We have excellent speakers flying in from all over the country!
Steve Anderson | Nicole Broch | Linda Carlton-Huber | Halima Cegur | Amiri Curry
Shannon Fulton | Brett Gerger | Derek Hayden | Jennifer Jacobs | Lance Jones
Phil Lackman | Kevin Lesch | Evan Manning | Hannah Meisel | Eric Moberg
Gregory Nguyen | Dana Popish Severinghaus | Jeff Smith | Charles Symington
Alexis Cierra Vaughn | Amy Walter
Steve is the Co-Founder and CEO of Catalyit™, The Insurance Agency Technology Resource Company. Backed by 17 Big I state associations, Catalyit™ helps busy insurance agency owners discover, evaluate, select, and implement the technology they need to thrive.
Steve is a trusted authority on risk, technology, productivity, and invention and has over thirty-five years of experience in the insurance industry. He holds a master’s degree in Insurance Law. LinkedIn selected Steve to participate in their prestigious Influencer Program and has over 340,000 followers.
Steve is the author of the international bestselling book The Bezos Letters: 14 Principles to Grow Your Business Like Amazon. In this very readable and practical book, he takes a unique perspective on business growth by analyzing and demystifying how Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos has grown Amazon, arguably one of the most successful companies in the world.
He appeared in USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Investors Business Daily, Forbes, CEO Magazine, and FOX News Extra.
10/5/22, 2:00 PM
Nicole Broch spent over a decade as an Independent Insurance Agent and Manager of a successful partnership between a community financial institution and a local independent agency in Springfield, Illinois. She attended The Hartford School of Insurance and achieved her National Underwriter awarded Personal Lines Coverage Specialist (PLCS) designation in 2005. Broch went on to receive the National Alliance CISR designation in 2007 and CIC designation in 2009.
In addition to teaching National Alliance CISR modules, IIABA Errors & Omissions, Ethics, and customer service and professional development topics for IIAs, PIAs, and trade associations throughout the country, Broch is the Territory Sales Manager for The Hanover Group, supporting independent agents throughout Central and Southern Illinois. Originally from Florida, Broch has a Bachelors degree in English from Florida State University and a Masters degree in Public Administration from the University of South Florida.
10/4/22, 6:00 PM
Linda Carlton-Huber is the COO for Loman-Ray Insurance Group, LLC. She has worked in the insurance industry since 1984, initially joining CF&H Insurance in 1998, where she served as President, and has been with Loman-Ray Insurance since 2021 following a merger with CF&H.
Linda’s career began in banking. When she heard there was an opening at an insurance office, she applied thinking she would be a customer service representative, but the owner suggested sales instead. It turned out to be a serendipitous arrangement and her career took off.
Today, Linda prides herself and her organization on evaluating each situation, providing a broad range of premium insurance carriers, and offering personalized service to every client. Her dedication and talent won her organization “Business of the Year” in Sullivan, which is voted on by local business owners.
Linda takes inspiration from her mother, who taught her that she can do anything she puts her mind to. Her lesson proves true in everything from Linda’s career to playing the piano, sewing, and gardening. She is motivated to be as efficient and productive as possible in everything she does, so she can accomplish all her dreams – personal and professional.
There is no challenge that Linda cannot overcome. Her parents and three brothers instilled an unshakable tenacity in her that she applies to everything in her life, including her clients’ success and the smooth operation of Loman-Ray Insurance. She will stop at nothing to get the job done!
10/5/22, 2:00 PM
Halima Cegur is the Director of Human Resources at Worthy Insurance. She comes to Worthy with over 20 years of experience in leadership, training, and development. Halima is a strategic business partner who understands the importance and value of investing in people and culture. She focuses on employee relations – provides guidance, counsel, and mentorship for staff at all levels, assisting with professional development and their educational and academic goals. Halima has designed and implemented various training programs, employee engagement initiatives and has assisted in the agency focus on automation. Her expertise centers around DEI in the workspace, Team Development, Verbal and Written Communication as well as Performance Metrics for success.
