Highland Capital Brokerage Management Team

Jim Gelder, CLU®, Chief Executive Officer

Jim Gelder, CLU®, has served as Chief Executive Officer for Highland Capital Brokerage since 2013. From 2007 until 2012, he served as Chief Executive Officer of NFP Insurance Services, Inc. (“NFPISI”) and executive vice president of National Financial Partners. In 2011, Mr. Gelder was named president of the NFP Individual Client Group. Prior to joining NFP, he served as head of the life insurance business distribution organization for ING U.S. Financial Services, where he was responsible for all individual retail life insurance distribution.

Mr. Gelder joined ING as co-CEO of Life Operations through its acquisition of ReliaStar in 2000. From 1995 through 2000, he held a variety of positions with increasing responsibility at ReliaStar, including head of Life Marketing and Life Operations and president and CEO of Security-Connecticut Life, a ReliaStar subsidiary. Prior to that, Mr. Gelder was with ReliaStar’s predecessor, Northwestern National Life. In 1983 Mr. Gelder founded Northwest Marketing Resources, Inc. and ran its brokerage and high net worth retail life practice. Mr. Gelder began his career with Northwestern Life Insurance Company in 1973. As an agent, Mr. Gelder was a multiyear MDRT qualifier. Mr. Gelder attended Southern California College and graduated from Dartmouth College’s Tuck Executive Program. Mr. Gelder received his CLU from the American College.

Drew Lawrence, CPA, CGMA, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

W. Drew Lawrence serves as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Lawrence’s primary role is focused on all financial and strategic aspects of the Company as well as oversight of Highland’s Corporate Office located in Birmingham, Alabama.

Mr. Lawrence has over 18 years industry experience. Prior to joining Highland, Drew served as Chief Financial Officer of Morris-Shea Bridge Company, an international specialty foundation commercial contractor. Additionally, Drew served in various financial/accounting, mergers and acquisition and operational roles with Highland Capital Brokerage (2001-2010) and publicly-traded CVS Caremark.

Drew graduated from Samford University in Birmingham with a B.S. in Accounting. Along with being a Certified Public Accountant and a Chartered Global Management Accountant.

Married for over 16 years to wife Amy, Drew currently resides in Birmingham Alabama, with his wife and their 3 children, Caroline (11), Will (9) and Emme (6).

Advanced Marketing
Robert W. Finnegan, J.D., CLU®, Senior Vice President, Advanced Planning Attorney

Robert W. Finnegan, J.D., CLU®, serves as Senior Vice President, Advanced Planning Attorney at Highland Capital Brokerage. He is responsible for providing advanced sales support across the company, supporting distribution in all channels and working with principals, sales vice presidents, independent producers, and financial institutions to develop business opportunities and enhanced advanced marketing solutions for clients.

The majority of Mr. Finnegan’s 30+ year career as an estate planning attorney has been devoted to protecting and transferring wealth for ultra-high net worth individual and business clients. Prior to joining HCB, he held the position of Executive Vice President, Advanced Planning at Heritage Strategies LLC, in Woodbury, New York, providing technical and product design support in the business, estate, charitable, and executive planning markets. Prior to joining Heritage Strategies, Mr. Finnegan was a founding member of Premier Planning Associates, LLC, in Saratoga Springs, New York. He also served as President of Sage Consulting & Wealth Preservation.

Mr. Finnegan’s expertise includes business, estate, charitable and life insurance planning. His successful approach to planning combines strong legal skills, extensive insurance expertise, and excellent communication skills. Mr. Finnegan employs a full range of sophisticated planning strategies to provide each client with custom results based planning to meet their objectives.

Mr. Finnegan is an honors graduate of the University of Connecticut School of Law (1990), and was awarded his BA degree in Mathematics magna cum laude from Boston University (1977). He has been published in a number of highly regarded national trade magazines including Estate Planning, Probate and Property and the Journal of the American Society of CLU and ChFC. Mr. Finnegan has spoken nationally at the Association of Advanced Life Underwriters National Meeting, at M Financial Group meetings and at other industry events.

Mr. Finnegan is a member of the Society of Financial Service Professionals (CLU®) and, although a non-practicing attorney, the Connecticut Bar Association.

Michael J. Sapyta, CFP®, CLU®, Vice President, Advanced Planning

Michael Sapyta serves as Vice President, Advanced Planning as an expert resource for Highland Capital Brokerage producers on customized wealth transfer solutions – from advanced plan design to implementation of sales concepts with integrated life insurance solutions.

