Leif Assurance Hires Two Marketing Specialists

Lauren Elizabeth Gulli and Connor Kay bring extensive marketing background to the growing company.

(St. Louis, Mo., Feb. 16, 2024) – Leif Assurance, a full-service insurance agency that exclusively handles construction insurance, recently hired Lauren Elizabeth Gulli as Brand Marketing Specialist and Connor Kay as Digital Marketing Specialist.

Lauren Elizabeth Gulli as Brand Marketing Specialist and Connor Kay

(L to R) Lauren Elizabeth Gulli, Brand Marketing Specialist and Connor Kay, Digital Marketing Specialist.

Gulli’s responsibilities include developing and executing effective marketing campaigns to enhance brand visibility and drive business growth. She will focus on creating strategies and managing content to best engage target audiences. Prior to joining Leif Assurance, Gulli worked as a Marketing Director for a business consulting firm. Gulli earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Multimedia Studies from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Fla.

As Digital Marketing Specialist, Kay will use various digital platforms to optimize Leif Assurance’s marketing campaigns. He also will ensure the company’s online presence aligns with its long-term goals. Prior to joining Leif Assurance, Kay worked as a Business Development Representative at a Chicago law firm. He previously was the Digital Media Planner for a contemporary clothing label company. Kay earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture Communications and Media Advertising from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in Urbana, Il.

“Lauren and Connor add comprehensive experience and insight to our marketing team,” said Leif Assurance CEO JD Powers. “They understand how to create messaging that focuses on our customer’s needs while staying true to our organization’s objectives. Both are a welcome addition to our growing company.”

Founded in 2022, Leif Assurance offers actionable risk management, as well as data-driven pricing models to build the most accurate risk profiles so contractors are rewarded for safe job sites with earned insurance savings. Leif provides cost-effective and comprehensive insurance solutions for worker’s compensation, general liability, builders’ risk, inland marine, and commercial auto.

Leif Assurance is the sister company of Powers Insurance & Risk Management and Valley Insurance Agency Alliance (VIAA), a cohesive family of more than 160 independent insurance agencies in Missouri and Illinois. Powers Insurance & Risk Management is one of the largest family owned and operated independent insurance agencies in the bi-state region. All three companies are located at 6825 Clayton Ave. For more information about Leif Assurance, call (314) 202-4200 or visit www.leifassurance.com.

St. Louis Area Diaper Bank Hosts Fourth Annual Bloody Mary Brunch

Fundraiser to support the nonprofit’s period supply program.

(St. Louis, Mo., Feb. 3, 2024) — The St. Louis Area Diaper Bank will hold its fourth annual Bloody Mary Brunch on Sun., March 24 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at its headquarters located at 6141 Etzel Ave. The event, open to those 21 years of age and older, will feature a Bloody Mary and mimosa bar plus light brunch. Tickets are $60 per person, and all monetary donations will support the Diaper Bank’s period supply program, which helps nearly 35,000 girls and women annually with period kits.

2024 Bloody Mary Brunch

Attendees will have the interactive opportunity to count, sort, and pack period supply kits for local school partners. Other activities include raffles, a glitterati photo station, and a brief presentation about the agency’s efforts to end period poverty in St. Louis.

The period supply program distributes period supplies through community partners and advocates for the elimination of “period poverty”. In 2024, 900,000 period supplies will be distributed in St. Louis, with 20,000 period supplies allocated each week. Two-thirds of low-income women in St. Louis cannot afford menstrual hygiene products, with 46% of low-income women having to choose between food and period supplies.

The St. Louis Area Diaper Bank, founded in 2014, provides diaper and period supply access to the region’s low-income families and raises community awareness about the causes and consequences of diaper need and period poverty. The nonprofit is a member of the National Diaper Bank Network and its sister organization Alliance for Period Supplies, a nationwide nonprofit dedicated to eliminating diaper need and “period poverty” in America. The period supply program ensures access to menstrual hygiene products, which allows full participation in daily life with dignity.

For more information about the Bloody Mary Brunch or to donate, call (314) 624-0888 or visit their website.

Lefton Family Takes Ownership of Psychological Associates

Second and third generation to lead the 65-year-old business into the future.