She is a North Park University graduate, earning her degree in Organizational Leadership and Management and an active member of the SHRM organization. Married with two kids, Halima enjoys spending time with her friends and family and often visits her hometown of Duluth, MN.
10/5/22, 2:00 PM
Amiri Curry is Vice President of Client Services at Assurance who specializes in the senior living and not for profit industries. With over
20 years of experience, Amiri’s main responsibility is to listen intently to diagnose and asses his clients’ needs. Then he provides responsive, accurate and complete information on the best solutions. Amiri takes time to research all options available before providing a strategic solution for not only today, but the future.
Prior to Assurance, Amiri was the Director of Property & Casualty Operations at another multi-line insurance agency. He was responsible for the strategic oversight and direction of the Illinois segment of the Property & Casualty division.
10/5/22, 2:00 PM
Shannon joined StraightUp Solar in 2013 as a roof installer and system designer. She currently serves as the Vice President of Development, and directs StraightUp Solar's Central Illinois office in Bloomington. She also lives her passion for advancing the use of renewable energy by serving in leadership on the Board of the Illinois Solar Energy Association and as a Solar Ambassador in various countries in east Africa and Nepal for WeCare Solar, which is a non-profit organization focused on reducing infant and maternal mortality by equipping off-grid medical clinics in developing nation-states with solar power for lighting and emergency communication. She is also a Licensed Professional Geologist with many years of experience in environmental consulting in Illinois and holds degrees in renewable energy, geology, and geohydrology from Illinois State University, where she also took the court as a Redbird basketball player.
10/5/22, 7:00 PM
Brett Gerger is the Director of Education and Agency Resources for the IIA of IL. Previously, he served as the Chief Deputy Director of Product Lines and Licensing at the Illinois Department of Insurance and was responsible for management of Licensing and Continuing Education Units; Property & Casualty; Life & Annuity; Health; and Producer Regulatory. Prior to that Brett served as the Deputy Director for Property & Casualty at the Department which oversaw Producer Regulatory Unit; Licensing & Continuing Education; and Property & Casualty consumer and compliance units.
Gerger served on many insurance license test development panels throughout his career as a subject matter expert. Most recently, Gerger served as the State of Illinois Group Insurance Division Manager with the Illinois Department of Central Management Services. In that role, he had oversight and management for the planning and implementation of policy and operations of the State’s insurance programs, including property, liability and benefits.
Gerger started his 25+ year career at the Illinois Department of Insurance in the Producer Regulatory Division. Brett has his bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Springfield.
10/5/22, 6:00 PM
In September of 2021, Derek Hayden exploded onto the insurance influencer scene when he was announced as the winner of The Protégé, an insurance sales-based reality show. An insurance sales producer from small town America, Derek made waves by utilizing the tools and strategies he learned on the reality show to lead the competition in sales and ultimately take home the title of The Protégé.
As an insurance and risk management professional with 10 years of sales experience, Derek understands that insurance professionals often struggle to differentiate themselves in the marketplace. By expanding on the concepts he learned throughout The Protégé, Derek aims to solve this problem by giving agencies and producers a proven roadmap to a lucrative insurance sales career in 2022 and beyond. His focus on modern sales techniques will give new and seasoned agents a refreshing view on how to build their books of business and gain the success they desire.
10/5/22, 6:00 PM
Jennifer Jacobs, SHRM-CP, is the Director of Human Resources for the Independent Insurance Agents of Illinois (IIA of IL). As Director of HR, Jacobs serves as the leader of talent acquisition, onboarding, employee relations and performance management for the association. She also provides guidance and resources for agencies seeking assistance with human resources and management issues.
Jacobs also serves as the administrator for the association’s board of directors, ensuring processes such as volunteer recruitment and onboarding and all aspects of association governance run smoothly.
Her career with the Independent Insurance Agents of Illinois began in the Communications Department in 2001 and since that time she has held roles in public relations, editing and managing advertising for the association’s publications, assisting the Government Relations department, and most recently Human Resources.
