The Team 2017-08-18T19:55:07+00:00

Our Team

Each of Next Step’s 40 seasoned team members have proven their commitment to delivering real results through a holistic team approach. See more about the experience and success of our team members or contact Next Step for more information.

Jennifer Vessels

Jennifer Vessels,  Next Step CEO, brings over 30 years proven experience driving successful business growth for global organizations including Adobe, Cisco, Google, Tandberg, Lily, Opera, Core Media and many other technology, life sciences, services, logistics, consumer and sustainablity companies.

Prior to founding Next Step in 1998, Jennifer led channel development, marketing, education then sales operations for Triad Systems, DataTrak and Ungermann-Bass (UB Networks, a Tandem subsidiary). From 1992, her focus was European market growth for UB and Promptus. In 1995, Jennifer joined Oslo-based Tandberg where she expanded global channels, sales and presence, culminating in the launch of Tandberg USA.

Jennifer’s vision for Next Step was to leverage proven methods for revenue growth to maximize results for global clients. She has led the team expansion to 40 global professionals with deep exerience in all aspects of sales, marketing, innovation, digitalization and leadership. Through Next Step’s practical, holistic approaches, Next Step has delivered measurable results for Adobe, Cisco, Google, Lily, Goodwill Industries, LiveNation, Opera, Avinor, Xing and small, mid-size and enterprise organizations based in US, Europe, Latin America and Israel.

Jennifer holds an MBA from San Jose State University and a Masters of Occupational Psychology from the University of London.

Sophia Abramovitz

Sophia  has led global strategic teams and operational organizations in the revolutionary and highly competitive high tech world for over 30 years.

Working with well known Fortune 500 companies providing hardware and software products and services, Sophia and her teams have a successful record of assimilating and applying emerging technology to deliver innovation, business transformation, revenue optimization and competitive advantage.

Some of Sophia’s prior successes have included:

  • Problem Resolution and Organizational Transformation
  • Managed new product introductions of award-winning products and services at Symantec, Adobe and Digital Equipment Corporation
  • Reduced costs and increased productivity globally for a $40M education services revenue stream
  • Directed PMO and standardized project life cycle methodology and governance for a $3M software organization
  • Business Processes and Change Management
  • Shortened sales cycle by up to 40%
  • Reduced time to market by 25%
  • Converted physical labs and classrooms to virtual and online environments increasing productivity and lowering costs by up to 30%
  • Operational Leadership
  • Led a global team of 70 providing infrastructure and services for technical training, field and partner sales enablement and engineering collaboration to win awards for customer satisfaction
  • Transformed product release cycle from 144 discrete product launches to integrated quarterly releases
  • Managed off-shoring project to reduce costs by 30%

Following her passion for combining talent and technology to provide innovative business solutions, Sophia is leveraging her experience in leadership positions at Symantec, VERITAS Software, Adobe and Digital Equipment Corporation, to work with organizations addressing opportunities presented by disruptive technologies and rapidly evolving customer expectations.

Ms. Abramovitz holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Maryland and Business Management Certification from the University of New Mexico.

Marcelle Askew

Marcelle brings with her more than 20 years of experience and expertise in marketing strategy, brand building, content marketing and digital strategy/ social media.

Her consulting career began with Yankelovich where she managed Nordic branding projects for high profile international brands (such as CocaCola, Radisson SAS, Egmont). Since 1999, she has focused her consulting on Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG). Her clients have included: Wild Oats, Celestial Seasonings, Seeds of Change, and in Norway where she resides: Tine, Nortura, Godt Brød, RørosMeieri, Coop and NorgesGruppen.

Most recently, Marcelle has served as Chief Brand Officer for SprinJene, a New Jersey based start-up oral care company. Marcelle was responsible for identifying B2C target markets, crafting a brand, brand message, and brand story, creating content for B2C and B2B communications, developing the website and marketing materials, developing and implementing a social media and PR strategy. This led to early intro into beachhead retail distribution at company launch.

Prior to this, Marcelle partnered with Berit Nordstrand to build the food and health enterprise which is widely considered the industry leader in Norway. Marcelle led the branding, product and go-to-market strategy for Berit Nordstrand. This included definition, production and publication of five books, each of which frequented the national best seller list and sold 10,000 – 40,000 copies within one year of publication.

Marcelle also built Berit Nordstrand’s digital marketing reach from first website to 80 000 individual users /mo on website in a country of 5 million people, successfully leveraging content marketing both on corporate site, SoMe channels and newsletter to bring potential customers into sales funnel.

Through her work with Berit Norstrand, Marcelle perfected content marketing via digital and social media as well as PR to B2B and B2C audiences.

In addition, Marcelle identified and negotiated relationships with long-term strategic partners for Berit Nordstrand. These included management agency, media, school programs, course development and FMCG product development partnerships.

Marcelle has been engaged in and led numerous consulting projects related to sustainability and social responsibility, especially within FMCG/ organic food and beverages.

Marcelle holds a Masters of Business Administration with a focus in strategy and marketing (Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, 1995). She is fluent in English and Norwegian and has a solid command of Spanish.

Jean Banko

Jean  specializes in product management and product marketing as well as business strategy and vision. A product marketing and launch professional, she has over 12 years of a proven track record and experience with high-tech products and services in the U.S. and international markets with companies of all sizes.

