CEO of Astonish
In 1997, DeGraide started his first company, BZ Results, in Providence, Rhode Island. BZ Results is a digital marketing company that helps car dealers use the Internet to grow their businesses. In 2006, with over 1,600 dealership clients and 150 employees, DeGraide and his partners sold BZ Results to Advanced Digital Processing (ADP).
After the sale of BZ Results, DeGraide started Astonish
As the founder and CEO of Astonish, DeGraide and his team are the driving forces behind a vision to help the insurance industry across the country grow their businesses by using the Internet.
Now currently serving over 700 retail brokers in America Adam DeGraide and his team at Astonish are encouraging the insurance industry across the country to “Join the Internet marketing revolution, or get left behind!”
President of Astonish
Tim Sawyer is President and Director of Client Services of Astonish. He currently works with the clients of Astonish to ensure that they are utilizing all that Astonish has to offer. He has overseen the growth of the company from start up in 2006 to more than 700 customers at the end of 2011. Tim has been featured in articles in Insurance Journal, National Underwriter and Rough Notes Magazine. He has trained thousands of insurance professionals nationwide with a focus on executive coaching and sales training. Tim is dedicated to helping the insurance industry learn and implement the best practices of serving and selling the modern consumer.
Chairman of FASAC
Mr. Chookaszian served as CNA’s chairman and chief executive officer from 1992 until 1999. He also served as chairman of the executive committee of CNA from 1999 to 2001. From 1990 to 1992, Mr. Chookaszian served as CNA’s president and chief operating officer, with responsibility for all property and casualty, life, health and investment operations. Mr. Chookaszian joined CNA in 1975 and served as chief financial officer until 1990 when he was named president.
Mr. Chookaszian has a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Northwestern University, a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Chicago, and a master of science degree in economics from the London School of Economics. He is a Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter, a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Management Consultant as well as a member of the directors’ table of Beta Gamma Sigma, an honorary fraternity. In 2010, Mr. Chookaszian received the Outstanding Director Award from the Financial Times Outstanding Directors Exchange.
Dr. William T. Hold
co-founder and President of The National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research
Dr. Hold is cofounder andPresident of The National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research,a national insurance and risk management education organization. In 1969,the Certified Insurance Counselors (CIC) designation program was developed asthe initial offering of The National Alliance. Today, under Dr. Hold’sleadership, The National Alliance is an umbrella organization under which existresearch and educational programs geared primarily to insurance professionalsand risk management professionals. More than 2,500 programs for over 142,000participants are conducted across the nation, in Puerto Rico, and in Mexico peryear. In addition to the CIC program, The National Alliance offers theCertified Insurance Service Representative (CISR), Certified Risk Manager (CRM)in English and Spanish, and Certified School Risk Manager (CSRM) designationprograms. The new Knowledge Alliance is an online resource for dues-paidmembers and subscribers that presents well researched work of national faculty,universities, and The Research Academy.
President of Paradiso Insurance and Financial
Chris Paradiso started Paradiso Insurance in 1998 after several years in the insurance industry. The company, which started out with 3 employees, has since grown to 15 and counting. With the success of the agency, Chris has been recognized for his accomplishments and his charity work with the Connecticut Children's Medical Center, cover agent on the Rough Notes Magazine, The Insurance Journal, PIA, and several other publications within the insurance industry. With the growth of the agency, Chris has also been recognized and acknowledged for his use of Social Media for the agency as well as helping and co-branding with his clients. This year, Chris has started a new endeavor call Paradiso Presents LLC, which is a social media program geared to show and teach small agencies how to survive in today’s complex online marketing world. Chris resides in Stafford Springs, Connecticut with his wife and two children, Mia and Gianni.
President & CEO at FS Marketing Solutions
Eric has over 25 years of financial services marketing experience. His insurance and financial services firms, AspenCross Financial Group, and Einsurancenow.com, together serve over 36,000 clients from 16 office locations. Eric is also the founder of FS Marketing Solutions, which assists P&C Agencies in accelerating their growth & profitability through the implementation of highly successful financial services marketing and cross-sale programs.
Founder and President of HR That Works
Don Phin, a business and employment practices attorney since 1983, Don litigated cases for 17 years, figured out how ridiculous it all was and decided to help employees and companies avoid destructive scenarios. Since then he has written 3 books and hundreds of articles on the workplace. A polished speaker, Don has presented to more than hundreds of CEO, HR and insurance groups. He is the co-editor of the prestigious EPLiC Journal published by IRMI.
Don is the founder and President of HR That Works, a powerful program used by more than 80 agency partners and 3,000 companies nationwide. This program has been endorsed by Astonish, Sitkins International, Benefits Growth Network, Institute of Work Comp Advisors, Group 500, Keystone Group, Network 2000, Vistage, HR.com and many others.
GM of Astonish
After graduating from Bryant College with a Marketing and Communications degree, Jonathan Monterecy joined Adam DeGraide at his first digital marketing company, BZ Results, in 1998. While there, he had the opportunity to wear many hats and develop his skills in sales and marketing, management, training, and effective digital marketing strategies. Now with over 14 years of experience, Jonathan’s serving as Astonish’s General Manager and National Training Manager. He is currently focused on delivering a consistent and superior client experience through world-class service and sales training and continuous VPC training. Jonathan is on a mission to help the insurance industry take advantage of the tools, technology, and training available to help agencies grow their business.
Chief Technology Officer at Astonish
Rishi is a tech entrepreneur with a passion for creating scalable business models combined with new products and value for large markets.
He is currently responsible for Product Management and Technology division at Astonish. Prior to Astonish, he was with five successful startups-SCRS (acquired by Sun Health Care), Third Screen Media (pioneer in Mobile Advertising & acquired by AOL), Vibes Media (pioneer in Mobile Marketing), Flexi Financials & SnapApp (part of PangeaMedia).
