Board of Directors

Michael Blackshear


Chief Compliance & Privacy Officer | Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion - Ryan Specialty

Michael Blackshear serves as Senior vice President, Chief Compliance and Privacy Officer for Ryan Specialty with responsibilities for maintaining and growing an effective compliance and regulatory risk framework. Michael recently assumed additional responsibilities in leading a newly created Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DE&I) function with the strategic mission to promote DE&I at the firm, along with building strong alliances within the insurance industry and communities in which Ryan Specialty colleagues live and work.  Michael currently serves on Ryan Specialty's executive management team.

Michael has over 30 years of financial service and executive experience in the areas of ethics, compliance, and risk management. Prior to joining Ryan Specialty, he was the North America Chief Compliance Officer for Chubb Insurance Group, responsible for developing and maintaining their North American (NA) compliance program.  He was primarily responsible for the NA compliance framework integration and transformation during the ACE/Chubb merger.  Before his time with Chubb, he held various leadership roles with Marsh & McLennan Companies, focusing on compliance and government affairs.  Before joining Marsh, he held compliance and risk management advisory roles for KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers.  He began his insurance career as an underwriter for Continental Insurance Company and then as a casualty broker with and Alexander & Alexander Insurance Brokerage Firm.

In 2024 and 2022, Michael was named and recognized in Savoy magazine as one of the most influential executives in Corporate America.  Savoy magazine is a leading national publication covering African American lifestyle in fashion, business, sports and entertainment.  In 2023, Michael was recognized by the Insurance Brokers Association of New York for the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Awards of Excellence.  He was also recognized in Insurance Business America's (IBA) Global 100, for 2021, as an influential insurance professional making waves and positive change in the insurance industry worldwide.  In 2020, he was named in IBA Hot 100 insurance practitioners that shaped, transformed, and pushed the insurance industry forward with his dedication, mentorship, and vision.  Also in 2020, IBS recognized Michael as a change agent in leading efforts to create an environment to ensure that the doors at all levels of the insurance industry are open wide for people of all races, ethnicities, genders, nationalities, orientations, and ages.  Michael also has been honored by both Syracuse University, receiving the Chancellor’s Citation, in recognition of his significant career and civic achievements, and by Fordham’s Black Law Student Association, receiving the annual Ruth Whitehead Whaley Award for being a prominent alumnus in the field of compliance.  

In addition to serving as ELANY's Board of Director's Chairman, he also serves on various other boards, and is a member of Syracuse University Board of Trustees.

Michael obttained a B.S. in finance from Syracuse University's Martin J. Whitman School of Management in 1991, an MBA from St. John’s University, Maurice R. Greenberg School of Risk Management, Insurance, and Actuarial Science in 1995, and a Juris Doctorate from Fordham Law School in 1999; where he currently lectures as an adjunct professor.  He also received a certificate in managing ethics in organizations from Bentley College and completed a certificate at Loyola University Chicago at the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leadership Institute.

Denise Sanchez


Deputy General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer, Baldwin Risk Partners

Denise brings thirty years of legal, risk, and compliance experience across the financial services sector, with a twenty-year concentration in the Insurance industry.

In her current role, Denise serves as Deputy General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer at Baldwin Risk Partners (“BRP”), where she provides contractual, regulatory, and compliance guidance in connection with business strategic initiatives.  As Chief Compliance Officer, Denise is responsible for designing and implementing a compliance framework to prevent, detect, and respond to potential violations of law, policies, and procedures.    

Prior to her role with BRP, Denise most recently served as Vice President, Chief Compliance Officer of Marsh McLennan (“MMC”), where she led the compliance strategy, advising senior management concerning risk and compliance issues; as well as developing, leading, and managing subject matter experts in a team of more than 250 compliance professionals. Before being promoted Denise held a senior role at Marsh USA Inc. as Managing Director, Chief Compliance Officer and Regulatory Counsel, US Region.   

Denise served as Compliance Director, Laws and Regulation at Willis Towers Watson for more than ten years, working on matters impacting the business around licensing, monitoring, M&A due diligence, and surplus lines regulation.   She collaborated with senior business leaders to develop, implement, and enforce policies and procedures; ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations; and enhance business efficiency and client service. 

Prior to focusing on the Insurance Industry, Denise worked as a corporate attorney at Sidley Austin Brown & Wood (now Sidley Austin LLP) and Jordan Burt (now Carton Fields).

Denise earned a Bachelor of Arts from New York University, a Juris Doctor from Fordham Law School, and an Advanced Certificate in Compliance from ICA International.  She is admitted to practice law in New York and Florida.  Denise also serves on corporate and educational advisory boards and is also an Adjunct Professor at Fordham University School of Law. 