10/5/22, 6:00 PM
Lance T. Jones is a trial attorney with HeplerBroom, LLC. He focuses his practice on litigation cases involving civil rights, employment & labor law, construction, environmental law, fraud, personal injury, and general tort liability lawsuits. Since 1984, Jones has tried numerous employment discrimination, wrongful termination, retaliation and wage cases in the Illinois state and federal courts and the Illinois Human Rights Commission and Illinois Department of Labor.
10/5/22, 8:00 PM
Phillip Lackman serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Independent Insurance Agents of Illinois (IIA of IL) and has served as lobbyist for the IIA of IL, the Illinois Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA IL), Illinois State Association of Health Underwriters (ISAHU) and the Illinois Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (IAMIC).
In his role as CEO, he works with the Board of Directors to develop goals and initiatives in response to the developing needs of membership and guides the IIA of IL staff in implementation of those initiatives.
In 2011, Lackman was named Speaker of the Illinois Third House, the professional organization for registered lobbyists in Illinois, and served a one-year term. He was inducted into the Samuel K. Gove Illinois Legislative Intern Hall of Fame in 2016, which honors former legislative interns whose careers have exemplified distinguished public service.
Prior to joining the IIA of IL, Lackman held the position of Director of Legislative Affairs for the Illinois Life Insurance Council and served as Secretary of State Jim Edgar’s Deputy Director of Legislative Affairs. He began his career in Springfield as a Legislative Analyst with the Senate Republicans.
Lackman graduated from Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois with a B.A. in Political Science/Speech Communication and completed the Illinois Legislative Staff Internship Program.
He serves as an Ambassador for the Hope School in Springfield and on the Board of the Panther Creek Homeowners Association.
10/7/22, 2:00 AM
Kevin Lesch started in the industry at his father's agency. In 2013, he took over as President of the agency and then bought out both partners in 2015. Currently, Kevin is the COO of Arachas Group, a Keystone Partner.
10/5/22, 2:00 PM
As IIA of IL Government Relations Director, Evan Manning is responsible for all aspects of the association’s government relations program. IIA of IL also represents NAIFA-Illinois, Illinois State Association of Health Underwriters, and Illinois Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, collectively referred to as the Illinois Coalition of Insurance Brokers and Financial Advisors. The Coalition represents thousands of individuals and firms providing insurance and financial advice to Illinois consumers and businesses.
Manning has experience in the private sector and most recently was an Appropriations Budget Analyst on the Senate Republican Staff.
10/5/22, 6:00 PM
Hannah Meisel covers state government and politics for Springfield-based NPR Illinois along with 10 other public radio stations throughout the state. She's been on the statehouse beat since January of 2014 and holds two journalism degrees from the University of Illinois' Urbana-Champaign and Springfield campuses.
10/6/22, 2:00 PM
Eric Moberg, The Moberg Group's founder, and CEO, has an extensive insurance background that spans five decades. Eric's career has included management and executive positions with insurance companies, vendors providing services to the insurance industry, as a successful agency producer and owner, and currently as President/CEO of The Moberg Group, Inc. TMG is the largest provider of E&O Risk Management Services for Independent Agents and Brokers.
Eric is an approved E&O Auditor for SwissRe/Westport, Great American Custom, and Utica National Insurance Group.
10/5/22, 7:00 PM
Greg started his career as a systems engineer developing Airborne Doppler Radar Systems for fighter jets (e.g. "Top Gun"). He transitioned into electronic and semiconductor test systems, ultimately investing in semiconductor venture startups with two successful IPO exits. He is also an investor/co-founder in computer hardware, software, medical device, precious metals, fin-tech, cryptocurrency, private equity and capital markets. He has been an advocate of Bitcoin since 2013.
