The Executive Board
The Voluntary Benefits Association (VBA) Executive Board are industry professionals with full decision-making authority imparted to the Chairman & CEO, yet collectively provide governance and direction to the VBA. They work along side with the Advisory Board to execute the VBA’s strategic plan. The Executive Board has agreed on the VBA’s organizational bylaws which spell out the number of directors, length of their term, and roles. The Board of Directors also accepts responsibility for the assignment and monitoring of projects for the organization’s Executive Director.
The Advisory Board
At the Executive Board of Director’s Inaugural VBA Meeting, it was determined by the Board that they would appoint 17 Advisory Board Members. Appointed by the Executive Board of Directors, the Advisory Board Members were chosen based upon their diverse representation of industry segments, their professional background, and right composition of knowledge, skills, abilities and diversity, and/or networking community. The VBA relies on their areas of expertise or networks to fill in the gaps or in aspects where the VBA may be limited and in need.
Chairman & CEO
Robert Shestack, CVBS, CFF
Co-founded in 2008, Robert Shestack is the Chairman & CEO and Hall of Fame member of the Voluntary Benefits Association (“VBA”), the first national non-profit [501(c)(3)] trade association focused on Voluntary Benefits for employer and affinity groups. The VBA’s goal is to promote the education, administration, implementation, product development, compliance, technology, and enrollment of Voluntary Benefits in the workplace. In addition, Mr. Shestack is the Chief Strategy of Paylogix, the nation’s largest Licensed, Insured and Bonded Third Party Administrator (“TPA”) focusing on Voluntary Benefits. Paylogix represents over 25 Fortune 1000 companies as manages close to $1 billion in annual voluntary benefit premiums.
Mr. Shestack was the former EVP and National Practice Leader for The AmWINS Group, the largest insurance wholesaler in the United States, placing over $13 billion in annual premium. In his role, he was responsible for all carrier relations, business strategies, enrollment & implementation activity, and communications, as well as the execution of the 5-year strategic business plan. Prior to joining AmWINS, Mr. Shestack was Managing Director and National Sales Leader of Employer Benefits at Marsh & McLennan (Marsh US Consumer). Mr. Shestack’s experience working within the voluntary benefits industry includes product development, insurer relations, innovation, communication & enrollment strategies.
Mr. Shestack has been responsible for managing and developing high level sales talent and establishing client and partner relationships in the employer benefits industry. A 34+ year industry veteran, Mr. Shestack holds a Workplace Benefits Consultant (“WBC”) certification, a Certified Voluntary Benefits Specialist (“CVBS”) designation and is a Certified Financial Fiduciary (“CFF”) as well as a bachelor’s degree in Actuarial Science & Risk Management from Temple University’s renown Fox School of Business, the nations top Actuarial Science & Risk Management program. Also, he is certified in Health & Welfare Cafeteria Plan Fundamentals through the American Academy of Actuaries. He is a Risk Management Capstone Course student advisor at Temple University’s Fox School of Business, where he and his wife also fund a $10,000 scholarship program for Fox School of Business undergraduates.
In addition to his responsibilities at the VBA and Paylogix, Rob was also inducted into the Workplace Benefits Hall of Fame in July 2010, joining an elite group of voluntary benefit industry leaders. An accomplished author published in over 150 articles and white papers, as well as an accomplished speaker, he wrote a chapter on critical illness in the 2008 book “Workplace Marketing — A Promise to Deliver” and is working on his next 2 books.
Mr. Shestack was featured as the cover story for Benefits Selling magazine in 2007 and he received the inaugural Voluntary Benefits Adviser of the Year award in 2011. The award recognizes outstanding service to group benefit plan sponsors by brokers and advisers, as well as overall contributions to the profession. In April 2013, he was honored with the prestigious H. Wayne Snider Distinguished Alumni Award from Temple University’s Fox School of Business recognizing Rob as someone who has distinguished himself or herself for at least 20 years in the field of Insurance, Risk Management and Actuarial Science. Mr. Shestack is the only industry professional to be inducted into both Halls of Fame and receiving the Benefits Adviser of the Year award…the VB industry’s trifecta.
In 2017, Rob received the South Jersey community service volunteer of the year award recognizing his unselfish efforts and dedication in making his community a safe place to live and raise a family. Dedicated to his community, Rob is an 8-time (24 years) elected official (Fire Commissioner) in his township representing over 60 career personnel and an annual budget exceeding $12 million. Rob also served as the Vice Chairman of the NJ State Joint Insurance Fund as well as past President of the New Jersey State Association of Fire Districts representing 985 state-wide fire commissioners. His township was recently selected by Money Magazine for their top 50 best places to live in the United States listed as #16 for 2020. Rankings were based on an array of factors, including but not limited too: low crime rate, education, municipal services and public safety. Additional factor were applied simply to be considered by Money Magazine, which included (but not limited to): A minimum of 25,000 residents, multi-cultural sites, and places with diversity narrowing the “field” down to 1,890 towns to be consideration.
