PMG Speakers Bureau
Sharing best practices is at the core of GAMA’s mission of building leaders. Our Speakers Bureau offers the industry’s top-performing field leaders sharing their best strategies for building distribution.
Each PMG company is awarded annually one Speakers Bureau voucher. Take advantage of our extensive list of speakers, who will waive their usual fee when you book them through GAMA and use your voucher. Host organizations are responsible for the speakers’ reasonable travel expenses.
Because our speakers receive many invitations to speak at industry events, please submit speaking requests a minimum of 90 days before the event.
Meet the Speakers
New York Life Insurance Company
Saddle Brook, New Jersey
John T. Baier entered the insurance business while still attending Seton Hall University in 1970. In 1971 he graduated and continued to work as an agent out of the Monmouth, New Jersey office of New York Life. After serving military duty as an Artillery Officer in the Army, John re-entered his career in the insurance business and became an Assistant Manager.
Daralee S. Barbera
Daralee S. Barbera joined Waddell and Reed in 1982. A native to Los Angeles, she is Managing Principal, supervising forty seven financial advisors in eleven branch offices based out of Costa Mesa, CA.
She has received the GAMA Platinum and Gold International Management award for Financial Planning.
Paul Blanco’s advice for dealing with the inevitable changes life brings: “You can’t become complacent. If it’s not broken, break it!”
A graduate of St. Francis College, Paul entered the financial services industry with MetLife in 1991. He was encouraged by the unlimited income potential and the opportunity to lead people and run…
Luis G. Chiappy, CLU ChFC CFP LUTCF
Within AXA Advisors, the South Florida branch has continuously ranked as one of the top field branch offices, receiving the company’s prestigious President’s Trophy…
Susan M. Cooper, CLU ChFC CFP CDFA
The Penn Mutual Insurance Company
New York, NY
Susan M. Cooper, CFP, CDFA, ChFC, CLU joined The Equitable (now AXA Advisors, LLC) as an agent in Wellesley, MA after graduating from Keene State College in 1984 with a B.S. Degree in Education.
As an individual producer, Susan has been a Qualifying and Life Member of the Million Dollar Round Table since 1985.
Howard B. Cowan, CLU ChFC
MassMutual Financial Group
New York, NY
Highly regarded as one of the country’s leading experts on financial planning and insurance services, Howard B. Cowan is founder and president of Cowan Financial Group.
Mr. Cowan formed Cowan Financial Group in 1985 because he wanted to assemble an expert team of professionals…
The Executive Director of Development for the Hoopis Financial Group in Chicago, Joey began his career with Northwestern Mutual in 1995 in Nashville, Tennesee. During his career, he has been recognized as one of the Top College Unit Directors as well as one of the Top Field Directors in the nation. A certified master coach and certified trainer, Joey is considered the executive producer of Northwestern Mutual’s Enduring Relationships training program. He is the architect of the elite Hoopis University.
Edward G. Deutschlander, CLU CLF
Ed Deutschlander is co-president and chief operating officer at North Star Resource Group in Minneapolis and past president of GAMA International.
Ed’s career has progressed rapidly. He was the youngest to reach several milestones: managing partner nationally for the Minnesota Life’s Securian Advisor Network, the GAMA International Board of Directors, main platform speaker at LAMP, and at the time, the CLF designation.
Thomas A. Dobberstein, CLU ChFC FIC FICF
Currently Tom is the Managing Partner of the Indiana Region. Tom began his career in Ann Arbor, MI in 1993 with Aid Association for Lutherans, Thrivent’s predecessor organization as a Financial Representative and Field Manager. Prior to coming to Thrivent, Tom owned and managed his own bookstore business.
Howard J. Elias
Howard J. Elias joined The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian) as a Financial Representative in 1984. He quickly earned the respect of his peers both in the field and in the company’s home office, as he mastered skills in Advanced Underwriting and Agency Management.
Jeff has been in the financial services industry for 10 years. After starting his career as an intern while in college, he has held various roles in the field and in leadership. He is a partner with the Pacific Southwest Region of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, a region of over 140 advisors, where Jeff is responsible for training and launching new financial advisors.
Robert J. Fashano, M.S.F.S., CLU ChFC
Bob has been a General Agent with Guardian Life since 1979. The agency has been a consistent leader in the company. In addition, the agency is an eight-time GAMA Master Agency Award winner.
In the industry, Bob has served his company as a member of the Field Advisory Board, three times, and is past Chairman. He is past President of his local GAMA organization and past President of the Society of Financial Services Professionals. Currently he is Chair of the GAMA Foundation.
