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Meet our team

Darren S.
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Darren Sugiyama

Founder & CEO

Darren Sugiyama is the founder & CEO of Lionsmark Capital.

Prior to Lionsmark, Darren founded DaVinci Financial & Insurance Associates, a multi-office life insurance firm responsible for over 25% of Pacific Life’s policy count in Orange County in , California in 2017, and 39% of Penn Mutual's life insurance policy sales in the county in 2019.

Prior to DaVinci, Darren founded Apex Outsourcing Insurance Services which became the #1 brokerage firm in the country with Kaiser Permanente, #1 in the country with Health Net, #2 in the state of California with Aetna, and #1 in Orange County, California with Blue Shield, concurrently.

Prior to Apex, Darren specialized in working with at-risk youths as the Director of a gang-prevention program in Long Beach, California and as a counselor in Halawa Prison in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Darren is the acclaimed author of How I Built A $37 Million Insurance Agency In Less Than 7 Years, along with eight additional published books distributed internationally, including Premium Financed Life Insurance - The Key To Effective Estate Tax Planning, and is also a nationally acclaimed motivational speaker.


He holds a B.A. in Sociology from Loyola Marymount University, and a M.Ed. in Multicultural Education from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.  Darren is married and currently lives with his wife and son in Orange County, California.  For more information about Darren, CLICK HERE to visit his personal website.

Emilia S.
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Emilia Sugiyama is our Director Of Operations at Lionsmark Capital.

Prior to Lionsmark, Emilia was the Chief Operations Officer for Apex Outsourcing, a large employee benefits consulting firm, specializing in creative group health insurance solutions for small to medium sized businesses in California.

Prior to Apex, Emilia was the Co-Founder and President of Pacific Bay Insurance Group, a firm that specialized in voluntary employee benefits.  During its first year in business, Pacific Bay won the Agency Of The Year Award with Colonial Life, and again in its second year.  In 2012, Pacific Bay was responsible for 58% of the new clients acquired for Colonial Life in Orange County, CA and San Bernardino County, CA combined.

Prior to Pacific Bay, Emilia was a Broker Sales Manager for several General Agencies in the employee benefits industry, including BenefitMall, LISI, and Dickerson.

Emilia is married to our Founder - Darren Sugiyama - and lives with him and their son in Orange County, CA.

Emilia Sugiyama


Jeff Reid is a Senior Business Development Consultant at Lionsmark Capital, introducing financial advisors, life insurance brokers, and RIA firms to our proprietary methods of premium financing.

In addition, Jeff's valued relationships with family offices is a tremendous asset to our uber high net worth division, working with family estates of $500MM+.

Jeff has over 32 years of executive leadership experience in the life insurance industry, and over 20 years in premium financing.

Prior to Lionsmark, he was a Co-Founder & Managing Partner of The Producers Group, a San Digeo-based BGA.  Jeff successfully contributed towards record annual sales, placing over $100B of life insurance death benefit, and over $600MM in total paid premiums.

Jeff earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations from the University of Southern California, and lives with his wife in San Diego, California.

Jeff R.


Senior Business Development CONSULTANT

Kelly S.
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Kelly Stone is our Director Of Premium Financing Loans at Lionsmark Capital.


In this capacity, Kelly is the primary liaison between our lenders, our carriers, and our valued advisors & clients.  She manages both our lender-underwriting and our carrier-underwriting, coordinating policy funding and policy delivery.

Prior to Lionsmark Capital, Kelly was the New Business Coordinator for DaVinci Financial & Insurance Associates, acting as the primary liaison between DaVinci, the underwriting departments at the carriers, and DaVinci's clients.

Prior to DaVinci, Kelly worked as an sonographer / ultrasound technician in a medical services office.

Kelly lives with her dog Mia in Nashville, Tennessee.

Kelly Stone

Director Of Premium Financing Loans

Michael P.
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Michael Pachuta is the President & Co-Founder of EFOGI - Entrepreneurs Focused On Growth, Inc. - a dynamic Events & Marketing firm.

