The Cultural Intelligence Center is a growing, innovative training and consulting company that is changing the way individuals and organizations are approaching diversity and global engagement.
Who We Are
Based on nearly two decades of research, our mission is to build bridges and remove barriers for working and relating across cultures. We’re headquartered in Michigan but our team works across the globe.
The work of the Cultural Intelligence Center is supported by dozens of team members and partners around the world including trainers, consultants, researchers, etc. A few key individuals you may interact with as part of our team are listed below.
- Filter by Department...
Janine Allen, EdD
Janine Allen, EdD
Dr. Janine Allen, EdD, is a CQ Consultant and Master Facilitator with extensive experience developing diverse work teams across the globe. Included in her experience is over 20 years in higher education leading multicultural teams and developing transnational partnerships in Indonesia, Peru, South Africa, China, Australia, Israel, South Korea, and New Zealand.
Raised in New Mexico in a multiethnic family and amongst multiple indigenous tribal groups has given Janine a passion for cultural engagement and equity. Always a learner and a connector, Janine’s relational approach is a key element in her facilitation and executive coaching with executive leaders, managers, and with practitioners.
On a personal note, Janine is an urban gardener and enjoys observing the green world around her despite her location of place!
Fenny Ang, PhD
Fenny Ang, PhD
Fenny is a Professional Certified Coach (PCCTM) with more than 20 years of management consulting and HR practitioner experiences in both the corporate and NGO sectors across Asia Pacific. As an executive coach and leadership trainer, Fenny works with senior executives to develop their personal and team leadership capabilities. She has expertise in helping leaders to successfully transition into senior leadership roles, build productive teams or navigate through challenging organization transitions (e.g.: M&A, restructuring and layoffs). Her recent projects focus on upskilling managers in leading and managing transformational change in their teams, and helping executives navigate successfully in cross-cultural terrains. She especially loves working with millennial leaders to increase their confidence in shaping their workforce, and understand their place in the world, beyond just their workspace.
Fenny obtained her PhD in International Business Management from the University of South Australia and received her M.A. in Educational Leadership (specializing in HR Development) from Western Michigan University. She has published articles in People & Strategy, Journal of Global Mobility, and Coaching World. Fenny is fluent in English and proficient in Mandarin, Bahasa Melayu, and Cantonese.
Prudence originates from the Metro Detroit area, but has spent the last 14 years residing in Sault Ste. Marie, MI. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication from Lake Superior State University (class of 2013) and a Master’s in Business Administration in Human Resource Management from AIU (class of 2014). Prudence has 7+ years experience in the non-profit housing realm, including grant based programs, public housing, emergency shelter/housing, and social service programs. Over the past three years, Prudence has been active within her community holding positions on several boards for: veterans, youth, minority populations, disabilities, and housing services. She is a member of The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians.
In her free time, Prudence enjoys attending concerts, exploring fun places with her niece, and spending time with her two fur babies, a tuxedo cat named Esther and an English Labrador Retriever named Pearl.
Sara Beaty is our Accounting and Quality Control Manager. She is the primary subject matter expert of our CQ Learning Portal. She is responsible for coordinating and managing the quality of our technology projects and deliverables, including administration, testing, and analytics of our company’s digital assets.
Sara graduated from Baker College with a Bachelor’s in Accounting. Sara volunteers with an animal rescue group (Shelter to Home) and likes to play video games and go camping in her free time.
CJ Beckmann is an officer with over 10 years of military service in the United State Army with key leadership experience in diverse, multicultural, and dynamic organizations with specific focus in the domains of language, regional expertise, and culture.
CJ first began working with the Cultural Intelligence Center while managing the language and cultural training for a large military organization preparing its service members for overseas assignments. In this role, he was able to coordinate the efforts of government, academic and private sector organizations to integrate CQ into existing training programs. CJ is also the director of training and education on a committee charged with enhancing initiatives for diversity, equity and inclusion within his organization.
His academic credentials include an MBA and B.A. in Communications. He is Gold Level certified in the Kirkpatrick Training Evaluation method and is a graduate of the University of Foreign Military and Cultural Studies Red Team Leader course. Aside from his military service, CJ and his wife, Elizabeth, work as small business consultants specializing in organizational psychology and culture, strategic planning, and operational design. The two reside in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan, William has always sought to immerse himself in the diversity of his hometown and the globe. He graduated in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in global and international studies. After working in various industries over the years, joining The Cultural Intelligence Center was the ideal career change. It has enabled William to live out and advance some of his most important values on a daily basis.
In his free time William enjoys studying other languages, making music, taking naps and spending time with his family.
