Leading the way in innovative talent resourcing
Our LeadershipMeet the founders and executive team.
Sharon Emek Ph.D., CICFounder, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
Sharon is the indefatigable force that leads WAHVE and keeps the company always focused on its purpose working from her home in Manhattan. With decades of business experience, Sharon understands firsthand the challenges that employers and “vintage” professionals are facing today.
Before founding WAHVE, Sharon spent thirteen years of her career as a partner at CBS Coverage Group, Inc., where she managed the New York City office and provided business insurance and risk management for a large client base. Prior to joining CBS, Sharon was president, founder and CEO of The Emek Group, an insurance brokerage she formed in 1988. Sharon began her career as a professor at Rutgers University and a management consultant to businesses.
Sharon has earned numerous awards for her thought leadership, including the 2018 Leadership Longevity Award: Women in Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the 15th annual What’s Next Boomer Business Summit, which showcases the nation’s outstanding individual and group achievements in serving the powerful longevity economy; the 2016 SmartCEO Brava Award honoring top female CEOs and the Vistage Leadership Legacy Award; Insurance Business America’s “Elite Women in Insurance” 2014, 2015 and 2016 and the 2015 “Hot 100” list; the first woman to receive the 1882 Fellow Award, the highest honor presented by IIABNY (2014); Outstanding Committee Chairperson Award from IIABNY (2008); the first woman to receive the Sidney O. Smith Government Affairs Award from the IIABA (2007); the Distinguished Service Award from IIABNY (2006); the Helen Garvin Outstanding Achiever Award from the NAIW (1999); and the National Promising Research Award for her doctoral research (1978).
Sharon is frequently sought out by the media as an expert on insurance, management and business issues. She has appeared on CNN, CNBC, CBS, Fox and Lifetime; has authored numerous articles; and is often quoted in national news periodicals including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Forbes, National Underwriter and Business Insurance. Sharon has testified before the New York State Assembly Insurance Committee, the U.S. House of Representatives’ Financial Services Committee Subcommittees and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
Sharon served on the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of New York Board for ten years and is a past chair. She served as a board member of ACT (Agents Council for Technology) for four years and Chaired the Mid-Commercial Working Group. She has served on numerous other boards including the Institute for Student Achievement, Women Builders Council, Center for Women’s Business Research, NYC Mayor’s Small Business Advisory Board, and the IBM Small Business Research and Technology Advisory Council.
Sharon received her doctoral degree from Rutgers University (1977). She is the author of Answers for Managers and numerous articles on management and insurance issues.
Bill HuntChief Revenue Officer & President
Bill is the driving force at WAHVE that inspires businesses to engage our work-at-home vintage experts. He manages his team from his home in Scottsdale. Throughout his career, Bill has developed deep relationships with businesses and is known as a brand in his own right. He has worked with many of the industry’s leading innovation companies delivering new state-of-the-art solutions that have had significant success in the insurance industry.
Bill has a long history of devising solutions for the insurance industry and is regarded as one of the best leaders of sales teams in the technology sector. He was a sales consultant for the Lexis Nexis Insurance Exchange; Sr. Vice President at Artizan Internet Services, a leading company in products that serve the entire insurance value chain; and Executive Vice President at XDimensional Technologies. As a Sales Executive with many successful years at SAP, AMS, and CISGEM, Bill built several successful sales and marketing teams and worked successfully with many of the industry’s leading national brokers and carriers. He has authored and has been quoted in numerous articles on technology research in the insurance space.
Josh PiankoPresident Brainwahve Qualifying Solutions
Josh is the visionary who brings a wide breadth of experience to growing successful companies. He is a skilled executive who knows how to find and keep talent. He is an expert negotiator having negotiated contracts and leases in the U.S. and Asia. As president of BQS, he helped develop Brainwahve Qualifying Solutions to support WAHVE’s unique qualifying process, which enables objectivity in the hiring process by focusing on skills and experience and a detailed position description. Brainwahve provides companies with true blind auditions to increase diversity and decrease turnover.
He is a skilled entrepreneurial investor who has interests in various entertainment, restaurant, real estate, and beverage companies. In 1996, Josh founded his first company, KIDSWONDER, a graphical search engine for children. His next ventures were in developing the online strategies and brand images for Maybelline.com and “Design Your Own Engagement Ring” for De Beers. His entrepreneurial pursuits led him to Macau, where he started Optica Asia, a leading retailer of luxury eyewear. In 2014 he sold the company to the world’s largest eyewear company, Luxottica. After the sale of Optica, Josh launched a new optical company, Vitra Eyewear, which is devoted to offering the world’s most unique eyewear collections from leading designer brands with locations in Orange County, Hawaii, Las Vegas, and New York. He continues as Owner of Vitra Eyewear Group.