(St. Louis, Mo., Jan. 30, 2024) Siblings Jeff, Cindy and Brad Lefton announced they have taken ownership of Psychological Associates (PA), a company co-founded by their late father Dr. Robert Lefton and the late Dr. Victor Buzzotta in 1958. The siblings are now sole co-owners of the consulting company that improves business performance through its leadership and talent development services.

Lefton Family Takes Ownership of Psychological Associates

The company’s new single-family ownership consists of a 25-person team, with Dr. Lefton’s granddaughter Jessica Lefton being promoted to Director of Marketing and Communications. Dr. David Rowan was also promoted and named Head of Learning & Development. Former partner Ann Buzzotta, daughter of the late Dr. Buzzotta, plans to form her own Hawaii-based business.

“This news is meaningful because it ensures the continuity of our family’s 65-year-old business,” said co-owner Cindy Lefton. “It is important to us that we honor our father’s legacy by carrying it forward.”

PA plans to introduce several improvements to their services in the upcoming year: a new online platform to enhance coaching engagements through personalized resource sharing and progress tracking; a streamlined assessment process that allows consultants to spend more time on operational job fit and less time on report writing mechanics; and the web-based “Q4 Compass” client portal for real-time status updates throughout the client assessment process.

“The Lefton family is fully aligned with Psychological Associates’ focus on world-class solutions,” said PA’s CEO Clay Hildebrand. “Recent investments in our people and technology, underscored by the Lefton’s commitment to our success, make our organization well-positioned for the future.”

Pictured from left to right are Psychological Associates co-owners Jeff, Cindy, and Brad Lefton.

Psychological Associates

Psychological Associates helps clients select, develop, and retain their best leaders, enabling them to build exceptional organizations. Its exclusive Q4 Dimensional® Model of Behavior™ – an industry-renowned structure that categorizes observable actions into understandable groupings – inspires high performance while attaining comprehensive results. Consulting capabilities include talent assessment, leadership development, succession planning, people analytics, and executive coaching. Founded in 1958, Psychological Associates is headquartered at 8000 Maryland Ave. in Clayton, Mo. For more information, call (314) 725-7771 or visit www.q4solutions.com.

Brawner Insurance Agency Joins Valley Insurance Agency Alliance

Owner Jared Brawner is seeking to expand his agency’s services with the alliance’s assistance.

(St. Louis, Mo., Jan. 23, 2024) Brawner Insurance Agency recently joined Valley Insurance Agency Alliance (VIAA), a cohesive family of more than 160 independent insurance agencies in Missouri and Illinois.

Jared BrawnerFounded in 1992, Brawner Insurance Agency is led by second generation owner Jared Brawner. The full-service agency is located at 2605 N. Baltimore St. in Kirksville, Mo. For more than 30 years, Brawner Insurance Agency has been providing protection for crop, Medicare, and personal insurance needs. By partnering with VIAA, the agency aims to expand its services to include employee benefits, farm, and commercial insurance, while remaining a family-owned and independent company.

“The alliance offers resources to help provide stronger market access, keep up with industry trends, and leverage the expertise of a proven leader in the insurance industry,” said Brawner Insurance Agency owner Jared Brawner. “VIAA is aligned with these objectives and, more importantly, understands our agency values. Their partnership and support have been a win-win with our staff and our clients as we navigate the ever-changing world of insurance.”

Brawner added that VIAA will enable “our agency to expand the number of carriers we offer, as well as better serve our community’s farmers, businesses, and individuals.”

Founded in 2006, Valley Insurance Agency Alliance generates more than $600 million in written premium and is the regional founding member SIAA – The Agent Alliance, a $12.5 billion national insurance network.

For more information about Brawner Insurance Agency, call (660) 665-1687 or visit www.brawnerinsurance.com.

ITC Hotels announces the reopening of Welcomhotel Chennai

Chennai, 19th January 2024: ITC Hotels today announced the reopening of Welcomhotel by ITC Hotels, Cathedral Road, Chennai, a landmark property established in 1975, looking resplendent in its new avatar. This iconic hotel, with a repertoire of world-class hospitality offerings, promises to further enrich the city’s vibrant tourism and business landscape.