Laurent oversees Talent Acquisition & Development at the Cultural Intelligence Center. He has over 30 years of experience in human capital development, strategy, and leadership. He was previously the Vice President of Talent Management at Steelcase.
Laurent is of French descent and was born in Germany. He has several years of experience doing business in various cultures and countries, including working and living abroad.
Laurent is passionate about culture transformation, diversity, and inclusion. Laurent earned his MBA at ESCP Business School in Paris. He is also certified in FLOW coaching and the Advanced Human Resource Executive Program at Michigan’s Ross School of Business. From Bob Dylan to Joy Division, Laurent loves rock music and crime novels.
Chris Bobcean is our Director of Marketing. His responsibilities include providing marketing support and direction to all areas of our business. Chris brings over 22 years of digital, project management, eLearning, and marketing experience to CQC. Chris has experience working with small to large companies and has worked on both client and agency side.
In his spare time, he enjoys spending time on the lake with his family and attending their extracurricular activities (mainly hockey practices and games).
Lucy Butters is a specialist in Cultural Intelligence and founded Elembee ltd in 2010 to support international ambition and inclusion, working primarily with universities in the UK. She is a Master Trainer with the Cultural Intelligence Center and Above Difference, a UK strategic partner of CQC that works to improve inclusive leadership across the public sector. Recent work includes training and coaching for leaders of companies participating in the Scottish Government’s international Scale-Up program. Previously she worked for the British Council in international cultural relations roles linked with developing and implementing strategy to support the international ambitions of universities in Scotland.
On a personal level, Lucy is the mother of triplet boys who are a constant reminder of the need to adjust her thinking, actions, and expectations.
Susan Chen, EdD is responsible for the digital learning in the company. Her experience in both traditional teaching and E-Learning across higher education, manufacturing industries, and healthcare businesses enables her to design and develop for versatile learners. She earned two degrees in instructional design from Wayne State University, concentrating in interactive technologies. Born in China and later migrated to America, she is very sensitive to cultural factors and their impacts in communication and learning. Outside the office, she loves to spend time traveling, doing photography, reading, and writing.
Polly Collingridge is Account Manager in our UK subsidiary, supporting our UK Chief Operating Officer to build the business in the UK.
Polly has many years’ experience selling international rights in book publishing, and has also worked in sales and service delivery roles within global mobility and employee wellbeing. Most recently she has been a freelance intercultural trainer and is a CQ Certified Facilitator. She has an MSc in Cross-Cultural Psychology and a degree in Italian and Spanish. Although she was born and (mostly) raised in London, she has also lived in Italy, Costa Rica, Mexico, and the USA.
Polly has always been fascinated by different languages and cultures – even teaching herself the basics of Esperanto at the age of 10! Polly is passionate about the role of CQ in helping us work towards a more equitable society in which we all understand each other a little better.
Kelsey is our Senior Account Manager. In this role, her focus is on managing and growing existing education partnerships in North America. She is responsible for developing current relationships by matching and aligning client’s needs with appropriate solutions and demonstrating how our research-based products and services can resolve their needs. A graduate from Grand Valley State University, she earned a B.A. in Communications and has a background working with startup companies as well as experience working in the legal world. In her free time, she loves reading, watching movies and spending time outdoors.
Buhle Dlamini is a CQ Master Facilitator and an international speaker and consultant based in Canada and South Africa. He is the founder of Young and Able Pty (Ltd) in South Africa and Mindgro Consulting in Canada. He was also the co-founder of Heartlines Values TV Series project for which he, alongside Garth Japhet (founder) received an award from Arch-Bishop (emeritus) Desmond Tutu. He speaks on Leadership, Strategy and Cultural Intelligence.
Emily is our client experience and global events manager. She works across the business to plan and coordinate training programs, events and conferences, and leads the support of our community of around 3000 Certified Facilitators. She also supports the sales team to grow the UK business and manages the logistics of all UK client events.
Born and raised in the UK, Emily spent a few years studying and working in Spain before returning to England where she worked primarily in hospitality and events management. Most recently she has been a teacher and administrator. Passionate about languages, she speaks fluent Spanish and is learning British Sign Language. She is also studying her third degree, this time with the Open University, and relearning Latin and Classical Greek, both of which she studied at school.
Emily has a rescue dog who is her pride and joy, and around 80 tropical fish. In her free time she loves cycling, swimming and getting messy in her craft room.
Keri Dutkiewicz, PhD
Keri Dutkiewicz, PhD
Keri Dutkiewicz, PhD, is a CQ Senior Consultant and Master Facilitator with a unique blend of academic and private sector experience. She has over 20 years teaching and administrative experience in higher education at large research institutions, liberal arts colleges, and career-focused universities. Keri served as senior leader in a highly successful e-learning start up. She has developed and led international programs in China, India, and Mongolia in addition to having lived in Latin America and Europe. Her facilitation style is engaging, substantive, and practical. Keri’s passion for inclusion and equity comes through in ways that inspire and motivate change with her audiences.
