - Partner

Tu joined New York Life as an agent in September 2012. She achieved Executive Council every year from 2013 to 2018, plus two Executive Council Premier in 2015 and 2016. Additionally, she also earned the Life Superstar Award in 2016, together with two Premier Centurion awards in 2015 and 2016. Through her relentless efforts in helping clients and fellow agents succeed, in October 2018, Tu was promoted to Associate Partner at the Santa Clara General Office.

Tu graduated from San Jose State University in 2011 with a Master's degree in Hospitality Management. Prior to her career at New York Life, Tu was an assistant manager at Walgreens; she had also held various positions in the hospitality management field from which she gained valuable experience in communication and customer service. Having a strong foundation in a career path that enables her to make a difference in people's lives, Tu is passionate about creating a positive impact on her community. She makes it her mission to develop excellent financial service professionals in order to help the most people achieve higher quality of life. Tu believes that the ability to understand people's needs and situations, together with an inherent desire to care, have greatly assisted in her success in the insurance industry.

Tu is married with two children and lives in San Jose, CA.

Ma Rezel Cerdan  - Partner

Rezel became a part of the Santa Clara Office when she joined New York Life agent in December 2015. She’s an Executive Council qualifier year 2017 & 2018. She also earned the Life All Star Award In 2017 & 2018. Through her tireless efforts and hard work in helping client with their financial goals, mentoring and helping fellow agents succeed, Rezel was promoted to Associate Partner at the Santa Clara General Office in May 2019. 

Rezel graduated with a Degree in Bachelor of Science In Commerce Major In Management. Prior to her career at New York Life, she was an executive assistant of a successful businessman from which she gained valuable experience in handling and servicing various individuals. Rezel is extremely passionate about creating a positive impact on her community and the Santa Clara General Office especially the Filipino Community that she considers her second family. She wants to be a part of growing and building strong exceptionally talented Filipino Cultural Market not just in Santa Clara GO but the entire New York Life Insurance Company

Yuan Gong  - Partner

Yuan has been with New York Life for more than 9 years, from an agent to AP.
Before joining NYL in 2009, Yuan was a financial advisor at 2 full-service broker-dealers, one was headquartered in San Francisco, and the other was a startup online/full service brokerage firm located in Fremont. Her career as a financial consultant started from Merrill Lynch in 2003, where she associated with 2 financial consultants in the private Client Division who manage $350 million in assets. Yuan created investment services for high net-worth individuals and professional investors. Originally from China, Yuan graduated with M.A. degree from Harvard University Graduate School.  She earned a Harvard University Graduate School Full Financial Award. During her graduate school years, she was the chair of the Committee for Extracurricular Activities, Harvard Chinese Scholar and Student Association. Yuan loves travelling during her spare time.

Domingo ‘Dom’ Comandante, Partner

Dom has almost three decades of background in the Banking Industry where he has held multiple Management positions with extensive experience in customer service and asset custody relationship.  It’s a position that gave him the ability to help people and at the same time, have a career with purpose.

Life changing events forced him to find an opportunity where he can use his expertise and provide him flexibility to assist and care for elderly family members.  He found this opportunity at New York Life Insurance Company when he joined as an agent in 2014.

He is an outgoing person with a big smile and always makes you feel comfortable when you’re around him.  He is passionate in helping people and has made it his lifetime goal to have a positive impact and make a difference in people’s lives. 

Dom has achieved Executive and Quality Council membership in his 5 years as an agent.  He wants to build a Winning Multicultural Team in the Santa Clara General Office where they can become trusted partner and resource for their families, clients and prospects.

Dom was promoted to Associate Partner in February 2020 and became Partner in September 2020. 

He holds a bachelor’s degree in History and Political Science and has FINRA Series 6 and 63 license

He is happily married to his loving wife, Mila, and has two sons and two grandsons.  He loves to eat and travel with his family.


Michael J. Wecker, CLU®, ChFC®, LUTCF, CLF®, MSFS, CLTC® - Senior Director of Development and Senior Manager

After graduating from California Polytechnic State University with a Bachelor of Science degree, Michael started his career as a Field Trainee with New York Life in 1985. After a few years he entered Management where he became a Training Supervisor, Sales Manager and then ultimately a Sales Development Manager, focusing on agent and management training. As of December of 2006 Mike returned to the field to start his own practice in Monterey. Mike qualified for Executive Council and was an Annuity Champion every year from 2007 through 2009. In July of 2010 Mike was promoted to his current position as Senior Director of Development. He is a second-generation New York Life agent and manager. His father John F. Wecker was a New York Life Agent for 40 years.