ITC WLCM Chennai_Facade

In line with ITC Hotels’s credo of ‘Responsible Luxury’, Welcomhotel Chennai is committed to the highest levels of environmental stewardship. The hotel is LEED® Platinum & LEED Zero Carbon certified, attesting to its commitment to sustainability, utilization of renewable energy, conservation and recycling of water, and concrete measures to preserve the ecosystem. It has self-owned and offsite wind farms using maximum renewable electrical energy to mitigate the carbon footprint. Centrally located at No. 2, Cathedral Road with easy access to international and domestic airports, Welcomhotel Chennai holds the pride of place being the first property of ITC’s hotel group, which heralded a new era in hospitality.

Speaking on the occasion of the launch, Anil Chadha, Divisional Chief Executive, ITC Hotels said “Welcomhotel Chennai holds a very special place in the ITC Hotels group and is our tribute to this great metropolis. A gateway to south India, Chennai is a cosmopolitan hub that offers the perfect blend of deep-rooted traditions and modern influences. We are delighted to bring back this iconic hotel that has witnessed decades of Chennai’s transformation. Welcomhotel Chennai is a showcase of this glorious heritage”

The hotel has 90 well-appointed rooms including Executive Suites, Club Rooms and Superior Rooms. The elegantly appointed and spacious guest rooms and suites strike a perfect balance between comfort, flawless service and warmth of Indian Hospitality.

The hotel adorns an intricate design, contemporary and reflective of the Southern Indian magnificence. The design aesthetics of the hotel’s décor are reflective of Chennai’s local flavour, including its beautiful art and architecture.

The hotel draws inspiration from its rich legacy – corporate titans, cultural icons, families, and individuals who have graced this iconic hotel. It has been a preferred choice for Consul Generals, members of the Indian Armed Forces, luminaries from various domains, cultivating a rich tapestry of experiences and relationships. Notably, it was the Chennai’s inaugural ice-skating destination.

Affirms Zubin Songadwala, Vice President, ITC Hotels (South and East) “The new avatar of this property epitomizes the esteemed standards synonymous with ITC Hotels in delivering unmatched quality and enriching guest experiences. Welcomhotel Chennai endeavors to uphold the legacy of being the chain’s first property. We are grateful to the people of Chennai for their patronage and shall continue to create experiences as a reminder of everything that this city represents”

A rich amalgamation of heritage, local aesthetics, contemporary veneers, and modern-day comforts, along with ITC Hotels’ renowned culinary offerings, seamlessly find expression at Welcomhotel Chennai.


The all-day dining venue WelcomCafe Marina offers a variety of tastefully curated buffets and a la carte spreads. The signature WelcomSthalika presents a palate of the region’s most cherished delicacies on a single platter, introducing travellers to the best regional recipes. Taste of Madras showcases street food of Chennai reimagined. Durrant’s Bar showcases a large selection of premium beverages and inventive mixology, including sustainable herbal and organic cocktails paired with delectable snacks. Sunbean Cafe serves short eats, finger food, tea, and coffee. Mahjong Room offers delectable Chinese cuisine. Adding to the sweetness is the luxurious Fabelle Chocolate Takeaway outlet in the lobby.

Welcomhotel Chennai has two banquet halls: Mandapam, with a capacity of 375 guests and theatre seating, and Saagri on the rooftop with a capacity of 70-80 guests. Welcomhotel Chennai is the new age traveler’s key to curated immersive experiences that enrich both business and leisure journeys.

The hotel features a relaxing spa journey through the chain’s indigenous K by Kaya Kalp spa, offering rejuvenating wellness treatments in its holistic and comforting treatment rooms. A fully functional fitness center with all contemporary equipment offers a holistic experience to busy travelers. An outdoor pool, nestled in the lush green gardens of the hotel, is the perfect place to unwind and relax after work.

Former CM Kiran Kumar Reddy among 36 HPS alumni explored Raunaq’s H.I.G.H. as part of HPS’s 100-year celebrations, at a high tea & more, hosted by Nawab Raunaq

Hyderabad, December 30, 2023: 36 H.P.S. school alumni visited recently Raunaq Yar Khan’s H.I.G.H.*/Highest In Greater Hyderabad* “, a man-made hill, which is taller than the city’s tallest ancient Naubat Pahad (the hill where Birla Mandir has come up), located on eight acres of the 80-acre private land estate on Road number 25 in Jubilee Hills. The large batch of guests, mostly from outside Hyd, were taken by surprise that such nature-friendly real estate still exists in the centre of this expensive IT Capital of India.