Ellen Dyla is our Senior Business Consultant. She is responsible for client support and relations, as well as company marketing and communication initiatives. Before CQC, Ellen held Business Development and Account Management roles for startups and IT companies. She’s passionate about helping her clients while also growing productive and effective teams internally.
Ellen graduated from Michigan State University with a B.A. in Economics and a Specialization Chinese and Asian Studies. In her spare time, she loves to spend time with her daughter, stay active, enjoy the outdoors, and cook.
Kristin Ekkens is a Consultant with the CQ Center. She brings extensive CQ expertise to the table, both as our former Director of Corporate Partnerships, as well as previously overseeing the diversity and inclusion efforts at a hospital and healthcare system with over 25,000 employees. Kristin has several years experience living and working in a variety of cultures and has done extensive training with students, working professionals, and leaders. She has a graduate degree in TESOL and is fluent in Spanish.
Joel Francis has 22 years of experience as a Law Enforcement professional. After 20 years of service with the New York Police Department, he served as the Chief of Education and Training for the Baltimore Police Department. He then served as an Assistant Director for Public Safety at Monroe College and Columbia University, respectively. Prior to joining the Cultural Intelligence team, Joel Francis was an Associate Facilitator/National Director for the Verbal Judo Institute, where he presented their tactical communications program to Health and Hospitals Associations, Law Enforcement Agencies, Educational Institutions, Social Services Agencies and other government and private institutions throughout North America.
Joel received his MS in Management from Johns Hopkins University, with an emphasis on Executive Leadership, and has found that his background, education, growth, and experiences in both the public and private sector have enabled him to relate to almost any industry and management level.
Jessica Franz, MSN, MA, RN
Jessica Franz, MSN, MA, RN
Jessica Franz, MSN, MA, RN, is a healthcare professional with extensive experience in social services, nursing, quality, faith-based, and higher education contexts. Her work with people from a wide range of backgrounds has helped to fuel her passion for equity. In her role as a Healthcare Quality Professional at a hospital system, Jessica uses this motivation for equity to drive for change and performance improvement to ensure patients have access to high quality care. This passion for equity is what brought her to the Cultural Intelligence Center. Jessica began her role as a Healthcare Facilitator in 2022. She is married with three daughters; having children has allowed her to see the world through a whole new perspective related to equity.
BA in Music in 2003 from Mount Vernon Nazarene University
MA in Christian Education in 2006 from Nazarene Theological Seminary
AD in Nursing in 2013 from Kansas City Kansas Community College
BS in Nursing in 2014 from MidAmerica Nazarene University
MS in Nursing Education in 2019 from MidAmerica Nazarene University
Brandon Gamble is our IT and Software Development Manager. He is in charge of leading the maintenance and development of our learning portal, website, and our internal IT infrastructure.
Brandon has a degree in graphic design, applied science, and two in computer information systems. His early career was focused on developing E-Learning courses for Raytheon Professional Services and AT&T, then he fell in love with web development and programming, both professionally and as a hobby. After making the transition into management, Brandon found he had a knack for servant-leadership: fulfilling his role as manager by empowering and enabling his teams to do their best work.
In his free time, Brandon enjoys playing board games, video games, and Dungeons and Dragons with his wife and kids, and putting up with his two dogs.
Samara Hakim, JD
Samara Hakim, JD
Samara Hakim, JD, is the Founder of CulturGrit, LLC. She is an international culture and inclusion thought leader, data strategist, speaker, writer, coach, and facilitator. For over a decade, Samara has equipped leaders with the cultural intelligence to work with those who are different, by mitigating bias and integrating culture into business practices and metrics. She has extensive experience in communication, conflict transformation, diversity, equity, inclusion, implicit bias mitigation, and culture transformation. Samara is a dynamic speaker who engages people to think beyond their comfort zone and to work across differences. She draws on a range of experiences including her work across cultures, acculturation in the U.S., her legal career, and her personal background. Samara grew up in Lebanon. She has traveled extensively and is fluent in French, Arabic, and English, and conversational in Spanish. Samara loves chocolate, biking, and dancing. She currently resides in San Diego, CA.
Iva is our General Manager for Europe. She is focused on setting up our new office in Amsterdam, from where she will be a direct point of contact for customers all around Europe. She is responsible for business development as well as marketing and communications.
