Speakers & Entertainment
Jim Abbott was born September 19, 1967, in Flint, Michigan without a right hand. He was an All-America hurler at Michigan; won the Sullivan Award in 1987; was the pitcher for the Gold Medal Olympic Team in 1988; and threw a 4-0 no-hitter for the New York Yankees versus Cleveland (September 4, 1993). Jim played for 10 seasons on 4 different teams and ended his big league playing career in 1999.
Abbott has worked with The Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) on several initiatives encouraging businesses to hire people with disabilities.
Today, in addition to often being a Guest Pitching Instructor during Spring Training for the Los Angeles Angels, Jim Abbott is a motivational speaker.
On A Personal Note
Jim lives in California with his wife, two children and their dog. His parents still live in Michigan. Jim and his family take the summer off each year to stay at the lake and visit with family and friends. Jim has a younger brother.
Charlie Berens- Manitowoc Minute
Comedian, host, actor and Emmy-winning journalist Charlie Berens is a dynamic talent in the comedy world. Berens is the creator and star of the Manitowoc Minute. In 6 months he transformed the viral video series into an hour-long variety show selling out venues, sometimes within minutes. Charlie’s career extends beyond the Manitowoc Minute. From creating content for Funny or Die, TBS Digital and Fox Sports 1, to hosting shows for Fox, CBS Sports Network and Variety, Berens’ skill set proves invaluable in a rapidly changing media landscape.
Born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Berens has always had a love for satire. Growing up watching Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert inspired him to study journalism at the University of Wisconsin. As a junior he was hired by MTV to cover the presidential election. That began Berens’ unique blend of journalism and comedy.
After MTV, Berens hosted for the emerging comedy news platforms like OneMinuteNews and HyperVocal. He spent months on the road covering the presidential elections. In 2012, Tribune Media tapped Berens to host their late night comedic news show Nightcap. While at Nightcap, he then co-host Zuri Hall (E! News) wrote and produced sketch comedy. They would later use their experience in local news as inspiration for their scripted series Co-Anchor Confidential. In 2016 Berens sold the concept to LOL, a network partnership between Kevin Hart and Lionsgate.
In 2014 CBS Sports Network hired Berens to host the sports gameshow You’re So Money. Also in 2014, PMC (Variety, Deadline) made Berens the host of their comedy/entertainment news brand @Hollywood. From red carpets to Sundance to SXSW to Coachella, Berens has interviewed hundreds of celebrities, politicians, actors, and musicians.
In 2016 Berens turned his attention toward acting and developing his scripted shows. He found success at the Just For Laughs Festival where his Co-Anchor Confidential pitch was selected from 500 submissions. Hart then picked the series up at the JFL Pitch Panel.
Berens is regularly featured on Funny or Die. His comedic mashups including “If Jack Dawson Was Really From Wisconsin” have garnered more than 13 million views. Additionally, he performs stand up around the Los Angeles area, and occasionally hosts events for Samsung and Variety.
Berens is currently on tour with the Manitowoc Minute Live. Additionally he releases a weekly Manitowoc Minute Facebook video often getting between 400,000-1 million views.
Called a “web marketing guru” by the New York Times, the story of how Marcus was able to save his swimming pool company, River Pools, from the economic crash of 2008 has been featured in multiple books, publications, and university case studies around the world – and is also the inspiration for his latest book, “They Ask, You Answer,” which was dubbed the #1 marketing book to read in 2017 by Mashable and one of “11 Marketing Books Every CMO Should Read” by Forbes.
Known for his incredibly unique ability to excite, engage and motivate live audience, Sheridan has become a highly sought-after international keynote speaker and consultant in the digital sales and marketing space and is, according to Forbes, 1 of 20 “Speakers You Don’t Want to Miss.” As founder and president of The Sales Lion, he also works with hundreds of businesses, helping them to become the most trusted voice in their industry while navigating the ultra-fast rate of change occurring within consumers and buyers today.
Mallory is the Director of Risk Management for IIAW. Joining the team in April 2017, Mallory continues to build the risk management playbook within IIAW to provide additional resources, such as E&O audits, best practices and operational consulative services to members. Through innovative new practices, key risks will be identified and mitigated in a tailored fashion to meet your business needs. Mallory is passionate about risk management and the value it can bring to an organization, large or small.
Mallory holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Prior to joining IIAW, she worked for seven years within the global risk management space at Kimberly-Clark Corporation in Neenah, WI.
Josh Johanningmeier is the IIAW's General Counsel. He is a shareholder in Godfrey & Kahn's Insurance Practice Group where his practice includes litigation and consulting regarding insurance company insolvency and insurance guaranty funds, as well as representation of insurance companies and agents before state regulators, including the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance.
Josh is a member of the NCIGF and NOLHGA, as well as the Defense Research Institute and the Litigation and Products Liability Sections of the American Bar Association. He received his B.A. from Luther College, his M.A. from Iowa State University, and his J.D., with high distinction, from the University of Iowa.
