Bravata Financial Group

Our Team

John J.Bravata

John J. Bravata, is the Company’s Chairman. Mr. Bravata founded the Company in July 2006. Under Mr. Bravata's leadership, Bravata Financial Group now has 4 branches in 2 states and is poised for significant expansion. 

He attended Grand Valley State University, where he studied International Law and Criminal Justice. Upon Graduating Mr. Bravata served as an undercover narcotics officer and then as uniformed officer for the Kalamazoo Department of Safety. 

Mr. Bravata worked as a financial planner and sales manager for John Hancock Financial Services from November, 1991 to January, 1997, where he specialized in investment and estate planning for high net worth individuals and business owners. Beginning in January, 1997, he served in a position as a Partner with New York Life Insurance Company and, in October, 2000, Mr. Bravata was promoted to Managing Partner of New York Life Insurance Company’s Detroit, Michigan office.

In January, 2006, he became a District Agent with New York Life becoming one of the top consultants in the company qualifying for the Chairmans Council. John stepped down from his position and affiliation with New York Life in October 2006.

Throughout his career, Mr. Bravata gained significant personal experience in the purchase and sale of investment properties, and he currently holds several FINRA securities licenses. He also holds life and health insurance licenses. 

Mr. Bravata was named 'who's who' of young executives, has received the Gold Medallion, and sits as the Vice Chairman of the Business Executive Association out of Washington DC. He has authored the following books: Stealing of Wealth in America, What the Government and Financial Institutions Don't Want You to Know About Investing, Soar like an Eagle, and Marketing Your Way to Sales Success.

Richard J.Trabulsy

RJ Trabulsy is a co-founder of Bravata Financial Group, and serves as the company’s Vice Chairman. Mr. Trabulsy began his career with New York Life Insurance Company, where he was given an opportunity to share his acquired wealth of business management knowledge. 

Melissa Traver

Melissa L. Traver is the Chief Financial Officer of Bravata Financial Group and many of its affiliated companies.  Prior to joining the Company, Mrs. Traver was an accountant in the certified public accounting and consulting firm of Doeren Mayhew, P.C. in Troy, Michigan, where she served in the Business Solutions department.  She attended Walsh College, where she graduated with honors and received a Bachelor of Accountancy degree (magna cum laude) in 2003.  Mrs. Traver is licensed with the State of Michigan as a certified public accountant, and is a member of the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

John Sellers

John A. Sellers serves as General Counsel to Bravata Financial Group and each of its affiliated companies.  Prior to joining the Company, Mr. Sellers was an equity shareholder in the law firm of Hyman Lippitt, P.C., in Birmingham, Michigan, where his principal areas of practice were securities regulation, corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, asset-based finance and commercial real estaet transactions.  He remains contractually affiliated with Hyman Lippitt, P.C. in an Of Counsel capacity.

He received a Bachelor of Science degree from Wayne State University in 1989.  He then attended the University of Detroit School of Law, where he graduated with honors and received the degree of Juris Doctor (cum laude) in 1992.

Mr. Sellers authored several published works, including:  Casenote:  "Foot Chase By Police Is Not A Seizure", 68 U.Det.L.Rev.  441; Note:  "Publicly Traded Limited Partnerships:  Are the Limited Partners Being Rolled Over in Roll-Ups?", 69 U.Det.L.Rev. 627; "regulation of Offshore Offers and Sales of Securities", Offshore Finance, U.S.A., January, 1999; "The Domestic Issuer Safe Harbor:  Offshore Sales of Securities by U.S. Companies", Offshore Finance, U.S.A., July, 1999; and "Multi-Jurisdiction Disclosure Standards:  The International Passport to Securities Markets", Offshore Finance, U.S.A., March, 2000.  Mr. Sellers is a member of the State Bar of Michigan (admitted, 1992) and the Oakland County Bar Association (1992 to present), and he is admitted to practice before the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan (admitted, 1994).  He has an AV® Peer Review Rating from Martindale Hubbell.

Mike Lennington

Mike Lenninton is an expert at leading individuals and organizations through the design and implementation of lasting change. A creative and strategic thinker, Mr. Lennington has consulted to businesses for more than twenty years in North America, Europe and the Middle East.His experience spans several industries including automotive, retail and financial services.

Prior to joining Bravata Financial Group , Mr. Lennington helped to lead and grow Strategic Breakthroughs, LLC - a firm dedicated to helping its clients to execute well-planned strategy.  Together with Brian Moran, Mr. Lennington co-authored the book “Periodization - 12 Weeks to Breakthrough”, and developed the proprietary planning and execution system called ‘Periodization’. 

Periodization combines the fundamentals of high performance with a ‘12-Week Year’ and has achieved breakthrough results for more than a thousand clients to-date.  As the EVP of Strategy and Execution, Mr. Lennington participates on the executive leadership team; he also leads the internal implementation of Periodization for executives, management and staff.

Tracey Batey

Tracey Batey is Vice General Counsel to Bravata Financial Group and each of its subsidiaries.  Prior to joining Bravata Financial Group , she was a shareholder in the law firm of Hyman Lippitt, P.C. 

Ms. Batey is a member of the State Bar of Michigan (admitted, 1996) and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan (admitted, 1996).