Jake Velie, CPT
18 year value-based healthcare veteran, 6X healthcare founder, author, consultant/advisor to payors and providers, CEO, Chairman, husband and father. I’ve served in the healthcare setting working with physician groups, health systems, universities, Carriers and TPA’s, large companies and even families.
I’ve served as Founder and CEO of several integrative medical clinics and led multiple other healthcare companies. My clinics practiced family medicine, physical medicine, rehabilitation, lifestyle education and behavioral health, as well as fitness and personal training. My teams and I worked with thousands of patients, physicians and practitioners to develop clinical systems that employed functional/personalized medicine concepts, resulting in outcomes successful beyond conventional treatments alone. Our clinics also served as an internship and experiential learning location for medical and pharmacy students.
I am currently the Co-Founder and Chairman of Rx-Precision, a Health IT company that has developed a Clinical Genomics Solution that, through AI and clinical process automation, identifies genomic risk in any healthcare population and facilitates the process of a genomic intervention from beginning to end.
I also serve as Clinical Advisory Board Chairman of National Integrative Health (NIH) where we assist in development of clinical improvement strategies for employers, health systems and carriers across the U.S. NIH also serves clinical companies by engineering their service or product to be delivered in the commercial setting, work with different data sets and analytics to drive outcomes and measure VOI/ROI. Today, NIH works with companies specializing in Cardiology, Genomics, Behavioral Health, Health IoT, Medication Therapy Management and Diabetes Management.
I have served as an expert guest in over 300 radio markets across the country in multiple syndicated radio segments and authored the lifestyle curriculum, ‘Healthy for Life University’, a 12-week guide to taking back control of your health and healing your body.
Specialties: Consulting with clinical services and product companies, corporate consulting in population health, scientific research around Precision Medicine, data analytics/AI/Health IT.
Lee Stokes is an insurance professional with over 30 years of business experience serving all 50 states. His focus for the last 20 years has been the provision of Health, Life and Accident Insurance as well as Property and Casualty for employer groups of all sizes. Cost containment, employee communication and engagement strategies as well as local market knowledge are what differentiates him from traditional insurance brokers. Lee currently manages and has ownership in 4 separate insurance entities. Compliance Services Agency, Fidelity Benefits and Insurance Services, Innovative Enrollment Solutions and the Contractor’s Choice Voluntary Benefits Trust. While having some crossover, these entities serve separate market channels to include wholesale and retail employer group business as well as government contractors working under the Service Contract and Davis Bacon Acts. When not working, Lee is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys boating, motorcycle riding, hunting and fishing as well as live music and time spent with friends and family.
Donald A. Rowe, RHU
Donald A. Rowe R.H.U. is a nationally recognized senior level employee benefits expert specializing in Executive Benefits, Special Risk, and Voluntary Benefits for regional as well as multi-national corporations. With more than 20 years in employee benefits, he is widely considered a forerunner in the industry, having contributed to some of the most highly regarded employee benefit carriers in the business – The Travelers, CIGNA and UNUM.
Known for his ability to positively affect a company’s bottom line and overall reputation and performance, Donald A. Rowe consistently delivers advanced and proven strategies for increasing market share, profitability and product portfolio. This highly reputable sales and management executive and consultant has an exceptional record of accomplishment and leadership, making him a dynamic contributor to any team and organization seeking strategic advantage in this competitive environment.
Josh Verne, Chief Commercial Officer
Driven by an unwavering dedication to service and commercial growth, entrepreneur and Fintech executive Josh Verne brings over 20 years of scaling, and selling multi-channel business’s to his current venture, Juice Financial.
From his early obsession with business in high school, Josh turned Home Line Furniture, his family-owned furniture wholesale company, into the 4th largest furniture company in the United States with 5 global operations. After exiting the business in 2010, Josh’s innovative leadership and vision created one of the first companies to allow employees to purchase multiple categories of high-ticket durable goods via their paychecks, all with no interest or fees, over a 12-month period of time. With nine figures in revenue, workpays.me was sold in 2014 to the largest alternative lender in the UK.
Josh’s next venture was launching FlockU, a college online community with 4M+ active students sharing open and unfiltered content nationwide. FlockU’s unique format drew commercial interest and success by gaining partnerships with T-Mobile, Amazon, Colgate-Palmolive, Uber, plus many more. In 2018, Josh sold FlockU to one of the largest brand marketing firms in the United States.
Chief Legal Counsel
Joel Horowitz, Esq.
