Susan Combs Receives SmartCEO Brava! Award
July 1, 2014, 12:20 am
Filed under: Brava Awards, Exciting News, Motivational, SmartCEO, Susan L Combs


Brava_PreEventPR_2014 (2)

New York SmartCEO Announces the 2014 Brava! Awards Winners

40 powerhouse female business leaders to be recognized in
SmartCEO’s Brava! Awards program

New York, NY (June 10, 2014) — New York SmartCEO and Title Sponsor WeiserMazars LLP are pleased to announce the 2014 Brava! Award winners. The Brava! Awards celebrate the distinguished achievements of 40 of Greater New York’s top women business leaders. This year’s class collectively generates more than $1.2 billion in annual revenue and employ over 49,000 individuals. This year’s winners will be profiled in the September/October issue of SmartCEO magazine and celebrated at an awards ceremony on September 23, 2014 at Capitale.

Please see below for a complete list of winners and for program details. To share in the excitement leading up to the event, follow us @SmartCEO #BravaAwards.

“Brava winners possess the utmost qualities in a leader — vision, passion, compassion, dedication, perseverance. Every one of this year’s winners exhibits these qualities in running their business, their families and their philanthropic activities. They give 110 percent of themselves,” says Rick Crane, regional president of SmartCEO Media. “We are honored and humbled to recognize a group of women who are truly making a difference in the world.”

The winners will be celebrated at the New York Brava! Awards ceremony on September 23, 2014 at Capitale. An expected sell-out event, over 300 local C-level executives and guests will attend to celebrate their achievements. Past Brava! winners will also be in attendance to welcome the new class of winners and grow the community. The event will kick off with a cocktail reception followed by the awards ceremony and a final toast to the women leaders of Greater New York.

About SmartCEO
SmartCEO’s mission is to educate and inspire the business community through its award-winning magazine, connections at C-level events and access to valuable online resources. SmartCEO’s integrated media platforms reach decision makers in the Baltimore, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, DC, metropolitan areas.

About the Brava! Awards
The Brava! Awards program celebrates female CEOs who combine their irrepressible entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for giving back to the community. Brava! Award winners are exemplary leaders of both their companies and their communities. They encourage local philanthropy, mentor up-and-coming leaders and set their companies on the path to tremendous growth. Each year, an independent committee of local business leaders selects winners based on the quality of applications submitted. SmartCEO shares their inspiring stories in the September/October issue of SmartCEO magazine and celebrates their success at an awards reception in September.

Complete Program Information:
2014 Brava! Awards
Date: Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Time: 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Location: Capitale
130 Bowery, New York, NY 10013
Attire: Business Cocktail

2014 New York Brava! Winners:
Wen Zhou, 3.1 Phillip Lim
Ann Gottlieb, Ann Gottlieb Associates
Dominique Debroux, Big Belli, LLC
Claudia Baricevic, Capitale
Susan L. Combs, PPACA, Combs & Co.
Elisabete Miranda, CQ fluency
Samantha DiGennaro, DiGennaro Communications
Cheryl Ann Lawrence McDaniel, Direct Success Inc.
Jennifer N. Nevins, DW Smith Associates, LLC
Susan Lindner, Emerging Media
Erika Weinstein, eTeam Executive Search LLC
Amanda Judge, Faire Collection
Hilda Polanco, Fiscal Management Associates
Stacy Francis, Francis Financial, Inc.
Maureen Henegan, Henegan Construction Co., Inc.
Marilyn Kane, Iridium Capital LLC
Julie B. Kampf, JBK Associates
Lynne S. Katzmann, Juniper Communities
Karen Gurl-Martell, KGM Consulting, Inc.
Gwen Whiting and Lindsey J. Boyd, The Laundress New York
Jil Larsen, Magic Mix Juicery
Robyn Streisand, The Mixx
Dr. Robin Smith, Neostem
Cheryl Biron, One Horn Transportation
Denise Mari, Organic Avenue and Mari Lifestyle
Joanna Phillips, Phillips Brokerage
Jill Scalisi, Scalisi Skincare
Jennifer Blumin, Skylight Group
Lori Leitgeb, Stack Builders
Mary Nittolo, The STUDIO
Sarah Endline, Sweet Riot
Leslie A. Firtell, Tower Legal Solutions
Liz Elting, TransPerfect
Nadine Cino, Tyga Box
Susan White Morrissey, White and Warren