Denise currently lives in New Jersey with her husband and their two children.  She contributes her time to international pro bono and charitable work using her legal skills and fluency in Spanish to volunteer in mentoring programs focused on empowering first-generation students from low-income communities.  She has worked with several non-profit organizations including Imentor, Safe Passage and Lawyers for Children. 



President - Jencap Specialty Insurance Services

John Buckley graduated from Wittenberg University in Springfield, OH, in 1982. In 1983, he joined Moore Excess, a surplus lines wholesaler and eventually acquired the firm in 1991. Moore Excess was purchased by NIF Group in 1995 and John was named Senior Vice President and part-owner in NIF Services of New York. In June of 2006, he was named President of NIF Services of New York which was rebranded in October 2021 to JenCap Specialty.

John was appointed to the Board of Directors of Professional Insurance Wholesalers Association (PIWA) in 1989 and served as President from 1991 to 1993. He has served on the Board of the Excess Line Association of New York (ELANY) since 1994 and currently is Treasurer, Chair of the Audit and Finance Committee, a member of the Information Resources and Security and a member of the Nominations Committees.

John has been a member of NAPSLO/WSIA since 1985.

Among his many achievements, John was honored as Suffolk County Insurance Person of the Year.



Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management Services, Inc.

Lance Backer holds a BS in Finance from Towson University. Subsequent to his graduation, Lance worked as AVP-Broker/Account Manager for Aon from 1991 to 1996. A career with Willis followed and from 1996 to 2005, Lance served as Executive Vice President overseeing Large Accounts Team.  In 2005, he joined Arthur J. Gallagher & Company as Vice Chairman of the Northeast Region and serves as co-director of the company’s global risk management practice to this day. In that capacity, Lance heads up a team devoted exclusively to the risk management needs of large companies.

Lance has served on several industry Boards including the Council on Litigation Management (CLM), Zurich’s advisory board. He is currently the Secretary of the Board of Directors of the Excess Line Association of New York (ELANY) and served as  Chairman from 2018 to 2020. He serves on the Operations & Procedures Committee, the Information Resources and Security Committees and the Nominations Committee. He holds the ARM professional designation.

Among his many achievements, Lance continues to be a top 10 producer for Gallagher maintaining some clients for over 25 years.


Board Member

Senior Vice-President, National Property Practice - Jencap Specialty Insurance Services

Joseph Caligiuri is a graduate of St. John’s University, The Peter J. Tobin College of Business, where he received his B.S. in P&C Insurance and Business Administration. In 2002, Joe opened the firm Cal E&S Brokers, Inc., which was later sold to RPS. In 2009, he struck out on his own operating as President of NCC (National Coverage Corp.).

In January 2022, Joe sold his interest in NCC and maintained a limited position as a Senior Property Consultant. He now serves as Senior Vice President with the National Property Practice Group at JenCap Insurance Services. Joe is a Past President of PIWA. He was elected to the Board of ELANY in 2007 and has served as Treasurer, Vice Chairman.

He was appointed Chairman in 2012 and currently serves as Chairman of the Industry Liaison, Legislation & Regulation Committee and is a member of the Nominations Committee.



Retired President - H.R. Keller & Co., Inc.

Eric P. Keller graduated from Cornell University with B.A. in Economics. He joined Henry R. Keller Associates, Inc., as a sales representative and held the titles of Vice President and President over the next ten years. In June of 1982, Eric served as President and Treasurer of Goldome Premium Finance, Inc., a premium finance agency. From 1984 to 2018, Eric owned H.R. Keller & Company, Inc., an excess and surplus lines brokerage. In 2018, he sold the business to Risk Placement Services, Inc., where he served as an independent consultant facilitating transactions of acquired business for new owners.

Eric has been a member of the Board of Directors of ELANY since 2017 and currently serves as Chairman of the Association. He has served on several other Boards throughout his illustrious career including: the Insurance Premium Finance Association of New York where he was appointed Secretary and Board Member and served as President from 1981 to 1983; the Independent Insurance Agents Association of Western New York as Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Board Member and President from 1994 to 1995; IIAANY as Regional Legislative Chairman from 1998 to 2001 and as Grassroots Legislative Coordinator from 2001 to 2004; IAAC as a Board Member from 2005 to 2008; and the Professional Insurance Wholesalers Association of New York (PIWA) as Secretary and Board Member from 2011 to 2019.

Eric is a member of WSIA, PIWA and is a retired member of IIABNY.