Michael's oldest brother Richard A. Wecker, CLU®, CLF® retired in November of 2004 as the CEO and President of LIMRA International, an international market research company. Prior to LIMRA Richard was Senior Vice President of Marketing for New York Life.

Michael is married to Cheryl and lives in Carmel, California.

Philip P. NguyenPhilip P. Nguyen,  CLU®, ChFC®, CLTC® - Senior Development Manager

Philip joined New York Life in 2011.  New York Life's company strength and training program was an integral part of his decision to transition into this career.  Applying the knowledge from the company's training and materials, he qualified for Executive Council for two consecutive years.  Philip was promoted to Development Manager in early 2014 and to Senior Development Manager in early 2018.  He is responsible for training and developing the next generation of agents so they can be successful and can make a positive impact in people's lives and their communities.

He earned his Certified Long Term Care (CLTC®) ,Charter Life Underwriting (CLU®) designation, and Charter Financial Consultant (ChFC®).  He currently holds FINRA licenses 6, 63, and 26.

In his spare time, Philip enjoys offshore fishing out of Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz.  He volunteers with various local Fishing Associations that protect, preserve, and improve California's fishery for future generations.

He is currently married with two children and resides in San Jose.

(JC) Justin Cordova -  Sales Development Manager

JC is a sales development manager for the Santa Clara General Office and has been with New York Life since 2009. Within his role, JC ensures that each and every agent he trains and develops is given the best opportunity to succeed. With the help of New York Life's comprehensive training program, JC is able to assist new agents in their journey to a lifelong, fulfilling career. It is in his own career, and the opportunity it provides to meet new people, coach them and watch them grow and develop in their work, that JC finds his own passion and fulfillment.

His perseverance, tenacity and ability to think outside of the box have earned him numerous awards throughout his career. In almost 10 years with the company, his successes include New Organization Case Rate Leader: 2010, 2011, 2012, Rookie of the Year, Life All Star Award: 2012, 2013, Centurion Award: 2011, 2012, Executive Council^: 2011, 2012, 2013, Hispanic Market 30-30-30 qualifier, AAMU Countdown to $10 Billion Incentive Campaign qualifier 2014, 2016, Best Percentage Sales Increase, New Organization Retention, and the Life Case Rate Award, 2016 and 2017.

Prior to his career at New York Life, JC earned his Bachelors in Business Administration in Marketing and Languages Literature, and Culture from Colorado State University and Universidad de Alcala De Henares in Madrid, Spain. While in college, JC worked as a Resident Assistant and Peer Mentor/Coordinator for Colorado State. Upon graduating, he entered into the field of Public Relations and Non-Profits as he drove the Oscar Mayer Weiner-mobile around the country to raise money for Big Brother's, Big Sisters. He went on to work in retail management, finances, and ultimately New York Life. Today, JC is married to his beautiful wife Nicole and when he is not in the office, he spends his time hiking, relaxing at the beach, snowboarding, skateboarding, cycling, working out, and traveling within the U.S and overseas.

Derek Raphael, ACS, ALMI, AIAA, AIRC, FLMI, CLU - Service Leader

Derek joined New York Life in 2013 and has been managing team of people since 2009.   He started his career training in the Northern CA General Office, spent 3 years at the Las Vegas General Office and has been at the Santa Clara General Office since 2017.  


Derek graduated from California State University, Sacramento with a degree in Business in 2008 and has continued his education with 2 New York Life Leadership Programs and industry designations. 

Derek and his wife Cassandra have one child, Hudson.    They enjoy spending their time traveling and at the beautiful beaches of Santa Cruz, CA.

Douglas Perry - Agency Standards Manager

Doug has previous careers as a professor and researcher in higher education, an analyst in state government and manager of  a national physician association.  In 2006 he joined the insurance industry with John Hancock in San Mateo, CA.  Starting in administration, he quickly advanced to be an Investment Advisor Representative and then Agency Compliance Specialist. 


A native of Minnesota, Doug completed an MSW degree from the University of Minnesota as well as post-graduate studies in psychology and social work, with expertise in evaluation research contracting.  He moved to California in 1988 to work at UCSF and then the American Academy of Ophthalmology.  He lives with his wife Karen in Belmont, CA. They have son in high school and daughter in college.  He was parent leader of the middle school team that went to the state completion of the Oddessy of the Mind.   He also coached basketball for boys and girls teams through middle school and enjoys the outdoors and riding his racing bike when the schedule allows.  

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

* The Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT), 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.

**Financial Services Professionals are Registered Representatives with NYLIFE Securities LLC(Member FINRA/SIPC) A Licensed Insurance Agency.


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