Nawab Raunaq Yar Khan and his HPS Alumni Including Kiran Kumar Reddy Former CM of AP among them Seen at Man Made Hills at Road No 25 in Jubilee Hills-pic 3

I live close to this place. I knew it, but never knew that it is so big said Kiran Kumar Reddy, former Chief Minister of undivided Andhra Pradesh, who visited Nb Raunaq to explore this mostly unexplored landmark of Hyderabad. This visit was in between the 100-year celebration of “Hyderabad Public School” at a High tea hosted by Nb. Raunaq for a large group of HPS alumni & their spouses.

Nawab Raunaq Yar Khan, 60 years old, the creator of the hill, is a well-known citizen of Hyderabad and a distinguished personality who has recently been crowned the 9th Nizam of the Asaf Jahi Dynasty by his vast royal family. He is presently the owner of the film set facility located on an 80-acre plot at Road No. 25, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad. Part of it is a man-made hill on 8 Acres, only one-of-a-kind in any urban area of the world.
In-city, bigger than all film facilities together.

Nizam Prince Raunaq Yar Khan is known for amazing family buildings and this man-made hill is known as H.I.G.H “Highest in Greater Hyderabad Hill”. Film wallahs know it is a ” Bhoot Bungala”. Many mega-budget films were shot at this place including ‘Rangasthalam’. Already on an elevated plateau, the hill is taller than Naubat Pahad. This place is the talk of the town now. On Google map, it is “Raunaq’s H.I.G.H. Man Made Hill”

It took me ten years to create this hill on an existing tall plateau. I have used moram(a sticky type of soil) so that it holds the embedded rocks. I had to put this place to use to protect it from land sharks, that won’t stop at anything to claim or grab it, Raunaq said.

Nawab Raunaq Yar Khan and his HPS Alumni Including Kiran Kumar Reddy Former CM of AP among them Seen at Man Made Hills at Road No 25 in Jubilee Hills

Coincidentally the party venue, Raunaq’s Hill was the place frequented by Raunaq’s ancestor SultanUlMulk(who built some accommodation within existing air-raid shelters, before World War 2). Sultan-Ul-Mulk was the son of Sir Viqar(who built Falaknuma) & Lady Viqar/Jahandar-Un-Nisa, sister of Nizam 6th, who gifted more than 100 acres to the original “Jagirdars College”, presently Hyderabad Public School, from her private estate.

The tea party was organised to celebrate Christmas & New Year. Nawab Raunq Yar Khan has personally hosted huge exclusive celebrations of many religious festivals other than his own, like Divali and Sankranti for decades by inviting people to the same venue.0He is a sincere believer in the role of inter-religious harmony in a peaceful society, having been recognised and honoured for the same (which included his work as Delhi Police adviser)with a conferred doctorate.

The entire group including g members of the 1975 batch enjoyed the evening g was present. Dilip Chenoy, Former Secretary General of FICCI and a member of the batch was a guest and he coordinated with the group who came from all parts of India and the world.

City School holds TED Like Power Talks

T. Alphonse Reddy_Mrs Saroja_T Aruna Reddy and Dr K Suvarna seen lighting the lamp

Hyderabad, December 30, 2023: Hyderabad-based St Peter’s School at Bowenpally organised a unique program ‘Stars of Inspiration–an evening under the open sky’ on Saturday night at its premises in Bowenpally on Friday night, for three hours and continued till 9 in the night.

A platform for school-level talks, expressing new ideas, thoughts, and perspectives created. It will be an annual feature announced by Mr. T. Alphonse Reddy Correspondent, St. Peter’s High School.  Summing up at the end of three hour-long marathon talks.   He along with other colleagues Mrs Saroja, former Principal of the School, and Mrs T. Aruna Reddy, Director, unveiled a new logo, as it is entering 25 years and celebrating its Silver Jubilee in the year 2024. It began its journey in 1979 by three young social entrepreneurs to offer rock-strong Edu-foundation, he said.

