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Meet the Brokers

Rick Bender, CEBS, LLIF

AveNew Solutions, Founding Partner

Rick Bender believes that innovation, integrity, and getting the best value for his clients are the core values that keeps him going. A 30-year veteran in the insurance industry, Mr. Bender is regarded as one of the nation’s leading experts in disability programs and has held key senior leadership roles for some of the top national insurance carriers. His background includes senior management positions in:

National Underwriting

Product Development



Public Sector Benefit Plans

Labor Relations Consultation

Mr. Bender is also a sought-after keynote speaker on how to uncover hidden insurance carrier contractual advantages and pitfalls. His unique “insider” background provides clients with unprecedented insights and leverage to negotiate product and pricing combinations unmatched by other benefit brokers and consultants.


Mr. Bender’s greatest professional pride comes from negotiating deals that provide additional benefits and rewards on behalf of clients that leave them surprised and satisfied.

He is the Past President of the Employee Benefit Planning Association (EBPA) of Greater Los Angeles. Mr. Bender hails from Nebraska and graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and has been married for 30 years and has two grown sons.

Barbara Maynard

AveNew Solutions, Founding Partner

Barbara Maynard has always followed her own path — now she helps lead yours! With roots as a trader on the floor of the Pacific Stock Exchange and later as Director of Budget and Finance for Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina, she has established herself as a leading nationally respected consultant with Maynard Consulting Services, now known as ActNow Strategies.


For more than two decades, Ms. Maynard is a veteran of:

Employee relations and benefits innovations

Government budgets

Municipal finance

Pension fund issues

Public policy

Economic analysis

Research and strategy

Ms. Maynard has also spent her time on local and global concerns. Most recently, she and her daughter organized a trip of mothers and children to El Salvador and a nonprofit that works ‘hands on’ with women and children there who experience extreme poverty and violence providing them a framework for economic independence.

Ms. Maynard credits one of her most profound early accomplishments helping to build houses in rural Mexico. She realized that despite her professional successes there was more to her life than just helping others. Ms. Maynard realized that she was just as much a leader and a guide. Through that experience, she led the efforts to build an additional 120 new homes. It has been her philosophy ever since, helping to lead and guide businesses and organizations wishing to do good through her firm with solutions that can get them there. 

Ms. Maynard graduated in Economics and Political Science from New York’s Columbia University and is the proud mother of a high school-aged daughter through international adoption who is pursuing her dream as an alpine ski racer. 

Cherri Murray

AveNew Director, Client Services

Cherri has deep experience in the employee benefits industry and is committed to excellence in customer service. She inherently understands that the member is the single most valuable asset an organization can have and is driven by the unrelenting pursuit of client-driven focus. Ms. Murray oversees the implementation and support systems that our clients use to operate and manage their benefits. She has a wide range of responsibilities including technology, accounting, and business management.

Carri Bender

AveNew Director, Administrative Services

Carri lives each day seeing that what she does – and what our team does – at AveNew directly impacts working families in the most meaningful and positive way. "Because we provide them with truly affordable and comprehensive benefits, they have security, which I see firsthand when I’m working with a member who is on disability or a daughter who is submitting a life claim for her mother. I am happiest when I’m serving others and am thankful my work offers me that opportunity. Compassion and responsiveness are what drives me."

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