Leading the way in innovative talent resourcing
Our LeadershipMeet the founders and executive team.
Sharon Emek Ph.D., CICFounder, Chairman & CEO
Sharon has effectively broken the mold by infusing flexibility into the traditional office staffing structure with a proven blueprint that is gaining widespread attention, changing lives, and yielding impressive results. With decades of industry 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 agency she formed in 1988. Sharon began her career as a professor at Rutgers University and a management consultant to businesses.
Sharon is a dynamic leader, a frequent industry speaker, and a progressive thinker with an award-winning record of success for ushering in a much-needed WAHVE of change for finding talent.
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 HuntFounder, CRO & President WAHVE Insurance
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, BQS
Josh 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.
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 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/Operator of Vitra Eyewear Group.
Josh and his family live in Las Vegas and he is actively involved in his community. He currently sits on Jewish Nevada’s Board of Directors and is the Chair of the Allocations Committee. He is a past a member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO). He is a past board member of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
Geoff 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, 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.
Howard PortugalChief Technology Officer
Howard is Brainwahve’s Chief Enterprise Architect and is the shepherd who leads the effort to unceasingly enhance our software to make it state of the art. From his home at the 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.
Dave EvansChief Business Development Officer
Dave’s business experience includes employee benefits consulting and two decades in association management with the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America, Inc. in Alexandria, Va. His duties there included overseeing the Big “I” MEP 401(k) Plan, the Trusted Choice consumer brand, company relations, magazine publisher and member development programs. He has authored over 150 articles and is co-author of The Practical Agency Planner. He holds eleven industry designations and has served on the Boards of IMCA and Big I New York. He has a B.A. in Economics from Grove City College and a MBA from Case Western Reserve University.
Rick MorganChief Marketing Officer
Rick, who lives in CO, is our branding guru and keeps us in the media. He is as 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 is also an active participant in ACT.
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 office manager having run large complex businesses, including insurance, staffing and hospitality.
Carla CowanVP Qualifying
Carla has the detective instinct which makes her the consummate interviewer. She also keeps our qualifying team running smoothly from her Texas home office. She has been managing teams for more than 30 years whether working at a carrier, MGA or independent agency, and has held many positions including COO and is P&C licensed.
Rita KattVP Relationship
Rita manages, from her home in CA, the team that keeps our clients and wahves happy. She knows how to listen having successfully worked for a family-owned retail agency for 35 years. She was part of the management team, helping plan for future growth and solve problems. Rita is P&C licensed.
Kim PhippsVP Placement
Kim is a pro at matching wahves to our client’s job needs from her home in North Carolina. With more than 25 years in the commercial insurance industry, she is a veteran insurance professional whose carrier experience includes Operations Manager, Business Development Manager, Business Systems Consultant / Project Manager and Management Consultant.
Lorrie MaidaVP Account Management
Lorrie cultivates connections with our clients from her home office in New York. She had a 20-year career with a national insurance staffing firm managing a staff of recruiters and helping insurance firms fill their staffing needs. Lorrie worked 12 years for a large insurance carrier.
Patti DeschaineCustomer Support Manager
Patti keeps the lights on, figuratively speaking, from her home in NC. She is a technology wizard and keeps our home offices and virtual company running. She has over 18 years’ of insurance and systems administrator experience, on both the agency and company sides. She is A+ and Net+ certified.
Our Team MembersOur WAHVE team is made up of amazing individuals from around the country
Lisa CimorelliBusiness Development Manager
Lisa has been in Staffing for most of her career. Most recently she ran a staffing agency that specialized in temp and temp to hire Healthcare specific talent in CT. She is now happy to be working from her home in NY and no longer considered a “road” warrior. Lisa is excited to join WAHVE and work with the Accounting Team to help grow the business.
I bring over 30 years of accounting experience with me & love working from my home office in Ohio.
LeeAnna EsteinAdministrative & Sales Assistant
LeeAnna is a University of Nevada Las Vegas Graduate with 10 years sales experience and 4 years administrative. She assists both the sales and administrative team with conference organization and other administrative tasks. She works from her home in Nevada.
Deborah FalcoSr. Administrator
Deb keeps us on track, organizing our company meetings and conferences. She never forgets a staff birthday or work anniversary. Deb is both a licensed Property and Casualty broker and licensed Master Social Worker. She has had a 20-year insurance career. She flew the NY coop to Florida.
Susan FletcherQualifying 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 41 years, having worked as an Account Executive at large brokers, an Underwriter at carriers and a Manager at reinsurers. Susan works from her home in Indiana.
Connie GeorgePlacement 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. Connie works from her home in Washington state.
David (Denny) GilmoreQualifying 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. 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 NC, she provides guidance and assistance to clients and wahves in order to make each assignment a success.
Larry HazenCustomer Support Technician
Larry brings many years of Agency Ownership/Management and Software Training experience to WAHVE. Larry was a Certified Contract Trainer with Vertafore rolling out AMS360. Larry has the knack of “Mr. Fix-it” and does this on mechanical items or software. From his home office in Massachusetts, he joins WAHVE assisting in software setups and programs needed to work efficiently with a variety of WAHVE and Agency
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 KauffmanQualifying Specialist
Melody is one of our great interviewers. From her home in PA, she spends her day speaking with applicants and vetting them. Her insurance career has spanned 32 years, starting in a large agency as Commercial Lines Manager and Account Executive and then AVP of Commercial Underwriting for a carrier.
Elizabeth KordekSr. Placement Specialist
With a background in psychology, it is not surprising that Elizabeth knows how to help people. She has held a variety of positions ranging from Property & Casualty Account Manager to heading up the company’s Learning & Development team. She is P&C licensed and works from her home in Chicago.
Mike LandisSr. Developer
Mike is a software developer coding new features and fixes from his home office in Kensington 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. As a Field & Underwriting Manager, she worked with over 40 agencies before becoming Operations Manager for a retail broker. Dana works from her home in Florida.
Stacey MoroneyAccounting Qualifying Team Manager
Stacey is one of the newest members of the WAHVE team and brings many years of public accounting and Accounting & Finance recruiting experience to WAHVE Accounting. A Pennsylvania State University graduate, Stacey began her accounting career working for PricewaterhouseCoopers in Philadelphia. Her accounting client experience led her to executive search, where she used her interpersonal skills to find the best accounting talent for her clients. Her background makes her the perfect addition to the WAHVE family. She is a CPA and works from her home in New Jersey.
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.
Julie PettyPlacement Specialist
With her sixteen-plus years 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. Julie works out of her home office in Michigan.
Carol J. RobertsonRelationship Manager
Carol is a member of the Relationship Management team working from her home in Dallas, TX. 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 SchwanReference 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.
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. He brings his technical experience to WAHVE to help the company and its employees with all of their technology needs..
Mike WiseHR Sales Manager
Mike is the road warrior for WAHVE HR inspiring businesses to engage our HR experts from his home base in Boston. Mike is a writer, photographer, and public speaker with a background that includes 27 years in B2B sales, 13 years in HR and Payroll technology and service, including almost 10 years with ADP, 10 years in insurance e-commerce, and 8 years in Social Tech Consulting.