Michael J. Haglin, CLU ChFC CFP
As Divisional Vice President of the East & South Divisions with Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, Mike is responsible for leading eight Regional Financial Offices including the Northeast, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Mid-Atlantic, Ohio, Eastern Great Lakes, Texas and Pacific Southwest.
In addition to the field leadership responsibilities in his DVP role, Mike led the organization’s life insurance strategy in 2008 and will be responsible for driving Thrivent’s proprietary product strategy in 2009.
Donald E. Helms, CLU CLF
Don Helms has been a part of MassMutual since 2008 but has had a strong presence in the Insurance and Financial Services field since 1976. He has been an insurance agent, sales manager, managing partner and zone vice president of a territory with 35 agencies in 11 states. During Don’s 34 year career he has hired and groomed nine people to become agency heads. Two of which went on to become corporate vice presidents.
Lillian Holt, CLF FSS LILI LTCP
Lillian Holt is the Agency Field Executive for the Capital Agency Field Office in Lanham, Maryland where she works with State Farm agents in the Metropolitan Washington, DC Area. She also serves as Director of Multicultural Business Development for the Mid-Atlantic Zone. Lillian was formerly vice president – agency in Dupont, Washington.
Peter H. Hoopis, CLU ChFC CLF
Peter Hoopis started with the Northwestern Mutual as a college intern in June of 1996. As a college intern, Peter led the Central Region in 1998 and ranked #5 in the country that same year. Upon graduation from the University of Denver, earning a degree in Finance and Marketing, he moved to Chicago and began his full-time career in September of 1999. In his first four years in production, Peter ranked in the top 50 in his peer group. He is a multiple qualifier for the Million Dollar Round Table, as well and the National Sales Achievement and National Quality Award.
William D. “Bo” Keltner
Bo entered the financial services business in March 1973. He joined Modern Woodmen of America in December 1984 and was promoted to Regional Director for the Kentucky West Region in January 1990. In 2003 Bo returned to his native West TN to assume the role of Regional Director for the Mid-South Region, which includes central and west TN as well as northern MS. He is also a registered representative with MWA Financial Services. In 2009 he was appointed to the Board of Directors with Modern Woodmen of America.
Gary J. Levin, CLU ChFC
Gary entered the financial services business in 1978 upon graduating from Sacred Heart University with a degree in business. He earned his CLU (Chartered Life Underwriter) designation in 1986 and his ChFC (Chartered Financial Consultant) designation in 1987.
Timothy P. Murray, CLU ChFC
A past president of GAMA International, Tim Murray is a general agent with OneAmerica Financial Partners. Tim specializes in investment planning and portfolio construction, estate and retirement planning, business continuity and executive benefits design. An experienced speaker, Tim has shared his expertise with several associations.
Phillip C. Richards, CFP CLU RHU
Phillip C. Richards, CFP®, CLU, RHU is the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of the affiliated companies that comprise North Star Resource Group. North Star represents a fully integrated array of financial services and products for individuals and businesses of all sizes and has over 90,000 clients with offices in 12 states.
Phil received his Bachelors degree from Temple University in 1962 where he was active in all phases of student affairs. Elected Student Body President, he also received the prestigious Sword Award as outstanding senior classman. A recipient of a four year Wrestling Scholarship, he served as Team Captain and was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in April 2010. Phil was elected to the Temple University Board of Trustees in 2009.
Mark Michael Rooney, CLU ChFC CFP
Mark began his career in the financial services business in 1973 in Beverly Hills, California. He has been with Equitable (now AXA Advisors) his entire career, but has played many roles in many areas. In addition to being a producer, front-line manager and agency head, he was president, Equitable Variable Life Company; chief marketing officer; chairman of the brokerage company (now AXA Network); chairman of Frontier Trust Company; and board member of the broker-dealer.
Ronald S. Rosbruch, CLU ChFC
Ronald S. Rosbruch, CLU ChFC is president of Strategies for Wealth Creation & Protection, a financial firm with offices in Manhattan and White Plains, New York.
Strategies for Wealth Creation & Protection, a leading agency of the Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, represents a unique approach to financial services with an emphasis on wealth creation and protection for families and businesses. As president of the 71-year-old firm, Ron and more than 150 associates have helped thousands of clients significantly increase their wealth, control their assets and maximize their ability to enjoy their wealth. Ron is a frequent industry speaker.
Timothy P. Schmidt, CLF FIC LUTCF
Tim Schmidt grew up in Hong Kong as the son of a missionary. He graduated from the Hong Kong International School and then returned to the United States. He attended Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois and graduated with a BA in Education. After college he moved to Phoenix Arizona and became a teacher and coach.