Born and raised in Montenegro, Iva was always curious about different cultures – so she left Montenegro when she was 18. She lived in Italy, then in France, and now she is located in, the Netherlands. Iva obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in International Economics, Management, and Finance from Bocconi University and her Master’s Degree in International Marketing and Business Development from Skema Business School. Her previous career was focused on Business Development and Account Management in Lighting and SaaS industries.
On a personal note, Iva is an animal lover who loves puzzles, board games, and video games. What she loves the most is spending time with her husband and her adorable dog Kobi.
Andrej Juriga is the managing director of the training company Cultural Bridge in Slovakia. As a Certified Facilitator of EQ and CQ, Andrej delivers workshops and coaching to large corporations, medium-sized businesses, and start-ups across a variety of countries and industries. He has a background in corporate sales and HR at a national and global level. Andrej has lived in five different countries across Europe and Africa.
As Lead Designer, Tina Kessel is responsible for the design, development, and upkeep of CQC’s program materials to support our workshops, certifications, and other events, as well as marketing collateral. She also oversees the ‘look and feel’ of the company brand as a whole. Her keen eye for design and attention to detail allows us to provide quality products used in all of our global trainings and cohesive communication across all platforms. Tina graduated from Calvin College, having studied engineering, and brings a flair for systematic organization and process implementation to the team. Originally from Florida, she’s partial to the sunshine and enjoys camping and traveling with her husband and dog, as well as a good home improvement project.
Martin Kiisküla is our General Manager for the United Kingdom. With over a decade of experience in direct sales and business development across multiple countries, Martin has gained an appreciation for Cultural Intelligence. He understands that to succeed globally, we must bridge the gaps between diverse cultures.
Originally from Estonia, Martin’s professional adventures have taken him to both the US and the UK, where he’s thrived by embracing different perspectives. Beyond the office, Martin is a strategist at heart, whether it’s conquering complex board games or seeking an adrenaline rush through skydiving, snowboarding, or hitting the open road on his motorcycle.
Martin’s commitment to cultural intelligence is about making the world a better place. He’s on a mission to use his experiences to improve the lives of others, fostering understanding and collaboration across borders.
Courtney was born and raised in the Metro Detroit area and is one of our Event Coordinators at the Southfield office.
She went to Michigan State University, where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English with a concentration in Creative Writing and a Minor in Philosophy, along with multiple awards for her writing. Courtney enjoys creating Poetry and Creative Non-Fiction pieces in her spare time, and lives at home in Farmington, Michigan, with her two beloved dogs Romeo and Juliet.
Mike Knox is responsible for legal, finance, and operations and leads some of our sales and marketing efforts. Mike is a serial entrepreneur who has founded or co-founded six businesses, raised millions of dollars in investment capital, and done business development in North America, Mexico, South America, Asia, Africa, and Europe.
Luisa La Via
Luisa La Via
Luisa La Via is a Leadership Coach with an international background with more than 20 years of experience traveling the world and coordinating international teams in multicultural environments. Luisa grew up learning from the diversity of the people she met which allowed her to open her mind and see things from different perspectives.
Luisa has covered different positions in the Corporate HR Department in the Luxury field (Bulgari and LVMH) from Recruiting, Training & Development to Organization and Internal Communication. Recently, she added Corporate Social Responsibility to her curriculum.
Her certification in Cultural Intelligence (CQ) has only reinforced the multicultural approach which characterizes her professional expertise. Luisa is now contributing to the development of professionals and organizations both through individual and team coaching and managerial courses with the use of HR development tools such as the CQ assessment and feedback report, Assessment Center, workplace climate surveys, and personal motivation indicators.
Nick Leone is an Account Manager with the Cultural Intelligence Center. Nick’s journey has taken him through various landscapes of professional disciplines, equipping him with a diverse range of experiences. He’s here to build and nurture client relationships, provide responsive and insightful customer support, and uphold service quality that exceeds expectations.
Originally from Michigan, Nick holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of Michigan – Dearborn. Beyond his professional pursuits, Nick spends most of his time with his family including his wife, two young boys and their two dogs. Together, they embark on family adventures, explore the outdoors, maintain an active lifestyle, and enjoy cooking as a family.
As the Graphic Designer, Emily supports Lead Designer Tina with design, development, and upkeep of CQC’s program materials and marketing collateral, as well as the ‘look and feel’ of the company brand as a whole.
With her B.F.A in Studio Art with an emphasis in Graphic Design, Emily brings a wide range of creative skills to the CQC team. She was raised in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, but has lived in Michigan since she began studying at Grand Valley State University in 2016. Before working at CQC, Emily was a freelance graphic designer working with a variety of clients and companies.
In her spare time, Emily loves to make art any way she can, including sewing and crocheting as well as painting. She also loves spending time with her friends at the beach, at home, or out and about in Grand Rapids.
