Welcome to the 2017 HCB SKO. This year’s theme, Accelerate: The Journey to 2020, will focus on our four distribution channels: HighCap Financial, Financial Institutions, Property & Casualty, and Independent Broker Dealers. During this meeting, you will learn valuable skills, explore new business opportunities, and set HCB in motion to reach our goals for 2020 and beyond.



This meeting is for Sales Vice Presidents (VPs). Any Internal Sales Consultant that has expressed a desire to grow into an external VP role, would be appropriate to invite also. The meeting is focused on purity of sales ideas for sales people.

For Highland VPs, scholarships provide single occupancy room for program nights, meals noted on the agenda, and airfare (up to $500) for participants. Airfare should be a reasonable cost with fares over $500 being approved by your principal to qualify for reimbursement. Scholarships are based upon full participation in all meeting sessions through meeting end time.

In the event you have an Internal Sales Consultant that fits the criteria above, scholarships provide airfare (up to $500) for participants. Airfare should be a reasonable cost with fares over $500 being approved by your principal to qualify for reimbursement. Scholarships are based upon full participation in all meeting sessions through meeting end time.

  • Incidentals incurred while at the meeting (phone, mini-bar, etc.)
  • Rooms for Internal Sales Consultants (office expense)


Click here to register. Online registration should be completed no later than Wednesday, December 14, 2016. Late registrations will be accepted based on hotel availability and your principal’s approval.


Business casual attire is appropriate for daytime sessions. Dinners are casual (jeans appropriate) with the exception of the Awards Dinner on Tuesday evening. On Tuesday night, gentlemen should wear a jacket or sport coat at minimum and ladies should wear business or cocktail attire.


If you register but are unable to attend, contact Wilma Turner at (205) 263-9266 or (707) 494-5686, email wturner@highland.com, as soon as possible.


Each meeting participant is responsible for securing airfare or alternative travel arrangements. You may make arrangements through any service you choose. Attendee scholarships reimburse up to $500 for airfare.

The hotel is located in the terminal at Chicago O’Hare International Airport. Once you arrive at ORD follow the signs to the Hotel Shuttle Center Building for the complimentary shuttle to the Loews Hotel Chicago O’Hare.


In case of an emergency, contact Wilma Turner (707) 494-5686 or Missy Kos (480) 239-9171.


The meeting will be held at the Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel. Highland Capital Brokerage has secured a block of rooms and is responsible for making room reservations once your registration is received. Please do not contact the hotel directly.

Loews has a free shuttle service that departs from the airport shuttle center approximately every 15 minutes.

Where to catch the shuttle from the Airport:
Pick Up is at the Hotel Shuttle Center, Door #2. Exits to the shuttle center are located in each terminal by baggage claim. Follow the red Shuttle Center signs.

Loews Chicago O'Hare Hotel
5300 N. River Road
Rosemont, IL 60018

get directions


Click here to view the agenda.


Jason Redman

Retired Navy SEAL

Jason “Jay” Redman retired after twenty one years serving with the Navy SEAL Teams. He has taken those lessons learned over a two decade career and is now sharing them with companies, teams, churches, and individuals across the globe. His message of leadership, teamwork and most importantly, the Overcome mindset inspires and resonates with companies and individuals alike.

Brian P. Moran

New York Times Bestselling Author

Brian Moran has over thirty years of expertise as a CEO, corporate executive, entrepreneur, consultant and coach. His background as a corporate executive combined with his experience as an entrepreneur positions him with a unique skill set to help individuals and organizations grow and prosper. Brian is a recognized expert in the field of leadership and execution. His realization that most people don’t lack ideas but struggle with effective implementation led him to the development of The 12 Week Year.

Terri L. Sjodin, CPAE, CSP

Principal & Founder, Sjodin Communications

Terri Sjodin is the Principal and Founder of Sjodin Communications, a public speaking, sales training and consulting firm based in Newport Beach, CA. She is the author of the book, “Small Message, Big Impact”, which hit the New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists. Her brand new book “Scrappy” was released on August 23, 2016 by Penguin Random House. For over 20 years Terri has served as a speaker and consultant to an impressive list of corporations, associations, academic conferences, CEO’s and Members of the U.S. Congress.

