About us

Established in 2008, Brightway is one of the largest privately owned property/casualty insurance distribution companies in the U.S. with over 300 franchises in over 30 states.

Meet the Leadership team

Mark Cantin Learn More

Mark Cantin

President & CEO
Kris Azar Learn More

Kris Azar

Vice President, FirstCity Insurers
TJ Fjelseth Learn More

TJ Fjelseth

Chief Human Resource Officer
Rick Fox Learn More

Rick Fox

Chief Revenue Officer
Brendan Gaine Learn More

Brendan Gaine

Head of Sales
Michael Garamoni Learn More

Michael Garamoni

Chief Financial Officer
Barry Grant Learn More

Barry Grant

Interim Chief Technology Officer
Eliah Kahn Learn More

Eliah Kahn

Head of Customer Experience
David Mozdziak Learn More

David Mozdziak

Head of Marketing and Communications
Irina Shevelenko Learn More

Irina Shevelenko

Head of Business Transformation
Jess Spendley Learn More

Jess Spendley

Vice President, Accounting Operations
Max Staplin Learn More

Max Staplin

General Counsel
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Mark Cantin

Mark Cantin

President & CEO

Mark Cantin is the President and CEO of Brightway. Mark leads Brightway with a vision of becoming a tech-enabled, turnkey provider for the insurance franchisee of the future, while offering choice, flexibility and a seamless experience for customers.

 

Mark is an industry veteran with over 30 years of experience in the insurance field, including both insurance distribution and underwriting. Throughout his career, he has led business strategy definition and execution, P&L oversight and turnaround, distribution and sales management, transformational change and technology innovation.

 

He previously served as lead operating executive – Insurance Distribution at GrowthCurve Capital. Prior to that, Mark was president of field operations and a member of the executive committee at QBE North America, a division of QBE Insurance Group, one of the 20 largest global insurance and reinsurance companies. Before that, Mark was the chief marketing officer at USI Insurance, one of top 10 domestic brokers. He also held various roles with increasing leadership responsibility at Liberty Mutual over a 20-year career with the company.

 

Mark holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Connecticut. 

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Kris Azar

Kris Azar

Vice President, FirstCity Insurers

Kris brings more than 30 years’ experience with property/casualty insurance companies in virtually every area of carrier operations, including product development, underwriting, pricing, marketing, distribution, and management.

She joined Brightway in 2015 as VP of Customer Experience. In 2020, she joined FirstCity Insurers,  Brightway’s Managing General Agency.

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TJ Fjelseth

TJ Fjelseth

Chief Human Resource Officer

TJ is Brightway’s Interim CHRO. TJ brings 32 years of Human Resources leadership experience to Brightway, and he built his expertise in organizational development and customer success from a wide range of industries across North America, Europe and Asia. Throughout his career, he’s been an HR leader at many well-known organizations, including Nissan, FedEx, Convergys (now Concentrix), Blue Cross Blue Shield, MedSolutions, Equian, and Socrates AI. His accomplishments include innovation in talent management technologies and selection as Tennessee-SHRM HR Executive of the Year in 2015, and selection for the ICON Top 50 HR Professionals in 2020 and 2021.

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Rick Fox

Rick Fox

Chief Revenue Officer

Rick Fox is the Chief Revenue Officer of Brightway. Backed by his deep understanding of the insurance agency experience, having built his own successful independent insurance agency at the start of his career, Rick is responsible for supporting and streamlining customer and agency growth and the expansion of operations through new product offerings and revenue streams.

 

Prior to joining Brightway, Rick held the role of Head of Agency Sales at Vertafore, a leading insurance software solution service, and previously served as the President of Agency Revolution, an agency automation and marketing consultancy.  

 

At Brightway, Rick drives value creation and growth opportunities for our agents and insurance carrier partners.

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Brendan Gaine

Brendan Gaine

Head of Sales

Brendan brings to Brightway over 28 years of field experience in sales management and leadership, distribution, and sales production.  His demonstrated expertise in building, growing and leading insurance sales teams/organizations has propelled him to the executive ranks in some of the most respected carriers and brokers in the industry.