Josh is a member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and is currently attending the YPO’s Harvard Executive M.B.A. Program. He holds a BS in economics from New York University.
Josh lives in Las Vegas and is actively involved in his community. He currently sits on Jewish Nevada’s Board of Directors and is the Chair of the Allocations Committee.
Geoffrey KearneyChief Financial Officer
Geoff is our strategic CFO who has the discipline and vision to keep us growing profitably and strategically. He has a 35-year history of data driven decision making as a Founder, CEO, CFO and Advisor to organizations of all sizes across multiple industries, including technology, retail, healthcare, manufacturing, services and private equity.
Originally from South Africa, and currently a resident of Dallas, Geoff has undergraduate and post graduate degrees in Finance and Economics and is a Chartered Accountant. His focus in recent years has been on developing and executing growth strategies for high growth and disruptive companies. His business mantra is “measure what matters” and he is an avid user of data analytics to drive and support decision making at all levels. He has in-depth experience in business management, advanced financial modeling and data analytics, as well as M&A negotiation, valuation, deal structure and due diligence.
Rick MorganChief Marketing Officer
Rick, who lives in Colorado, is our branding guru and keeps us and our important mission in the media. He is one of the industry’s leading marketing and branding experts and has been named by the Insurance Media Association as one of the “100 Most Powerful People in Insurance in North America.” He also received the Wade S. Dunbar Jr. Technology Advocate Award in 2019.
Rick has been an underwriter, insurance agent, publisher, management consultant, sought after speaker, vendor marketing executive and association CEO. He is the co-creator of SilverPlume and has long been active in developing the capabilities of the independent agency distribution system. He has served as an ambassador for the ACORD Users Group Information Exchange (AUGIE) and a long-time participant with IIABA’s Agents Council for Technology (ACT) where he chairs ACT’s Strategic Future Issues Workgroup. He served on the board of directors of the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of New York. He was interim CEO of Applied Client Network (formerly ASCnet) in 2009-10; SVP of marketing of Applied Systems; SVP of ConfirmNet; and owner of Automation Management Group, a technology and operations consulting firm that published The Automated Agency Report (TAAR).
Howard PortugalChief Technology Officer & Chief Enterprise Architect
Howard is the shepherd who leads the effort to unceasingly enhance our software to make it state of the art. From his home at the New Jersey shore, he manages our development team and user experience to ensure that Brainwahve will have continued growth and success. Howard has more than 30 years of experience managing development projects and creating custom software solutions for the insurance, pharmaceutical, legal, real estate, and financial industries.
Howard has held numerous positions including Senior Architect/Designer/Developer specializing in developing custom software solutions utilizing the latest Microsoft, Open Source, and Cloud products and technologies to assist organizations with solving their business needs, increasing efficiency and reducing costs. He is skilled at defining and implementing new products and services as well as reconceiving existing systems to leverage new technologies. Howard possesses broad technical knowledge including distributed and cloud software, architecture, design, development, testing, deployment and operations as well as well as SDLC methodologies. He holds a patent for Remote Platform Independent Dynamic Multimedia Engine 11/10/1995. He has a B.S. in Computer Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Chrissy TadlockDirector Administrative Services
Chrissy is the glue that holds us all together. She runs a crackerjack operation from her home office in Las Vegas and keeps all the lines of communication flowing. She is a highly experienced administrator having run large complex businesses, including insurance, staffing and hospitality. She has a wealth of knowledge in human resources, accounting and administration. While ensuring operations run efficiently and smoothly, she creatively orchestrates many of our behind the scenes campaigns and events.
Carla CowanVP Qualifying
Carla has the detective instinct that makes her the consummate manager and interviewer. She keeps our qualifying teams running smoothly from her Texas home office. She has been managing teams for more than 30 years whether working at an insurance carrier or independent agency. Carla has held many positions including COO and Director of Human Resources. She served on the Board of Directors for the Independent Insurance Agents of Tarrant County and continues to teach CE classes.
Kim PhippsVP Placement
Kim is a pro at matching wahves to our client’s job needs. From her home in North Carolina, she manages the teams that make sure the wahve-client match is the right fit. With more than 25 years in the insurance industry, she is a veteran professional whose experience includes project and operations management, business development, business systems and management consulting.