Doug Baxley, CFP®

VP, Fiduciary and Retirement Services, Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc.

Doug began his financial services career serving as an advisor with American Express Financial Advisors. In 2006 Doug joined Securities Service Network where he served as vice president of compliance and chief compliance officer of SSN Advisory, Inc.

David Braun, CLU®

Sr. VP, Institutional Distribution, HCB

With over 35 years in the financial services industry, his background includes building the life insurance platform at Wells Fargo and wholesaling roles at Travelers and Reliastar. He was also a co-founder of Investigo Corporation, a financial services web-based data aggregation and CRM firm sold to Broadridge Financial Solutions in 2008.

Robert Brookie

Assistant Vice President, Underwriting, HCB

As the Assistant Vice President of Underwriting, Bob Brookie leads the Highland Capital Brokerage underwriting team. In addition to leading the underwriting team, Bob evaluates and summarizes client health histories and serves as a liaison between brokers and carriers, advocating for the best possible underwriting decision in the life brokerage market. He is in his 10th year at Highland, having previously served as the Director of Business Operations and Underwriting with the Heartland office.

Steven M. Cain

Principal, National Sales Leader, LTCI Partners

Steve Cain is a Principal and National Sales Leader for LTCI Partners, one of the nation’s largest Long-Term Care Insurance (LTCI) retail and wholesale brokerage enterprises. In that capacity, Steve is responsible for increasing the firm’s sales revenue – from the development of existing client relationships to acquisition of new institutional and group accounts.

Tony Catrini

AVP, Distribution, HCB

Tony Catrini serves as Assistant Vice President, Distribution at Highland Capital Brokerage. In this role, Tony works closely with Highland’s Distribution and Advanced Sales teams to develop and implement sales concepts, case design, and marketing strategies nationally. In addition, he manages most of Highland’s carrier relationships and provides key leadership and operations expertise for the HighCap Financial producer group.

Mike Cogdall, CLU®

Managing Disability Income Regional Vice President, Principal

Mike joined Principal in 1997 as a Disability Income Regional Vice President (DI RVP). In 2008, Mike assumed the role of Managing DI RVP. He oversees a team of RVPs across the western United States. In 2014, Mike was inducted into the Principal Hall of Fame for 15 years of exceptional IDI production. His career path includes over 25 years in the insurance industry where he started with Provident Life and Accident Insurance Company as a Disability Consultant in Seattle. From 1987 to 1991, Mike moderated the LUTC disability sales course and spoke at industry functions about the disability insurance industry.

J. Craig Collins

Sr. Vice President, HCB

J. Craig Collins serves as Senior Vice President for Highland Capital Brokerage. He is responsible for national leadership of HighCap Financial, an elite group of producers within the financial services and life insurance industries that value their independence yet desire to affiliate with like-minded professionals to enhance their practice.

Marty Dooley

Managing Principal, HCB Heartland-Milwaukee

Marty Dooley serves as Managing Principal of HCB Heartland-Milwaukee. Marty has been in the insurance brokerage business since 1985. Marty merged GMB Corp. with Highland Capital Brokerage in January 2002 and presently operates the firm’s Milwaukee operations. HCB Heartland-Milwaukee provides wholesale insurance services to financial services professionals in the Upper Midwest.

H. Chalmers Edmiston, Jr.

Associate Chief Underwriter Insurance and Retirement Solutions Lincoln Financial Group

Cham Edmiston joined Lincoln Financial (formerly Pilot Life and Jefferson Pilot Financial) in 1985 after beginning his insurance underwriting career with Prudential in Jacksonville Florida. Currently, Cham is an Associate Chief Underwriter primarily involved in setting Lincoln Underwriting policy, procedures and philosophy, education of company underwriters and personal review of large face amount life insurance applications.

Robert Finnegan, J.D., CLU®

Sr. VP, Advanced Sales Attorney, HCB

Bob is responsible for providing advanced sales support across the company, supporting distribution in all channels and working with principals, sales vice presidents, independent producers, and financial institutions to develop business opportunities and enhanced advanced marketing solutions for clients.