Some of Jean’s prior successes have included:

  • Directed product management and marketing programs for over 100 product introductions in markets around the world for companies such as EMC Corporation; Dell, Inc; Snap Appliance, Inc.; Fujitsu Software Technology Corporation; Quantum Corporation; Kensington; Silicon Graphics, Inc.; Iomega Corporation; and Union Camp Corporation. Generated over $325M in incremental revenue.
  • Managed the business development, technology and marketing partnerships with industry leading software and hardware companies – Brocade Communications Systems, Inc.; Emulex Corporation; Quantum Corporation; Symantec Corporation;, Computer Associates;, EMC Corporation;, BakBone Software; DataCore Software; Philips Electronics; Cisco Systems, Inc.; BMC Software; International Business Machines; Hewlett-Packard; Apple; Adobe Systems; Xerox Corporation; Eastman Kodak; and American Greetings.
  • Responsible for the market assessment, sizing, MRDs, PRDs, definition, positioning, branding, strategic roadmaps, competitive analysis, development, and worldwide launches of numerous enterprise to consumer, software and hardware products. Managed all aspects of the product, business, application, and marketing program development efforts by leading R&D, engineering, operations, quality assurance, software, and marketing communications teams.
  • Developed a product lifecycle process and motivated cross-functional teams towards achieving an unprecedented 90-day launch cycle time for complex software and consumer products.
  • Delivered over 80% quarter-to-quarter revenue growth of a complex SAN solution to Global 1000 customers such as First Data Resources, J. C. Penney, Toyota, Progressive Insurance, and DISA.
  • Acquired network-based storage virtualization technology from DataCore Software for $24M to complete the vision of an automated storage utility.
  • Supported Sales Teams with successful selling processes and approaches, market research, pricing models, ROI evaluations, proposals, presentations, sales and technical training materials, and contracts to shorten the consultative selling cycle to 4-6 months.
  • Led the international marketing and sales teams, achieving a $135M business in Europe and $30M business in Asia/Pacific for Iomega Corporation.

Demonstrating her entrepreneurial spirit in 1999, Jean entered the world of consulting specializing in business, acquisition, operations, marketing and branding strategies for high-tech start-up companies.

Ms. Banko holds a Master of Business Administration graduate degree from the College of William and Mary and an Industrial Engineering and Operations Research degree from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Rebecca Barthel

Rebecca specializes in marketing strategy, channel marketing and sales as well as marketing communication planning and execution. A sales and marketing professional, she has over 30 years of experience launching and enhancing market success of high-tech products and services in the U.S. and international markets with companies of all sizes.

Some of Rebecca’s prior successes have included:

  • Directed sales and channel marketing/partner programs for over 100 product introductions in markets around the world for companies such as SuperMac Technology, Apple Computer, CyberSound, Cardinal Technologies, Microrim, Software Publishing Corporation, Lasso Logic, Hewlett-Packard, Serious Materials, Sonic Wall and Adobe.
  • Developed and implemented dozens of authorized dealer, VAR and other channel programs that featured competitive offerings, benefits and terms.
  • Conducted market and channel assessment and survey activities for companies targeting specific market segments and channels, including ISPs, VARs, VADs, DMRs.
  • Defined and created sales tools for use by company’s salespeople and by channel salespeople and SEs.
  • Directed field marketing efforts for software and hardware companies, including in-store visits and channel training seminars.
  • Defined and directed development and launch of the first online portal for a major PC maker’s SPIF incentive programs.
  • Executed reseller and distributor contracts with major channel players, including the largest U.S. consumer electronics retailers, national distributors and corporate resellers. Designed and directed successful programs to recruit VARs, retailers and national resellers
  • Designed and directed sales, education and incentive programs for retailers, VARs, corporate resellers, distributors, direct resellers, dealer salespeople and dealer/owner/managers. Improved efficiency and effectiveness of sales communications for multiple companies and clients, resulting in increased awareness, sell-in and sell-through.

Rebecca’s has worked with clients ranging from Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard, Apple, Adobe, Sonic Wall, ISP Channel and ShareVision Technology.

Before becoming a consultant in 1997, Rebecca served as the vice president of marketing and products for Merisel FAB (ComputerLand franchise and Datago aggregator business), vice president of marketing for Air Communications, director of channel marketing for Cardinal Technologies, and regional sales manager for Microrim and Software Publishing.

Ms. Barthel holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business from the Eastern Michigan University.

Georganne Benesch

Georganne Benesch specializes in company and product messaging; marketing strategy, tactics and implementation; product marketing and content development. A product management and marketing professional, she has over 30 years of experience in the high-tech market in executive and individual contributor positions.

Some of Georganne’s prior successes include: 

  • Successfully guided 50+ products from inception through launch, and on to revenue and market growth for leading companies such as Cisco, Netopia, FireTide, Belkin, Farallon and Ungerman-Bass.
  • Defined, managed, and launched many unique solutions and first-to-market products.
  • Served as thought and implementation leader in the transformation of product offerings and GTM for numerous clients and employees within Cisco, Farallon, FireTide.
  • Created customer, partner and sales oriented content including web-site design, brochures, datasheets, presentations, sales enablement and competitive tools. Transformed highly technical jargon into unique solutions to customer challenges and needs.
  • Directed the challenging integration, rationalization and positioning of multiple product lines resulting from mergers, acquisitions and corporate reorganizations.
  • Contributed to the strategy, positioning and messaging of multiple start-up companies.
  • Highly effective strategic partner development in SMB, enterprise, education, healthcare, and process control markets in order to deliver end-to-end solutions.
  • Defined strategy, value proposition and negotiated contracts with multiple development, manufacturing, sales and ODM manufacturing partners to significantly increase time to market.

Georganne has worked with clients ranging from Meru Networks, (now Fortinet) Firetide, Ruckus Wireless and Nomadix. In addition to consulting Georganne served as a Senior Manager at Cisco, VP of Products at Proxim, Netopia, and Farallon and Director of Marketing at Ungermann-Bass.

Ms. Benesch holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California at Santa Cruz.

