President & CEO
Darren is well known throughout the Financial Services and Executive Search industries as one of the top consultants for Advisor Recruiting, Advisor Compensation, Competitive Analysis, Firm Infrastructure, and Firm Recruiting Strategies for the Independent, Career, Banking and Wirehouse channels. Darren’s Advisor Recruiting systems are the benchmark for what most Financial Services organizations use today.
Darren Varano started his career with Grayling Associates in 1992 as an Account Manager and has spent over 30 years developing his expertise.
David S. Kravet
Dave Kravet was a teacher and school principal before turning to a career in the business sector. He founded Grayling Associates in 1988 as a recruiting firm specializing in the financial services industry.
The focus of the firm quickly became the recruitment of Financial Advisors, Leadership, financial planning professionals and the infrastructure needed to provide support in this industry.
The firm continues Dave’s philosophy of providing honest and ethical recruiting and maintaining close personal contact with both clients and candidates.
Director of Operations
Megan started with Grayling in 2002 as the Office Manager, supporting the firm and its owners in a variety of ways. In 2019, she was promoted to the role of Director of Operations.
Meg has created processes, brought in new technology and ideas to help the firm grow and run smoothly. As the Director of Operations, it is her job to help clients navigate their accounts, support staff with day to day operations, and promote the company’s well- being in partnership with the management team.
Prior to Grayling, Megan worked for Key Tech, LLC, and most recently Touchstone Advisors, where she was the Office Manager. She is a 1999 graduate of Northeastern University in Boston, MA with a B.S. in Human Services.
Megan is the proud mom of 3 amazing kids, which are always her top priority! When not spectating and helping out with one of the kids activities, you can find her working in her gardens, and enjoying time with family and friends.
Prior to joining Grayling, Michelle worked in the Executive Search field for several years, holding a variety of senior level positions. Her areas of specialty include: healthcare, human resources and financial services. Michelle has had a wide range of responsibilities including: performing and completing searches, managing administrative activities related to searches, managing candidate development, marketing services, maintaining client relationships, and servicing clients in relation to search, recruitment and placement.
Prior to moving to the Executive Search field, Michelle served as Vice President, Consulting Group of CRAssociates Inc, a healthcare consulting company based in Newington, Virginia. She was involved in marketing services and in developing business opportunities within the private sector.
Prior to joining the executive healthcare team at CRAssociates, Michelle was an Associate Vice President at PHP Healthcare Corporation (NYSE) and held various positions with increasing responsibilities within the company. She joined PHP as an Administrator of a Navcare Health Center in Virginia Beach, Virginia that handled over 120,000 patient care visits a year. She was responsible for the daily operation, personnel management of 80 staff members, and marketing and budgeting for the Center. Michelle was then promoted to Regional Project Administrator of all the Navcare Centers on the East Coast. She was able to reorganize the troubled Centers by improving efficiency, profitability, staff morale, and client satisfaction.
Before joining PHP Healthcare, Michelle held various clinical, managerial, academic, and administrative positions in various healthcare systems. Michelle holds a Master of Science in Nursing Administration. She served in the United States Army Nurse Corps.
I originally was born and raised just West of Philadelphia, PA. I received my degree from Elizabethtown College in Business Administration with a Minor in Accounting. I have worked with Grayling over the last 15 years as a recruiter in both our main office located in Bloomfield, CT and also remotely based back in the Philadelphia area. My areas of focus have been both Agent and Management recruiting as well as overseeing Client accounts. In my free time I enjoy watching sports, hiking, kayaking and spending time with my family.
Laurie Kritzer has over 20 years experience recruiting for industries including manufacturing, private equity and financial services. She joined Grayling Associates in 2009 and has successfully recruited managers, advisors and support roles for a variety of organizations including insurance, wire house and independent RIAs. She especially enjoys the challenge that each new search brings and the ability to understand and adapt to a diverse group of clientele.
Laurie graduated from Union College in Schenectady, NY with a BA/MS degree in Industrial Administration with a focus on International Management. She minored in languages and has studied in Italy and Spain. In her spare time, she enjoys working out, reading, baking and a competitive game of Mah Jongg. Most of all she loves special times with family and friends.
John has been in the recruiting field for 25+ years. He has experience in corporate and private executive search. He worked in corporate Talent Acquisition for Travelers and Phoenix Wealth Management. At Travelers John ran the Lunch & Learn program, was a volunteer tutor for Dwight Belizzi Academy and volunteered on an ongoing basis at the Travelers PGA tour golf tournament. While at Phoenix he was a trained facilitator for Community Conversation-a focused discussion on race and diversity, and he was appointed by the CEO to serve on the Corporate Planning Council at Central Connecticut State University.
John graduated from CCSU with a degree in English; was an Editor for the Central Recorder newspaper, and a live-in Child Care Worker at Klingberg Family Center in New Britain CT.
Before he entered the recruiting field, he was an 8th grade English Teacher. He was co-captain of his high school golf team at Enfield (CT) High School. John spent several years as an Actor in community theater with Theatre Newington. He enjoys exercising daily. His favorite cities for travel are New Orleans and Miami FL. He also enjoys cooking, photography, and writing.