Public, private, tax-exempt, and nonprofit entities rely on Joel Horowitz’s decades of experience and sound business judgment to find creative solutions for their executive compensation, employee benefits, nonprofit corporation, and tax exemption issues.
Joel Horowitz has delivered excellent results for employers and executives for more than 30 years. He advises on equity-based compensation, incentive pay, and employment, retention, and severance agreements. He has extensive experience in the design and operation of compensation and benefit arrangements. Joel also brings a unique combination of legal and business acumen to help tax-exempt and nonprofit organizations in their state and federal tax exemption matters as well as fundraising compliance and nonprofit corporation issues.
With a deep understanding of ERISA issues, Joel works alongside venture capital funds, investment advisers, and mutual funds on fiduciary responsibility, prohibited transactions, and regulatory compliance for tax-qualified plans and IRAs as well as plan-asset issues and transactions that may be restricted under ERISA. He assists clients with equity-based compensation and incentive pay and provides comprehensive guidance on tax-qualified plans, deferred compensation arrangements, and noncash benefits.
Joel assists public and private companies with the full spectrum of employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) transactions. He has acted as trustee’s counsel, lender’s counsel, and special corporate counsel in employee stock ownership plan transactions ranging up to $800 million. He also brings extensive experience in navigating the reforms and guidance issued by government agencies and how they impact employers’ business operations. He has represented clients before the IRS, US Department of Labor, and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, and secured the first-ever IRS approval of health plan debit cards.
Joel frequently speaks on trending topics in the employee compensation and benefits legal landscape, including the latest in health plan design, workplace benefits, and executive compensation plans. He has also served as an adjunct professor in the Villanova University School of Law Graduate Tax Program for more than 35 years.
Warren began his insurance career in 1977 and has always been a leader in the insurance profession. Warren is Past President of the National Association of Professional Enrollment Specialists; served on the Louisiana Health Care Commission; Board Member for Benefit Marketing Association, Advisory Board for Benefit Selling; Board Member of New Orleans Health Underwriters; serves on Business College Committee for Loyola University; past Vice-Chairman Lakeside Hospital; and partner of an internationally based reinsurance company that sells medical malpractice insurance to Louisiana physicians. Benoit & Associates agency has produced premium in excess of $300 million, contracted over 200 agents and currently services 2,500 business groups in 44 states.
- Winner of Walt Podgurski Lifetime Achievement Award from the Workplace Benefits Association
- Broker of the year with Benefit Selling / Benefit PRO
- Hall of Fame award winner from the Volunteer Benefits Association
- Benefit Marketing Association Hall of Fame inductee
- Voluntary Benefits Association Hall of Fame inductee
Neil J. Model
Neil founded Model Consulting, Inc. in 1990 after serving nearly 15 years as vice president and a shareholder for the Mid America Group of Pennsylvania and the Bear Stearns Benefit Planning Group. In early 2015 Model Consulting Inc. was acquired by CBIZ where he now serves as Senior Vice President.
As Senior Vice President, Neil’s continued participation in daily business activities is expected to foster continued long-term relationships and create multiple level business opportunities.
As President of Model Consulting, his skillful leadership was critical to Model’s rapid development. Under his guidance, Model won numerous awards from the Philadelphia Business Journal and the Better Business Bureau of Southeastern Pennsylvania.
Throughout his more than four decades in the healthcare field, Neil has relied on his expertise, industry insight, and vast network resources to deliver creative, competitive, and customized employee benefits plans for small and large businesses. By doing so, he has helped clients serve the growing and changing needs of their employees.
The success of his companies combines with Neil’s extensive experience to make him a qualified spokesman for industry groups. He has participated on national expert panels, often focusing on the current healthcare climate and its impact on businesses. He’s known as a valued source of information about topics such as the benefits industry, the necessity of having a credible partnership between employer and pharmaceutical benefit management, and the importance of using communication and service to build successful business relationships.
Neil also frequently speaks about consumer-driven health care options for companies of all sizes, especially in conjunction with Health Risk Management and Pharmacy Benefit Management. Clients have found that his expertise has resulted in significant Healthcare premium reductions.
Jim has been an entrepreneur for over thirty-five (35) years consulting with PEOs, associations, public and private companies, non-profits, and healthcare organizations.
In 2004 Jim and his partners started employee benefits and human resources consulting firm, Egan, Amato & O’Connor (EAO Benefits), which was acquired by CBIZ, Inc. in 2009 in order to open the New Jersey/New York market. While having various roles over the years with CBIZ, Jim was CEO of the Employee Services Organization from 2014 to 2017, overseeing one of the largest employee benefits firms in the country.