Michael works closely with financial professionals and Highland Vice Presidents to develop insurance-based planning solutions for estate liquidity, supplemental income, business succession, disability, and long-term care. Michael’s responsibilities also include proactively communicating advanced sales ideas and concepts to producers to educate, inform and provide analysis. Prior to joining Highland, Michael gained valuable experience in the qualified retirement plans and executive benefits market with The Summit Group.

Michael is committed to personal and professional development. He received a Bachelor of Science in Finance with a minor in Economics from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. Michael holds a Certified Financial Planning® (CFP) and a Chartered Life Underwriter® (CLU) designation as well as a Series 7 (General Securities Representative), a Series 66 (Uniform Combined State Law), and Life and Health Licenses.

Michael is a member of many national industry organizations: The Association for Advanced Life Underwriting (AALU), The Philadelphia Estate Planning Council, and The Financial Planning Association.

Chase Allen, CLU®, ChFC®, Vice President, Institutional Accounts

As the Vice President, Institutional Accounts for Highland Capital Brokerage, Chase Allen is primarily responsible for serving as a liaison between Highland’s institutional accounts and our field offices, bringing together operations, marketing, and Sales Vice Presidents to provide these accounts with unparalleled service and support.

Prior to joining Highland, Chase served as a Business Development Specialist for BB&T Insurance Services. Before that, Chase was a Sales Vice President for Highland covering the Southeast. Prior to becoming an SVP, Chase worked at Highland in the Institutional Division as Director of Key Accounts where he shared responsibility for relationship management and marketing initiatives.

Having served on both the corporate relationship side, and the field sales side of the brokerage business, Chase brings a unique perspective and deep understanding of institutional distribution, sales, and marketing.

Chase has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama. He is also a Chartered Life Underwriter® and Chartered Financial Consultant®. Chase resides in Birmingham, Alabama with his family.

Greg Mack, Senior Vice President, Alternative Distribution

Greg Mack joined HCB in December 2017 as Senior Vice President, Alternative Distribution. HCB is investing in exponential growth through alternative distribution initiatives and Greg will provide leadership with these initiatives.

For the past 20 years he managed John Hancock Life and LTC distribution to what in recent years became an industry leader in new premiums generated.

Under his leadership, Hancock led the industry four consecutive years. This corporate journey started with a sales and marketing leadership role for Manulife. Greg helped facilitate the merger of Manulife and John Hancock distribution. His insurance career started at the core of our business as a sales producer with Cigna where he was a company leader and qualified for Top of the Table nine consecutive years. During his tenure in private practice, he worked in wire houses and banks and hosted a radio show on money and finance.

Jeffrey A. Orr, J.D., Managing Director, Highland Signature

Jeffrey A. Orr, J.D., serves as Managing Director for Highland Signature, HCB's platform for working in the ultra high net worth (UHNW) space with those departments within banks and wires as well as investment advisory firms and family offices.

Jeff is a business and estate-planning attorney by background, having practiced in California, Utah, and Washington, D.C. Prior to joining Highland Capital Brokerage, Jeff served as Senior Vice President of Distribution for Millennium Brokerage Group Institutional where he managed point of sale professionals, expanded the institutional group, and was responsible for all financial institution disability and life sales, including compliance oversight, marketing coordination, profit and loss management, and carrier and financial institution relationship management. Jeff held the position of Senior Specialist at TIME Financial prior to his position at Millennium. In his role at TIME Financial, Jeff was a leading point of sale life insurance producer working with financial advisors at top tier financial institutions and Wall Street firms providing planning-related insurance products to their clients. Jeff was Vice President of Estate and Financial Planning at LPL prior to his position at TIME where he managed a team of specialists who assisted advisors and their clients with the design and implementation of planning strategies and the associated insurance and annuity products.

In addition to his J.D., Jeff is insurance licensed in many states and holds his Series 63 and Series 7 Securities Licenses. Jeff believes everyone is unique and has his or her own personal story. For Jeff, the key to being a consummate professional is really getting to know people and understanding that “story.” By getting to know people well, Jeff can work with them and their other advisors to create customized plans tailored to their unique circumstances, needs, values, and vision.

