Meet Our Team

Brett M. Sause

LUTCF®, LTCP, CLTC®, FSCP

Principal & CEO

Cheri L. Burton

Office Manager

Ally Wheatley

MS

Client Service Manager

Teri Handley

Client Service Representative

Staci L. Bondura

Financial Services Professional

Suzanne M. Higgins

CLTC®

Insurance Professional

Molly Sause

MA, CLTC®

Financial Services Professional

Maxine Whitelock

CPA®

Professional Alliance Member

Dani Vernarelli

Client Service Manager

Brett M. Sause, LUTCF®, LTCP, CLTC®

Principal & CEO

brett@atlanticfinancialgroup.org

Brett is an avid boating enthusiast, and holds a USCG Master Merchant Mariner 50 (GRT) license. He loves spending time on the Chesapeake Bay with family and friends. He is an Eagle Scout and a Life Member of the National Eagle Scout Association. In 2014, the Baltimore Area Council of Boy Scouts of America named Brett the Eagle Scout CEO of the Year. He and his wife Molly reside in Wye Mills, Maryland with their daughter Emily and two Goldendoodle dogs.

Brett started in the financial services profession in 1999. The Atlantic Financial Group, LLC was formed shortly thereafter. The firm's philosophy in working with all of its clients is to guide them through a process that Starts With a Plan™. This process is aimed at helping the clients crystallize their financial goals and objectives.

Brett is also part of the Inner Circle Society. They represent a distinguished group of donors who have supported the MDRT Foundation with annual gifts totaling $5,000 or more. To accommodate recognition opportunities at the MDRT Annual Meeting, donor recognition dates for the Inner Circle Society are April 1 to March 31 of the next calendar year.

Founded in 1927, MDRT is an international, independent association of nearly 30,000 of the world’s leading life insurance and financial services professionals from 76 nations and territories, representing over 450 companies. MDRT members are recognized as skillful professionals who are considered to be among the best in the industry, perform outstanding client service, and have achieved the highest standard of sales excellence in the life insurance and financial services business. Brett is a Life & Qualifying member of the MDRT, and a 4 time member of the Court Of The Table.

In 2014, the Brett & Molly Sause Family Charitable Fund was established. This fund was created to benefit children in need from infancy to adolescence.

Brett serves as a mentor in the MDRT mentor program for new representatives in the business and is also a sought-after speaker within the MDRT Speakers' Bureau.

At an industry level, year after year, Brett has been awarded both the National Quality Award and the National Sales Achievement Award from NAIFA. Brett has been featured in numerous financial publications, such as Life Insurance Selling Magazine and Advisor Magazine and has been the keynote speaker at many insurance and financial practices around the east coast.

Brett is a member of the two largest lobbying associations within the life insurance and financial services industry; AALU (Association for Advanced Life Underwriting) and NAIFA (National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors). From 2009-2011 Brett served as the President of NAIFA-Anne Arundel, a local chapter of NAIFA. Brett was awarded "Agent of the Year" from NAIFA-Anne Arundel in 2009 and 2010.

In 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 Brett was awarded "Agent of the Year" representing the Baltimore/Annapolis General Office of the New York Life Insurance Company.

Cheri L. Burton

Office Manager & Licensed Service Assistant

cheri@atlanticfinancialgroup.org

Cheri Burton was born and raised right here on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She grew up in Cambridge and graduated from Cambridge-South Dorchester High School in the top 5 percent of her graduating class.

For over 25 years, Cheri worked alongside her husband in their family business. Cheri managed the office with experience in customer service, accounting, contract negotiations, and human resources.

In 2003 Cheri became a realtor and was affiliated with Powell Realtors in Cambridge, MD. She maintained her real estate license through 2011. After the untimely death of her husband in 2010, Cheri changed her career path and went to work full time as a receptionist for a local animal hospital where she had been working on a part-time basis since 2003.

In 2012, Cheri purchased Fox-Glen Apartments, a twelve-apartment complex located in Cambridge.

Cheri has two children and five grandchildren. Her son, Brandon and his wife Krystal have blessed her with two rambunctious little boys, Bryce and Nash. Daughter Courtney and her husband Harold have three beautiful girls, Emma, Maddie, and Josie. Cheri cherishes her title of "Mom Mom" and loves spending time with her family.

Cheri holds a state of Maryland Life & Health Insurance License. She is responsible for all case underwriting, money transfers, and overall general office management. She also handles correspondence, our e-relationship, paperless office interface, client service work, and account updates.

Ally Wheatley, MS

Client Service Manager

allyson@atlanticfinancialgroup.org

Ally was born and raised here on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She graduated from Cambridge-South Dorchester High School and went on to graduate from Wilmington University with a B.S. in Sports Management. Ally continued her education, earning her Master of Science in Sports Management from Wilmington University in Delaware.

Before joining the AFG team, Ally worked at Suicide Bridge Restaurant for over 10 years, gaining lots of knowledge in customer service and communication. Towards the end of her college career, Ally began working in professional baseball. While in college, she interned with the Delmarva Shorebirds, working under the Director of Marketing & Community Relations. She then went on to work with the Baltimore Orioles as a Suites Supervisor and Administrative Assistant to the Suites Manager. Working in baseball instilled in her the importance of being a team player, as well as taught her how to handle many different tasks at once.

