Meet the Rising Stars of 2024: Creative, Adaptable, and Ready for Change (2024)

The 2024 Class of Rising Stars is here, and its graduating members are showing what it means to be a Power Broker during times of change and unpredictability.

Meet the Rising Stars of 2024: Creative, Adaptable, and Ready for Change (1)

What makes a Rising Star?

Every year, Risk & Insurance® honors the Power Broker® winners and finalists under the age of 40 in this very issue. But these Rising Stars are more than just their age — they are the up-and-coming generation of insurance professionals who have proven their mettle with solution-driven creativity and steadfast dedication to their clients and career.

Many of these brokers are just around a decade into the profession. And considering that the past five years have brought tremendous change (a global pandemic, two prominent wars, a surge of environmental laws and legislation, geopolitical tension and a push for generative AI — to name a few), these brokers have spent a good portion of their careers on the edge of change.

“I think anyone in insurance knows that things tend to move very slowly in terms of change. But COVID, and working from home, changed how we do our work more quickly than we would have otherwise,” said Kirsten Calkins, 34, senior vice president, Aon, and a 2024 International Power Broker finalist.

“From an international perspective, the political environment in the world right now has been a challenge, trying to maintain coverage in Russia, Ukraine and Israel through these conflicts. And then, on the flip side, also trying to continue to work with our local teams as they’re dealing with these issues in their own countries,” she shared.

It’s not just the international sector seeing change; Darryn Ratliff, 27, regional director, cyber liability practice, Gallagher, and a 2024 Cyber Power Broker winner, knows better than most what it means to be kept on one’s toes.

“I’ve been through a soft market; I’ve been through a very hard market. And then now I’m going through another soft market,” he said. Cyber insurance is still in its relative infancy compared to covers like marine or property. Growing technologies and reliance on the internet have molded cyber insurance into a necessity for businesses in just under a decade.

“Cyber insurance has evolved to make sure that we’re covering our clients. The way that risk has evolved in the past five years, there’s also been a switch in the way boards prioritize and push for further development, and even further investment in different sorts of securities,” Ratliff said. “That’s been a really huge change.”

This world of change is not a new concept; it is the rapid pace at which change is happening that has led this year’s class of Rising Stars to become the adaptable, creative bunch they are.

‘Complacency’ Isn’t Even in Their Vocabulary

Being adaptable is a skill the brokers in the next few pages have had to hone very early on in their careers. Insurance is often described as the backbone of the economy, enabling businesses to thrive and people to live their lives, and this year’s Rising Stars do not take it for granted.

“I try to never be complacent and never assume that what I’ve done today is good for tomorrow,” said Jason Guerrera, 32, senior vice president, public entity and social services, USI Insurance Services.

Perhaps it is true that complacency breeds contempt. As a 2024 Public Sector Power Broker winner, Guerrera understands there’s no true comfort in complacency. That’s where insurance programs become stagnant — and risk grows.

“I always tell my clients — and myself — that just because it works now doesn’t mean that it’s going to work in the future, and that we always have to be on the lookout for what’s going on in the market, what’s going on in the client’s environment, and constantly assess and challenge the norm to make sure that we’re offering the most efficient, responsive program to meet their needs,” he said.

This forward-thinking, proactive approach to brokering isn’t done for the glory of it; it’s a quality born out of the challenges this generation of professionals has faced. It’s also something that is reflected in each and every profile and application of this year’s Rising Stars.

“It’s exciting to be a part of change, especially from a risk and insurance perspective, because we’re the enablers and in many cases create risk financing solutions that allow projects to reach financial close,” said Erin O’Shaughnessy, 26, vice president, Marsh, and a 2024 Utilities Power Broker winner.

“Being in this time of change, resiliency, uncertainty — there’s a lot of new opportunity for new ways of thinking,” she added. “As brokers, we’re able to communicate to insurers and clients the best path forward for all parties, because we get both perspectives being in the middle. We see the key risks clients face … [and] also understand the insurers’perspective.”

These brokers bridge the gap. And when client and insurer find themselves navigating murky waters, whether it be from a changing risk landscape or simply having different goals, these brokers exercise perhaps one of the most vital tools to insurance: their creativity.

Creativity as a Core Trait of Power Brokering

Risk & Insurance considers creativity a core trait of the Power Broker.

But take awards out of the equation for a moment. Yes, we love our Power Brokers, and yes, we love being able to recognize their efforts each year. But all that aside, what really makes an effective broker is that individual’s ability to find workable solutions for their clients — every day, against allodds.

Creativity in times of tumultuous change is not easy. Being “on” and searching for a solution every day can be relentless.