Jeff and his husband Wayne live in Seattle. They love spending time with their family, especially their grandchild. While challenged to keep up with the children, Jeff is nonetheless an avid snowboarder, hiker, and a biker. Jeff is an amateur chef and oenophile and loves nothing more than to spend an evening around the table with friends and family enjoying delicious food, excellent wine, and interesting conversation. Jeff brings that same comfort and warmth to the very personal work he does in his professional life.

Lina R. Storm, CLU®, ChFC®, MBA, Vice President, Field Marketing

Lina Storm joined HCB in January 2018 as Vice President, Field Marketing. She has an extensive background in marketing insurance and advanced planning strategies having spent most of her career leading the marketing for John Hancock’s notable Advanced Markets Group. She has been an insurance agent, case design consultant, industry thought leader, industry columnist, advisor’s coach, trainer, speaker, and brand strategist—helping advisors position their expertise, add value, and drive sales. Lina is a CLU®, ChFC® and received her B.A. from Trinity College in CT and an M.B.A. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York.

Trey Wall, LUTCF, Vice President, Independent Broker Dealer Strategies

Trey Wall, LUTCF, serves as Vice President, Independent Broker Dealer Strategies for Highland Capital Brokerage. Trey began his career in the life insurance industry as a life agent and now has over 23 years of experience in the life insurance industry focused on product case design, advanced planning, and brokerage management.

Prior to joining Highland, Trey was the National Sales Director for LPL Insurance Associates. In this role, he was responsible for building LPL’s advanced planning department and when LPL acquired the insurance department of UVEST Financial Services, Trey led the merger of the insurance departments.

Prior to that, Trey worked as the National Sales Director for UVEST Financial Services. He took the lead building their in-house BGA supporting over 300 community banks across the nation. Trey also worked as a national variable life wholesaler for Transamerica and as Brokerage Director for Grice Financial Services. As the Brokerage Director, he supported wirehouses, independents, and banks in Virginia, North, and South Carolina.

Trey is a Life Underwriter Training Council Follow (LUTCF) and a member of AALU and NAILBA. He graduated from Lenoir-Rhyne University and resides in Mint Hill, North Carolina with his wife, Christina and their two teenage children, Jacob and Madison.

Teague Wright, Senior Vice President, Distribution

Teague Wright serves as Senior Vice President of Distribution for Highland Capital Brokerage where she is primarily focused on underwriting excellence, training and mentoring to firm underwriting, consulting on cases, and case advocacy. Additionally, Ms. Wright assists in strengthening carrier relations and works to support the company’s efforts to expand and enhance the HighCap Financial producer group.

Prior to joining HCB, she served as a member of the executive team at Crump Life Insurance Services, Inc., where she led The Potomac Group and was responsible for running a large part of Crump’s independent distribution business. Before that, Ms. Wright built the underwriting department at NFP Life Insurance Services, Inc., specializing in the placement of large, complex cases while traveling around the country to work with financial planners and their clients. She has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, authored several articles in trade publications, has been a frequent speaker at industry association meetings, and is a member of AALU.

Greg Zahn, MBA, Assistant Vice President, Institutional Distribution

Greg Zahn, MBA, serves as Assistant Vice President, Institutional Distribution at Highland Capital Brokerage. He develops, markets, and manages Highland’s straight-through processing (STP) and other industry-leading field technologies for Highland’s national institutional and property & casualty (P&C) relationships. In addition, Greg develops new relationships within the P&C marketplace.

Prior to joining Highland, Greg served as Senior Vice President at NB Signature Insurance Solutions as well as National Brokerage in Tampa, Florida. In both of those roles, he provided oversight and sales team management, as well as marketing and strategic initiative support.

Prior to that, Greg served as the Regional Sales Manager at National Brokerage. In this role, he worked closely with key accounts including, P&C/Benefits agencies, super regional institutions, credit unions, wealth management firms and independent producers on strategic growth and marketing initiatives. He recruited new business from independent life insurance producers nationwide, which included directing the entire sales process from compensation and underwriting negotiations to marketing collateral creation and policy quotes. Greg also worked closely with carriers to coordinate collateral and provided training and point-of-sale assistance.

Greg received his Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Florida State University (FSU) in Tallahassee, Florida and a Masters of Business Administration specializing in marketing, management, and finance from the University of South Florida, Tampa. Greg and his wife Lisa live in Tampa, Florida. They enjoy outdoor activities including kayaking, fishing, golfing and the occasional trip to Tallahassee in the fall to watch a FSU football game.