Ally holds a Maryland Life & Health insurance license. She oversees all of the day-to-day client servicing and also handles our social media presence, e-relationship, paperless office interface, and account updates.

Ally is a huge animal lover, with two rescue dogs that make her life complete. She recently got engaged to her boyfriend of five years and is excited about planning her wedding and their married life in the years to come. She loves spending time with her family, participating in all types of outdoor sports and activities, and living on the Eastern Shore.

Staci L. Bondura

Financial Services Professional

staci@atlanticfinancialgroup.org

Staci has been in the financial industry for over 31 years; the last 16 years as a licensed life insurance agent in Maryland. Staci comes from a banking background where she worked with high-net worth individuals and families. She was a Private Banker for a community bank and an Assistant Private Banker with a large bank. Staci worked directly with these individuals, their families, and their external partners, as necessary. Staci’s priority is always the client and their financial needs and goals. She holds a Life and Health Insurance license in Maryland, North Carolina, and Massachusetts. She also holds a Series 6 license.

Staci joined Atlantic Financial Group, LLC in 2015 after becoming associated with Brett’s District Agency in Easton, Maryland. Staci and her husband, Jeff, live in Baltimore and have two sons. They love camping and spending time with their dogs.

Suzanne M. Higgins, CLTC®

Insurance Professional

suzanne@atlanticfinancialgroup.org

Suzanne has been in the insurance industry for over 18 years, first as a benefits administrator for employer-sponsored health plans and the last 12 years as a licensed agent in Maryland. She attained her Certification in Long Term Care designation in 2008, enabling her to pursue her passion for helping her clients realize their retirement goals. She received her Associate Degree from Chesapeake College in 1978.

She joined Atlantic Financial Group, LLC in May 2014 after being recruited for the district agency in Easton, MD.  A consistent leading producer in her field, she credits much of her success to the introductions she receives from satisfied clients.

Suzanne specializes in innovative insurance solutions to help clients protect their financial security and plan for their future. She has extensive experience in Medicare supplement contracts as well as retirement planning.

A St. Michaels resident for 30 years, Suzanne and her husband Brad enjoy participating in community activities which benefit the Bay Hundred area where they live.

Molly Sause, MA, CLTC®

Financial Services Professional

molly@atlanticfinancialgroup.org

Molly earned her B.S. in Education from Eastern Michigan University and her Master of Arts in Education from North Park University in Illinois. She grew up in the financial services industry, as the proud daughter of a father whose career has spanned over 50 years. Molly has Insurance Master licenses in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, as well as a Long Term Care designation. She also holds a Series 6 and 63 license.

Molly is a National Board Certified teacher who worked in the classroom for over twenty years. Her work with children and their parents instilled in her a desire to see all families achieve their financial goals so that college, retirement, and long term care planning can become a reality.

Molly and her husband established the Brett and Molly Sause Family Charitable Fund in 2014. This fund was created to benefit children in need from infancy through adolescence.

Molly enjoys spending time exploring the Chesapeake Bay with her husband, their daughter Emily, and their two Goldendoodles.

Maxine Whitelock, CPA®

Professional Alliance Member

taxesbymax@gmail.com
www.maxestaxes.com

Maxine Whitelock, CPA® is the owner of Maxine’s Business Services, LLC. Her firm specializes in estate, personal and business tax planning. She is accepting new clients and is located in Stevensville, MD. The New York Life Professional Alliance Program allows AFG and Maxine’s Business Services, LLC to have the most up to date knowledge and resources to work closely with our clients and their circle of trusted third-party advisors.

Dani Vernarelli

Client Service Manager

Dani@AtlanticFinancialGroup.org

Dani grew up in Baltimore and married her husband, Johnny, 22 years ago. They enjoy spending time with family and friends and particularly listening to live music and playing pool. Dani and Johnny have two cats they adore, Tiger and Grayson.

Throughout her career, Dani has been detail-oriented and enjoyed using her bookkeeping skills. Her professional history includes a supervisory position at CareFirst and helping her husband in their family business, Hotdogs on the Run.

Dani began working with her sister, Staci Bondura, in September of 2016. The two of them enjoy helping clients realize their goals and dreams. Dani’s responsibilities include day to day client servicing, marketing, maintaining Staci’s calendar and digital client files.

Teri Headshot

Teri Handley

Client Service Representative

Teri Handley was born raised and educated here on the Eastern Shore of Md and grew up in Cambridge.

Leaving the Shore in 1980 she has lived in San Diego, Camp Lejeune, NC and Lubbock, Tx. She moved back to Eastern Shore in 1989 to give her 3 daughters a taste of the life she grew up with and to be closer to family.

Prior to coming to AFG Teri was Sales and Marketing Director for a manufacturing company. Her vast experience includes over 27 years in sales, customer service, credit & collections as well as human resources. Teri is a client service representative with AFG.

Teri and her husband Daniel have 3 daughters and 4 grandchildren and 3 cats. Their oldest daughter Carla has blessed them with 2 grandchildren, Corbin and Chloe. Their middle daughter Courtney and her husband Shannon have a daughter, Aliza Nicole. Their youngest daughter Colby and her husband Lucas have a daughter, Rilyn Mackenzie.

Teri has a love for boating, fishing, crabbing and motorcycle riding.