T. Alphonse Reddy correspondent of the school

In an era of short messages, short forms of videos like Reels, shorts, and WhatsApp status videos, we came up with this idea of why not have TED-like short talks that fire up in two minutes even less than that. We coined it aptly ‘Stars of Inspiration–an evening under the open sky’. It is a platform for school-level talks, expressing new ideas, thoughts, and perspectives created. It will be an annual feature, he said.  The response was overwhelming. We have got 400 entries from class 6 to 12th.  We shortlisted and brought it down to 50, he added.

We have not filtered nor polished their thoughts. They were raw. Seventy per cent of the 50 speakers were first-timers.  It was their maiden talk in front of 1000-plus parents, teachers, non-teaching staff, guests and peers. It was their feelings, experiences, observations, random thoughts, personal journey, and life lessons learnt, straight from their heart, while some delivered with confidence, others struggled to speak. They put their mind out open, in their language, words, vocabulary, and thought process, he said.

Giving her opening remarks Dr. K. Suvarna, Principal of the school said in an era where the attention span of the public is getting shorter and shorter, where teenagers have become screenagers and juggle between many screens (read Mobile, TV, and Tablet, Laptop, Desktop, OTT), where people are living in a room filled with distractions all the time, the school had to do something different. Equip students with an approach so that they capture the world’s attention.  They can say what they want to say, just in the span of an elevator journey.

Team Varenya_ Pritam and Samuel made their model Fire and Gas Leakage Fichter Robot

It goes well with the school’s credo, ‘Let every child blossom’, she said. It is a celebration of expression, talent and diverse perspectives.

The Talks were outstanding examples of stand-up, speak-up, fire-up and shut-up.

The evening began with the first talk by Simra Baig of class 100. He spoke about ‘Body Dysmorphia’, a mental health condition where some people spend a lot of time worrying about flaws in their appearance. Nearly one million people are struggling with it, he said.

Netra Singh of class six who spoke about ‘Homegrown Genius’, came up with the idea of Anti-Sleep alarm goggles for drivers to avert mishaps. She also spoke about Robotic Pets, which can help cure loneliness and give mental support.  Especially post-COVID pet adoption has gone up and so also the cost of maintaining pets, real pets scaring delivery boys (causing the death of a couple of food delivery boys) and street dog menace (being read every day in the city).  In the light of this state of affairs, she prompted an idea of Robotic Pet and she showed her version of Robotic Pet.

Vishwanath Karthikey, a tenth grader, the youngest to set some world records in mountaineering, shared how painful the journey was. He told his friends never to give up. There were several times in my mountaineering endeavours when I wanted to give up, had I done that I would not have stood in front of you talking today. Success is the outcome of many failures.  There are no failures, only opportunities to improve, bettering oneself he said.

M.S. Mridhulya of the 9th class speaking about her journey from an introvert to an extrovert said ‘my socialising battery was always low.  Outside the comfort zone was where the magic happened in my life.  And concluded with a powerful message, the best and the only journey is the journey you must travel within you.

Ariana Kingham of Class 6 spoke about her journey from Bhutan to Hyderabad and the beauty of learning languages.  All languages are interesting, you just need to peep into them.

Speaking about Men’s Mental health, Afrah Fatima of the tenth class said men can also get anxious, insecure, abused, brad down, cry, and depressed. You must treat men the same as female victims, she said and added that the Mental health of men is important.  Men keep stress to themselves.  You are not alone. You are not first and you are not the last. You are not a burden she said.

Speaking about skin colour-based discrimination, T. Sriharshitha of class ten said that she was always discriminated against based on her skin colour.  Your skin colour is something you are gifted with. Nelson Mandela, Serena Williams, and Draupadi Murmu, all are dark-coloured but still, people love them and adore them. They are an inspiration to many.  Dont colour decide your future, she said

A Greevan spoke about Wars and said those who start a war don’t get killed.  The soldier’s life is at stake. Those soldiers who go to war, may not return home.  Even if they return, his family may not be there. Even if his family is found, he may not be in the same physical condition.  When he returns, he may return without hands or legs.

