We deliver the most advanced strategies for wholesale insurance businesses, associations, carriers, clusters, aggregates, insurtechs and service providers.
Marketing is complex – especially for companies that don't have the necessary time and dedicated resources. We create, execute and deliver results so you can simply focus on the relationships that will grow your business. Direct Connection Advertising & Marketing is a full-service, integrated marketing and communications firm. We specialize in marketing and advertising for wholesale insurance brokers and other insurance entities.
Message from Anita Nevins
Founder and Co-CEO
Anita founded Direct Connection Advertising & Marketing in 2003, as a marketing agency for insurance brokerages. She thoroughly understands the insurance industry and distribution process, and “speaks the language” – which is one of the biggest differentiators between Direct Connection and other agencies.
Her insurance marketing career in the Property & Casualty sector began in 1986. Years of experience working at the carrier level eventually led her to branch out and provide service to insurance wholesalers and E&S brokers by starting her own company.
Anita manages Direct Connection and is heavily involved in creating strategy and planning for the agency’s clients. She has a passion for marketing and feels very fortunate to do what she loves on a daily basis.
She is an avid reader and committed to lifelong learning, both personally and professionally. In her personal time, she enjoys bike riding, music, theater, family time and all things related to health and wellness – holistic healing, mindfulness, yoga, Pilates and dance (her favorite way to exercise).
Anita is married to Brad and has two children – Kristen, who is part of the management team at Direct Connection, and Dylan, who is a PGA Assistant Golf Professional.
For over thirty-five years, Brad’s career has spanned marketing, premium finance and claims in the Property & Casualty insurance industry. The majority of his time has been spent building extensive relationships with retail and wholesale insurance brokers, as well as carriers nationwide. His experience provides a unique perspective of the insurance distribution process.
Joining the Direct Connection executive team in 2021, Brad’s role is focused on sales and supporting client relationships. He enjoys getting out in the field where he can dive deeper into clients’ business goals and respond to their challenges through Direct Connection’s innovative marketing solutions.
Brad is a founding partner and oversees the sales, marketing and regulatory compliance for FastrackCE, an online insurance continuing education company that was established in 2000. FastrackCE serves thousands of licensed insurance agents and brokers across the country.
Throughout the years, Brad has maintained his passion for motorcycles (primarily off-road). He finds great fulfillment in giving back to the racing community by providing support to up-and-coming riders. He also enjoys golf, sailing, riding his mountain bike and spending time with family.
Brad is married to Anita and has two children – Kristen, who is part of the management team at Direct Connection, and Dylan, who is a PGA Assistant Golf Professional.
Kristen Nevins, CDMP
Director of Marketing & Operations
Kristen began her career in marketing and communications in 2010 and quickly turned her focus towards the insurance space. She joined the family business in early 2018 and has enjoyed her journey learning all aspects of the industry. In 2022, she was named one of Insurance Business America's Rising Stars.
Direct Connection calls on Kristen to lead the team with her extensive digital marketing expertise. She holds the designation of Certified Digital Marketing Professional, and her education is in Communications and Special Event Management – a background that she utilizes regularly for a wide range of projects.
In her free time, you’ll find Kristen walking the sandy beaches with her mini Labradoodle, Valentino, or at a music festival. She is an avid traveler and is always looking for the next adventure.
Senior Account Manager
Erin has been working in the marketing & digital space since 2006. She joined the Direct Connection team in early 2019 and felt instantly at home, thriving in the company’s collaborative and creative environment. Her education is in Journalism and Public Relations, and she prides herself in being an expert in content creation. Direct Connection depends on Erin’s superb writing skills to elevate nearly every piece the company produces.
In her spare time, you’ll find Erin enjoying the beautiful Northern California beaches with her two young boys, trying out new recipes in the kitchen, or planning the next adventure – she’s been to 13 countries so far and hopes to visit many more!
Kristen (KT) Tener
KT joined Direct Connection in 2020 and directly supports the Executive team. She is also responsible for any Human Resources needs that may arise. Her education is in Administration and Leadership, and she enjoys utilizing her vast experience in operations and program administration to help Direct Connection run smoothly.
When she's not busy keeping the team on track, KT loves to cook, spend time with her family, and play with her very spoiled puppy dog.