10/5/22, 6:00 PM
Dana Popish Severinghaus, Director of the Illinois Department of Insurance, has served since January 2021. She brings extensive legal, policy, government relations and insurance industry-related experience to her role heading a state regulatory agency. Popish Severinghaus was formerly Legislative and Regulatory Counsel at Allstate Insurance Company where she advised Allstate and its subsidiaries on legal, regulatory and legislative matters across the Midwest. Before that, she served as Senior Policy Advisor at the State of Illinois in Central Management Services where she oversaw the Bureau of Benefits. Prior to that, Popish Severinghaus was the Director of Government Relations for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois.
Popish Severinghaus is a Member of the Association of Corporate Counsel, Board Member of the Illinois Insurance Guaranty Fund, Secretary of the Illinois Insurance Association, Advisory Board Member and Co-Chair of Government Relations Advisory Council for the Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center, Women in Law Mentor at Chicago Kent College of Law and Auxiliary Board Member of ChildServ.
She also serves on National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) letter committees, including the “International Insurance Relations” and “Innovation, Cybersecurity, and Technology committees".
Popish Severinghaus earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies and Journalism & Mass Communications from the University of Iowa and Juris Doctor from Chicago Kent College of Law.
Dana Popish Severinghaus
10/6/22, 2:00 PM
Jeffrey S. Smith, JD, CIC, CAE serves as Chief Executive Officer for Ohio Insurance Agents Association (OIA) and IA Valuations. He is responsible for leading the organization’s strategic initiatives and day to day operations.
As CEO of IA Valuations, Smith has consulted and reviewed over 200 agency valuations for independent agents across the US. IA Valuations serves independent agencies as a trusted advisor and strategic business partner as they implement strategies to increase their agency value, grow their businesses and transition their agencies. Smith provides insights into the agency’s operations, risk factors and legal guidance on how to perpetuate and maximize value in a sale.
Smith graduated with honors from Kent State University and Capital University Law School with a concentration in government relations. He is a licensed P&C insurance agent, Certified Insurance Counselor Designee, Attorney and Certified Association Executive. Smith is an active member of the Ohio State Bar Association Insurance Committee, Ohio Society of Association Executives and Ohio Lobbying Association. He also served on the Village of Marble Cliff Council and as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Sequent Midwest Business Health Fund.
On a personal note, Smith is an avid runner and endurance athlete. He has completed a marathon in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and an Ironman triathlon. He lives in Powell with his wife and two children. He enjoys coaching youth sports and outdoor adventures.
10/5/22, 7:00 PM
Charles E. Symington, Jr. is Senior Vice President of External, Industry & Government Affairs with the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America, also known as the Big “I”, which is the largest property-casualty insurance trade association in the country. Symington has been with the Big “I” since 2004 and oversees federal and state government affairs, political affairs, grassroots, industry relations, and media affairs for the association. He has been regularly recognized by The Hill newspaper as one of the top lobbyists in Washington, D.C.
Symington manages the association’s Capitol Hill office and directs the day-to-day activities of the association’s legislative, political, communications and company relations staff. He also serves on the Big “I” Management Operating Committee which advises the President & CEO on general oversight and administration of the association.
Previously, Symington served as a Senior Counsel with the United States House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services from 2000 to 2003 where he focused on insurance issues. During that time he was actively involved in drafting the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002, the SMART Act to modernize state insurance regulation, and other pieces of legislation. Symington also worked as a Majority Counsel for the House Committee on Energy & Commerce where he concentrated on health care policy and oversight.
Prior to working on Capitol Hill, Symington was an attorney with the law firm of Matricardi & Moylan in Springfield, VA and previous to that was an associate attorney with the firm of Drew, Eckl & Farnham in Atlanta, GA where he specialized in insurance defense litigation.
Symington graduated from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA with a Bachelor’s Degree in History and graduated with a Juris Doctorate from Emory University, School of Law in Atlanta, GA. Mr. Symington also currently serves as the immediate past chairman of the National Down Syndrome Society and has served on the NDSS board since 2014. He and his wife Cathy reside in Alexandria, VA with their three children.
