Laura Hope Whitaker
CEO, Extra Special People
Laura uses her faith along with her leadership and management strengths to manage staff, oversee multiple year-round programs and raise funds to run programs. Her favorite part of the job is getting to hug the many children who walk through the ESP doors. Laura obtained both her Bachelor’s degree in Collaborative Special Education and her Master’s degree in Adapted Curriculum Classic Autism at the University of Georgia. Laura has been
awarded the 40 under 40 by the Atlanta Business Chronicle, the UGA Alumni Association, the Athens Banner Herald and by the Georgia Trend.
Founder & Managing Partner, Rhodes Risk Advisors
Mike received his BBA in Risk Management and Insurance from the University of Georgia. He served as Chairman of the Independent Insurance Agents of Georgia’s Young Agents Committee. Since founding Rhodes Risk Advisors, Mike has further developed his expertise not only within the Multifamily & Real Estate practice, but has also grown Rhodes’ industry verticals while overseeing day to day operations of the firm. As a result of this success Rhodes Risk Advisors has been named an Inc. 5000 fastest growing company, Atlanta Business Chronicle Pacesetter 100 fast growing company, and a University of Georgia Bulldog 100 company.
Co-Founder & Sales Coach, GUIDE Culture
When Loy started his own insurance agency (Integrity Insurance) 30 years ago, one thing became clear quickly. Leading a team AND selling a product, was going to be hard work. He knew there had to be more he could learn to make the work worth it so that he could come out successful, as a businessman and as a family man. Brick by brick, he started to create a training that he could refer to and teach to his staff. He wanted to have a positive, results-driven culture. What he likes to call a “sales culture.” This passion led him to found GUIDE Culture School of Sales.
Agency Executive, Summit Holdings
Pete Deyo attended his first Georgia Young Agent Conference in 1984, hosted in Destin, FL. Prior to his successful insurance career, in Pete competed in the Jr World Kayak Championships, was on the 1976 Olympic Kayak Team and trained for the 1980 Olympics. In 1982 he began his career in insurance as an underwriter. For the last 18 years, he has been working with Summit Consulting specializing in Workers Compensation.
Vice President, Donegal Group
Daniel DeLamater has served as Senior Vice President and Head of Field Operations & National Accounts of Donegal Mutual Insurance Company and Senior Vice President of Donegal Group since 2022. He served as Senior Vice President of National Accounts for Donegal Mutual Insurance Company from 2020 to 2022. A Georgia State University alum with a BBA in Risk Management & Insurance, DeLamater serves as a guest lecturer at the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business, and is active on various boards of the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies
Dr. Robert Hoyt
Professor of Risk Management & Insurance, UGA
Robert Hoyt is the head of UGA's Department of Insurance, Legal Studies, and Real Estate, which boasts one of the top ranked risk management and insurance programs in the nation. His research into corporate hedging, insurance fraud, and enterprise risk management, among other areas, informs how to maintain stable economies in an interconnected world. Hoyt brings global experience to his research and teaching, having served as visiting scholar in some of Europe’s leading universities and Vice President of the International Insurance Society. A prolific author in his field, his expertise has been sought out by public and private sector organizations, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Sutton T. Slover
Personal Injury Attorney, Slover Law
Sutton Slover is a strategist in the courtroom and a friend to accident victims. He possesses a genuine passion in assisting his clients with any auto accident claim, work-related injury, or product failure case. Based in Atlanta and the surrounding metropolitan area, he is a hardworking lawyer and highly motivated in defending Georgia residents. His past experience in working with a large Atlanta insurance firm has given him the insight to delve in and fight for victims’ rights.
Partner, Hall Booth Smith
A native of Athens, Georgia, Wayne earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Georgia. He obtained his Juris Doctor, cum laude, from Georgia State University College of Law. His practice focuses on the defense of high exposure cases including medical malpractice, long term care, negligent security, and premises liability. Wayne is well-versed in all stages of litigation and has defended cases through verdict in both federal and state courts. He is also a member of Hall Booth Smith’s National Trial Team and has assisted in the preparation of several high exposure medical malpractice trials throughout the country.
Attorney At Law, Hall Booth Smith
A native of Covington, Georgia, Pearson received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Georgia. After serving as a legislative aide for State Representative Barry Fleming, Pearson went on to earn his Juris Doctor, magna cum laude, from the Georgia State University College of Law. Through his work in HBS’s governmental liability group, Pearson has gained valuable experience defending local governments and their employees in a wide variety of claims under federal and state law. He has worked on numerous cases before state and federal appellate courts and has argued before the Supreme Court of Georgia and the Court of Appeals of Georgia.
Frank Somma is a sales and communications expert, speaker, author, and lifelong charity fundraiser. Frank holds a degree in NLP, Neuro-Linguistic Programming widely accepted as THE communications science, and has been speaking professionally for over 15 years winning accolades from such notable organizations as DLL Bank, GE, Xerox and the Big "I". His latest book is B2B is really P2P How to Win with High Touch in a High tech world! Frank lives in Holmdel, NJ and when he isn’t occupied with one of his businesses, he’s either raising money for The Cooley’s Anemia Foundation, out running with his dog, or in the kitchen cooking homemade pasta for his kids and grandkids
Executive Vice President P&C, Turner Wood & Smith
Trey Wood joined Turner Wood & Smith Insurance in 2008 after graduating from University of Georgia’s Risk Management Program. He has earned his AAI professional designation and the professional designation of Certified Worker’s Compensation Advisor. In 2012, Trey joined Turner, Wood, & Smith’s ownership group and in 2020 became Executive Vice President of Property & Casualty. When Trey is not working, he is helping coach his kids sports teams or serving on the board of directors for Lakeview Academy, Chattahoochee Country Club, Elachee Nature Center, and Edmondson Telford Center for Children. Trey is an avid Georgia Bulldogs fan, golfer, and reader.
Assistant Director of Insurance Product Review, Department of Insurance
Mike has been with the Georgia Office of Commissioner of Insurance and Safety Fire for two years as the Assistant Director of Insurance Product Review. Prior to joining the State, Mike spent nearly 20 years as Commercial P&C Insurance with the last seven years as a Commercial P&C Claims Manager.