Michael Schultz is a Senior Broker of Professional Lines with the largest independent wholesale insurance broker in North America, Burns & Wilcox. He is the Cyber Liability practice leader within the organization and leads a team of highly specialized experts focused on brokering business in the cyber space. He has been regularly featured as a cyber-risk expert and has tailored insurance coverage solutions for clients in all industry segments located throughout the United States.
Michael received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Political Science from the University of Michigan and was a recipient of the Evans Scholarship.
Brian Sorge joined WPS Health Insurance in 2001 and is currently an Agency Sales Executive. His experience has brought focus in the support and sales of ACA small group and Individual plans. Brian enjoys education and outreach to agents including continuing education, sales, insurance, and product training. Brian honed his skills at his previous employer, Walt Disney World Company in Orlando where he was a certified Disney trainer. Brian is known for his knowledgeable and energetic presentations. Brian is certified to train more than 100 CE classes through WPS, conducted over 3000 hours of CE and more given more than 800 presentations.
David has more than 38 years of health plan administration experience. David has held management positions in claims, customer service, enrollment, provider contracting, marketing and sales. David gained his experience through employment at two major insurance companies, a Pharmacy Benefit Manager, and a large independent insurance agency.
David’s undergraduate degree is in Business Administration and Finance from Marquette University, he also holds a Certificate in Sales Management from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and is a graduate of the Certified Health Care Consultant (CHC) program at Purdue University and is a Registered Health Underwriter (RHU) and a Chartered Healthcare Consultant (ChHC) completing the courses of study from The American University in Pennsylvania.
Commissioner Nickel appointed J.P. Wieske as Deputy Commissioner of Insurance for the State of Wisconsin in June 2016. Deputy Commissioner Wieske, subject to the general direction of the Commissioner, supervises the regulatory, public information and administrative functions of the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance. As Deputy, he also exercises and performs the functions of the Commissioner in the Commissioner's absence. Prior to this appointment, Mr. Wieske served as the OCI Legislative Liaison/Public Information Officer (PIO) for 5 years.
Mr. Wieske brings more than 20 years of experience working in the insurance industry. He is the Chair of the NAIC's Regulatory Framework Task Force and has served as Chair of the NAIC's Network Adequacy Subgroup. As PIO, Mr. Wieske directed OCI's communication strategy including responding to press inquiries, supervising OCI's Web site, and editing OCI publications. As Legislative Liaison, he shepherded OCI's legislative agenda through the legislative process including bills relating to insurance company solvency requirements and bills impacting all lines of insurance.
Prior to his appointment as Legislative Liaison/PIO, Mr. Wieske served as the Executive Director of the Council of Affordable Health Insurance. In that capacity, he authored and co-authored numerous publications related to timely health insurance issues and testified on insurance issues in state legislatures across the country. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and Political Science from Carroll College.
Cari Lee was hired as the Bureau Director of Market Regulation in the Division of Regulation and Enforcement in March of 2014 and promoted to the Division Administrator for Regulation and Enforcement in February of 2016. For the past four years, Cari has overseen the regulatory activities of Wisconsin’s insurance market, including; market conduct, rate and form filings, financial solvency, agent licensing, and consumer complaints.
Prior to joining the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, Cari served as the Director of Membership and Marketing for the Independent Insurance Agents of Wisconsin (IIAW). In addition, to her experience with the IIAW, she has over fifteen years of combined insurance policy and legislative experience working in the Wisconsin State Senate and Assembly as well as with the Wisconsin Association of Health Underwriters Association, the Preferred Provider Association, and in the Office of former Wisconsin Governor, Tommy G. Thompson.
Matthew Banaszynski is the Chief Executive Officer and Executive Vice President of the Independent Insurance Agents of Wisconsin. Matt joined the IIAW in 2010. Matt currently serves on the Board of Directors for Trusted Choice. In addition, Matt serves as an Advisory Board Member for UW-Madison’s Center for Professional and Executive Development, Property and Casualty Advisory Committee for Wisconsin Insurance Commissioner Ted Nickel and on the Finance and Policy Advisory Committee for Congressman Mike Gallagher.
Previously, he served on the Board of Directors for InVest and Governor Scott Walker’s Council on Financial Literacy. In addition, he has served on the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America's Strategic Planning Committee from 2013-2016 and as an Advisory Board Member for UW-Oshkosh's Center for Insurance and Risk Management.
In 2015 and 2017, Insurance Business America Magazine recognized Matt as one of the Young Guns, representing the "Best and Brightest in the insurance industry.... set to lead the industry for decades to come who are under 40."
In 2016, Insurance Business America Magazine again recognized Matt, but this time as one of the "HOT 100" which 'represents the best of the best the insurance industry has to offer and are true thought leaders and influencers in our industry'.
In 2017, Matt was recognized as the Young Gun of the Year. This accolade goes to the (one) new industry player who has excelled at pushing the envelope with innovation and growth, garnering industry’s attention and the respect of peers. In 2018, Matt was again named to the Hot 100!
West Bend Mutual
Pat Callahan, Progressive
Burns & Wilcox