Dan Clark

Mimi Weinberg and Dan Clark met while studying photography at Rochester Institute of Technology, but didn’t become a couple and business partners until they arrived, separately, in California. If you’d like the long, drawn out version of the story, talk to Dan. If you prefer shorter, more succinct stories, get Mimi’s version.

Dan’s geekiness has lead the studio into a few different areas. Photoshop and digital backs have become integral tools, as have all the manner of close-up lenses and attachments, video cameras and editing software. His current mad scientist experiments are in 3D rendering, and he hopes one day to get into scanning electron microscopy. In 1991, Dan started Adobe Systems in San Jose.

Tina Eriksen-Deinoff

Tina specializes in driving organizational and individual behavior change leading to increased revenue, market share, and team effectiveness. She has played a critical role in implementing rapid change strategies, and improving organizations’ results in sales, partnerships negotiations and decision-making through adeptness in navigating and eliciting complex human interactions.

Some of Tina’s successes have included:

  • Expansion of organizations Go to Market from a single product focus to complex solutions in businesses such as travel, transport, banking, telecom, engineering, finance and consulting services, etc.
  • Led entrepreneurial organizations’ growth through leadership, teamwork, sales, negotiations, customer service and risk mitigation programs and skill development.
  • Developed and implemented learning and behavior change programs to enhance management and transformative leadership.
  • Led sales for joint venture between World Federation of United Nations Associations and Global Diversity Certification Foundation in the global initiatives to deliver end-to-end certification of non-financial criteria, from concept idea to production. Collaboration in a complex multi-company environment and multiple program boundaries. Played a pivotal role in building a domestic sales and delivery practice and developed alliances for global certification of diversity.
  • Implemented holistic behavior change processes with measurable improved effects, turning inbound sales to complex solution selling, increasing market shares by proactive behavior in customer service, reducing transition time of strategy implementation and incremental innovation in explorative problem solving as teamwork.

Tina has worked with international businesses across Scandinavia and in the US. Before re-joining the world of consulting in 2000, Tina served as Service Manager and Marketing Manager of Europay, Rikstoto and Oslo Taxi in turn-around processes from transaction and governmental regulation to a free market of competition. Prior to this, she worked as a consultant in Mercuri International, Huthwaite, Humanic and Interaction Development.

Tina holds a Masters of Adult Learning from Norwegian University of Science and Technology and a Masters of Learning in Complex Systems from Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences.

Rita Farin

Rita has 20 years of experience developing and managing marketing, innovation and communications programs for global high-technology companies. Working with both start-ups and Fortune 500 companies over the years, Rita has cultivated an expertise in designing programs that strengthen brands, increase global name recognition and generate qualified leads for distributed enterprises. By collaborating closely with product marketing, channel, public relations, sales and executive teams, Rita develops integrated marketing strategies, messaging platforms and tools that convert to sales worldwide.

Some of Rita’s prior successes have included:

  • Founded a global marketing and communications consultancy that worked with more than 40 high-tech companies in a two-year period to develop powerful international brands
  • Managed the creation and redesign of more than 45 websites, including e-commerce sites, by working with leading designers and developers
  • Developed strategic marketing and communications plans that integrated lead generation, advertising, branding and online programs to increase name recognition and sales
  • Developed global messaging platforms, corporate identities, visual language and guidelines and managed regional localizations to ensure the creation and maintenance of strong global brands
  • Workedwith companies’ two-tiered distribution channels to deliver channel communications and sales tools that facilitated sales processes
  • Managed dozens of product launches, developing new product positioning and launch deliverables including sell sheets, customer references, brochures, website pages, channel promotions, webinars and presentations
  • Reduced corporate advertising costs by 90% by working with leading independent creative teams to produce high-quality advertising
  • Developed creativity and innovation programs that resulted in new product line conception and 100% increase in director productivity; enhanced creativity in employees and partners and strengthened the organization’s competitive edge
  • Wrote copy for a wide range of communications materials including, websites, brochures and case studies
  • Consistently produce high-quality marketing programs under-budget and within tight timelines and constantly leverage the newest technologies and methodologies to help companies increase efficiency, cut costs and achieve marketing targets

Rita’s clients have included Cisco Systems, Red Hat, WebEx and Porter Novelli (Hewlett-Packard account). Rita holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in International Finance and Marketing from the University of Miami. She is also a certified creativity coach, consultant and facilitator.

Erin Ferree

Erin  creates effective, brand-building graphic design. She has more than 10 years’ experience as a graphic and website designer. She works with companies to strategically design communication materials that contribute to their overall brand and bottom line.

Her wide range of expertise includes:

  • Identity and logo design
  • Collateral design
  • Direct mail design
  • Web and blog design and coding
  • Design for social media
  • Info-product design
  • Presentation design
  • Tradeshow design and support
  • Illustration

Erin has brought her patience, flexibility and speed to projects for clients such as Oracle, Bechtel and Barclays Global Investors. She founded her design business, elf design, in 2001. Her design work and her writing on design have been published in many books and periodicals.

Erin is a member of Women in Consulting, and served as their Director of Membership in 2006. Erin lives, cooks and plays tug-of-war with her dog in San Luis Obispo, California.

Leslie Flowers

Leslie specializes in instructional design, curriculum development and copywriting. She has more than 20 years experience in Learning and Development and Human Resources in both large corporate and start up environments, spanning the high-tech, staffing, professional services and construction industries.

Some of Leslie’s prior successes include:

  • Designed, developed and delivered numerous on-boarding and employee development programs resulting in accelerated new hire productivity, improved performance and increased talent retention.
  • Completely overhauled corporate university curriculum to include both technical and soft skills training and improve quality of content, impact of delivery and evaluation of results.
  • Established and directed a cross-functional Employee Development Task Force focused on identifying and addressing technical, professional and leadership training needs for more than 2500 geographically dispersed business unit professionals.
  • Created and developed Job Family Matrices (career paths) and job descriptions for all corporate functional areas, providing a benchmark for recruiting, career development and performance management.
  • Wrote and edited numerous business documents including company newsletters, policies and procedures, user guides, white papers and Employee Handbooks.
  • Provided social media content and copywriting services to a variety of entrepreneurs and
    small businesses.