David Livermore, PhD
David Livermore, PhD
David Livermore, PhD co-founded the Cultural Intelligence Center with Linn Van Dyne and served as the President for the first eleven years. He continues to serve as a strategic advisor and board member. Dave has written over a dozen books on cultural intelligence and global leadership and has worked with companies, governments, and non-profits in more than 100 countries. He speaks at several international conferences annually. Dave and his wife have two adult daughters. They love traveling together (fortunately!) and sampling the local delicacies, wherever they go. For a full bio, visit Dave’s website.
Bria Marcelo, M.A., is a social justice educator and student affairs professional who focuses on educational opportunities, collaboration, and strategic engagement to create change. In her higher education career, Bria has held numerous roles centered on identity, equity, inclusion, diversity, and intercultural communication.
Currently, she serves as the Director of Diversity Resources and Strategic Initiatives at the University of Iowa. Her unit helps drive the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts to shift campus culture to more inclusive, welcomes diversity, breaks down barriers to increase dialogue across difference, and is affirming and respectful of all identities. The primary methods employed include educational opportunities, consultation and coaching, events, resource development, and strategic planning support and engagement. Bria is a certified facilitator in Cultural Intelligence, Restorative Justice, and the National Coalition Building Institute. Bria completed her Master of Arts in Student Affairs Administration at Michigan State University and her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, Social and Economic Justice at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
As Event Coordinator, Shayla’s focus is providing a positive client experience throughout the event process – from pre-event coordination to post-event analysis. Her time spent tutoring English as a Second Language sparked her passion for learning about and spreading the knowledge of diversity and inclusion. Shayla enjoys exploring outdoors, connecting with new people, and spending quality time with loved ones outside of work.
Kelli Maxwell, RN, is a healthcare professional with over 19 years of experience in healthcare and corporate settings. Throughout her nursing career, Kelli has worked as an ER/Trauma RN, Inpatient Trauma Charge RN, adult hospice, and ICU RN including units such as Burn, Neurology, and Pulmonary. During this time in Kelli’s nursing career, she began specializing in speech-to-text solutions in electronic medical records, in an effort to reduce physician burn-out while increasing the accuracy and efficiency of documentation, with the overall goal of improved patient outcomes. For the last 7 years, Kelli has and continues to amplify the ability to help others with the power of voice and has shifted her nursing focus to IV therapy helping individuals live their best days.
Kelli joined the CQ Team as a Healthcare Facilitator in 2022, prior to the launch of the Implicit Bias in Healthcare Workshop.
Kelli lives in Denver, CO with her daughter and rescue bunny named Lars. Kelli loves the great outdoors of Colorado, running half and full marathons anywhere in the United States, and strives to always find adventure to feed her soul.
Kristian was born in the city of Tirana, Albania. He moved to the United States at the age of 8 and chose Michigan as his place of residence. He comes to the Cultural Intelligence Center with a plethora of business experience, from real estate sales to customer service and coordination, as well as accounting experience in different industries. With an aptitude in mathematics and passion for problem solving, he found himself at home in the field of accounting.
In his free time, Kristian enjoys reading, catching up on movies and television shows, as well as being active and spending time with his pets.
Based in Sydney, Australia, Des Ong is part of the community of Associate Facilitators with the Cultural Intelligence Center.
Des is an authentic, intuitive and future focused leader who has spent 20+years through research & leadership experience working with a variety of industries and organizations locally and internationally. These include top 20 ASX companies, governance boards, entertainment & hospitality, media, retail, education, finance, government and not for profit sectors. He is a sought after engaging speaker, a high performing team developer and leadership strategist that creates organizational environments for high employee engagement, shaping diversity/inclusion culture, and embeds healthy accountability that enhances team performance. Whether it be purposeful organizational design, transformational coaching or experiential leadership development programs; Des brings out the innate team strengths and dynamics; develops emotionally & culturally intelligent leaders, brings clarity to managing organizational change and assists articulating pathways for healthy and productive team culture. He has many years of experience in governance roles including Chairman and Board Director. He has completed his thesis on the role of Emotional (EQ) and Cultural Intelligence (CQ) in developing leaders.
Mikkel Hougaard Orlovski
Mikkel Hougaard Orlovski
Mikkel Hougaard Orlovski is a CQ Consultant and Associate Facilitator with 15 years of experience in developing leaders, teams, and organizations. Mikkel has spent his career as internal consultant in both private companies and public institutions, with a primary focus of harnessing the potential of diversity through developing the Cultural Intelligence of leaders and organizations. Mikkel is currently an independent consultant in Diversity HR Partner and has previously assisted the Cultural Intelligence Center develop its CQ Talent product.