Finance and Commissions Accounting
Meredith B. Gay, CPA, CGMA, Senior Vice President of Finance & Corporate Controller
Email | 205.263.9237

Meredith B. Gay, CPA, CGMA, serves as Sr. Vice President of Finance and Corporate Controller for Highland Capital Brokerage.

Meredith is responsible for managing the financial accounting functions of Highland Capital Brokerage and the financial accounting team, which include cash management, financial reporting, and firm operations/relationships.

Prior to working at Highland Capital Brokerage, Meredith worked at Regions Financial Corporation as a Senior Internal Audit Manager, Insight Card Services as Chief Accounting Officer, various financial/accounting roles at Highland Capital Brokerage (2003-2011), and Arthur Andersen, LLP and KPMG, LLP as a Senior Accountant.

Meredith received her Bachelor of Science and Masters of Accountancy from the University of Alabama.

Kirk Collins, Assistant Vice President, Brokerage Compensation
Email | 205.263.9251

Kirk Collins, serves as Assistant Vice President of Brokerage Compensation for Highland Capital Brokerage. He is responsible for overseeing the Carrier Compensation and Commission Accounting Departments, as well as monthly production tracking and reporting. Kirk joined Highland in January 2005 as a Commission Accountant. Prior to joining Highland, Kirk was a payroll and cost accountant for a local engineering and construction firm.

HighCap Financial
J. Craig Collins, Senior Vice President, Business Development
Email | 678.428.0551

J. Craig Collins serves as Senior Vice President for Highland Capital Brokerage. He is responsible for national leadership of HighCap Financial, an elite group of producers within the financial services and life insurance industries that value their independence yet desire to affiliate with like-minded professionals to enhance their practice. Members are selected based on their dedication to excellence and they primarily focus on the insurance needs of high-end clientele in the areas of wealth transfer, estate, and business planning.

A veteran of the insurance industry, Craig began his insurance career as an agent in 1977. Before joining Highland, he was Senior Vice President, ING U.S. Inc. (now Voya Financial), where he led the brokerage channel and later co-managed independent life distribution. Prior to that, he ran a regional general agency, worked as an insurance marketing consultant, and served in several home office capacities.

Craig has actively participated on several industry committees and in national associations, including LIMRA, where he served as the Chairman of the Brokerage Committee, NAILBA, and AALU. He studied Business Administration at the University of Kentucky and holds a Series 6 (Investment Company Products/Variable Contracts Limited Representative), a Series 63 (Uniform Securities Agent State Law), and a Series 26 (Investment Company and Variable Contracts Products Principal) license.

Human Resources
Sonya Isbell, PHR, Assistant Vice President, Human Resources
Email | 205.263.9242

Sonya serves as the Assistant Vice President, Human Resources. She oversees all Payroll and HR matters for Highland Capital Brokerage and has been with the company since 2002. Prior to Highland Sonya was the HR/Payroll Manager for a chemical manufacturing company in Marietta, Georgia.

Sonya is a member of the Society for Human Resources Management and has her Professional Human Resources designation (PHR). She has practiced in the HR field for 19 years

Legal and Compliance
Rhonda Padgett, Vice President, Legal & Compliance
Email | 205.263.9213

Rhonda Padgett serves as VP, Legal & Compliance for Highland Capital Brokerage. Rhonda started with Highland in 1998 as part of the Mergers & Acquisition team. Her responsibilities have changed over the years to include her current role monitoring compliance issues, managing policies and procedures, supervising the corporate risk management program, corporate governance and facilitating contracts for the benefit of all Highland offices.

Prior to joining Highland, Rhonda founded Legal Support, Inc., which she operated to provide secretarial and paralegal support to attorneys on a temporary and part-time contract basis. Rhonda began her career over 27 years ago providing legal assistance in top law firms in the Birmingham, Alabama metro area.

Marketing Communications & Events
Wilma Morales Turner, Vice President, Marketing Communications & Events
Email | 205.263.9266

Wilma Morales-Turner serves as Vice President of Marketing Communications and Events and is responsible for marketing, public relations, advertising, strategic branding, event planning, and promotions. Ms. Turner has twenty-seven years of marketing communications experience in the financial services industry, the last ten years at Highland Capital Brokerage. Prior to that, she was the Director of Marketing Communications and Advertising for Fortis Benefits Dental Care. Ms. Turner also worked at Protective Life Corporation for fifteen years and held several marketing management positions within the company.

