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Benefit Advisors Network Management Team

Jim Hopkins, President

Jim Hopkins - CPI-HR BAN PresidentJim Hopkins is the founding member and President of Benefit Advisors Network (BAN).  Jim oversees the strategic direction of BAN and makes sure the Management Team is delivering on the mission and annual strategic plan developed by the Board. 

Jim is the President of CPI-HR one of the larger Employee Benefit firms in Ohio and under his direction CPI-HR has expanded to offer Payroll/HR, Benefit Administration and  HR services to clients not only in Ohio but throughout the U.S.  CPI-HR has grown significantly under his leadership and has been awarded the prestigious Best Places to Work by SHRM for the past several years.

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Jim graduated from University School and earned a BSBA in Finance from John Carroll University in 1985. Immediately after college he entered the insurance business with Guardian Life, and then grew a benefits practice within a small property and casualty company. He founded Corporate Plans Inc. in 1998, Benefit Advisors Network in 2002, Corporate Payroll, Inc. in 2004 and was instrumental in BAN launching National Benefit Center in 2011.

John F O’Connell, Jr., Vice President

John O'Connell, VP of Benefit Advisors NetworkJohn O'Connell is Vice President of Benefits Advisors Network. John  brings strategic perspective to the Benefit Advisors Network management team through his extensive service on the boards of several institutions.

He is the President and Co-owner of the C.M. Smith Agency, one of the premier insurance and financial services agencies in the greater Hartford, Connecticut area.  He has served on the Financial Committee of the Connecticut Health First Authority, an entity authorized by the  Connecticut General Assembly to  evaluate and recommend health care reform initiatives for Connecticut, as well as on the board of the VNA Health Care, an organization providing home care and related services with annual revenues of over $50mm.

An alumnus of Trinity College, Class of 1981, John has earned industry designations as a Certified Employee Benefit Specialist (CEBS) and a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU). He is a member of the International Foundation of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists, the American Society of Chartered Life Underwriters, the National Association of Health Underwriters and the Connecticut Benefit Brokers. 


Perry S. Braun, Executive Director

Perry Braun, Benefit Advisors Network Executive DirectorPerry S. Braun has over 25 years in the employee benefits and healthcare industry. As the Executive Director of the Benefit Advisors Network (BAN) Perry is responsible for assisting privately held employee benefit brokerage firms improve their performance and profitability through: best practice learning, sharing of knowledge, proven growth strategies, and enhanced operating efficiencies.

Perry also serves as the Executive Director of the National Benefit Center, the sister organization to Benefit Advisors Network. While BAN maximizes the intellectual capital and collaboration among members, the National Benefit Center focuses on product development. Perry was appointed to serve as the head of both organizations to leverage the members’ collective influence and to ensure continuity between strategic planning and product outcomes. 

Prior to his current position as the Executive Director of BAN and the National Benefit Center, Perry was Vice President of Sales and Customer Relations at Medical Mutual of Ohio, and he served as Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Consortium Health Plans. He also held senior-level positions with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Ohio.