In 2017 Jim stepped away from executive management but remained at CBIZ to return to his main passion-consulting with his clients. In addition to working directly with employers of all sizes, as National Practice Leader of the CBIZ PEO & Association Consulting Practice, Jim leads a team in the design, implementation and management of high impact employee benefits programs for the PEOs’ employer clients and Associations’ members. In this capacity Jim has developed numerous innovative low cost, high programs designed specifically for the often underserved lower wage “blue collar” employee population.
Prior to forming EAO Benefits in 2004 Jim was Executive Vice President of Bank of America’s employee benefits and commercial insurance division. In this role Jim oversaw the client consulting activities nationally across all divisions of the company.
Previously Jim was President of Meeker Sharkey Benefits, an employee benefits brokerage/consulting firm focused on non-profit, healthcare, public entity and middle market employers.
In addition to his work at CBIZ, Jim is an active member of many non-profit and for profit boards, including, but not limited to; Health Innovation Partners, LLC (current); Partners In Care, Inc. (current); Centivo, Inc. Advisory Board (current); TouchCare, Inc. Advisory Board (current). The Voluntary Benefits Association (current); Bridgeway Rehabilitation Services (current); Covenant House International (past); New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce (past).
A graduate of Fairfield University (Class of ’85), Jim lives in Little Silver New Jersey, is happily married and the proud father of one son and three step-daughters, while also finding the time to successfully complete two Ironman competitions in Lake Placid, New York, and numerous other triathlons.
Bio coming soon!
Rae Egleston, CVBS
RAE joined Gallagher Benefit Services, Inc. in January 2016. He has over 25 years of voluntary benefit experience including national roles with insurance carriers and consulting firms. Those roles have included leading Gallagher’s National Voluntary Benefit Sales, Voluntary Benefit Consulting & Worksite Communications’ branch, National Sales for Trustmark Voluntary Benefit Solutions, and consultant for Accenture. He has also contributed to various industry publications including Employee Benefit News, Employee Benefit Adviser, and other industry newsletters. RAE is an active member of multiple advisory boards including Concordia University and Voluntary Benefits Association.
RAE graduated with his BA from DePaul University and MBA from Concordia University. He also holds professional designations in computer systems (CCP) from DePaul and industry designations (CVBS) from the Voluntary Benefits Association and (VBS) from National Underwriter.
Krystie Dascoli, CVBS
As the Sr. Director of Voluntary Benefits for Pacific Resources, Krystie is responsible for product initiatives, sales and account management support. She serves as the lead Voluntary Benefits subject matter expert for Pacific Resources and the parent company of Brown & Brown, where she advises team members and large national employer clients on voluntary benefits products, trends and technologies. She also leads the design and development of all value-added Voluntary Benefits plans for clients. Krystie has more than 17+ years of experience in the insurance space and a strong technology background in benefits administration. Prior to joining Pacific Resources, Krystie worked for several employee benefits advisory firms including, Willis Towers Watson and Marsh McLennan Corporation. Krystie serves on the Executive Board, as the Vice President for the Voluntary Benefits Association and the Innovation Hub for Brown & Brown Insurance. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and another in Human Resources from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.
1st Vice President
Dan is Co-Founder and President/CEO of SYNOLO LLC. His early years in the industry were spent as a leading medical broker representative for companies like US Healthcare, Allmerica Financial, Cigna and New York Life. For the last 20 years, Dan has been a leader, innovator and top producer in the supplemental product & communication industry. Dan specializes in developing unique and customized solutions in the medical and supplemental product market for clients of all sizes. He has been recognized as an industry leader in this space and has been asked to speak as numerous conferences as well as appear in industry articles revolving around unique client solutions.
SYNOLO LLC, Co-Founder & President/CEO, March 2019 to Present
Advanced Voluntary Concepts, Inc., Co-Founder & President, December 2008 – March 2019
Fage Benefit Solutions, Vice President/Partner, April 2004 – December 2008
Allstate Workplace Division, Regional Sales Director of New York, January 2002 – March 2004
University of Rhode Island, B.A., major in Political Science, May 1993
Employee Benefit News Magazine: Guardian Life Insurance Advertorial – Voluntary Benefits Front & Center
Benefits Selling Magazine: Voluntary Special Report
Benefits Selling Magazine: Cover and Feature Story
- Featured Speaker Northeast Regional Training for Colonial Life
Topic: “Utilization of GAP Products within Self-Funded Medical Environment” New York NY
- Expert Panelist at Workplace Renaissance Association VB Conference.
Topic: Leveraging Voluntary Programs & Communication to grow broker agency revenue. Atlantic City NJ
- Featured Speaker at Columbia Association of Health Underwriters Meeting
Topic: “Building Blocks of Voluntary Sales in Today’s Market” Broker – Today & Tomorrow” Columbia SC
- Featured Speaker in King of Prussia PA for Allstate Workplace Division – East Coast Sales
Topic: “ How to Leverage Value Added Services to Increase VB Products Sales”
- Featured Speaker: Colonial Life Insurance Company Southeast Regional (6 States) Kickoff Sales Meetings:
Topic: “Utilization of Health-Related Voluntary Products to enhance Broker Relationships & Production. Charleston SC
- Featured Speaker at New York Non-Profit Employee Benefit Summit.