Mikkel is originally from Denmark, has family from the Balkans and has lived and worked in France. His upbringing in the most ethnically diverse area of Copenhagen has given Mikkel a passion and instinct for how to navigate in culturally diverse settings and bring people together, who approach their interactions from very different starting points.
Mikkel is specialized in HR processes and how to integrate CQ with the every-day activities and processes of a modern, global organization. His background is within Intercultural Psychology and Communication, which has been complemented with a range of HR tools, psychometric test capabilities, systemic consultancy training and educations within strategy & leadership development.
On a personal note, Mikkel is a sports-nut and musician, playing football (the soccer-version) and guitar as much as he can get away with.
David Przybylo is a Senior Software Engineer from Farmington Hills, Michigan.
David began his professional career at digital advertising agencies developing websites and campaigns for major consumer brands. He then spent seven years building applications for a Fortune 10 health insurance company where he discovered his passion for web accessibility. David also participated in two internal hackathons and was an active member of the corporate volunteer team.
David is dedicated to improving the web every day by focusing on high-quality user experiences. He enjoys spending time with his family, playing guitar, woodworking, and all things retro video games.
Victoria specializes in helping international leaders and teams to reach their performance and career goals by improving their communication confidence and developing cultural intelligence. Her work means that her clients can share their voice and expertise, increase visibility and impact, grow customer and team connection, plus fast-track business and career growth. Victoria is proud to be a CQ certified trainer and loves supporting individuals and teams all over the world with coaching, training, videos and weekly podcast, Cultural Communication Confidence. She lives with her family in London, the UK, one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world.
Sophie is our Client Relationship Specialist. In this role, she is responsible for customer support and client relations. In addition to this, Sophie supports marketing department initiatives and projects. Her goal is to make internal and external communication more personal and effective.
Rita Savoia, CNP, RYT, MIR, B.Com (Hons), was born in Italy and grew up in Toronto. She graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce from York University, and a Master of Industrial Relations from Queen’s University in Canada.
Rita has 16 years of progressive Human Resources, Personal Development & Career Coaching, Training and Management Consulting experience. In 2012, she embarked on a 7-year entrepreneurial journey, and founded an HR & Talent Management consultancy based in Dubai servicing corporate and individual clients across various industries in the Middle East. She has been a facilitator of Cultural Intelligence since 2015 and completed Unconscious Bias certification with the Cultural Intelligence Center in 2020. She is a heart-centered facilitator and holistic wellness practitioner passionate about corporate wellness and mental health advocacy.
Lynn Schmidt, PhD
Lynn Schmidt, PhD
Dr. Lynn Schmidt received her RN degree from Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan, a BSN and MSN from Ball State University, and a PhD from Indiana University. Following her initial clinical career in Medical/Surgical, and later in Outpatient Surgery, Otorhinolaryngology, and School Nursing, Dr. Schmidt has been a nurse educator for the past fifteen years, teaching didactic courses in the area of nursing research, nursing theory, and diversity in healthcare to pre-licensure and graduate students.
Her dissertation focused on an evaluation of the impact of an intercultural learning experience on the development of transcultural self-efficacy of senior level baccalaureate of science nursing students. She is certified as a nurse educator, as well as a facilitator of Cultural Intelligence and Unconscious Bias with the Cultural Intelligence Center.
Ash is the Project Planner and Coordinator at the Cultural Intelligence Center and a member of the Learning & Development Team. Chief among their responsibilities are driving the product management process to deliver quality products according to strategic planning, working closely with the CQ Center Master Facilitator to administer Associate Facilitator Program processes, and providing special project support to the Senior Manager of Digital Learning.
They have over 9 years in operational support and management roles with an emphasis on quality control, creative problem solving, change management, process improvement, and development of new systems.
Ash is a queer, non-binary professional and student, a passionate advocate of intersectional equity and inclusion work, and identifies as a life-long learner. In their spare time, they enjoy spending quality time with family and friends, adventure motorcycling, camping, cooking, gaming, and trying new foods.
Robin Shabazz, Principal and Founder of the Eastledge Group, LLC, is a business and human capital consultant with expertise in guiding organizations in developing internal capabilities to become more efficient working in diverse environments. She also uses the Cultural Intelligence model to assist leaders in transforming their cultural awareness into appropriate action.
Robin is a licensed attorney and a trained civil mediator in the State of Ohio, whose career has spanned over 30 years with proven results in cultural transformation, diversity and inclusion, human resource management, and employee relations. As a certified Unconscious Bias, Racial Justice, and Cultural Intelligence professional, Robin capitalizes on her diverse background to deliver simple yet practical tactics, to help organizations understand their “cultural lens” and build the knowledge, strategies, and action plans that enable them to manage and relate to people of all backgrounds and thus foster a diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplace for employees, customers, and other stakeholders.