Rita KattVP Relationship Management
Rita manages, from her home in California, the teams that keep our clients and wahves happy. She knows how to listen, having successfully worked for a family-owned insurance agency for 35 years. As part of the management team, she helped plan and initiate growth and solve problems. Rita is Property and Casualty licensed.
Lorrie MaidaVP Account Management
Lorrie cultivates connections with our clients from her home office in New York. Lorrie began her career at a large insurance carrier, which spanned twelve years. She moved on to a 20-year career with a national insurance staffing firm managing a staff of recruiters and helping insurance firms fill their staffing needs. Over the years, she also did staff training and performed as a company quality auditor.
Patti DeschaineVP Customer Support
Patti keeps our work at home wahves connected to the clients they work for. From her home in Maine, she manages her team and manages the remote connectivity of hundreds of wahves. She has over 20 years of systems administrator experience, on both the agency and company sides. She is A+ and Net+ certified.
Stacey Moroney, CPAAccounting Qualifying Team Manager
Stacey, with many years of public accounting and accounting and finance recruiting, knows accounting talent. She leads her team from her home in New Jersey. Stacey began her accounting career at PricewaterhouseCoopers and eventually became an Audit Manager in the Business Assurance practice in Philadelphia, PA. While with the firm, Stacey obtained her CPA credentials and developed a strong client base in pharmaceutical, healthcare and manufacturing industries. Her accounting client experience coupled with her client service specialty became a natural fit for her transition into the recruiting world. She became an owner/partner in ConleyMorgan, a permanent placement Accounting & Finance recruitment firm in the Philadelphia area, where she used her interpersonal skills to find the best accounting talent for her clients.
Our Team MembersOur WAHVE team is made up of amazing individuals from around the country
Kathy has been carefully taking care of the books for over 30 years. She is the consummate bookkeeper who makes sure all is right. Her accounting knowledge and experience with accounting software make it easy for Kathy to work from her home office in Ohio.
Deborah Falco, LMSWSenior Administrator
Deb keeps us on track, organizing our company meetings and conferences and doing all the odd jobs that a company needs to run well. She never forgets a staff birthday or work anniversary. She also is an expert proofreader. Deb has a B.A. and an MSW in social work. She is both a licensed Property and Casualty broker and licensed Master Social Worker. She had a 20-year insurance career. She flew the NY coop to Florida.
Jennifer FischerPlacement Specialist
Jennifer, relying on her industry knowledge, successfully matches our candidates to the most suitable work at home positions. She has over 20 years of experience in the insurance industry. She began her career on the carrier side as a rater and underwriting assistant, pursued her Property & Casualty license and began working on the retail agency side. Jennifer works from her home office in NJ and is a graduate of NYU.
Susan Fletcher, CSRM, CWCC, ARE, AAMQualifying Specialist
Susan, with her extensive knowledge of all aspects of the industry and her warm personality, is adept at qualifying talent. Her insurance career spans more than 40 years, having worked as an Account Executive at large brokers, an Underwriter at carriers and a Manager at reinsurers. She handled facultative and treaty placement as an AVP at a global reinsurance broker and managed the ceded reinsurance for a medical malpractice carrier. Susan works from her home in Indiana.
Connie George, CPCU, AU, AIM, ARMPlacement Specialist
With over 30 years of mid-market industry experience in various positions, including Underwriting Supervisor, Sr. Marketing Rep, and having numerous industry designations, Connie knows how to match the right talent to the right assignment. She also has an M.B.A. which comes in handy when speaking with clients. Connie works from her home in Washington state. She is a licensed Property and Casualty broker.
David (Denny) Gilmore, Ph.D.Qualifying Specialist
Denny is an interviewer par excellence, but as we say, a Johnny-Come-Lately to insurance. He is a famous cultural anthropologist who has written seven books. He was a professor at Stonybrook University for 30 years. After retiring as a professor, he is now using his amazing interviewing skills to qualify our applicants. Denny lives in New York.
Kristy HargettRelationship Manager
With over 20 years in the insurance industry serving in many positions from CSR to office manager, Kristy knows how to keep assignments humming. From her home in North Carolina, she provides guidance and assistance to clients and wahves in order to make each assignment a success.
Larry HazenCustomer Support Technician
Larry has the knack of “Mr. Fix-it” and makes sure our wahves’ computers are always working and connected to the client systems. From his home office in Massachusetts, he assists our wahves and clients in their software and connectivity setup. For eight years he was a Certified AMS360 Contract Trainer with Vertafore during rollout for AMS360 and is active (30+ years) as a Board Member of the NetVU New England chapter.