10/6/22, 2:00 PM
Alexis Cierra Vaughn joined Cowbell Cyber in 2021 as the Director of Agency Marketing, where she leads agency engagement efforts, such as building loyalty and marketing engagement programs, developing association relationships, agency training, and more. Alexis is also the Producer and Host of “The Cowbell Factors” Podcast, a show created for agents/broker and policyholders, to help bridge the gap between the cybersecurity and cyber insurance industries, which gives listeners a better understanding of the cyber insurance marketplace, through weekly interviews with insurance and cybersecurity industry leaders. The podcast is the first of its kind to gain mainstream distribution on iHeartRadio and to reach the Top 20 Apple Podcast shows for Business News.
She is a 14-time award-winning 12 year insurance expert and has previous experience in sales, ranking as a Top 50 Producer as a full-service agent and successfully starting her own insurance agency of 26 single moms that she taught the business to, worth $3.1 million in premium. Alexis was recently named by Insurance Business America as one of 85 trailblazers, Elite Women of 2022 and she was recognized on the 2022 Top 100 Insurance Innovators list as an Influencer for the industry.
She also previously worked as a broker and business development leader for Mercer (A Marsh and McLennan Company), State Farm, and Country Financial, prior to transitioning into the InsurTech space with Cowbell Cyber. Alexis is currently licensed as a property and casualty producer, life and health producer, and a life and health Counselor in Georgia and Alabama. Alexis volunteers on boards in both the non-profit and professional community in various states, Alexis is also the APIW Atlanta Network Chair.
Alexis Cierra Vaughn
10/5/22, 6:00 PM
Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of the Cook Political Report with Amy Walter and Popular On-Air Political Analyst
For more than 20 years, Amy Walter has built a reputation as an accurate, objective, and insightful political analyst with unparalleled access to campaign insiders and decision-makers. Known as one of the best political journalists covering Washington, she is the publisher and editor-in-chief of the non-partisan Cook Political Report with Amy Walter, where she provides analysis of the issues, trends, and events that shape the political environment. A contributor to the PBS NewsHour, she provides weekly political analysis for the popular “Politics Monday” segment. She is also a regular Sunday panelist on NBC’s Meet the Press and CNN’s Inside Politics, and appears frequently on Special Report with Bret Baier on Fox News Channel. From 2017 until early 2021, Walter was the host of the weekly nationally syndicated program “Politics with Amy Walter” on The Takeaway from WNYC and PRX. She’s also the former political director of ABC News.
In her presentations, Walter expertly breaks down the electoral process, congressional culture, and the Washington political scene. Her astuteness, wit, and range of expertise creates an engaging, compelling presentation, and her reliable and accurate analysis has earned her numerous accolades. Exclusively represented by Leading Authorities speakers bureau, Amy Walter takes audiences on an insider’s tour of Washington through the eyes of the woman with her finger on the pulse of politics.
Political History. Before ABC, she was the editor-in-chief of The Hotline, Washington’s premier daily briefing on American politics. There she served as the political publication’s primary voice for three years, and she provided regular analysis of the national political environment in her weekly National Journal column, On the Trail. Walter has provided election night coverage and analysis since 1998 and was a member of CNN’s Emmy-award winning election night team in 2006.
Accolades and Education. Named one of the “Top 50 Journalists” by Washingtonian magazine, Walter was dubbed one of the most powerful people in politics in George magazine for her insights into the mechanics that make the political machine run. She also won the Washington Post’s Crystal Ball Award for her spot-on election predictions and has been frequently quoted as a congressional election expert in newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and the New York Times. Charlie Cook, editor and publisher of the Cook Political Report, said, “Today, her work is trusted and respected by Democrats and Republicans alike. She knows how to get beyond bluster and spin to unearth– and explain – what really matters in a political arena. And, she has a proven track record of success, which is essential for those whose jobs depend on accurate political forecasting.”
Walter graduated summa cum laude from Colby College. She was also honored by her alma mater her with an honorary PhD, and now serves on the Board of Advisors. She is also a member of the Board of Advisors for the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics, where she was an inaugural fellow.
10/6/22, 2:00 PM