Nonprofit Winners
Saranne Rothberg, ComedyCures Foundation
Gail A. Magaliff, FEGS Health & Human Services
Ruth Rathblott, Harlem Educational Activities Fund (HEAF)
Carol Robles-Román, Legal Momentum
Marsha Firestone, Ph.D., Women Presidents’ Organization

To find out more about the 2015 Brava! Awards nomination process, email us at For information about sponsorship opportunities, email us at



Susan Combs named Best Rising Star 2014 by LifeHealthPro


This year’s nominations for the National Underwriter Industry Elite Awards were stronger than ever, a who’s who of the best and brightest in the realms of market innovation, industry awareness, community outreach and young talent. Our winners and honorable mentions this year stand out for their leadership, drive and brilliance that only the Industry Elites can offer.​ It was an especially difficult selection process as each and every entry stood with great merit. But alas, only one can be chosen. With that, we present to you the 2014 National Underwriter Industry Elite Awards.

To read the full write up on the award, click here!

What’s my penalty?


A question that comes up time and time again with the Affordable Care Act is:  “How does the Individual Responsibility (aka Mandate) Penalty work?”

To avoid the penalty you must enroll in a marketplace plan OR have private coverage no later than March 31st, 2014. If you do not, below are a breakdown of the penalties you will face.

  • 2014: Greater of $95      per adult and $47.50 per child under age 18 or 1% of household       income
  • 2015: Greater of $325      per adult and $162.50 per child under age 18 or 2%
  • 2016: Greater of $695 per adult and      $347.50 per child under age 18 or 2.5% of taxable gross income capped      at the average bronze-level insurance premium (60% actuarial) rate for the      person’s family.

**The total family penalty is capped at 300% of any annual flat dollar amount for those 18 and over.

**If the penalty applies for less than a full calendar year, the penalty will be 1/12 of the annual amount per month without coverage.


Let’s look at the O’Brien family of 4 that has 2 children under the age of 18 and the family household income is $100,000 per year.

Just to make the example easier, we are giving everyone names….Meet the O’Brien Family:  Mom – Samantha; Father – Mark; Son – Luke; Daughter – Sarah

Upfront we know that the Max Penalty the O’Brien’s’ can be given is:  $570 (this is figured by a $95 penalty each for Samantha & Mark since they are the only ones over 18 x 300%), now let’s look at the breakdown if they would hit the Max Penalty….

Remember, it is the GREATER of the below up to the Max Penalty:

Flat dollar amount penalty calculation :  $95 (Samantha) + $95 (Mark) + $47.50 (Luke) + $47.50 (Sarah) = $285

Percentage amount penalty calculation:  1% of $100,000 = $1000

Results:  Since the Max Penalty the O’Brien family can be given in this example is $570, this will be the penalty they will be responsible for, since the 1% of household income exceeds this amount.  This amount will be tacked on when Samantha and Mark’s taxes are calculated at the end of the year, so if they were planning on a nice refund this year, that will be deducted from that refund.  Keep in mind that if the O’Brien’s do not pay taxes, as of now, there is no mechanism to collect this penalty.

NYSE Bell Ringing for WIFS
December 27, 2011, 5:07 pm
Filed under: Exciting News

In case you missed it!  Here is the link to the video for ringing the NYSE Opening Bell this morning.

I can honestly say this was the highlight of my professional carrier, so far….  But how can you top this!?!?


Susan Combs to help Ring the NYSE Opening Bell December 27, 2011
December 8, 2011, 4:10 pm
Filed under: Exciting News

Tune in on December 27th 9:25 AM to watch the President of Combs & Company help ring the New York Stock Exchange Opening Bell!

You can tune in live online at 9:29am EST via the provided link below or watch it live on television through CNBC, or Fox Business Network.

The honor of ringing the opening bell comes in celebration of the Women in Insurance and Financial Services (WIFS) 75th Anniversary. Susan is currently on the National & Local Board of Directors of WIFS.