Before becoming a consultant in 2009, Leslie served as Training Manager at XL Construction; Curriculum Developer at Robert Half International; Manager, People Development at SeeCommerce; and Employee Development Director at EDS (Electronic Data Systems).

Leslie earned her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, and spent a year abroad in Basel, Switzerland.  She is an active Volksmarcher (distance walker) and enjoys travel, hiking, theater, reading and continuous learning.

Francine Gordon

Francine Gordon, PhD, is an organization consultant and executive coach who helps improve the effectiveness of companies through interpersonal skills, leadership competency, HR processes and organizational dynamics. Her special interests include enhancing creativity inindividuals and facilitating the development of women executives.

In addition to her consulting work, Francine facilitates a number of Next Step’s management and communication workshops. She also delivers workshops on strategy and innovation globally (with heavy focus on Japan); works with Fulbright scholars and teaches courses for the Stanford Continuing Studies program.

Prior Experience

  • Boston Consulting Group Manager (Organization Practice )
  • UB Networks (subsidiary of Tandem Computers), Director of HR
  • Pac Bell Director, New Business Opportunities/ Director, Staffing
  • California Actors Theatre, General Manager
  • Stanford University- Graduate School of Business (GSB)
  • Right Management Associates (contractor- outplacement training and career coaching)

Education

  • Yale University M.A. & Ph.D. (Organization Behavior)
  • Vassar College B.A. (Psychology)

Affiliations

  • Co-Organizer of TEDxBay-Area Women
  • Founder/Chair SVForum Tech Women’s Program
  • American Psychological Association (Society of Consulting Psychologists)

Michelle Hagen

Michelle brings a strong background in research, international relations, marketing operations and Data Protection & Privacy to the Next Step team. Her experience has included market and awareness building for emerging Norwegian companies, corporate development for various Nordic enterprises and government departments and bi-lingual training programs.

Some of Michelle’s successes have included:

  • Developed business plan and implemented market outreach for B2B and B2C Norwegian startups leveraging social media, kickstarter campaign and other outreach media.
  • Translated complex texts from and to Norwegian and English.
  • Researched various information, business and marketing topics.
  • Documented JavaScript programming code and created a user guide for the user interface of a Start-up company in Norway.

Michelle has worked as an English teacher for both the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and several International schools in Norway. She brings a passion for excellence across multiple areas to Next Step along with dedication to clients’ company development and success.

Michelle holds a Masters of Management Science with emphasis on Information, Communication and Technology Law. The degree was obtained from the University of Oslo at the Norwegian Research Center for Computers and Law. She also has taken a series of extra courses at the University of Oslo in French grammar, literature and language along with contract law & system development.

Sandra Hill

Sandra has a passion for working with technology companies and channel partners to insure their businesses are positioned to meet market challenges while building and implementing strategies for growth. A 30 year veteran of the IT and telecommunications industries, she specializes in marketing and sales strategy at both the channel and manufacturer level. Ms. Hill brings a unique perspective, having worked in the reseller channel as well as for manufacturers in the Unified Communications and IT fields. She has proven abilities to create and implement successful reseller recruitment and enablement strategies as well as partner marketing programs and installed base growth programs.

Some of Sandra’s successes have included:

  • Founder and owner of highly successful regional technology VAR with experience in all areas of VAR strategy, growth and development including sales, marketing and operations. This provides a high level of hands-on experience for clients seeking knowlegable recommendation on VAR growth and development.
  • Developed and implemented dozens of authorized dealer, VAR and other channel programs that featured competitive offerings, benefits and terms including most successful installed base programs for Mitel, SRX and Toshiba.
  • Defined and created sales tools for use by company’s salespeople and by channel salespeople and SEs.
  • Participated in several teams taking business to a public offering or resulting in significant M and A activity.
  • Executed reseller and distributor contracts with major channel players, including national distributors and corporate resellers. Designed and directed successful programs to recruit and enable VARs, and national resellers
  • Designed and directed sales, education and incentive programs for manufacturers, VARs, distributors, direct resellers, dealer salespeople and dealer/owner/managers. Improved efficiency and effectiveness of sales communications for multiple companies and clients, resulting in increased awareness, sell-in and sell-through.

Her alliances and partnerships led to awards such as CRN’s 5-Star Partner Program, Channel Chief Award, Women of the Channel and Women in the IT Channel Ecosystem.

Before joining the world of consulting, , Sandra served as the vice president of Distribution and Sales Strategy for Mitel Networks, Sr. Director of Channel and Distribution for LifeSize (division of Logitech), Vice President Global Channels for Fonality, Director Channel Development for ShoreTel and COO for VOICEPRO. She also held various positions in sales management, product marketing and sales in the telecommunications field.

Ms. Hill holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business from California Polytechnic State University. She also has an MBA with an emphasis in Marketing from California State University, East Bay.

Mike Kanze

Mike’s extensive business experience spans all aspects of financial analysis including supply chain management, operational controllership, and organizational operations / change management. He brings Next Step’s strategic direction and tactical assistance in analysis of data, identification of key areas for savings opportunities and improvement of financial results.

Mike provides the analytical element of the Next Step team, leveraging his skills as a financial analyst of various markets, including as forecaster for Procter & Gamble’s petroleum energy costs during 1984 – 1990, a turbulent period of wide energy price swings.