In 2015, he received the Pioneer Award from Independent Insurance Agents Association of Western New York and in 2005, was voted Employer of the Year  by the Insurance Women of Buffalo, Inc.

Jo Ann Peri


Area President – Risk Placement Services

Jo Ann Peri is a graduate from Fordham University where she received a B.A. in Computer Science.

In 1994 Jo Ann opened an office in NY for an insurance wholesaler. In 1995 Jo Ann purchased Cowles & Connell, Inc.

In 2014, Jo Ann sold Cowles & Connell to Risk Placement Services where she continues to manage and run the northeast profit center.

Jo Ann is a past president of PIWA and served on the board from 2005-2015.

As Area President and through her leadership, the northeast division continues to grow and has become one of Risk Placement Services largest profit centers, winning several branch awards.


Board Member

Industry Consultant

Don Privett has over 40 years experience in the insurance industry. He began his insurance career in London, England, structuring and placing large and unique accounts during one of the strongest markets in Lloyd’s of London history. He was fortunate to have worked with some of the most pioneering and progressive minds in the industry during his time in London. In 1997, Don launched his own specialty wholesale company in New York, Privett Special Risk Services LLC, which he ran for 15 years before the Company was sold in 2012. Under Don’s leadership, the Company built a stellar reputation as one of the major independent specialty wholesale brokers in the United States. In 2012, he assumed the position of Executive Vice President of Worldwide Facilities, Inc., and in 2018, was hired as Managing Director of Brown & Riding Insurance Services.

Among his many achievements, Don played a crucial role in developing credit enhancement policies for many of the largest accounts in the country, helped create a terrorism market after September 11th, and has worked on some of the largest utility, energy, and property accounts in the country. He is extremely well known throughout the world markets for his extensive knowledge of policy forms and the claims process for large property and mining accounts.

Don has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Excess Line Association of New York (ELANY) since 1999. He was appointed Treasurer in 2002, Vice Chairman in 2004 and Chairman in 2005. He currently serves on the Operations & Procedures Committee and the Audit and Finance Committee. He is a Past President of the Insurance Brokers Association of New York (IBANY), a NAPSLO (now WSIA) member, and one of the founding members of the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation of New York (current board member).



General Star Management Company

Jim Richardson received a BBA in Public Administration from Baruch College, CUNY, in 1980 and, subsequently, began his career as a commercial line’s underwriter with the Travelers.  Jim worked as Vice President of Casualty Facultative at J.L. Kelley from 1988 to 1991 and in June of 1992, he began his long career in Surplus Lines with General Star Management Company. At General Star, Jim held several titles including Casualty Underwriter, Casualty Branch Manager in New York, Eastern Regional Manager for Primary and Excess Casualty, Western Regional Manager for Primary and Excess Casualty and currently holds the title of Vice President of the Programs Division.  Jim received his ASLI designation in 1995.  

Throughout his career, Jim has served on committee’s for both WSIA and PIWA and, in 2014, was appointed to the Board of Directors of ELANY, currently serving as Immediate Past Chairman. He chairs the Nominations Committee and serves on the Industry Liaison, Legislation & Regulation Committee and the Operations & Procedures Committee.


Board Member

Executive Vice President - Amwins

Harry Tucker leads and oversees AmWINS Property Practice. The Practice consists of over 500 active brokers, property marketing specialists, and practitioners. AmWINS Property Practice represents $10.5b in annual written premium.

In this role, he is responsible for identifying risks and client solutions, developing product, and spearheading strategic market partnerships. At AmWINS, Harry plays an integral role in delivering value-added services and resources: catastrophe modeling, forms comparisons, claims consulting, and talent development.

Harry has over 30 years of experience in Excess & Surplus lines property. His extensive broker knowledge has contributed to sales and marketing, adding thought leadership at both a transactional level and in growing strategic partnerships. In addition to his role as the property leader, Harry is a member of AmWins security committee which oversees MGA and carrier appointments; Amwins Broker Development Committee which actively educates upcoming talent within the organization.

Outside of AmWins Harry is a past board member of PIWA as well as participating in numerous industry panels. He is active in community affairs and is the past Treasurer of The Philipse Manor Improvement Association and Philipse Manor Beach Club. Prior to joining AmWINS, Harry held several senior level property positions: Senior Vice President with RT Specialty in New York; Area President of Property at Risk Placement Services; Senior Vice President/Property Manager at Stewart Smith East; Senior Vice President National Account Marketing at Swett & Crawford.

Harry is a graduate of the University of Florida. He is active in community affairs and historical preservation. In his downtime he enjoys skiing, kayaking, golfing, fishing, and hiking with family and friends.