Anthony Lancaster, MBA, MS-MIS, FLMI, PMP, Senior Vice President, Chief Operating Officer
Email | 205.263.9225

Anthony Lancaster serves as Chief Operating Officer for Highland Capital Brokerage and Ladenburg Thalmann Annuity Insurance Services LLC. He is responsible for executing strategic enterprise roadmaps, managing information technology, and leading the company’s project management team. Anthony’s expertise includes process improvement, project management, and information technology integration strategies.

Prior to joining Highland and Ladenburg, Anthony was Director of Operations with New York Life in Chicago.

Anthony has two master’s degrees. The first is in Management Information Systems (MIS) and the second is in Business Administration (MBA). In addition, he holds a Project Management Professional Certification (PMP)® and he is Six Sigma Black Belt Certified (CSSBB).

Shelley Bondurant, MBA, PMP, Assistant Vice President, Field Operations
Email | 205.263.9209

Shelley Bondurant, MBA, PMP, serves as AVP of Field Operations for Highland Capital Brokerage. She is responsible for the oversight and management of the operational services and systems offered to the organization, which includes the Broker Contracting department. Shelley joined Highland in February 2011. Prior to joining Highland, Shelley worked in roles as a business analyst, project manager, and general management with increasing responsibility in the medical device and financial services industries.

Underwriting & New Business
Nancy Hanson, CLU®, Vice President, Field Operations & New Business

Nancy Hanson, CLU®, is the Vice President of Field Operations and New Business for Highland Capital Brokerage. In this role, Nancy is responsible for leading the new business and case management team, as well as field operations. Prior to this role, Nancy served as Vice President of Operations for the Highland Capital Brokerage Northwest office since 2003.

Nancy has worked in the Life Insurance industry since 1989. Before joining Highland, she worked for Sunset Life Insurance Company. At Sunset Life, she held multiple roles in the marketing and sales division, ultimately holding the position of Regional Director. Prior to that, Nancy served at Jefferson Pilot Life insurance Company as a Field Vice President. In 1999, she joined LIMRA International as a Client Manager to Insurance Companies focusing on independent producer distribution. Nancy holds a life insurance license in addition to being a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU®).

Robert Brookie, Assistant Vice President, Underwriting

As the Assistant Vice President of Underwriting, Bob Brookie leads the Highland Capital Brokerage underwriting team. In addition to leading the underwriting team, Bob evaluates and summarizes client health histories and serves as a liaison between brokers and carriers, advocating for the best possible underwriting decision in the life brokerage market. He is in his 10th year at Highland, having previously served as the Director of Business Operations and Underwriting with the Heartland office.

Bob is a 36 year veteran of the life insurance industry and although he has a wide range of experience in many industry specific areas, his most notable background is in life insurance operations.

Bob’s experience includes 18 years of life underwriting and consulting in a home office environment. He has also managed information technology, programming, private label product implementation, agent contracting, commissions, financing, and fringe benefit programs. In addition, he has designed and implemented underwriting and case management systems.

Bob is a Fellow, Life Management Institute (FLMI) specializing in Selection of Risks.

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This page is intended for agents and representatives only, and not to inform members of the general public. The information provided in the testimonials above may not be indicative of the experience of any end clients. The experiences and opinions are those of the financial professionals only. Securities by licensed Individuals Offered Through Investacorp, Inc. A Registered Broker/Dealer. Member FINRA, SIPC. Advisory Services Offered Through Investacorp Advisory Services, Inc. A SEC Registered Investment Advisory Firm. Highland Capital Brokerage is not affiliated with Investacorp nor Investacorp Advisory Services. Not all of the individuals listed on this site are registered to offer Securities products or Advisory services through Investacorp of Investacorp Advisory Services. Investacorp of Investacorp Advisory Services does not offer tax or legal advice. This site is published for residents of the United States only. Registered Representatives and Investment Advisor Representatives of Investacorp of Investacorp Advisory Services may only conduct business with residents of the states and jurisdictions in which they are properly registered. Therefore, a response to a request for information may be delayed. Not all of the products and services referenced on this site are available in every state and through every representative or advisor listed. For additional information, please contact compliance@highland.com.