Some of his recent successes have included:

  • Planning and executing a strategy for a client’s flagship touch-screen voting machine product that added capacity of $10 million to $20 million in new sales potential. This work included a manufacturing supply analysis of both domestic and offshore resources, assuring adequate capacity, flexible time-to-market, and stimulated client’s incumbent contract manufacturer to greater competitiveness and service performance.
  • Analyzing and tracking supply management practices and program results at a recently merged software company ($180 million annual revenues). He developed cost and time-to-market leadership supply strategies that complemented client’s growing market dominance and saved over $2 million from a $40 million annual supply spend.
  • Prior to a major product launch for a technology company, Mike identified data resources, tracked trends and analyzed market directions leading to a successful ($20 million annual sales) launch.

Prior to joining the world of consulting in 1998, Mike held positions of progressive responsibility with The Procter & Gamble Company, a worldwide consumer products business with 2010 annual sales of over $78 billion. There, Mike managed, analyzed and tracked commodities and service programs spanning every sector of P&G’s businesses. His later work included the financial leadership of P&G’s Folger Coffee facility in California.

In addition to his consulting work, Mike is a part-time college instructor in the fundamentals of management and strategic supply chain management. He is also an occasional guest lecturer in supply chain matters to the School of Business and Public Policy and the School of International Graduate Studies, both at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California.

Mike holds a BA in political science from the University of California, Berkeley, and a MBA in general management from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Kimberly Baker Kelley

Kimberly specializes in product, services and vertical marketing strategy and programs with over 15 years of experience launching new technology solutions and driving market success globally for companies large and small. Her Organization Development projects include team development and employee engagement.

Kimberly’s prior successes include:

  • Launched new high-end telepresence solution recognized as Best in Show at major trade event with capacity attendance. Product produced first year sales 2.5 times its predecessor.
  • Led efforts to revitalize market share for company’s core product line. Implemented new channel enablement tools to help reseller partners. Y/Y bookings increased by more than 20% globally in first year.
  • Worked with Fortune 50 companies, including Safeway, JC Penney, Ford and GM, and state and federal government agencies including SSA and the FAA to market, sell, deploy and support enterprise learning and communication solutions. Briefed press and analysts on company vision and on new product launches.
  • Implemented solution selling focus for recently acquired high-end telepresence solution. Developed new sales qualification process, value based selling model, compensation plan and evaluation metrics.
  • Led launch of new training analytics product line while partnering on the annual company-wide marketing plan. Developed messaging for website content and tradeshow collateral for startup talent management consultancy.
  • Developed low cost marketing approaches to support profitable revenue growth and preserve Company’s viability following a significant market downturn and reduction in force. Increased revenue by expanding services offerings.
  • Defined and created sales tools for company and channel salespeople and SEs. Developed and led training programs and webinars for sales, partners and customers.
  • Worked with distributors, DMRs and other resellers to raise awareness of manufacturer’s products and developed joint marketing and training programs to support channel sales reps. Led marketing efforts for revitalizing focus on AV integrator and consultant community.
  • Participated in Organization Development projects with global energy company, professional services organization and non-profit to resolve data integrity issues with an ERP system, coach project team during an ERP update and improve communications between two misaligned departments, respectively.

Kimberly has worked for technology companies as an employee as well as in consulting roles. She’s been engaged with Polycom for over six years in various product and services marketing functions. Prior to Polycom, she worked at One Touch Systems as vice president of marketing and sales. She also worked in sales support and software product management at Dionex and was in a sales role at VWR Scientific and American Laboratory magazine. She held consulting roles at Saba and LJL Biosystems.

Kimberly Baker Kelley holds a Masters of Science degree in Organization Development from the University of San Francisco and an MBA in Marketing from Miami University.

Thomas Løvenskiold

Thomas has 25 years experience; 10 years managing international projects for medical diagnostics and expert systems. 15 years as entrepreneur developing innovation based companies. He specializes in developing innovative solutions that dramatically increase value added through the use of innovation. His main priority is consulting and facilitating workshops in leadership and team development, as well as other aspects of occupational psychology.

Some of Thomas’ successes include:

  • 1980’s: Key contributor to develop and deliver reserach station for cardiac imaging analysis. Supported some of the most highly respected cardiology research centers in the world to develop key algorithms for heart analysis that are still in use.
  • 1990’s: Turned “plan-B project” into the flagship diagnostic instrument for high volume blood analysis for Instrumentation Laboratories, division of CH Werfen group.
  • 2000’s: Co-founded and developed Human Content – a world class provider of evidence based psychometric tools and methods of occupational psychology. Some example of project sucesses include:
  • In one year, increased customer satsifaction from 53% to 82 % for a Shared Financial Services division with 400 employees in an FMCG corporation with 24.000 employees. Combined programs to develop leadership and communication skills.
  • Increased valuation of division of an international offshore corporation by USD130M Trained the leaders to manage core competences to maximize productivity and performance.

Thomas holds a Master of Business Administration degree from I.E.S.E. in Barcelona, and an extended Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from the California State University of Long Beach.

Dan McEntee

Dan specializes in business plan development, financial modeling, business acquisitions, turnarounds, reorganizations and business valuation. A long term Silicon Valley financial professional, Dan has over 30 years of financial management and business development experience, including CFO roles. He has consulted since 2009.