Topic: The Growing role of Voluntary Benefits in Today’s Employer Benefit Platform. Nyack NY
- Featured Speaker – Workplace Renaissance VB Forum.
Topic: “The A, B, C’s of Successful Voluntary Product Placement & Enrollment Strategies” Atlantic City NJ
National Advisory Board Member – WBA and Source Media. Years of Service: 2011 – Present
2nd Vice President
Dennis J. Connor III, CVBS
Dennis Connor has a 25-year background in both Human Resources and Employee Benefits. Dennis currently serves as Vice President and practice leader for voluntary benefits (VB) at Tompkins Insurance Agencies. Since taking over the role in 2014, voluntary benefits has been the fastest-growing segment of Tompkins’ Insurance business. Dennis views voluntary benefits as essential benefits and positions VB as a critical cost containment strategy for his clients as well as a financial safety net for their employees. Although the electronic distribution of benefits has helped to increase participation in VB, Dennis is a firm believer that employee education coupled with employer support is the secret ingredient to a robust VB program.
Prior to joining Tompkins Insurance, Dennis was the Principal and Founder of Breakthrough Benefits, a full-service worksite marketing company. In this role, Dennis served as a brokers’ broker, partnering with benefits agencies to provide targeted marketing, enrollment resources, and service expertise for his client’s VB initiatives. Dennis’ company was also selected as a preferred enrollment vendor for three national worksite companies. Dennis ran Breakthrough Benefits for 13 years in the Philadelphia marketplace, before selling the company to Tompkins Insurance Agencies.
Dennis attended Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA, where he majored in Political Science and was a four-year starter on a 3-time Conference champion football team. Today, he serves on the Dickinson Football Alumni Leadership Council raising money for the program and providing network, mentorship, and internship opportunities for current players. Dennis and his wife Nicole live in North Wales, PA, and are parents to 11-year-old boy/girl twins and gladly spend most of their time coaching and chauffeuring their kids to and from school, practices, and games.
Advisory Board Member
A native of northern California, Sal Campanile currently serves as the Vice President of Employee Benefits Sales & Operations for 5Star Life Insurance Company, an associated company of the Armed Forces Benefit Association (“AFBA”). Sal assumed this role in May of 2015. As head of the worksite vertical inside the AFBA enterprise he contributes to product development, P&L goals, and associated strategic tasks in addition to having direct oversight over sales and operations.
Sal came to AFBA and 5Star Life with 20+ years of experience driving strategic growth, product development, and implementation for industry leading insurance carriers and a respected national benefit communication and enrollment firm. His previous experience includes five years as Mid-Atlantic Region sales executive for Humana, Inc., where he led the development of the Mid-Atlantic Region and increased sales in both small and large group spaces, while raising brand awareness within the broker and client community. Prior, he spent 10 years at Employee Security Plans, Inc. as chief operating officer/vice president, marketing and technology, and 10 years with ReliaStar / ING.
He lives in Arlington, Virginia with his wife of 31 years, Diane.
Advisory Board Member
Paul J. Ziats, CLU, CHFC, LLIF
Paul has been involved in the Group and Worksite Industry for 40+ years. He has experience in Product and Market development and Policy Administration for this segment of the Insurance Industry. Presently he is Director of Business Development for Paylogix, LLC where he manages the External Staff for Paylogix, including the Relationship management team, the Practice Leaders and Business Development Staff. This team works with Product Provider Partners to expand revenue, maintain relationships and streamline processes for Group and Worksite Markets. Prior experience includes working as a Subject Matter Expert for Dell Insurance Services, and most notably worked on the development of the Massachusetts Connector State Public Exchange. Prior to that he was the CMO for 3 separate Life Insurance Companies, in the Zurich Financial Services Group, which sold products in the Group and Worksite market.
Advisory Board Member
AVP, Worksite Distribution Channel Leader – MMFA MassMutual@Work
Alvin Heggie is AVP, Worksite Distribution Channel Leader, MassMutual@Work. In this role, Alvin is responsible for setting MassMutual’s Worksite strategy for the 65 firms and over 8,000 MassMutual Financial Advisors in MassMutual’s financial advisor system.
He joined MassMutual in 2016 and has over 20 years of experience in the worksite industry. Throughout Alvin’s career he has served as Head of Product and Head of Underwriting and served as the Practice Leader for sales and marketing functions. Alvin serves as a member of MPloyer Advisor’s Board.