Prior to forming The Eastledge Group, Robin held several leadership roles within global retail companies. She served as Senior Vice President of Human Resources for Signet Jewelers, Inc. where she was responsible for developing and executing the human capital strategy. While at Luxottica Retail, she built a nationally recognized Human Capital analytics infrastructure, which linked employee behaviors and traits to business outcomes.
Her work was published in Talent Management Magazine and the book Calculating Success: How the New Workplace Analytics Will Revitalize Your Organization. Robin was recognized as a “2nd Act Honoree” in 2019 by the Cincinnati Business Courier in recognition of the success of her start-up, The Eastledge Group. She was also awarded the 2020 Volunteer Leadership Award by the Ohio Society for Human Resource Management Council in recognition of her dedication to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion.
She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration and a Juris Doctor.
Cheri was born and raised in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula, where she currently still resides. She has almost 20 years of experience in various positions and coordination roles. Her most recent experience comes from her work in the nonprofit field, where she assisted veterans. She holds an Associate Degree from Lake Superior State University.
In her free time, she loves to relax on the water with her husband Scott and their family.
Renee Slagter BSN, RN, MCTE
Renee Slagter BSN, RN, MCTE
Renee Slagter, BSN, RN, MCTE, joined the CQ Center Healthcare Facilitator team in 2022 following the launch of its public Implicit Bias in Healthcare programs. She has been an educator and trainer teaching current and future healthcare professionals since 2003. Over the course of her career, she has gained extensive experience working with diverse groups of students. From 2003-2008 she was the Clinical Trainer for a large (55) office group, and has been teaching high school seniors since 2008.
In addition to her full-time teaching roles, Renee is also a workforce instructor teaching Clinical Medical Assisting, CNA, and Phlebotomy Certification classes at Grand Rapids Community College. Each of these programs were delivered with detailed curriculum to meet the standards for each certifying body.
Renee has been a BSN since graduating from Grand Valley State University in 1991. She is a certified facilitator of Cultural Intelligence, OSHA Train-the-Trainer, BLS and First Aid (American Heart) certified, CNA (State of Michigan), and participated in implicit bias training with Equity Literacy Institute.
Karyn Stano is our Sales Director and leads the sales team & business development efforts of the company. Karyn has over 20 years of “hands-on” experience in direct Sales, Marketing and Management. Her approach with the sales team is as a coach and mentor. As a consultant, Karyn knows the cornerstone success lies in building strong client relationships, the development and successful implementation of programs and having a solid reputation of following up and following through. Karyn is a strategist by nature and is focused on listening, asking good questions, and helping clients reach the right buying solution.
Max Steininger is a project management and training professional with a decade of experience in healthcare technology program management and implementation with a focus on process improvement and patient advocacy. Prior to working in healthcare technology, he served as a legislative advocate on behalf of people diagnosed with aggressive forms of cancer and physicians, training patients and medical providers to speak to their elected officials about the importance of medical research funding.
Max holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He lives near Boston, MA with his wife and two cats and enjoys running, hiking and spending time in the garden.
Sudhama Swamy is an accomplished International Healthcare Business Development consultant. He has the unique distinction of leading the international BD strategy for 2 of largest healthcare groups in the world, and one of the most niche healthcare practices in the US. His strength lies in defining and implementing market penetration strategies which has enabled him deliver robust growth and measurable success through multiple assignments internationally. His work diversity is unique to none other, which inimitably enables him to carve out the best of blended strategies for creating new revenue streams from international regions. As VP – International Marketing for Apollo Hospitals, www.apollohospitals.com (one of the largest hospital groups in the world), he was responsible for creating strategic partnerships from Africa & Europe. Leading the International BD for the largest Italian Hospital group GruppoSanDonato, he established several business alliances reflecting in the growth of their international business. After the above tenures, Swamy focused on promoting a niche New Jersey based peripheral nerve reconstructive surgery practice. www.advancedreconstruction.com Some of the procedures of this practice are not offered anywhere else in the world.
Ling Ling Tai
Ling Ling Tai
Ling Ling is a social and cultural psychologist, seasoned learning and development professional, and a former electronics engineer. Originally from Malaysia, she has lived in 8 countries and currently resides in Portugal.
Since 2005, she has designed, developed and facilitated various corporate programmes across four continents for technology, travel and humanitarian organisations. Since 2017, Ling Ling has facilitated Cultural Intelligence workshops in Singapore and Malaysia, as well as virtually for audiences around the world.