Aaron Simon


Aaron D. Simon, age 34, was hired in July 2008 as the Managing Partner of Southwest Michigan for Bravata Financial Group. He currently heads the sales office located in Portage, MI.

Prior to joining the company Mr. Simon served as an Agent (Dec. 1998-Nov. 2001) and was then promoted to Partner (Nov. 2001-July 2008) with The New York Life Insurance Company. Mr. Simon earned many distinguished awards during his tenor at New York Life including achieving MDRT (Million Dollar Round Table) status as a producer (1999 & 2000) and was also recognized as a top 25 Partner (2004 & 2007). Mr. Simon was also recognized as the #1 recruiter in the South Central Zone at New York Life (2004). He is presently registered with FINRA (the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority). He holds a Resident Producer license issued by the Michigan Office of Financial and Insurance Services for Life Insurance, Accident and Health Insurance and Variable Contracts. He is also a charter member of NAIFA (National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors) and holds a LUTC (Life Underwriters Training Council) designation.

Mr. Simon graduated with a Bachelor's Degree from Western Michigan University, located in Kalamazoo Michigan, in 1997 where he also served as president of Tau Kappa Epsilon, a chartered national fraternity. He has served on several Advisory Boards within the community and has been successful in several entrepreneurial ventures. Mr. Simon resides in Kalamazoo, MI with his wife, Erin, and children Sam and Sophia.

David Circele

David E Circele, age 53, is one of the Company's three Managing Partners. As a Managing Partner, Mr. Circele is responsible for the management of our first Ohio office. Mr. Circele has gained significant experience in the insurance and securities industries in both Sales and Management, and he currently holds several securities and insurance licenses. He is presently registered with FINRA (the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority). In addition, he also has his Life, Accident, and Health Licenses.

Mr. Circele served in the Navy from June, 1974 to June of 1979 and was given Top Secret NATO Security Clearance. He then migrated to the world of computers, where he gained his first experience in sales. In April, 1987 he joined the financial services world working as an Insurance Representative for General American Life Insurance Company.

From April 1988 to September 2002, Mr. Circele worked for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company where he received several awards: The 1989 & 1990 Agency Associate of the Year, 1990 National Sales Achievement Award, and the 1991 & 1992 National Quality Award. He quickly expanded his knowledge and experience as he began taking on more responsibilities that included Administration Operations, Recruitment and Training of new sales representatives. In 1996, Mr. Circele facilitated the merger of two agencies in addition to his daily operations responsibility. Late 1996, Mr. Circele added the development of an agency brokerage operation. In 2000 Dave achieved 2000 National Brokerage Management Council and had his brokerage department became a top 25 agency, as well as the top 5 in National Account Sales.

In September 2002, Mr. Circele joined New York Life Insurance Company as a Partner where he was responsible for the recruiting and development of both experience and inexperienced agents. Dave was in the top 50 of all partners at New York Life. Winner of the New York Life Career Commitment Award in 2003 & 2004. Leading partner in the Greater Detroit General Office in both 2003 & 2004.

In 2005, Mr. Circele joined Auto Club Group/AAA Life Insurance Company as a Regional Life Manager and was responsible for the largest production territory of the company. His responsibilities included management of 38 agents, as well as recruiting and development of experienced agents and served as a registered principle of the broker dealer Auto Club Funds.

In February 2006 when Mr. Circele joined Bravata Financial Group, he was made one the three Managing Partners of the first Ohio office.

Mike Hale

Mike Hale is the Marketing Planning Director for Bravata Financial Group and each of its subsidiraries

Sheri Circele

Sheri Circele is the Director of Human Resources of Bravata Financial Group and each of its affiliated companies. She graduated from the University of Michigan in 2008 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a Human Resource concentration. Sheri has twenty years of combined experience in the fields of training and human resources.


Chrissie Blaze

Chrissie Blaze grew up in the leafy countryside of Surrey, England and lived and worked in Central London. She was educated at the University of London as a teacher, and later worked as a financial adviser and the public relations director of an investment broker.

Upon moving to the U.S. in 1994 to marry Gary, she worked as executive assistant to the president of a consulting firm in Los Angeles, California. When she moved to Michigan in 2008, she became the Executive Assistant to the Vice Chairman of Bravata Financial Group.

Peggy Kaptur

Peggy Kaptur is Legal Assistant to John A. Sellers, Esq., Tracey L. Batey, Esq., and Paul Villarruel, Esq. She graduated from the Robert Morris/Moser School of Business in Chicago and has enjoyed a career as a Legal Assistant for over 20 years.

Prior to joining Bravata Financial Group, she gained her expertise with several prestigious law firms, both in Chicago and the metropolitan Detroit area.


Shannon Barnett

Shannon Barnett studied general education at Oakland Community College, and is attending accounting classes to receive her degree. She started her career working as a Clerk in Oakland County Probate Court, she later moved on to real estate abstracting property deeds for 12 years.

Later she moved to accounting and billing for Van Horn Concrete before joining Bravata Financial Group as Assistant to the CFO.


Jena Ansara

Jena Ansara studied General Education at Oakland Community College where she earned her Associate's Degree in Liberal Arts.

She later completed the Business Management program at Spring Arbor University where she studied Management and Organizational Development.  She serves as Executive Assistant to the Chairman.






Related Links

Bravata: A Man With His Own Gravity

Open Letter from John Bravata and RJ Trabulsy


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