Sheldon Cuffie combines tech and social impact at American Family
Sheldon Cuffie is the enterprise chief information officer at American Family Insurance Group and he oversees the company's IT program. He also values the company's social impact initiatives.
After moving his family to Austin, Texas to take on an executive position with Dell Technologies less than a year ago, he decided to leave that job and return to Cream City. He was motivated by an opportunity he perceived as even better with American Family Insurance Group.
Around that time, the insurance giant increased its investment in Milwaukee by securing the naming rights to the Milwaukee Brewers baseball team and partnering up with local organizations such as the Sherman Phoenix entrepreneurial market.
Cuffie stated, "I can do both tech stuff and help my community." "That's really strong."
Cuffie was hired by American Family Insurance in December 2019 to be its Vice President and Enterprise Chief Information Security Officer. His job was consolidating the cybersecurity programs of the five companies that make up the group, which include American Family Insurance (AF), CONNECT (The General), Homesite, and Main Street America Insurance.
He was promoted again in late 2022, becoming the company's enterprise chief information officer. In late 2022 he was promoted once again, this time to enterprise chief information officers. He also supervises the functions that support his "business of IT" as he describes it, such as IT finance and IT vendor administration.
Cuffie is reporting to American Family Enterprise Chief Strategy and Technology Officer Peter Settel.
Settel praised Cuffie for his discipline, judgment and patience. He also commended him for his level-headedness, ability to build teams, organizational management skills and strategy-based approach. Settel noted that Cuffie excels in cybersecurity, a field which is "a top corporate concern," he said.
Settel added that Cuffie is also a strong executive in Milwaukee for American Family. Although the company has its headquarters located in Madison, it has increased its commitment to Milwaukee.
Cuffie's latest role involves overseeing "everything" that runs the core of an IT program for a Fortune 200 company, Cuffie explained, including a partnership with Amazon Web Services.
Cuffie is also passionate about his contribution to the corporate social initiatives that attracted him to American Family. Cuffie explained that American Family, in partnership with AWS and the Milwaukee Tech Hub Coalition, as well as IT services provider Brooksource offers free cloud computing training to underrepresented Milwaukee communities.
He also supports Milky Way Tech Hub's STEAM and Dream Program, which offers science, technology and engineering arts and mathematics youth education through collaboration with partner organisations.
Cuffie stated that "we have to immerse the youth in technology." We have to expose youth to technology, rather than it being a mythical blackbox that only select few are privileged or honored to be part of.
Cufffie credits his father for early exposure to the technology. Cuffie, as a child, would disassemble televisions and VCRs, and then put them back together. Cuffie enlisted in the U.S. Army National Guard when he was 17 years old and attended an Army Tech School after basic training.
Cuffie began his corporate career at Kohl's Corp., and later held technology-related positions at companies such as Abbott Laboratories and Harley-Davidson Inc., where he worked his way up for more than a ten-year period.
Cuffie began his career in cybersecurity at Northwestern Mutual where he was employed as an information risk manager. Cuffie claims that he was the first African American man to reach the level of executive officer within the company. Cuffie then moved on to Dell Technologies, and shortly after that to American Family.