Jim Gelder, CLU®


Jim Gelder, CLU®, has served as Chief Executive Officer for Highland Capital Brokerage since 2013. From 2007 until 2012, he served as Chief Executive Officer of NFP Insurance Services, Inc. (“NFPISI”) and executive vice president of National Financial Partners. In 2011, Mr. Gelder was named president of the NFP Individual Client Group. Prior to joining NFP, he served as head of the life insurance business distribution organization for ING U.S. Financial Services, where he was responsible for all individual retail life insurance distribution.

Chris Godsey

Operations Business Analyst II, HCB

Chris joined Highland in 2014 as an Operations Business Analyst. Chris assisted with the launch and implementation of Microsoft Dynamics CRM and ClickDimensions. He also assists the marketing team with video production and editing. His role currently focuses on leveraging new technologies to enhance business processes and efficiencies.

Michael Gomez, CLU®

Vice President, HCB Southwest

With 15 years of experience, Michael works with key institutional accounts and independent brokers, where he utilizes his experience in providing insurance sales and marketing solutions to his clients. His primary focus is to assist financial professionals in growing their business with high-net worth international clients. As a wholesale business partner, he specializes in life insurance solutions for foreign national clients using domestic and offshore carriers and products.

Phillip W. Hegg, J.D., LLM

Legal Consultant, HCB Charlotte

Phillip Hegg is a legal consultant for Highland Capital Brokerage – Charlotte. Phil is an educational resource for clients on a range of tax, trust, charitable, business, and family issues. He has over 36 years of experience in private practice and is known for his advice on multi-generational wealth management solutions that involve life insurance. He is committed to educating and counseling clients so that they can make informed decisions.

Lisa Hehir, CLU®, ChFC®, CAP®

Vice President, HCB New York Metro

Lisa Hehir is responsible for providing sophisticated, point-of-sale support to financial advisors and their clients. Lisa specializes in customized, high-end estate, business, and retirement planning and is committed to helping financial advisors achieve greater success by partnering with them to help their clients build, preserve, and distribute their wealth.

Sarah G. Henry

Marketing & Social Media Manager, HCB

Sarah G. Henry serves as the Marketing and Social Media Manager for the Marketing Communications team at Highland Capital Brokerage. She manages Highland's social media content creation, including their in-house blog. She works closely with in-house design to create copy for digital and print marketing collateral for national distribution. In addition, Sarah coordinates and produces marketing sales videos. This includes script coordination, story-boarding, and on-site production management.

Kirk S. Hill, CLU®, ChFC®

Vice President, HCB Heartland

Kirk S. Hill serves as Vice President in the Highland Capital Brokerage–Heartland office. His 30 years of industry experience enables him to assist independent and institutional advisors in growing their business with high net-worth clients. He customizes solutions using life, disability, long-term care, and annuity products.

Charles D. Hollander Jr.

Founder, Red Flag

Twenty-five years ago, Charles entered the competitive field of selling complex life insurance solutions to select families and business owners. His background as a pioneer, entrepreneur and industry insider combined with his partner’s unparalleled background as a retired Admiral, 31 year SEAL and former commander of all SEAL Teams positions his firm with a unique discipline in helping sales organizations unlock their hidden potential and achieve fast, recognizable business outcomes.

Kevin Hughes

Senior Enterprise Account Manager at PIEtech℠, Inc.

Joining PIEtech℠, Inc., the creator of MoneyGuidePro®, in 2007, Kevin has helped thousands of advisors grow their business by incorporating MoneyGuidePro® into their practice. As a Senior Enterprise Account Manager, Kevin focuses on building long-term partnerships with national enterprises. Understanding the requirements and demands of small and large organizations, he works closely with product development to create solutions that bring efficiency and results to business processes. 

James W. Kerley, LLIF

Chief Membership Officer, LIMRA and LOMA

Jim Kerley serves as the Chief Membership Officer for LIMRA and LOMA. Mr. Kerley is driven by his wholehearted belief in the value this industry delivers to families and businesses each and every day, and will ask each of you to make your personal commitment to the same beliefs. In his role, he delivers LIMRA’s thought leadership and global research to the broad insurance and financial services community.