“To the point of having constant changes and evolutions in the marketplace, staying creative is how you stay ahead of those challenges,” O’Shaughnessy said.

These Rising Stars persevere.

“Creativity is so important, especially in a tough marketplace. And especially in an industry where the marketplace is very limited,” Guerrera said. “When you don’t have several markets jumping for joy to write your business, you have to get creative in terms of how you approach the market, but also how the program isstructured.”

“Creativity is probably one of the most important tools we have,” added Calkins. “We do get some very strange questions. Complex issues come up that are often things we have never seen before.”

Thinking outside the box goes hand in hand with creativity, because sometimes a solution isn’t obvious or within the parameters of the situation at play. But Calkins also brought up an excellent point: “Insurance is often boxed in with different laws, regulations, different abilities of the carriers. So finding that solution that still fits within the box can be important as well.”

It’s not just outside-the-box creativity that drives results; it’s the ability to look inside the box and maneuver every corner to work for the client.

“This is what sets brokers apart; it differentiates the technical broker from the transactional broker. We strive to be as technical as possible, because that’s what clients really appreciate,” Ratliff said. “I try not to be a broker who only turns around terms and then says that this is the best option; I want to educate clients and give them as much information as they possibly need so that they can make that informed decision.

“Being creative is extremely important, because that’s what gets the job done,” he said.

Passion from the Start

So, what makes a Rising Star?

Age is but one factor. Adapting to challenging times another. Being creative is what sets a broker on the path toward success, and having the ability to actually think creatively gives them a leg to stand on in thisindustry.

There are many ways to define a good broker, but it would be remiss not to mention the passion behind each of these Rising Stars.

“I really clicked with the international team at Aon,” Calkins said of her time interviewing during her undergraduate years. What kept her was the variety of an international program.

“You’re looking at lots of different countries. I studied Spanish in school, so I’ve always been interested in language and learning about other cultures and learning more about how insurance works in each of those countries, because it can be so different.”

Ratliff shared that he loves a good challenge: “The unpredictability in the cyber space is extremely exciting. I love challenges. And I love things that are difficult for me to work on and solve. Cyber is most certainly something that is difficult, because it can change at the snap of a finger.”

O’Shaughnessy’s inclination for renewable energy led her to the utilities space. The ability to play a part in the renewables conversation sparked her insurance interests.

“The consumption of energy and how we create and use energy and power, like turning on light switches — it’s kind of a fabric to our society and how we’re able to advance cities and even rural communities,” she said. “It’s in everything … We deal with a lot of cool, new, innovative, exciting projects, and a lot of new clients, whether they’ve been around for 100 years or they’re a new development fund or start-up founded yesterday. We get to see all of that in our practice.”

Guerrera too finds joy in the unpredictability of brokering, echoing the same thirst for challenge as his Rising Star colleagues. For him, the public sector is a perfect fit, because “every town is so unique. You can’t walk into a town and expect the same wants and needs. Every town is a new canvas that is an opportunity for us to look at and provide expertise on.”

If anything, the passion and drive of these brokers demonstrates exactly why they’ve joined the ranks of Power Broker and Rising Star, like so many before them.

Because no matter the external impact of the world — with its pandemics, wars, technology, what have you — these brokers, at their very core, love what they do. And that’s paramount to success, bar none.

“Try not to be something that you’re not and just enjoy the process,” Ratliff advised future brokers. “This can be very long and rewarding career. Take on every opportunity and run with it.” &

