CONNECT SUMMIT SPEAKERS

John Wepler
John Wepler
Chairman & CEO
MarshBerry
A vital resource in mergers and acquisitions (M&A), as of December 31, 2017, John Wepler has personally advised on 207 M&A transactions since joining Marsh, Berry & Company, Inc. (“MarshBerry”) in 1991. He is an in-demand industry speaker because of his extensive knowledge in organic growth management, valuation enhancement strategies, business planning, perpetuation, financial management and M&A. As Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of MarshBerry—and CEO of the wholly-owned FINRA registered broker/dealer MarshBerry Capital, Inc.—John’s leadership and industry experience has benefitted many insurance industry professionals.

A Respected Adviser
John’s stewardship in the insurance industry has positioned him over the years as a sought-after adviser and chairperson for a range of organizations. He currently serves as an adviser to the board for the Worldwide Broker Network. Previous board positions include the Chairman of the Board of the Midwest Division of the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF), the IICF’s national Board of Governors, Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of New York, the American Bankers Insurance Association, and adviser to the Disabled Veterans Insurance Careers (DVIC) Board.

An Industry Mentor
John brings his deep advising experience to the ground level at industry seminars and events, as a keynote speaker and leader of executive forums. He strongly believes in advancing the industry and growing businesses through peer engagement and benchmarking. He is often a keynote speaker at insurance carrier elite meetings, national conferences and leadership forums, including:
• Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers conferences
• Chubb Wharton Executive Leadership Training
• Selective Executive Symposiums
• S&P Global Market Intelligence investment workshops

An Invested Partner
With extensive experience in all facets of insurance business planning—from organic growth to perpetuation—John’s skillset allows for designing innovative, progressive strategies that help owners as they work to realize their business goals and life’s dreams. Professionally, he maintains the Series 62, 79, 99, 24 and 63 FINRA registrations through MarshBerry Capital, Inc., the affiliated FINRA-registered Broker/Dealer of Marsh, Berry & Company, Inc. John earned his bachelor’s degree in finance from Ohio University and has a master’s degree in business administration from Kent State University.

Curt Vondrasek
Curt Vondrasek
SVP
MarshBerry
Curt Vondrasek joined Marsh, Berry & Company, Inc. (“MarshBerry”) in 2016 and is the Senior Vice President of the Management Consulting Group. Curt is responsible for the strategy and direction of the Peer Exchange Networks, Talent Acquisition and Sales Performance business units. Curt sits on MarshBerry’s Strategic Planning Committee, and leads the Sales Board and the Networks Advisory Committee. He is also a frequent speaker at carrier, association, MarshBerry and industry events.

Prior to joining MarshBerry, Curt worked for HUB International as the Chief Business Development Officer in charge of their Business Development team. He was responsible for building, developing and leading a team that focused on outbound lead generation, new revenue growth, recruiting and training. While at HUB, Curt recruited and trained over 100 individuals and won a Bronze Stevie award for Insurance Executive of the Year.

Prior to HUB, Curt led US sales teams at both Allstate and AIG American General where he developed nationwide strategies and business plans, resulting in several years of double-digit growth. This included working with both captive and independent agents. With over 20 years of experience, Curt has started, reorganized and led various sales (inside and outside), marketing, training, recruiting and account management teams.

Outside of work, Curt has served on several boards including ABIA, CIMRO and RRHOA. He is also a past member of the American Heart Association wellness committee and the past president of the Chicago chapter for the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals, which won the “Comeback Chapter of the Year” in 2013.

Curt earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL where he majored in finance and served as the president of his fraternity. He currently lives in Naperville, IL with his wife and two daughters.

David Soforenko
David Soforenko
Executive Vice President
MarshBerry
David joined Marsh, Berry & Company, Inc. (“MarshBerry”) in 2018 as Executive Vice President. In his role, David is responsible for the strategy and direction of MarshBerry’s newly formed Connect platform.

Prior to joining MarshBerry, David was with Starkweather & Shepley Insurance Brokerage, Inc. (“Starkweather”) for over 20 years where he rose to become a key leader of the firm. Until his departure, he was President, Chief Operating Officer, Director, Trustee, and Sales Manager of the firm. David’s responsibilities included, but were not limited to, building, developing and leading Commercial, Employee Benefits, and Surety operations with a strong focus on practice specialization management, organic revenue growth, retention strategies, and producer/account executive talent acquisition and development. Additionally, David participated in, and later led, Starkweather’s merger & acquisition activities. He also spearheaded their Captive and Small Business strategies.

David began his career with Aetna Casualty & Surety as a Commercial Casualty Underwriter in its Boston, MA, office and left Starkweather in 1992 for five years to help manage an apparel manufacturing facility in Fall River, MA, returning in 1997.

For nearly 15 years, David was an active participant in MarshBerry’s peer exchange programming, aligning himself, and Starkweather, to many of the key attributes of high growth agencies. He earned his Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) in 2003 and has served on and chaired numerous industry and community boards. David graduated from the University of Rhode Island in Kingston, RI and lives in Lincoln, RI, with his wife and two children.

Josh Linkner
Josh Linkner
World-Renowned Innovation Expert
Josh Linkner – who started his career as a jazz guitarist – personifies innovation, entrepreneurship, and breakthrough disruption. He has been the founder and CEO of five tech companies, which sold for a combined value of over $200 million.

Josh is a New York Times Bestselling author, and an internationally recognized expert on innovation and applied creativity. His first book, Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity (2011), become one of the most definitive works on the topic of innovation, and has since been published in 14 languages. His other two books, The Road to Reinvention: How to Drive Disruption and Accelerate Transformation (2014), and Hacking Innovation: The New Growth Model from the Sinister World of Hackers (2017), have both received critical acclaim and have pushed the boundaries of business leaders worldwide.

Josh is also the Founding Partner of Detroit Venture Partners, investing in and/or mentoring over 100 startups. Today he serves as Chairman and co-founder of Platypus Labs, an innovation research, enablement and consulting firm.

Josh has twice been named the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year and is a President Barack Obama Champion of Change award recipient. He is a regular columnist for Forbes, The Detroit Free Press, and Inc. His work on innovation has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, CNN, and The New York Times.

He is the father of four, a passionate Detroiter, and yes, he still plays a mean jazz guitar.