Lori began her career in corporate human resources and worked at various Manufacturing and Financial Institutions, including A.T. Cross Pen Company, First Data Investor Services and CVS Corporation. She has over 15 years of HR experience including recruiting, employee benefits and compensation analysis. She also has several years of working in a non-profit organization, recruiting and managing volunteers and fundraising. Lori earned her BA in Psychology from the University of Rhode Island.
Lori is a valuable team member at Grayling Associates because she has extraordinary attention to detail. She works closely with her clients to determine their recruiting needs and delivers effective results. Lori has a natural way of connecting with people and assists her candidates every step of the way, advocating for them throughout the recruiting process.
In addition to her work for Grayling Associates, Lori is an active member in her local community and regularly volunteers at her children’s school. Her two teenage sons are very accomplished musicians and she supports them as Co-President of the Band Booster Committee. She assists with organizing volunteers and raising funds to support activities for the high school band and jazz band programs.
Lori enjoys many types of exercise including tennis, cardio dance, kickboxing and yoga and she is a certified Zumba instructor. She also has a passion for photography and one of her favorite pastimes is going for long walks on the beach and collecting sea glass.
Richard grew up in Buzzards Bay MA, where he attended Tabor Academy and raced One Design Sailboats for over 25 years. Rick graduated from the University of New Hampshire and received his MBA from the University of New Haven.
Rick has over 25 years of sales experience in various Account Executive, Senior Account Manager & Associate Sales Manager roles, mostly in Advertising and Direct Marketing.
He also served as a Corporate Sales Trainer & Recruiter with Yellowbook USA (HIBU) for Northeast Region. Prior to joining Grayling, Rick was an Executive Recruiter at Hobson Associates in the Life Sciences & Insurance markets for 3 years
Rick has been a High School Football & Lacrosse Official in the State of CT for almost 20 years, and is currently on NCAA College Board for Men’s Lacrosse
Rick lives in Southington CT with his wife and 2 dogs, and has two daughters, the youngest will be entering her Junior year at his Alma Mater
Funny Fact: Rick helped a good friend and a couple of others, launch the product “HOTSCREAM”, the spicy Ice cream a few years back. The product is still sold in pints at various grocery stores in the U.S., mostly here in the Northeast. Go out and grab a pint and try it!
Kevin’s first venture into client acquisition was as a licensed financial advisor for Northwestern Mutual coming out of the University of Connecticut’s Communications department. There he was able to orchestrate strong relationships with clients and carve out a niche within the business-professional market.
Kevin brings to the table a standard of hard work and innovative thinking, as well as a unique understanding of the financial service industry having personally worked in that capacity before. Given this direct experience, he is uniquely knowledgeable on the needs of financial professionals as well as the efficiency modern clients require. Kevin values each interaction with candidates and clients and prides himself on being available as a resource to everyone he calls.
In addition to his work with Grayling Associates, Kevin is an avid sports fan and musician committed to supporting local art and athletics. He enjoys the occasional weekend round of golf when he is not tied up with his various charitable involvements.
Gina joined Grayling Associates Financial Services recruitment in August, 2020. Gina enjoys the interpersonal aspects of keeping in touch with individuals throughout the evolution of their careers. She is passionate about building a strong network of Financial Advisors with diverse backgrounds and experience to forge connections that help clients strengthen their internal team and candidates discover superseding positions.
Gina graduated from Bridgewater University with a Bachelors Degree in Communications. Prior to joining Grayling Associates she worked in wine sales and medical and administrative recruiting. Outside the office, Gina enjoys playing tennis, beach walks and spending time with her family and friends including her Yorkshire terrier, Loki and chihuahua, Chardonnay.
Natasha came to Grayling Associates while attending school for Human Services at Springfield College. Being new to Grayling, we are excited for her to bring her extensive customer service experience and knowledge of human communications to the team as our Administrative Assistant. Natasha works closely with Darren and Megan to help run the company as smoothly as possible. When she isn’t greeting clients with a smile, she is enjoying a hike or baking sweets with her family. We are happy to have her on the team.
Justin was born and raised in Connecticut and joined Grayling Associates Financial Services in 2020. He is an energetic professional who prides himself in helping financial advisors develop and grow their professional careers.
With over 20 years of experience as an Account Executive, predominantly in the financial services industry, he is incredibly excited and enthusiastic to apply his knowledge and expertise of the financial world to help Grayling candidates discover better opportunities. He understands the day in a life of the financial advisor and uses that knowledge to align both the financial organization and Grayling candidate towards a mutually successful career.
Justin played baseball for the University of Hartford and spends his free time with his son playing golf, basketball, and soccer. He has a passion for health and fitness and continues to strive to lower his golf handicap. He thoroughly enjoys meeting new people, learning what makes people motivated and their drive for success so he can further assist in their career aspirations and goals.
Dan, by joining Grayling Associates in January 2021, is transitioning from broadcasting to financial services recruiting where his strong communication skills are best leveraged. A real people-person, Dan takes a deep interest in helping people find their full value in the job market.
Dan graduated from Marist College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications. Prior to working in recruiting, Dan was a television reporter and producer, most recently with NBC Sports. When previously working for a midsize newsroom, he focused on human interest stories and stories about finance and banking. Dan is a very active person when outside of the office — whether he is playing a pick-up game of basketball, a round of golf, umpiring a school ball game, or out on the ski slopes.