Most recently, Brendan was a North America Executive Relationship Manager, Major Trading Partners for QBE Insurance Group, A top-20 largest global insurance and reinsurance company.  Prior to QBE, Brendan served as Executive Vice President and Chief Sales Officer at J.W. Terrill, an insurance brokerage acquired by Marsh McLennan.  He began his career at Liberty Mutual Insurance, working his way up from Commercial Claims Case Manager to Regional Vice President, Middle Market where he guided a team of over 60 sales professionals to a national leadership position in new business premium and exceeded all new business, retention and profitability targets.

Brendan earned his BA from West Virginia University.

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Michael Garamoni

Michael Garamoni

Chief Financial Officer

As CFO, Michael supports Brightway and its agencies by leading the teams responsible for guiding and supporting capital allocation decisions, financial reporting and analysis, and day-to-day fiscal operations. He is focused on the use of data to maximize agency performance and identify strategic investment opportunities to enhance Brightway’s success.

 

Michael brings deep experience in transforming and leading high performing finance teams and leading rapid growth companies.  Prior to Brightway, Michael was CFO of Orchid Underwriters, a managing general underwriter that doubled premium in just 18 months.  Prior to Orchid, Michael spent 10 years at Ryan Specialty Group (NYSE: RYAN), joining at inception and serving in a variety of financial and accounting roles - most recently VP of Global Finance - while the brokerage grew to a $12 billion in premium.  Michael began his career in the insurance practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers.  

 

Michael holds a Masters of Accountancy, a B.S. in Accountancy, and an B.A. in Public Administration, all from Miami University.  Michael is a CFA, CPA (Inactive), and former licensed surplus lines producer.

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Barry Grant

Barry Grant

Interim Chief Technology Officer

A veteran of the Financial Services and Customer Experience Optimization industries, Barry is a driving force in the leadership of technology organizations that are undergoing rapid change in B2B and B2C companies.  Barry’s extensive list of accomplishments includes innovative developments that have changed the way many customer contact centers operate. Under Barry’s leadership as Chief Technology Officer at iQor, the Technology team built and deployed TeQ21, a fully integrated, award-winning technology platform for contact center operations. During his tenure at iQor, Barry was named to the InformationWeek 500 list of top technology innovators for four consecutive years.

Before joining iQor, Barry was Chief Technology Officer of Municipal Credit Union (MCU) in New York where he managed a series of transformational projects including rebuilding critical data center functionality after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on September 11. Prior to his tenure at MCU, he served as Chief Technology Officer at NCO and Chief Information Officer for JDR Recovery Corp. When the two companies merged, he played a key role integrating their IT capabilities. 

Barry majored in Electrical Engineering and minored in Computer Science at MIT, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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Eliah Kahn

Eliah Kahn

Head of Customer Experience

Eliah brings 35 years of experience building and leading large, complex sales and service operations for insurance, hospitality and recognized consumer brands. During his career, he concepted, developed and operationally delivered Allstate’s first contact centers back in 2000, onboarding 1500 licensed employees and accelerating integration across service and new online channels.

Eliah also built leading contact centers for GE, Cigna Direct Marketing, Mercer Defined Benefits, Orbitz, Allianz and ran Prudential’s P&C Personal Lines service operations before that divestiture.

Most recently, as a Managing Director and transformation thought leader at Accenture, Eliah led the P&C service delivery practice while helping to modernize a leading global carrier with a distribution network encompassing thousands of agency partners.

Eliah resides in Philadelphia and holds a BS in Marketing from Indiana University and an MBA from the University of Louisville.

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David Mozdziak

David Mozdziak

Head of Marketing and Communications

David is the Head of Marketing and Communications for Brightway Insurance. In this role he is responsible for franchisee marketing, agency marketing, Brightway’s public relations and brand experience externally, and customer and internal communications.

 

He has held senior marketing, communication and strategy roles at top national and global insurers. As VP of Marketing for QBE North America, he was responsible for development of the company’s marketing strategy and assets, oversight of corporate events and sponsorships, and leading the philanthropic foundation. David also dedicated over 13 years to The Hartford, managing product strategy, marketing and communication initiatives for the company’s P&C and Group Benefits businesses, as well as overseeing the creative services team.