The 2024 Rising Stars

Madalyn Young, 23, Gallagher, Health Care

Katie Cole, 25, Aon, International

Jennifer Mula, 25, Aon, At Large

Olivia Bachelet, 26, Marsh, Trad. Energy

Erin O’Shaughnessy, 26, Marsh, Utilities

Tori Roberts, 26, Gallagher, Education

Elena Rolseth, 26, Aon, Real Estate

Greg Abboud, 27, Marsh, Marine

Scott Ansell, 27, Marsh, Pharma

Philip Hamrick, 27, Aon, Technology

Darryn Ratliff, 27, Gallagher, Cyber

Molly Belmont, 28, Gallagher, Employee Benefits

Summer Graziano, 28, Aon, Marine

Chad Manthey, 28, WTW, Health Care

Erin Bundy, 29, Aon, Technology

Matthew Doyle, 29, Marsh, Environmental

Jaclyn Perryman,29, WTW, Agriculture

Victor Tang, 29, Marsh McLennan, Employee Benefits

Alan Anderson, 30, Aon, Fine Arts

Davis Anderson, 30, IOA, Marine

Vara Cybart, 30, CAC Specialty, Technology

Will Kantlehner,30, Gallagher, Construction

Jeff Lee, 30, Aon, Trad Energy

Chris Scott, 30, Marsh, Finance

Kyle Berger, 31, Marsh, Health Care

Todd Burack, 31, McGriff, Renewable Energy

Reid Clary, 31 AssuredPartners, Agriculture

Anthony Folsom, 31, Aon, International

Myles Martel, 31, Aon, Renewable Energy

Joseph Salazar, 31, Aon, Cyber

Samuel Smith, 31, Aon, Pharma

Maxim Tabourel, 31, Aon, At Large

Sophia Turner, 31, Aon, Real Estate

Marty Detmer, 32, Aon, Manufacturing

Jon Dollar, 32, WTW, Entertainment

Jason Guerrara, 32, USI Insurance Srv, Public Sector

Max McKay, 32, IOA, Employee Benefits

Natalie Quin, 32, Marsh, Pharma

Ashley Walker, 32, Aon, Environmental

Joseph Willis, 32, Oakbridge Ins, Construction

Jordan Barr, 33, Marsh, Transportation

Lacy Benson, 33, Marsh, At Large

Tim Dunleavy, 33, Newfront, Technology

Kelly Eisenbies, 33, Gallagher, Education

Phil Hayes, 33, AssuredPartners, Constuction

Susanna Nektalova, 33, Marsh, Cyber

Vanessa Smith, 33, CAC Specialty, Cyber

Akshay Sood, 33, Marsh, Specialty

Liz Barcus, 34, Marsh, Retail

Kirsten Calkin, 34, Aon, International

William Coleman, 34, Aon, M&A

Stanley Choi, 34, Marsh McLennan, At Large

Chris Delia, 34, Aon, Trad Energy

Michael DeLio, 34, Aon, Trad Energy

Charlie Eisenbies, 34, Gallagher, Education

Samantha Manfredini Look, 34, Aon, Specialty

Megan Pittelli, 34, Aon, Private Client

Chelsea Tesei Bronstein, 35, Aon, Private Client

Erica Carr, 35, AssuredPartners, Transportation

Kyle Clancy, 35, HUB, Entertainment

Matthew Clements, 35, Robins Insurance, Hospitality

Joshua Daly, 35, Gallagher, Public Sector

Falak Kothari, 35, Marsh, Manufacturing

Mandy Lan, 35, Aon, Manufacturing

Daniel Palmer, 35, Risk Strategies, Cyber

Anthony Walker, 35, Aon, International

Andy Boedeker, 36, Aon, M&A

Spencer Channing, 36, Marsh, Marine

Isabelle de St. Antoine,36, Aon, Fine Arts

Alexandra Jennings, 36, Marsh, Pharma

Cabot Lyman, 36, Aon, At Large

Emily Paolucci, 36, WTW, Real Estate

Kyle Powell, 36, Aon, Public Sector

Austin Shadle, 36, Robins Insurance, Education

Marc Schein, 36, Marsh McLennan, Cyber

Deepak Adappa, 37, Marsh, Technology

Jesse Barrow, 37, Gallagher, Renewable Energy

Terence Bohan, 37, Aon, Hospitality

Candice Catalano, 37, Aon, Retail

Martyn Chattey, 37, Aon, M&A

Rhanz Cuison, 37, Marsh, Construction

Sarah Palmer, 37, Gallagher, Pharma

Yan Veytsman, 37, Marsh, Renewable Energy

Ian Ackerman, 38, Gallagher, Nonprofit

Thomas Bonfiglio, 38, CAC Specialty, M&A

William Burke, 38, Risk Strategies, Public Sector

Anthony Carlton, 38, Gallagher, Education

Matt Coleman, 38, AssuredPartners, Transportation

Brian Chu, 38, IOA, Workers’ Comp

Daniel Kilberg, 38, Gallagher, Real Estate

Stephen Kyriacou, 38, Aon, Specialty

Steve Miller, 38, IOA, Technology

Kurt Spielmann, 38, Marsh, M&A

Brandon Cole, 39, Gallagher, Nonprofit

Matthew Gluck, 39, Marsh, M&A

Marcus Henthorn, 39, Gallagher, Public Sector

Blythe Hogan, 39, Aon, Fine Arts

Jessica Klipphahn, 39, WTW, Cyber

Michelle Landver, 39, Newfront, Retail

Anthony Lutario, 39, Gallagher, Captives

Paul Martinez, 39, Newfront, Employee Benefits

Samar Patni, 39, Marsh, Public Sector

Nathan Wonder, 39, CAC Specialty, Renewable Energy

Autumn Demberger is a freelance writer and can be reached at [emailprotected].

Meet the Rising Stars of 2024: Creative, Adaptable, and Ready for Change (2024)


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