About wflainsblog

Western Fraternal Life Association was established in 1897 as a Czech fraternal benefit society, providing its members burial insurance, social and ethnic activities, and a means of preserving Czech heritage. Lodges were formed throughout the Midwest and members attended meetings and special events. Today the membership is open to those who are supportive of the purpose of the Association.

Why We Love Wanda

Wanda Bragg

* Wanda Bragg recently returned from an extended leave from wfla. We wanted extend a warm welcome back to our beloved receptionist.

For 15 years, Wanda has been the face and voice that people first encounter at wfla. She has single-handedly personified the warmth and caring that wfla prides itself on. Wanda is a loving mother of two daughters, one foster son, grandmother to six, and great-grandmother of two.

When you ask Wanda what she likes about working here, the words just flow. “I love the people and the members. It’s all about our members. I really think I work for an awesome company. I’m proud to work here and I don’t take it lightly that I’m the first contact they have with the company. I want them to feel that we care about [the members]. Ask any of my friends or family members and they will tell you, I love my job.”

Anyone who has taken the time to talk to Wanda can tell that she knows her stuff. Maybe the best part of having a live receptionist is that Wanda doesn’t just pass you on to someone else, she shows empathy and helps in every way that she can before handing you off to another staff member. Since she has been here for over a decade, Wanda is on a first name basis with many agents and customers. She has a way of making you feel like you have known her forever, a great quality in a receptionist.

A live receptionist is not something you encounter much anymore, but at wfla we wouldn’t have it any other way. Wanda is great at greeting people and making them feel welcome, on the phone and in the office. Anyone who has had the pleasure of meeting her knows she’s a very caring person with a heart of gold. She cares about our members and it shows.

What was Wanda’s take on being featured in the blog? “Why?! It’s so embarrassing!” Because Wanda, you are worth it.

Q&A with Craig Van Dyke

ImageWhere are you from originally?
Rock Rapids, IA

What led you back to Iowa?
After college I moved to Houston, TX to start my career.  Because family is very important to my wife and I, and we both grew up in the Midwest, we decided that we wanted to raise our kids closer to our families.
What attracted you to wfla?
I worked for a very large insurance company and I really liked the idea of working for a smaller company where I could make a difference.
What have you learned on your travels to different lodges?
All of our members really care about wfla.  It is great that there are so many people out there that want to keep the Czech and Slovak traditions alive.
What are your hobbies or what do you do for fun?
I enjoy golfing.  If you were to figure the cost of golf on a per swing basis, it would be very cheap for me because my scores are higher than everyone I golf with.
You’ve been married to Anita for how many years and what is her occupation?
Anita and I have been married 22 wonderful years.  She decided that she wanted to go back to school and graduated in May from the University of Northern Iowa with a Masters in Mental Health Counseling.
Do you have any children? If so, tell us a little about them.
Anita and I have two children. Abby is 18 and just graduated from high school.  She is a great musician.  She plays the Double Bass and piano.  She is going to attend the University of Iowa in the fall.  She has not decided on a major but she is going to play in the University of Iowa Orchestra and minor in Spanish.  Mitch is also a accomplished musician and he plays the tuba.  He will be a junior in high school.  We are very blessed to have two awesome kids!
Looking towards the future, where do you see wfla headed?
Growing membership is very important to strengthen the association and I believe that we need to increase our membership with actively engaged members.  We need to continue to find ways to get younger members involved so we can be around for another 116 years.
Why do you think wfla has had such longevity?
Volunteerism is needed in every community and our members continue to provide that support, not only monetarily but also with their time.  We also have a conservative philosophy that ensures the financial security we promise our members today will be met in the future.
What is your degree in and do you have other educational distinctions?
I have a BBA in Finance from the University of Iowa.  In 1999 I received the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation and in 2002 I received my Fellow Life Management Institute (FLMI) designation.
What boards do you serve on?
I am currently a Board member of the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library and I serve as the museums Secretary.  I am also a Trustee for the wfla Education and Charitable Foundation.