 

Early in his career, David held advertising agency and digital consultancy roles of increasing responsibility serving some of the most demanding Fortune 100 clients.

 

David earned his Bachelor of Arts in Communication, with a dual concentration in Marketing and Public Relations, from Central Connecticut State University.

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Irina Shevelenko

Irina Shevelenko

Head of Business Transformation

As Brightway's Head of Business Transformation, Irina is focused on identifying business opportunities and ensuring the success of key strategic initiatives for the company. She works closely with the Executive Team as well as many other Brightway team members to understand where opportunities exist, put plans in place to execute on key priorities and monitor progress to ensure delivery of expected outcomes.

 

Irina has extensive strategy and operations experience in the insurance industry and deep expertise leading transformational changes from ideation through execution on both the carrier and broker sides of the business.  Irina served as Vice President, Strategic Initiatives at QBE North America, a division of QBE Insurance Group, and Director of Business Development at USI Insurance. 

 

She earned her Master of Business Administration in Strategy, Finance and Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science from New York University.

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Jess Spendley

Jess Spendley

Vice President, Accounting Operations

Jess first joined Brightway in 2006 as an Accounting intern while attending the University of North Florida and later that year joined the company full-time.

In 2008 she became Accounting Manager and in 2010, she was promoted to Director of Accounting. Jess became Sr. Director of Accounting in 2017 and joined Brightway's Senior Leadership Team as VP of Accounting Operations in 2019.

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Max Staplin

Max Staplin

General Counsel

Prior to joining Brightway in January 2019, Max served as Brightway’s franchise attorney at the leading franchise law firm, Fisher Zucker LLC in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. During his tenure there, he also worked with over 100 other franchises in a wide variety of industries and presented at the International Franchise Association’s Legal Symposium on multiple occasions.

 

Max has also served as CFO and In-house Counsel for a privately held company developing a proprietary automated cryptocurrency trading program.

 

Max holds his J.D. from the George Washington University Law School and earned his bachelor’s in Economics from Pennsylvania State University.

Our Culture and Core Values

Our decisions are guided by our Core Values:

Smart

We are resourceful, accurate and efficient

Accountable

We do it right or we make it right

Trustworthy

We act with integrity, especially when no one is looking

What our franchisees have to say...

Matthew Carlucci, Jr

Matthew Carlucci, Jr

"I think the company culture is outstanding, and the attitude at Home Office is very positive. As a company, Brightway is always coming up with ways to improve every area of our model…and it shows."

Brightway, The Carlucci Agency
Jacksonville, FL

Ashley Doebbeling

Ashley Doebbeling

"The franchisee community is very open to sharing their own office processes and best practices. They make themselves available to anyone in the system who is goal oriented and driven to succeed."

Brightway, The Doebbeling Agency
Fort Collins, CO

Matt Grundwerg

Matt Grundwerg

"The Operating Mandate of Win-Win-Win is one that really resonates with me and my team. As long as we approach every situation with this as our business and moral compass, we just can't fail."

Brightway, Coral Springs
Coral Springs, FL

Bobby Raymond

Bobby Raymond

"Our motto is ‘Always do what's best for the client.’ I feel Brightway Home Office is aligned with that message, because they always work hard to do what's best for both our franchise and our customers."

Brightway, Fort Caroline
Jacksonville, FL

Bill Thomas

Bill Thomas

“I chose the Brightway Insurance franchise because, after meeting with other agency owners and principals of the company, I decided that they were a well-run organization and they provided superior service to their customers. They are also fast-growing and financially strong. This is the type of company that I’d like to associate with.”

Brightway, The Bill Thomas Agency
Wellington, FL

Chris Schmidt

Chris Schmidt

“One of the realizations that I had very quickly but was also successful in knowing was that the franchisor doesn’t drive the business,. The franchisor is there to support you from behind the scenes, and that’s where Brightway adds the most value. Brightway has done a really good job of supporting us as we’ve grown, and we continue to be at the forefront of this unique model they’ve developed.”

Brightway, The Schmidt Family Agency
Harahan, LA

Franchise with Brightway

Learn more about our history and culture, products you'll sell, the companies we work with, our models and more by filling out this form.