Some of Dan’s successes have included:

  • As the CFO of Globalstar from 2000 to 2005, Dan led the financial restructuring of the company through a chapter 11 process, resulting in the settlement of $3.3 billion of liabilities due to a variety of financial and industry creditors. The restructuring was accomplished through the implementation of a rollup strategy, under which Globalstar acquired several it its international distributors and transitioned from a wholesale provider of satellite services to a vertically integrated international satellite telecommunications operator.
  • Shortly after the formation of Globalstar in 1991, Dan was instrumental in the company’s first major financing which raised $275 million of equity capital from the Vodafone Group, France Telecom, Alcatel, QUALCOMM, Hyundai, and other telecommunications service providers and suppliers.
  • As the CFO of InnoPath Software, Dan managed the completion of InnoPath’s Series D financing which raised $20 million of venture capital investment.
  • Dan also raised venture financing as the CFO at Narus. While at Narus, he built the company’s financial team, restructured Narus’ credit agreements, implemented software revenue recognition practices in accordance with US GAAP, and positioned Narus for its ultimate acquisition by Boeing Corporation.
  • In 2009, Dan became accredited as a valuation analyst by the National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts (NACVA). He has since implemented a successful valuation practice focused on the valuation of venture backed companies and derivative liabilities.
  • Dan has supported a wide variety to technology clients as a part time or interim CFO, helping them scale their operations from startup to profitability, restructure troubled banking relationships, and build long term financial teams to ensure GAAP compliance and forward thinking planning processes as they scale their businesses.

Since 2009, Dan has supported clients across several industries, including telecommunications, software, education technology, environmental monitoring, payment processing, death care, SaaS, and data storage.

Mr. McEntee earned his MBA from U.C. Berkeley’s Haas School of Business in 1990 and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

Suzanne McLarnon

Suzanne specializes in learning development, consulting, coaching and facilitation for Sales and Leadership disciplines. She has over 20 years of experience as a strategic leader and organization builder who creates world-class learning solutions, tools and programs to increase sales, performance and productivity on a global scale. She is also experienced in talent development and fostering learning culture.

Some of the prior successes that Suzanne has accomplished include:

  • Created and directed new on-boarding training programs and tools which decreased new hire attrition by double digit percentages.
  • Proposed, directed and led programs to hire and train thousands of new college graduates worldwide. Initiated global assessment center processes to ensure consistent hiring of diverse, top talent through behavioral interviewing and performance challenges. Created discovery learning curricula for sales and engineering- specifically for millennials. Created mentoring programs and assessment strategies in concert with Sales leaders to ensure long-term field success of program participants.
  • Created award-winning programs for leader-led Sales, Leadership and Coaching training.
  • Formulated state-of-the art designs for innovative e-learning and sales simulations
  • Created personalized e-learning capability to enhance client experience.
  • Created highly utilized searchable video curricula enabling client audiences to find the information or training that they need on-demand and learn within communities of practice.
  • Developed Corporate University interactive web 2.0 tools to foster learning communities and facilitate on-line learning.
  • Created strategies and councils to enable centralized learning teams to understand global learning needs and create development strategies which meet the needs of a global community.
  • Developed new Inside Sales organizations in China, Japan and Europe.

Before becoming a consultant, Suzanne served as the VP of Academy for Allscripts. She was Director of Worldwide Sales Force Development & Director of the Cisco Sales Associates Program (CSAP) for Cisco Systems and previously she built new organizations for MCI and ITT World Communications.

Ms. McLarnon holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA. She will soon earn the iPEC Coaching Certification & Master Practitioner Energy Leadership Certification. She is a certified coach for the Judgment Index and is a Certified Cisco Instructor.

Dr. Juan Montermoso

Juan enables high tech organizations to reach and retain their most profitable customers through integrated marketing, sales, and operations. He offers over 24 years experience in managing the sales and marketing of customer-oriented solutions, aligning global channel programs, and incubating e-business initiatives. Juan has provided domestic and international teams with extensive sales training, product introductions, and sales support for both corporate account teams and channel partners.

Some of Juan’s prior successes at HP and other technology clients have included:

  • Supporting major account wins for HP hardware and application software with enterprise customers such as GE
  • Successfully planning and driving key introductions in North America, Latin America, and Asia Pacific for major products such as HP’s Intel-based servers, LaserJet and DeskJet printers, industry-standard networking, and consulting services.
  • Organizing and leading product introduction teams for the US and 18 countries in the Americas and Asia Pac to create high impact introductions for prospects and partners
  • Establishing a CRM framework for over 300 indirect channel sales reps in the US and Canada to support corporate and SOHO marketing and sales initiatives
  • Advancing corporate e-business revenue from $163 million to over $1 billion through effective systems planning, quality control and delivery, and sales execution.

Juan has provided planning and implementation guidance to a number of high tech clients such as Cisco, Google, Boeing, IBM, Anritsu, Visa, and BD Biosciences. He is currently a Certified Trainer for Stanford’s Advanced Project Management program, with emphasis on strategic execution of programs.

Juan is also certified at the CPIM, CIRM, and CSCP (Certified Supply Chain Professional) levels by APICS, the professional society for operations management and has trained over 350 working professionals on effective operations and supply chain practices. For the past nine years, Juan has been an Adjunct Professor in Marketing and Business Management, and currently teaches in the MBA program at Santa Clara University.

Dr. Montermoso earned a Bachelor of Science in Engineering and Applied Science from Yale University, a Master of Science in Computer Science from Harvard University, and a Doctorate in Business Administration from the Harvard Business School. Dr. Montermoso has published several papers in both marketing and information technology management and has been a featured speaker at international conferences.

Kate Mulligan

Kate’s career began in the investment banking industry, a serious tangent from the advertising and photojournalism training she received in college. To broaden her diverse background, she studied Australian public policy while attending graduate school in Australia.

Ultimately, Kate settled in the field of communications and has been involved with creating and communicating messages for the business world for the past 20 years.

Kate has partnered with start ups and Fortune 100 companies to create messaging and produce events including product launches, sales meetings, press events, and trade shows. She has designed multi-media and employee training programs for internal audiences, and created public relations programs and marketing campaigns to reach key press targets and industry influencers.

As a corporate trainer, Kate has led workshops for newly hired engineers and field sales representatives on the basics of business etiquette and worked with managers and employees on how to succeed in a multi-generational workplace.