Joe Lee

National Sales Manager – Wirehouse Channel, Life Insurance Division, Pacific Life

Joe joined Pacific Life in 2012 for the launch of Pacific PremierCare as the Regional Long-term Care Specialist for the Northeast. In 2012 and 2013 Joe qualified for Power of One, Circle of Excellence and won the Chairman’s award for the top producing region in the company. In 2014 Joe was named National Sales Manager for Life Insurance sales in the Wirehouse Channel. The Wirehouse Channel experienced 50% Sales growth from 2014-2016.

Adam Malamed

COO, Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc.

Adam Malamed has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry. Prior to his current role, he spent five years as the co-chief operating officer of Ladenburg Thalmann & Co. Inc., involved in overseeing the growth of the firm’s investment banking and asset management businesses, as well as managing the successful integration of Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services, Inc.’s newly acquired independent broker-dealer units.

Jon B. Mendelsohn

CEO, Ashar Group

Jon B. Mendelsohn serves as CEO of Ashar Group, a nationally licensed firm specializing in the Institutional Secondary Market for Life Insurance. Since launching Ashar Group in 2003, he has been an influential member of the industry, serving as an advocate for best practices and transparency. He has collaborated with members of the insurance and financial services, legal, and trust communities. He obtained years of hands-on experience in all facets of the Secondary Market by working closely with estate and business planning firms.  

Keith Miller, MBA, CLU®, ChFC®

VP, Advanced Sales, HCB

Keith Miller serves as Vice President, Advanced Sales as an expert resource to Highland Capital Brokerage producers on customized wealth transfer solutions — from advanced plan design to implementation of multiple sales concepts with integrated life insurance solutions.

Dorothy Penney

Underwriting Associate, HCB

Dorothy Penney is an Underwriting Associate on the Highland Capital Brokerage underwriting team. Dorothy began her career at Highland 10 years ago as a part-time Case Manager. She quickly transitioned to a full-time role and took a special interest in the underwriting aspects of case management. Dorothy has a passion for field underwriting. She believes in managing client expectations by being as prepared as possible before formal underwriting gets underway.

Jeffry J. Peterson, CLU®

Founder, Truluma

Jeffry J. Peterson, CLU started in the financial services industry in 1990 after earning a degree in Economics from University of Washington. He founded Truluma (then Pacific Advisors) in October of 2000 to provide advisors with a single access point to the income protection marketplace. Pulling from his experience as a Million Dollar Roundtable producer and Disability Income Specialist, Jeff modeled Truluma as an advisor first firm, a principal which continues to guide the company today.

Paul Pistilli, CFP®, CLU®, ChFC®

Vice President, HCB Mid-Atlantic

Paul has over 25 years of experience in multiple aspects of the financial services industry. Paul started in 1988 as a corporate controller for New England Mutual Life Insurance Company. Beginning in 1994 he built a successful private financial services practice, as well as a successful life brokerage agency. His firm was one of the first firms acquired by Highland Capital Holding Corporation in 1998. Paul remained as one of the Managing Principals of Highland Capital Brokerage until the end of 2013.

Robert Pokorski, MD

VP & Medical Director, Individual Life Insurance, Prudential

Dr. Robert Pokorski helps financial advisors, their clients, and consumers better understand the health issues they need to consider when preparing for their retirement years. Dr. Pokorski is an internationally-renowned lecturer and author. He has traveled the country giving presentations on health-related topics such as the non-financial shocks that can threaten retirement security.

Jorge Ramirez

Vice President, HCB Southeast

Jorge Ramirez has over 20 years of experience in the insurance and financial services industry. His needs-based approach includes an emphasis on wealth management aspects of insurance, estate planning, and business insurance for deferred compensation and buy/sell agreements.

Brian Simmons, CFP®

Senior Vice President / Trust Officer, Premier Trust

Brian has over ten years of experience in the financial services industry as an independent financial advisor and life insurance agent. He currently manages the Asset Protection Trust department at Premier Trust. His specialties include educating clients and professionals about asset protection strategies as well as administering asset protection trusts. Brian is a member of the Southern Nevada Estate Planning Council.