Rishi has also helped global enterprises with large scale software development for Fortune 500 customers. At CA (Computer Associates), I was responsible for building and taking traditional products to emerging markets with new product development and M&A.
VP of Raving Fan Management, Astonish
Kelly Donahue joined Astonish in 2009 as the first Raving Fan Manager for the insurance industry. Currently she oversees the client satisfaction and success for over 350 Astonish clients. Kelly graduated from Bentley University in 2003 with an Honors in Relationship Marketing. After graduating she worked as Director of Client Relations for the largest real estate law firm in Connecticut. Shortly after leaving the firm, Kelly met Tim Sawyer through her consulting work with a mutual client in the mortgage industry. From there Kelly joined Astonish full time.
president and CEO of Partee Insurance
Wayne is the president and CEO of Partee Insurance Associates, Inc. He was born in the San Gabriel Valley in 1946. In November, 1972 he left the family insurance agency in Whittier to return to the San Gabriel Valley and founded Partee Insurance Agency in Covina. 40 years later Partee Insurance still calls Covina home although they write accounts in several states nationwide. Wayne is second generation insurance broker having followed his father into the industry. First licensed in 1970 he has more than 42 years experience in all lines of insurance. He is a Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC), a professional designation achieved by only a small percentage of the people in the industry. He is also a CWCA Certified Workers’ Compensation Advisor. Wayne stresses service above all else to his clients and his community. He continues to give his time, talent and treasure to a number of local and state organizations.
Sales Manager at Main Street Insurance, LLC
Shane Overby began his insurance career in 2002 as an Account Executive for a National Health Insurance carrier. His Role included the management of 265 agents within 35 of 55 WV counties. In 2007 Shane took a sales position with Main Street Insurance, LLC where he is now the Sales and Astonish VIO Manager. Under his leadership Main Street has built a dynamic sales team that has boosted agency sales to a record level.
Shane is a 1994 graduate of Marshall University with a degree in Marketing and has attended several National level Sales and Marketing schools. During his career Shane has received numerous awards for excellence in insurance sales. In 2007, he received the Putnam County Leadership Award from the Putnam County Chamber of Commerce.
Shane is married to the former Kelly McGehee and they have two children, Sydney and Alex.
Scott Roberts joined Astonish in 2009 to help launch and develop the Astonish Coaching training division. With over 20 years in the trenches of sales, sales management, and personal training & coaching experience, Scott has worked hands on with hundreds of Astonish agencies to help maximize their people, processes, tools, and agency culture for optimal results. Scott has a passion for working with people to help them reach their potential, make a lasting impact with their lives, and achieve success.
Astonish Content & Blogging Manager
Natalie Tomasso started her career in business journalism – first as a reporter for an award-winning business newspaper, then as a staff writer for various marketing publications including MarketingSherpa and Anne Holland’s WhichTestWon. With more than seven years of experience producing content including blogs, emails, landing pages, print articles, and online articles in addition to speaking at industry events and presenting webinars on marketing topics, she is a seasoned content writer and marketing specialist.
Astonish Digital Marketing Officer
As the Digital Marketing Officer of Astonish, Dino is in charge of devising and executing marketing strategies on behalf of our clients as well as Astonish. He has over 20 years of experience in marketing, strategy and finance. Before Astonish, Dino was a Senior Vice President at One to One Interactive, where he created and executed digital and social media strategies and ran large online customer acquisition and retention programs for clients like First Marblehead, Liberty Mutual, Comcast, Salem Five Bank, McGraw Hill and Aspen Snowmass. Prior to that, Dino was a Vice President of Marketing at Digitas where he led work for Best Buy, Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, General Motors, and ING. Additionally, Dino worked as a strategy consultant with Bain and Company and as an investment banker at Lehman Brothers. Dino has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a MS in Economics from Universita’ Bocconi in Milan, Italy, and is a member of the American Marketing Association.
Astonish Social Media Manager
Alicia Collins has been on the Astonish team for over two years and currently heads up the social media sector of the internet marketing department. From working with new clients to getting their social media sites up and running, to strategizing with Astonish veterans on the next big thing, Alicia works hand-in-hand with many of our clientele to ensure their social media is up to par and that they have the best practices necessary to help their agencies grow.
Tony Scarnechia started in the Insurance industry in 1988 working with one of the largest personal lines agencies in the country. During his 18 years with the agency he held many roles. The last 8 years were spent in Sales Management responsible for the growth of 5 locations with 35 sales reps. At the time the agency was writing an average of 8,000 policies a month.
Tony then left to start his own Agency writing business in CA, NV, & AZ. He sold the agency in 2010 to join the Astonish Training & Coaching Team.
His passion is passing on the knowledge he has acquired from the 180 trainings he has held across the country in the past 18 months and implementing best practices at each agency. “Nothing is more exciting for me than to see agencies grow once I have been working with them”
Client Advisor for The Omnia Group
Tonya DeVane joined The Omnia Group as a client advisor in September 2008. In her current capacity, Ms. DeVane helps professionals select top talent, manage more effectively and build high-performance teams using behavioral assessment tools/concepts. Tonya has provided guidance to hundreds of businesses in a wide range of industries, including financial services, insurance, automotive, staffing and health care. Before joining Omnia, Tonya worked for several years in retail management. She has trained and developed sales staff, conducted webinars and has over 15 years experience identifying customer needs and implementing innovative solutions. She has a degree in Human Service Counseling.
President of Downey Insurance Agency, Inc.
Charlie is a world class salesman and business leader. It’s not often you meet someone who has a willingness to share and contribute to help other agencies grow and flourish. From the second you meet Charlie you know he has a passion for leadership, marketing and insurance.