In keeping with Kate’s varied experience, she has also provided marketing and other consulting guidance to companies in the enterprise storage, consumer products, biotechnology, non-profit, financial services and health care industries.

Kate combines her journalism and sales experience to interview clients’ customers and partners for marketing research and also write success stories for marketing and sales use. She works with key executives to raise their company and personal profiles by speaking at major industry events and conferences. She has also trained newly hired engineers on the basics of business etiquette as a key to success in a competitive environment.

Some of Kate’s clients have included Hewlett-Packard; Intel; Sun Microsystems; Cisco; Visa International; Acuson Corporation; Acumen Pharmaceuticals; Syntex Laboratories; Varian; LifeScan, a Johnson and Johnson Company; Chiron; Goodwill Industries of the Greater East Bay; Unitus; Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream; Haagen-Dazs; Torani and McCormick and Company. Torani, a San Francisco based maker of culinary flavoring products, is one of Kate’s favorite clients because they always make her a flavored latte before a meeting.

Nancy Nelson

Nancy specializes in human resource management services for small to medium-sized organizations in a variety of sectors. She has over 20 years of human resource management experience with start-up, high growth and multinational companies in high-tech manufacturing, telecommunications, software, professional services, semiconductor capital equipment and non-profit sectors. In 2006 she joined the world of consulting focusing exclusively on HR operations and compliance, policy development and management training for small businesses.

Nancy’s professional accomplishments have included:

  • Built human resource functions from the ground up to support rapid growth, with minimal increases to headcount
  • Developed and personally delivered numerous just-in-time training programs including workplace harassment, performance management, team building, presentation skills, and employee recognition basics in a variety of formats
  • Implemented employee and manager self-service portals for HR administration, benefits, leave management and recruitment
  • Led HR due diligence efforts as key member of management team during initial public offering
  • Led and personally delivered a variety of employee relations interventions including workplace investigations, new manager assimilation, employee focus groups, and employee satisfaction surveys
  • Planned and implemented numerous workforce restructurings, including creative alternatives to staff reductions that increased employee retention and morale
  • Created numerous HR policies, employee handbooks and targeted employee communication materials for a variety of clients; revised existing policies to fit company culture

Prior to becoming a consultant, Nancy was the director of human resources for Ultra Clean Technology. She is the program coordinator and instructor for the HR Management certificate program at UCSC Extension in Silicon Valley, a position she has held since 2007.

Nancy holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Santa Clara University and has completed graduate work in counseling psychology at San Jose State University. She holds SPHR, California and GPHR certifications from the HR Certification Institute. A long-time volunteer with the Society for Human Resource Management at local, state and national levels, she is a strong advocate for the HR profession and for HR professionals.

Bob Nordan

Bob is a veteran sales management executive, training professional and strategic management consultant. He has managed and developed sales teams in the technology and communications industries for over 20 years.

Throughout his career, Bob has created and delivered innovative consulting and training programs that have resulted in dramatic increases in individual and team sales effectiveness. His understanding of the methods of moving companies from product and technology-oriented selling approaches to value-based, customer-centric strategies makes him a highly regarded change agent for Next Step clients.

Throughout his career, Bob has created and delivered innovative sales, marketing and management training that resulted in dramatic increases in individual and team effectiveness.

During the past 6 years as a Senior Consultant for Next Step, Bob has developed and delivered numerous training programs and developed key strategies for Cisco’s expansion into new technologies and service delivery models.

Experience:

  • Vice President of Sales for VOICEPRO, then a leading provider of traditional telecommunications and IP telephony solutions in Northern California
  • Bay Area Sales Manager for Allnet, a national long distance provider
  • Strategic consultant to Cisco, IBM and WebGain
  • National Manager of Government and Aerospace Sales for Citicorp Management Logistics.
  • Executive Officer and Chief of Staff for the Military Traffic Management Command, Western Area, a global Defense Department transportation agency.
  • Bob has also provided project management and consulting services for data networking and IP telephony deployments for companies in the U.S. and Canada.

Prior to his career in technology and sales, Bob was the senior civilian executive for a defense transportation organization with executive staff responsibility for financial management, personnel, training, purchasing and contracting, public affairs, legal, telecommunications and management information systems.

Bob is a past president of the Oakland/East Bay Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America and achieved national certification by the PRSA. He has substantial experience in media relations.

Bob holds a Master’s Degree in International Relations from the University of Southern California, and a Bachelor’s in Business from Florida State University.

Hanne E. Pettersen

Hanne bidrar til økt lønnsomhet hos kunder gjennom effektivisering avmarkedsføringsstrategier og utnyttelse og utvikling av humankapital. Hun har over 30 års erfaring fra å optimalisere samarbeidet mellom leverandører og kjeder/bedrifter i varehandelen. Hanne har utviklet metoder innen salg, key account management og kundeservice og har jobbet med kunder både i Norge og internasjonalt.

Hanne har sammen med 2 andre utviklet og gjennomført undersøkelsen Handelsbarometeret som kartla suksessfaktorene for samarbeid mellom kjeder og leverandører på tvers av 6 bransjer(dagligvare, byggevare, apotek, sport, møbler og elektro). Undersøkelsen besto av dybdeintervju med 29 innkjøpere / kjedeledere og 63 av deres største leverandører. Dette har gitt henne en unik innsikt i hvordan norsk varehandel funger.