Thomasina E. Skipper, M.B.A., CLU ChFC CLF
Thomasina Etheridge Skipper was born in Cleveland, Ohio. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in 1976 from Syracuse University with a major in Political Science and a minor in Economics. Thomasina began her career with Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company in Cleveland, Ohio as a Personal Lines Underwriter.
In 1981, Thomasina left Fireman’s Fund Insurance Companies to become the Vice President and General Manager of Citizen Insurance Agency, an independent insurance agency which lead her to establish one of the first female-owned, independent insurance agencies in the state of Tennessee.
Maurice L. (Maury) Stewart, CLU ChFC CLF
Maurice L. Stewart is an executive consultant for Penn Mutual. In this role, he assists the company with distribution growth and recruiting initiatives that are key to the company’s strategy.
Maury’s unique blend of industry knowledge, field experience and sales expertise make him well-qualified for this important undertaking.
Richard A. St. Jean, Jr., CLF
Richard A. St. Jean, Jr., CLF, is a general agent of the Boston Agency, along with his partner, Gregg A. Anderson. The two General Agents assumed leadership of the Boston Agency in May of 2005, a little over a year after Gregg joined Rick as co-general agent of the Long Island Agency in Woodbury, NY. Their partnership in Long Island created one of the top agencies in the Mass Mutual System, growing from the bottom 10 percent of agencies to among the top 5 percent.
Leo C. Tucker, CLU
In April 2003, Leo Tucker assumed Managing Partner responsibilities for The Washington Group and is responsible for the office’s sales and service operations in the District of Columbia, Western Maryland and Northern Virginia, with offices located in McLean, Bethesda, Fairfax and Rockville.
As one of Northwestern Mutual’s exciting young leaders, he brings proven management experience, personal energy and a deep commitment to service to this position. The Washington Group has over 70 full-time Financial Representatives specializing in employee benefits, investments, and business and estate analysis.
Matt Voelker, LUTCF
Matt Voelker is vice president of the Western Territory in Agency Distribution, responsible for insurance sales and marketing in western United States, including Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North and South Dakota, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
Matt joined Prudential as an agent in Michigan in 1990. He was promoted to Sales Manager in 1991, winning a Citation in 1996. In 1997, he was named Managing Director of the Detroit Agency. Matt’s strong leadership earned him Citations in 1997, 1998 and 1999. He transferred to the Southeastern Pennsylvania Agency as Managing Director in 2000, where he earned another Citation and second place in Trophy in 2002. In 2003, he was promoted to vice president, Western Territory.
Athan Vorilas, CLU CLTC CMFC
Athan Vorilas, CLU, CMFC, CLTC has been the President/Managing Partner of Lighthouse Financial Network, LLC since 2008. He began his career as an agent with Prudential Financial in 1987 and rose to the position of Managing Director of the New York Agency. In 2000 the New York Agency was recognized as a GAMA International Gold Agency Award and by 2005 he had grown the agency to receive the prestigious GAMA International Masters Agency Award. During his career he has been a recipient of many company and industry awards which include his firm ranking #1 nationally in Life Insurance Sales in 2007 and was awarded the prestigious Life Founders Award.
Mick White, CLU ChFC CLF CASL
Mick White serves as agency manager of the Great River Agency for COUNTRY® Financial.
White joined COUNTRY in September 1997 as an agent in Galesburg, Ill. In his position as agency manager, White is responsible for recruiting, training, and development of financial representatives.
White earned a bachelor degree in History and Education from Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois. He has also earned his Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU®), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC®), Chartered Advisor of Senior Living (CASL®), and Chartered Leadership Fellow (CLF®) from the American College, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. has been named a COUNTRY All-American five times.
Michael R. White, CLU ChFC CLTC
Mike White, a native of Richmond, Va., is an equity partner of Virginia Asset Management, LLC, where he is president and chief executive officer. He is a securities principal as well as a registered investment advisor.
Mike is cofounder of Premier Resource Group, a national resource group that provides assistance and resources to some of the top financial planners in the country. He is also cofounder of WorthMark Financial Services, which consults and partners with professional firms (CPAs, attorneys, etc.) throughout the country. In addition, Mike is a founding board member of the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Linda L. Witham, ChFC CFP FIC
Linda graduated from Concordia College in Seward, Neb., with a B.S. in Education and joined Lutheran Brotherhood, now Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, in 1983. She earned her CFP in 1988 and ChFC in 1993.
Linda served as a District Representative in La Canada, Calif., from 1983 until 1990, achieving MDRT and President’s Club with Lutheran Brotherhood. In 1989 she led the company in Health Sales for the year.