Alvin holds a B.S. in risk management and insurance from the University of South Carolina, having been stationed in Germany during his eight-year military career with the United States Army. He is an active member and past President of Voluntary Employee Benefits Board (VEEB), serves on the advisory board for the Workplace Benefits Association, and speaks at numerous industry conferences about worksite benefits.
Advisory Board Member
Trevor J. Garbers, CVBS
Trevor J. Garbers is HUB International’s Senior Vice President, Practice Leader – Voluntary Benefits. With 13 years of experience in employee benefits, Trevor oversees strategic planning , regional and national carrier partnerships and resource development for voluntary benefits at HUB International. In his role, he brings a strong national account holistic approach with regards to total health care cost, plan development and execution. In addition to his capacity at HUB, he serves on the national Voluntary Benefit Association board in addition to, the EBN National Board of Advisors.
Prior to HUB International, he held the position of Vice President of National Accounts with Allstate Benefits where he worked with national and jumbo accounts throughout the United States. Prior to Allstate Benefits, he held marketing and sales positions with Colorado Bankers Life and Ameritas.
Trevor earned an MSE degree from Wayne State. He also holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in Business Administration from Dakota State University in addition to, an Associates of Arts Degree in Communication s from Waldorf College.
Advisory Board Member
Ed is the VP of strategic partnerships for the employee benefit division of Identity guard, an Aura Company. Ed is focused on the growth of the Employee Benefits business of Aura by managing key national account relationships. He has more than 37 years of experience in the Insurance and employee benefit business with a focus on the voluntary employee benefit / worksite arena for 28 of those 37 years. Ed is an industry expert in the worksite / voluntary employee benefit business.
Ed previously served as the National Sales Director of LifeLock’s employee benefit channel and helped develop worksite sales practices as their sales leader with companies like MetLife Resources and Citistreet. Ed has helped to develop many sales professionals to achieve their professional goals.
Ed has a proven track record of success helping sales organizations to sufficient growth through his business relationships and applying his knowledge of the sales process.
Ed lives in Brick, New Jersey, a jersey shore community with his wife Kathy and their youngest son, Colin.
Advisory Board Member
Thomas J. Farmer, CVBS
Tom Farmer is a principal with Mercer Voluntary Benefits, and is a seasoned sales professional. He is the voluntary benefits practice leader for the Western market responsible for developing solutions for employers in the mid-market and large case employer segments. Additionally, Mr. Farmer serves as a regional Mercer Voluntary Benefits’ representative to align Marsh & McLennan sister companies for cross-sell opportunities and other strategic solutions.
Mr. Farmer has extensive experience working with Fortune 1000 companies and serves as a mentor for new sales professionals.
Mr. Farmer has extensive expertise in voluntary benefits, and prior to joining Marsh & McLennan Companies in 2003, he held positions of increasing business development responsibility for companies such as Zurich Insurance Group and RewardsPlus of America. He began his career in personal lines insurance underwriting, then transitioned into marketing, and then to sales positions. From this “ground-up” experience, Mr. Farmer has a solid understanding of the insurance business and offers clients strength in his consultative approach to providing solutions.
He is a regular speaker at national benefits conferences, a contributing writer for multiple benefit publications, and represents Mercer Voluntary Benefits on numerous carrier and vendor advisory panels.
EDUCATION AND DESIGNATIONS
- Bachelor’s degree, business administration-marketing and sociology, Fresno State University, Fresno, California
- Property/Casualty, Life, and Disability licenses, resident (California), 30 non-resident licenses in other states
- Advisory board member of the Legislative Council for the National Association of Health Underwriters
- Certified Voluntary Benefits Specialist (CVBS)
- Board member of the Voluntary Benefits Association (VBA)
- VBA 2017 Hall of Fame inductee
Advisory Board Member
Megan Chiarello is a versatile marketing leader who works with growing organizations to shape brand identify and craft profitable go-to-market strategies. Prior to joining Bottom Line Solutions, Megan held marketing leadership positions in benefits technology. She then branched out on her own as a marketing consultant for NextGen Benefit Firms and industry start-ups, including SHRM Broker Finder and Benezon.
Megan’s vast experience extends across sales and marketing roles in the employer healthcare industry. With expertise in product launches, campaign development, event management and content marketing, Megan develops integrated strategies for demand generation. During her tenure in the benefits technology space, Megan was a key member of the senior leadership team that poised the company for a highly successful acquisition in 2016.
As the VP of Marketing at Bottom Line, Megan sits on the executive team to lead the overall marketing strategy, including day-to-day operations, member engagement, social takeover, customer acquisition and event programming & communications.
Megan graduated from the University of North Florida with her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a double minor in Communications and English. She is a past National Vanguard Council Chair for the National Association of Health Underwriters and an industry cheerleader who gets her inspiration from the bottom of a Starbucks cup.