Ling Ling comes alive when discovering diverse perspectives and illuminating insights within others. She cares deeply about connecting people from diverse backgrounds, exploring the richness of life, and creating compassionate societies.
Ling Ling is a member of the International Council of Psychologists (ICP), the British Psychology Society (BPS) and the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology (IACCP). In her spare time, she regularly practices Vipassana meditation and Ashtanga yoga.
Ben Terova is a software engineer from Brighton, Michigan. Growing up with a passion for understanding the ins-and-outs of all things technological, he has been helping clients with their hardware and software needs since he was a teenager. He now works on our specialized CQC learning software, as well as our digital presence around the globe.
Bernadette is a strategic and progressive HR professional with in-depth knowledge, insight, and expertise in Diversity and Inclusion culture and practice. She has a proven track record of leveraging substantial leadership capability and business acumen to shape and embed innovative strategies that promote accountability and engagement in diversifying talent pipelines and driving cultural transformation. She provides training, facilitates organizational discussions, and delivers keynotes on Diversity, inclusion, organization cultural change, leadership, employee engagement, wellbeing, and various other aspects of how to create a thriving workforce.
Bernadette is an Associate Facilitator of Cultural Intelligence and is responsible for Barts Health Trust’s extensive Cultural Intelligence rollout program.
Linn Van Dyne, PhD
Linn Van Dyne, PhD
Linn Van Dyne, Ph.D. oversees ongoing research on cultural intelligence and is responsible for developing the long-term strategy for the CQ Center. Linn is also responsible for providing strategic DEI (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion) expertise and guidance for our clients, partners, and for the CQ Center. Linn is one of the pioneering researchers on cultural intelligence and worked together with Soon Ang PhD to validate the CQ Scale. She retired as Full Professor at Michigan State University where she taught and conducted research for 26 years. She has also taught at the University of Minnesota and has served as a Visiting Scholar at Indian School of Business and as Senior Fellow at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.
Combining her passion for cultures and communications, Ysabel Viau founded ACCULTURA to provide organizations with sustainable diversity, equity and inclusion solutions. Her mission: contribute to creating a more inclusive world where difference is wealth.
Holding an MBA from the Université de Sherbrooke and a member of a select group of some 800 professionals around the globe with a CQ certification, Ysabel has over 30 years of experience as an entrepreneur, GM, CMO, writer and cultural awareness trainer.
She has provided communications and training services to local and international organizations in various industries, including technology, design, lifestyle/fashion, publishing and culture, as well as worked in cross-cultural capacities with renowned multinational brands such as Intel, Aldo, Jeff de Bruges and ELLE (Hachette Filipacchi/Lagardère). Also engaged with academia, Ysabel developed a pioneering course incorporating communications and cultural intelligence, which she teaches within the master’s program in International Arts Management at the Université de Montréal’s HEC business school.
The Montreal native reflects the Canadian metropolis’s bicultural and fluently bilingual profile, as well as its global mind. Ysabel’s passion for learning about different cultures has led her to explore over 38 countries in North America, Europe, Australasia, Africa, and Asia, giving her a unique perspective on multiple cultures and global market development.
Equally passionate about writing, Ysabel published Chroniques du Timor, a socio-economic and cultural analysis of East Timor under Un supervision, in 2006. Her debut novel NOMADE: La pour suite d’AméliaKhan (2016)—which she also published in its English version, NOMAD: The Pursuit of Amélia Khan (2017)—was inspired by her many travels.
Viviane Vicente is a global professional with a legal background and over 20 years of experience in both government and corporate settings. Prior to joining the Cultural Intelligence Center, she operated her own consultancy, specialized in educating business people, military personnel, nonprofit staff, and other professionals on how to communicate, present, and successfully lead in domestic and international environments. She is passionate about organizational behavior topics and has spoken on matters of Business Etiquette and Cross-cultural Management at various events around the world.
Viviane possesses a Law degree and an MBA from Brazilian universities, a Master of Laws degree (LL.M.) in National Security and U.S. Foreign Relations Law from The George Washington University Law School, and a Certificate degree in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) from Georgetown University. She is a speaker of English, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish.
Keyla Waslawski is our Senior Vice President and Company Secretary. She oversees all of our sales and marketing processes and projects. Keyla also leads our business development, communications, client relations, and technology initiatives. Keyla graduated from Michigan State University with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and earned her M.B.A., Financial Accounting at Wayne State University in Detroit. She enjoys applying her analytical skills and eye for numbers to support and lead the Sales & Marketing team at the Cultural Intelligence Center. Keyla’s hobbies include gardening and home improvement projects, but what she enjoys most is spending time with her husband and two children.