Digital Marketing Specialist
After completing her Bachelor’s Degree in Photography at California State University, Sacramento, Sara’s advertising and marketing career began in 2004 with a commercial printing company. Her extensive knowledge of print production, promotional item procurement, and strategic campaign development was a welcome addition to the Direct Connection team in 2021.
Sara’s downtime is spent either on her bicycle or with her greyhound, Du Fleur. After spending 15 years living & working in Florida, she is happy to be back home in California, closer to family and friends.
Originally from Pennsylvania, Rachael moved across the country in 2019 to continue growing her marketing and agency expertise. She found Direct Connection and her new adventure began – she quickly fell into place and began sharing her extensive email marketing, social media, and tech-savvy skills with the entire team.
In her time away from the office, Rachael enjoys exploring Northern California’s hiking trails with her boyfriend and their lab mix puppy, online shopping (but never actually checking out), and quoting “The Office”!
Dani is an experienced Marketing Coordinator with a passion for social media marketing and creating content using on-trend digital technologies. After completing her bachelor’s degree and gaining six years of experience in the industry, she is now helping clients optimize their marketing strategies. Dani joined Direct Connection in early 2020 and fell right into step with the team. She is certified in Google Analytics and inbound marketing, and is an active member of the Social Media Marketing World Society.
Outside of the office, Dani enjoys being on the water and adding to her plant collection – 20 plant babies and counting!
Darlene M. Valle
Darlene has been working as a Production Designer since 2007. She joined the Direct Connection team in 2018, helping to develop consistent branding, print marketing and digital designs that are unique for each client. Her education in Public Relations and Marketing gives Darlene a well-rounded perspective as a designer.
In her spare time, you’ll find Darlene outdoors tending to her small garden at home. She enjoys riding the ferry to San Francisco and meandering the streets of the city, cooking for her family, and spending time with her two young grandsons.
Julia has been involved in sales and marketing for over 25 years, focusing primarily on the needs of B2B companies. She has a unique background that includes outside sales in technology, print/digital advertising sales, and traditional marketing. As a project manager, Julia works directly with clients to ensure deliverables and deadlines are met. She also utilizes her sales experience to provide outbound acquisition solicitations on behalf of clients, creating pathways to meaningful conversations.
Julia has raised two boys who are both in college pursuing their passions. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling and spending time with friends and family. She also holds a Digital Marketing Certification.
An award-winning brand and communications strategist, Sarah’s deep-dive approach and commitment to high-quality output—plus a good amount of humor and common sense—have helped guide Direct Connection projects since 2011. She primarily collaborates with the team on brand strategy, UX and web design, and business development. Her strengths are adaptive strategy and data-driven planning.
Sarah proudly mentors young colleagues on entrepreneurism, risk, confidence, and communication. She serves as organizational strategist on the Advisory Board to Southern CC and volunteers with Pets for Patriots. She and her scrappy dog Duna Pax can be found wandering Brooklyn.
Insurance & Financial Copywriting Specialist
As a former independent agency owner, commercial insurance broker and life insurance specialist, Kathryn brings over 25-years of real-world insurance and financial industry experience to the table.
In a highly competitive industry where digital innovations and capabilities are rapidly expanding, Kathryn has in-depth experience in the insurtech space. She helps companies promote emerging technologies that bring transparency, intelligence and automation to the industry, as they transform the way they do business to better meet customer demand.
Along with a working knowledge of insurance and financial processes, regulatory complexities, marketing and sales experience, Kathryn is a certified copywriter in SEO copywriting best practices and has an earned graduate degree in journalism. Kathryn enjoys gourmet cooking, her office kitty Charlie and exploring the Oregon coast. She is a longtime Veteran's Services volunteer, assisting veterans with financial and life insurance planning.
Mr. Tony Valentino
Mr. Tony Valentino is a career watchdog who prides himself on his dedication to the role of Direct Connection's Resident Security Guard.
When he’s not busy protecting the office from neighborhood cats, Tino passes out snuggles to the team for extra support and motivation. He also moonlights for the cleaning crew doing crumb removal.
In his spare time, Tino enjoys tennis balls, naps and treats.