Advisory Board Member
Marlon Woods, CPC
Marlin Woods, CPC is Executive Chairman of BenefitsPLUS, an advisory board of professional healthcare & benefits decision-makers assembled to discover health & welfare benefits innovations, products, and services for procurement opportunities. Mr. Woods is the author of the book “Courting the Employ(H)er: A Business-To-Business Romance”. His book debuted as a #1 Best Seller in the Insurance class of Amazon in 2015. Mr. Woods has over 25 years of sales leadership experience and is a national public speaker on sales behavior and motivational messaging. Mr. Woods occupies seats on several local and national boards, including the Board of Directors of the American Heart Association / American Stroke Association, and is Chair of the Board’s Executive Leadership Committee. He is President of the Advisory Board of the National Workplace Benefits Association. Appointed Commissioner of the Allegheny County Human Relations Commission. Also serves on the board of Governors of the Rivers Club, a private athletic and executive club in Pittsburgh, and recently has been added to the new Allegheny Health Network Cancer Institute Advisory Board and the Imani Christian Academy Board of Directors. Mr. Woods has a driving burden for African American mentorship and is Founder of the “Empower Me” Summit, an annual speaker series of African Americans leaders of the Pittsburgh region to share a platform for divided silos to collaborate, educate, and inspire an expansion of community support.
Advisory Board Member
Vince Cicatiello is a Founder and Executive VP of Sales at AdvanBen, with responsibility for all sales and national carrier and broker distribution strategies. Prior to joining AdvanBen, Vince was a co-founder and partner of the largest worksite enrollment firm in the United States, Custom Benefit Programs. Founded in 1990, CBP joined the USI family in 1998 and was later renamed UNIVERS. With over 25 years in the worksite enrollment industry, Vince is equally dedicated to crafting enrollment solutions for groups of all sizes and concentrated on the “large case” market and played a key role in group sales ranging from 5,000 to 125,000 employees.
Advisory Board Member
Don has over 30 years of diverse experience across strategy, finance, product development, distribution, marketing, sales and operations focusing on Affinity-based programs. Don has managed or partnered across the many functional areas of the insurance industry and is experienced in working for, and with, third party administrators,
carriers, brokerages and other servicing organizations.
Currently Don is an Executive Consultant focusing on the Insurance industry for Coherent. Coherent is a start-up organization that originated in Asia and opened their US office in early 2021. Don is engaged in strategic customer acquisition; go to market strategies and developing organizational best practices.
In addition to Coherent, Don is the Managing Director of Biggin Solutions where he works with organizations within the Affinity and Employer Benefits marketplaces.
Prior to Coherent, Don was a Vice President with Paychex. Don led both the Insurance and 401(K) business organizations for Paychex. These organizations include both sales and operational functions. The Insurance unit worked with over 27,000 clients with $250M plus revenue and over $3B of carrier premiums. The 401(K) unit worked with over 80,000 clients with $250M plus revenue and manages over $300B of invested assets.
Don has founded, co-founded or funded the following organizations:
- Advice2Pay – Co-Founder – Insurtech start-up addressing data interoperability and carrier solutions for positive client experiences with payments for Self-Administered Employee benefit products. Acquired by Transamerica in November 2020.
- Accord – Co-Founder – Insurtech start-up addressing Affordable Care Act employer tracking and reporting requirements to the IRS for health programs.
- Zevo – Minority Owner – Insurtech start-up addressing Employee benefits administration.
- Biggin Solutions – Founder – Consulting and Brokerage firm focusing on niche Affinity based programs.
- Triangle Solutions – Co-Founder – Consulting and Brokerage firm focusing on niche Affinity based programs.
In the development and scaling of these organizations Don has led many key activities including strategic planning, partnership/distribution development, sales, client management, program delivery and renewals.
Prior to these opportunities, Don served as Managing Director and President of Employee Benefits for Marsh US Consumer, a division of Marsh & McLennan Companies. In this role his responsibilities included all aspects of the business including P&L, growth initiatives for both organic and inorganic efforts, Sales, Account Management, Product Development, Strategic Planning and Partnering for $1.5 + billion in premium placements with his business. In this role Don lead the largest broker produced Auto & Home book of business for Fortune 1000 Employers in the United States.
Prior to this role, Don was the Chief Strategy Officer for Global Consumer which included the Strategic planning, Program and Project Execution and Management, and overall business alignment across the globe. Don was responsible for the growth, development and delivery across the six business verticals; Employers, Associations, Franchise, High Net Worth, Brands and Business Process Outsourcing. In the facilitation of this role, Don built the Lean Sigma Organization and was responsible for over 400 initiatives annually across US Consumer’s new products, services and revenues that supported in excess of $5.5 billion in premium placement annually. These efforts were managed and delivered through the creation of a streamlined client acquisition model and implementation toolset that was introduced and utilized across the globe. In addition to these roles with Marsh, Don was a Director of the Marsh Insurance and Investment Corporation (MIIC) Board.