Yusuf Ali moved everyone with this journey, how he fought Crouzon Syndrome (a genetic syndrome which affects the shape of the head and face). I look different.  School admission was a challenge.  Every day was a struggle.  I didn’t give up, he shared.

Speaking about how he travelled from a mere participant in track events to a national athlete, Dheeraj Sadula of the 9th class gave a message to his peers not to expect some incredible results in one day as most of the current generation looks for instant results.

Divija Hari, a 12th grader, beautifully explained the bond of friendship.  And said that having genuine connections even if they are few are better than thousands of Facebook friends.  She read out a beautiful poem ‘Brides of Bonds’, and she wrote.

The school’s Fire and Gas Leakage Fichter Robot was selected in the CBSE Regional Science Exhibition and will be participating in the National Exhibition in January 2024 in New Delhi. The winning teams gain entry to be exhibited in the Rashtriya Bal Vaigyanik Pradarshani to be organised by NCERT. St Peter’s team is one of the 30 exhibits selected out of 3169 student teams registered. Varenya, Pritam and Samuel share their journey of participation and success.

Sammathamu Swathi Hansika, an 11th grader speaking about digital liberation spoke and YourHourAPP, which gives a daily view of how often one checks phone and how frequently one uses different apps. You can then set limits with daily app timers, and unplug at night with features like Bedtime mode, etc.

Sameena Hajee speaking on bonding with blood spoke about the importance of family and appealed to parents to have mutual understanding so that their children can lead a better life.

The series of captivating Power Talks covered a vast array of topics that showcased the depth of their interests and passions. From Career Exploration to Community Service Reflection, Artistic Showcase to Language Learning Journey, Smart India Hackathon to Creative Writing, Reading, Book Review, Personal Journey, Research Showcase, TED Style Talks, Student Life at St.Peter’s High School and much more – these talks were not just informative but a reflection of the dedication and passion our students pour into their pursuits.

Valley Insurance Agency Alliance Promotes TJ McCoy

McCoy was promoted to Personal Lines Manager for Alliance’s sister company Powers Insurance & Risk Management

(St. Louis, Mo., Feb. 23, 2023) Valley Insurance Agency Alliance (VIAA), a cohesive family of more than 160 independent insurance agencies in Missouri and Illinois, recently promoted Thomas “TJ” McCoy IV to Personal Lines Manager for VIAA’s sister company Powers Insurance & Risk Management, one of the largest family owned and operated independent insurance agencies in the bi-state region,

McCoy’s responsibilities include managing and overseeing the agency’s personal lines service team. He also will service a high net worth book of business, as well as assist in the training and best practice standards supervision of eight team members.

TJ McCoy

McCoy previously served as a Personal Lines Service Coach for VIAA. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Marian University in Fond du Lac, Wisc. McCoy holds licenses for both Life Insurance, as well as Property & Casualty Insurance. He is actively involved in the community and is a member of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Gateway Chapter for Tomorrow’s Leaders.

“TJ has been a tremendous asset to our alliance, so we look forward to all he will accomplish at our sister company,” said VIAA’s co-founder Henry Powers. “TJ is a leader who has built strong relationships throughout his career, and we are proud to have him at the helm of our growing personal lines team.”

Founded in 1991, Powers Insurance & Risk Management provides personal and business insurance, surety, risk management, and employee benefits. Founded in 2006, sister company Valley Insurance Agency Alliance generates more than $600 million in written premium and is the regional founding member for the Strategic Insurance Agency Alliance (SIAA), a $11 billion national alliance. The companies are headquartered at 6825 Clayton Ave. For more information, call (314) 725-1414 or visit www.powersinsurance.com or www.viaa4u.com.

Suraj Rana first Indian dancer to win International Poppin dance championship in Singapore

Suraj Rana also known as POPPIN MI from Himachal Pradesh was the first Indian to win the International Poppin dance championship in Singapore in 2022. The event name was 5 of a Kind Street Dance Festival Singapore 2022. date of the event and it was concluded on 18th September 2022. It was a proud moment for India and the state of Himachal Pradesh. Dancers from Japan, China, Australia, South Korea many other countries participated the event. 


pic credit suraj rana

Pic Credit: Suraj Rana

suraj rana1

Pic Credit: Suraj Rana