Hugh T. Singletary III

Vice President, HCB Southeast

Hugh has over 20 years of experience in the financial services and insurance industry. His primary responsibility is to add value to the advisor’s client relationship. Hugh helps advisors identify financial concerns for their clients and proposes solutions when insurance is the appropriate tool to resolve the concern.By positioning Hugh as the external professional resource, the financial consultant retains the ability to advise his or her client on the merits of the recommendation.

Christopher G. Soniat

Vice President, Business Development, HCB

Chris Soniat serves as Vice President, Business Development for Highland Capital Brokerage. He is responsible for training and development, carrier relations, and strategic planning to include creating a performance-based culture at Highland Capital Brokerage through performance management, practice management, training programs, and an enhanced on-boarding process. In his most recent position, Chris was the Executive Director of BRAMCO Financial Resources in Birmingham, Alabama.

Mark C. Spooner, CFP®

Vice President, HCB New York Metro

Mark has over 28 years of experience combined in the insurance and investment industry. Before joining Highland, Mark worked for 11 years as the Regional Sales Manager of American Financial Network. Prior to that, he served as President of Waterview Financial, Inc. In this position, he managed a team of advisors who provided investment, insurance, and financial advice to closely held corporations and high net worth clients. Mark is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and the proud father of one daughter.

Jamie Stella

Client Relationship Manager, U.S. Client Services Team, LIMRA

Jamie Stella joined LIMRA in 2011 as a Client Relationship Manager with the U.S. Client Services Team. He brings a 35-year career in the life insurance industry with sales and operations expertise to his work with independent carriers, BGAs and IMOs and financial institution member companies. His goal is to connect you with the people, knowledge, and solutions to solve your business challenges. Prior to joining LIMRA, Jamie was the National Sales Director, Bank Division with The Hartford where he managed life insurance relationships with national and regional banks and wire houses.

Maurice J. Sturm, J.D.

Vice President, Advanced Sales, HCB New England

Maurice J. Sturm, J.D., entered the life insurance industry as an advanced underwriter at Aetna. He subsequently worked with a leading broker at Connecticut General and then practiced law with a Connecticut boutique law firm that was general counsel to a life insurance company. At that firm, his practice focused on estate and business planning as well as advanced underwriting. His practice has focused on estate and trust planning, senior executive benefits planning for closely held and public companies and succession planning for owners of closely held businesses.

Kevin Taylor

Vice President, HCB Mid-Atlantic

With more than 13 years of life insurance experience, Kevin primarily partners with advisors in HCB's institutional accounts to identify sales opportunities. Kevin strives to provide and implement value-added solutions while ensuring a smooth experience for the advisor and client. With this hands-on approach, he always works diligently to strengthen new and existing relationships.

Trey Wall, LUTCF

VP, IBD Strategies, HCB

Trey began his career in the life insurance industry as a life agent and now has over 23 years of experience in the life insurance industry focused on product case design, advanced planning, and brokerage management.

Matthew T. Workman, CLU®

Vice President, HCB Southwest

Matt has been in the financial services industry since 2001. His focus is to assist independent financial advisors and institutional advisors in growing their business with high-net worth clients. He serves as a resource for customized insurance solutions in the areas of wholesale life insurance, annuities, disability, and long term care insurance by providing local, personalized service.

Teague Wright

Sr. VP, Distribution, HCB

Teague Wright serves as Senior Vice President of Distribution for Highland Capital Brokerage where she is primarily focused on underwriting excellence, training and mentoring to firm underwriting, consulting on cases, and case advocacy. Additionally, Ms. Wright assists in strengthening carrier relations and works to support the company’s efforts to expand and enhance the HighCap Financial producer group.

Greg Zahn, MBA

AVP, Institutional Distribution, HCB

Greg develops, markets, and manages Highland’s straight-through processing (STP) and other industry-leading field technologies for Highland’s national institutional and property & casualty (P&C) relationships. In addition, Greg develops new relationships within the P&C marketplace. Prior to joining Highland, Greg served as Senior Vice President at NB Signature Insurance Solutions as well as National Brokerage in Tampa, Florida.