Don is very active in the community and working for those in need. In 2009 while at Marsh Don created the Marsh Annual Charity Golf Event, through 2020 the event has raised in excess of $1,500,000 for local community charities. Don is co-founder of the Des Moines based 100 Men on a Mission which has created and awarded over $500,000 to local charities in the Des Moines Iowa metro. Additionally, along with his wife Dr. Jodi Cahalan, Don established the Cahalan Scholarship Fund with Des Moines University and the College of Health Sciences and the Cahalan Scholarship Fund with North Iowa Area Community College to assist with financial aid for students from north Iowa.
Don is a past chairman of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa and START Heart Walk in Des Moines, as well as, a past member of the Development Committee for the Des Moines University Glanton Minority Scholarship Foundation and Sacred Heart School Board in West Des Moines, Iowa.
Don is a graduate from the University of Northern Iowa with his BA in Management, Finance and Administrative Management.
Advisory Board Member
Bio coming soon!
Advisory Board Member
Lorrinda is responsible for leading Lockton’s voluntary benefits specialty practice for the Pacific. She is accountable for all aspects of the voluntary benefits delivery ecosystem and provides strategic, holistic consulting advice. She and her team partner with Lockton client teams and clients to develop and implement best-in-class voluntary benefit solutions and manage provider partnerships and accountability.
With her experience working in the benefits administration, enrollment, and communication space, Lorrinda has the ability to circumvent issues during a voluntary benefits installation to ensure unparalleled service.
Lorrinda specializes in complex voluntary benefits projects. In addition to consulting, Lorrinda worked for insurance companies and benefits administration firms.
Advisory Board Member
Mr. Stachowiak has almost two decades’ worth of experience in sales and leadership from across the country. He joined Colonial Life in August 2020 as Vice President of Sales for the Southwest region and became Senior Vice President of Sales in December 2021. His previous experience includes leading broker sales teams and spearheading national field and broker strategies across the West coast and in the states of California, Washington, and Oregon. Additionally, he spent several years managing the Colorado and Illinois territories as a Market Director.
Stachowiak is a graduate of The School of Business at Portland State University and holds a degree in business administration and human resource management. He and his wife Carolyn life in Columbia, SC with their three daughters Claire (7), Emma (5) and Colette (2).
SVP of Marketing
Lisa Ehli, MBA
Experienced Marketing Director with a demonstrated history of working in insurance / financial services. Expertise includes building the vision, the talent, and the strategy of digital first marketing in collaboration with cross functional, virtual teams. Skilled in Branding, Marketing Strategy, Social Media, Training, and Public Speaking. Strong marketing professional with an MBA in organizational leadership.
- Content Management Systems (CMS) including WordPress, Craft, Webflow, and Wix.
- Document Management Systems (DMS) including Adobe Document Cloud, Microsoft SharePoint, Simple Booklet, and Bynder
- Project Management Tools including Robohead, VersionOne, Workfront, Trello, and working with Agile Teams.
- Adobe suite including, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Marketo, and Adobe Document Cloud.
- Google suite including Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Google tag Manager, Paid Search, and Google Data Studio.
- Marketing Automation including HubSpot, Salesforce Pareto, Adobe Marketo, and Mailchimp.
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) including, Salesforce, HubSpot, and LinkedIn.
- Experienced in Account-based Marketing (ABM) B2B customer journeys, complex sales cycles, pre-sales support materials, and post-sales customer success support materials.
- Experienced in Technical SEO including, Google Search, SEO Frog, SiteImprove, and Yoast and Traditional SEO including content creation, library curation, blogging, company newsrooms, official press releases (PR)
- Experienced in Marketing Campaign Management, Marketing Campaign Tactics and Attribution.
Senior Producer of Audio/Video
Marlee Rose Snyder is a young, but experienced professional in the video production world. She kicked off her career working for Comcast Newsmakers, and early on received film festival awards for best overall films two years in a row, as well as a Best Editor award in 2017. She quickly picked up work for non-profits and realtors in her area thanks to these early and promising successes.
These wins eventually jumpstarted her corporate video services, which she provides to companies in the form of professional business profile and marketing videos. Her relationships have led her all over the world, too, taking her from her small hometown in Massachusetts to far-off countries like Singapore and Israel.
Today, she focuses on building her business and capturing the moments that highlight culture, people, and passion in the workplace, as well as the lives of the inspirational individuals with whom she collaborates.
Director of Design
Bio coming soon!