Connie HerrickRelationship Manager
Connie makes taking care of our clients and wahves look easy, which she does from her helm in Maine. With her 27 years’ experience in the insurance industry, both at the agency and company levels, Connie has held many positions, including Senior Account Manager and Senior Underwriting Assistant.
Melody Kauffman, CICPlacement Specialist
Melody knows how to match the right talent to the right assignment. From her home in Pennsylvania, she spends her day matching and placing people that meet the needs of insurance firms. Her insurance career has spanned over 30 years, starting in a large agency as Commercial Lines Manager and Account Executive and then AVP of Commercial Underwriting at a carrier.
Elizabeth Kordek, CPCUSr. Placement Specialist
With a background in psychology, it is not surprising that Elizabeth knows how to help people. Working from her home in Chicago, she finds the best wahves to match to our clients’ job needs. She is a licensed Property and Casualty broker and has held a variety of positions ranging from Account Manager to heading up the Learning & Development team for a large brokerage firm.
Mike LandisSenior Developer
Mike is our composer. He composes code like musical notes. He even keeps a guitar on the wall behind him while he writes code for new features and fixes from his home office in Maryland. He has been building dynamic websites driven by large databases since the mid-1990s.
Dana McKeownRelationship Manager
Dana brings a breadth of relationship management experience having worked for both an agency and carriers during her 30 plus year career. Working from her home in Florida, she makes sure her wahves and clients are happy to be working together. As a Field & Underwriting Manager, she worked with over 40 agencies before becoming Operations Manager for a retail broker. She is a licensed Property and Casualty broker.
Julie NardonePlacement Specialist
Julie has been successfully matching and placing people at positions in the insurance industry for more than 15 years. With her background at various insurance firms in underwriting, claims and rating, she knows how to match the right person to the right assignment as she works from her home in Minnesota.
Lisa NobleRelationship Manager
Lisa comes to WAHVE with over 30 years experience in insurance. She was a previous Underwriting Manager, Producer, and Director of Marketing and Sales. Lisa lives in Mississippi and has been a CIC and holds a property and casualty insurance license.
Nanette PeressiniBusiness Development Manager
Nannette has been a professional sales person for over twenty five years. Nannette has sold both tangible and non – tangible services. During her 25 years in Chicago, Nannette sold staffing and consulting services in accounting & finance, health care and information technology. Recently, Nannette has worked with start-ups in the technology arena, providing sales development for new software products that were configured as “artificial intelligence” sales enablement tools.Nannette is delighted to be working with best of the best and thought leaders within the vintage remote work force.
Julie PettyPlacement Specialist
With over two decades of progressive staffing insurance industry experience, Julie is adept at understanding the key skills and the requisite knowledge needed to place people in the right job. She began her career at a retail agency as a Personal Lines Customer Service Representative. Later she transitioned to a Staffing Manager & Recruiting Specialist for all lines of insurance staffing. Julie works out of her home office in Michigan.
Carol J. RobertsonRelationship Manager
Carol, working from her home in Dallas, knows how to keep happy wahves and clients. She has more than 40 years of experience in the insurance industry both on the agency and carrier side. She has a breadth of knowledge across various positions which is why she is spot-on in matching the talent to the position.
Neil Schwan, CICReference Check Specialist
It takes a skilled person to do a great reference check and no one does it better than Neil. After retiring as a principal in his own independent insurance agency in PA, Neil joined the WAHVE team and moved to Florida. With a 40-year insurance career, Neil has held various teaching positions in the industry.
Chris StierleSoftware Developer
Chris, working from his home in New Jersey, is the software bug fixer. He is the consummate software developer with over 25 years of professional experience. His passion is building better software and he loves the challenge in adapting to an ever changing technology environment!
Adam StierleSenior Technical Analyst
Adam has been tinkering with computers for over 30 years. He has done everything from software testing to hardware repair to system administration and everything in between. Working from his home in Pennsylvania, he brings his technical experience to help the company and its employees with all of their technology needs.
Donna WaughSales & Marketing Administrator
Donna is a resourceful administrative professional who joins the WAHVE team following 25 years at Citi Research, bringing with her extensive administrative experience in the financial industries, as well as experience in the sales and marketing, import/export, publishing, and construction industries accumulated during the decade prior. Working from her home office in East Islip, NY, she excels in organization, time management, data management, meeting deadlines, event coordination, handling stressful situations and troubleshooting.