Lionsmark Capital retained EFOGI's services to handle our Boot Camp Seminars, our exclusive Mastermind Events, and Darren Sugiyama's speaking appearances.

This year, our calendar of events is jam packed with Darren speaking at Concorde Investment Services' symposium in Detroit, the Center For Tax, Strategies & Resources's advisor academy in Phoenix, AEG's Members Retreat in Cabo San Lucas, Bangerter Fiinancial's Networking Event in Salt Lake City, and Elite Resource Team's CPA Symposium in San Diego.

In addition to Darren's speaking appearances, Lionsmark Capital's 2-Day Boot Camp schedule has included two events in Irvine, California earlier this year, as well as Dallas, Fort Lauderdale, and San Diego.

Michael lives with his wife/business partner Courtney and their children in Detroit, Michigan.

Michael Pachuta

Director Of Marketing

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Lionel Adams assists with point-of-sale services for Lionsmark Capital, specializing in both premium financed cases as well as non-financed life insurance policies.

Prior to Lionsmark, Lionel worked for DaVinci Financial & Insurance Associates as a life insurance advisor.  When Darren Sugiyama started Lionsmark Capital, Lionel was one of his most trusted advisors at DaVinci, so his transition to premium financing was a natural fit.

Prior to DaVinci, Lionel worked as a life insurance agent for Mass Mutual in Newport Beach, California.

Prior to Mass Mutual, Lionel served our country as a U.S. Marine.

Lionel Adams

Senior Sales Associate

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Courtney Pachuta is the Vice-President & Co-Founder of EFOGI - Entrepreneurs Focused On Growth, Inc. - a dynamic Events & Marketing firm.

Lionsmark Capital retained EFOGI's services to handle our Boot Camp Seminars, our exclusive Mastermind Events, and Darren Sugiyama's speaking appearances.

Courtney handles the event planning for our 2-Day Boot Camp events from registration, to marketing & promoting, to coordinating site management & set up, to making special arrangements for our guest speakers and event attendees.

With our national footprint and ever-expanding network of resource partners, event sponsors, and calendar of events, Courtney is the ultimate project manager and wears multiple hats in making sure our 2-Day Boot Camp events are first class.


Director Of EVENTS

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Kristen G.

Kristen Galello is our Senior Event Manager, managing all event operations for Lionsmark Capital, totaling the year with 7 events planned from February to November 2024. 


Prior to working with Lionsmark Capital, Kristen has been in the Hospitality Industry for over 10 years and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Hotel & Restaurant Management from
Northern Arizona University.


She has worked in many facets of the industry over the years including: Event Management, F&B Management, and Culinary Arts.



Joey C.

Joey Cusick leads our accounting team at Lionsmark and oversees the financial aspects of our organization.  He also handles the accounting needs for The Darren Sugiyama Companies which includes three other businesses, managing our billing department and commission department.

In addition, Joey works with Kelly Stone - our Director Of Premium Financing Loans - orchestrating the accounting side of our banking relationships.

Joey lives in Rancho Santa Margarita, California with his wife, son, and daughter.



mark bitonio

Mark Bonnel Bitonio is a seasoned professional with a Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management.

With over a decade of experience in the customer service industry, Mark has navigated through various roles, including Customer Service Representative, Quality Assurance Analyst, Supervisor, and Account Manager.

In addition to excelling in traditional customer service, Mark has diversified their expertise by managing sales accounts, e-commerce platforms, and Canadian legal services. Their strategic thinking and leadership shine through in their role as an Account Manager, where they seamlessly bridge client expectations with operational efficiency.

Mark is not only a seasoned professional but a dynamic and adaptable individual who brings a wealth of experience to any team, consistently delivering exceptional results. Mark is currently working with EFOGI in managing events.

mark bitonio



Contact Us

joey cusick

To contact us, you may either call our office at (949) 398-0088, or click the button below to tell us a little about yourself and we will schedule a private Zoom call with one of our principals.

director of accounting

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