Noen av Hanne tidligere vellykkede oppdrag for kunder er:

  • Økt lønnsomhet gjennom større fokus nøkkelkunder for kunder både i og utenfor Norge.
  • Dette innebærer gjennomføring av workshop for nøkkelpersoner i hele bedriften – inkludert landssjefer, key account managers , selgere, kundeservice og produksjonsledd.
  • Bidratt til økt lønnsomhet for mange kunder gjennom hjelp til å bygge sterke merker, vellykkede produktlanseringer og gjennomføring av profesjonelle årsforhandlinger med kjeder.
  • Gjennomført undersøkelser for mange kunder som en del av en risikovurdering ifm strategiendringer, etablering på det norske markedet, kartlegging av kundebehov, kundetilfredshet o.l.
  • Gjennom management for hire oppdrag som key account manager bidratt til å øke. omsetningen hos kundens viktigste kunde fra 5 millioner til 90 millioner over 8 år.
  • Gjennomført vellykkede distributørsøk i Norge for internasjonale selskaper.
  • Bidratt til vellykket introduksjon av legemidler i dagligvarehandelen
  • Gjennomført målstyrt coaching for ledere og selgere for å sikre at disse når sine mål.

Før hun startet opp konsulentselskapet TradeMark AS sammen med en partner i 1996, jobbet hun som skandinavisk markedssjef hos SC Johnson, og produktgruppeansvarlig i L’Oreal Norge. TradeMark sine fornøyde kunder inkluderer Telenor, SSP Norway, NorgesGruppen, SCA, Nespresso, Sødra Wood, Apotek 1, Weifa, Novartis, Actavis, Innovasjon Norge, Rockwool, Arvid Nordquist, Nordsjø, Dovre, Profdoc/CompuGroup, Rett Hjem, Vianor ,Felleskjøpet og BI.

Hanne har en bachelor fra BI og en Master in Business Administration (MBA) fra Arizona State University i USA. Hanne er utdannet Professional Coach Canada. Hun underviser i markedsføringsfag på høyskolenivå.

John Price

As an expert in facilitation, personal and public communications since 1987, John assists organizations to grow and flourish by significantly improving the performance of their employees. His facilitation techniques enhance the communications and overall sales performance abilities of teams. Work with people individually and in classroom settings, John removes barriers to delivering messages and information powerfully and effectively. This ultimately strengthens the individuals and their organizations.

Some of the workshops John has facilitated for clients large and small include:

  • Virtual Communications
  • Sales Communications
  • Presentation Skills
  • Customer Service
  • Inside Sales Effectiveness
  • Delivering Compelling Technical Presentations
  • Meeting Facilitation

As a consultant and working in-house, John has developed and managed consulting and training staffs and designed and delivered training programs nationally and internationally. for a variety of industries, including banking/finance, high-tech, pharmaceutical, retail, health care, insurance and public utilities.

A partial list of his clients include:
Banking/Finance: American Express Company, Bank of America Corporation, Citigroup Inc., Visa, inc., Wells Fargo & Company, TIAA-CREF, Washington Mutual, Inc.
Pharmaceutical/Medical: Abbott Labs, Pfizer, Inc., Amgen, Inc., Merck & Co., McKesson Corporation, Genentech, Inc., Baxter International, Inc., Johnson & Johnson.
Insurance: State Farm Insurance Companies, New York Life Insurance Company.
Retail: Albertsons, Inc., Levi Strauss & Company, Gap, Inc., Nike, Inc.,
High Tech: IBM Corporation, Microsoft Corporation, Apple Computer, Hewlett-Packard Company, Intel Corporation, Oracle Corporation, Cisco Systems, Inc., Autodesk, Inc., Agilent Technologies, Inc., Solectron Corporation, Sun Microsystems, Inc., Lucent Technologies, Inc.
Public Utilities: AT&T, Inc, PG&E Corporation, SBC Communications, Inc.
Entertainment: The Walt Disney Company, Sony Corporation of America.

John has also worked as an outside salesperson in theater and radio. He earned a B.A. degree from Grove City College in Pennsylvania and currently resides in Sausalito, California.

William Craig Reed

William has over twenty-five years of experience as a marketing, business development, and sales executive with successful technology firms. Bill was co-founder and managing director of Aventi Group, a marketing consulting firm for technology clients such as Adobe, Avnet, Cisco, HP, Intermedia, Logicalis, SAP, Symantec, Veritas, VMware and others. Prior to Aventi Group, Bill was a VP of Marketing and Business Development for Abrevity, an enterprise data management software company and a former Board Director for the Silicon Valley American Marketing Association.

Bill also served as VP Sales and Marketing for Acirro, a global distributed file system company acquired by Intel; co-founder of 2netFX, acquired by Helius Corporation; and as channel manager for Micropolis, a leading storage technology firm. Bill’s proven expertise in channel sales and marketing led to the development of a cutting-edge Dynamic Sales Playbook that leverages modern neuroscience, as well as the highly-successful HP Genius program utilized by HP’s leading channel partners. Bill is a New York Times bestselling author, a dynamic presenter, and holds an MBA from CCU. Bill is a former U.S. Navy Diver and a Board Director for the Us4Warriors Veterans Support Foundation.

Rebecca Sanders

Rebecca is a passionate business development professional skilled in defining transformational strategies and then distilling them into executable components.  She is known for her cognitive ability to see connections between market dynamics and partnerships to create new value exchanges grounded in business principles.

Some of Rebecca’s prior successes have included:

  • Leveraging her global experience in senior business development positions in industry leaders such as Cisco Systems, IBM/Tivoli, Macromedia/Adobe and a variety of start-ups, she employs her cross-organizational expertise to foster collaboration across companies and between partners to deliver innovation.
  • Ms. Saunders began her relationship with Next Step in her role as Global Manager of Channel Go-to-Marketing Strategy for Cisco’s Authorized Learning Partners where she aligned training and learning services with Cisco priorities to accelerate partner competency that increased profitability and growth in Security, Cloud and Collaboration. The next step to growth began with education.
  • Ms. Sanders has built and executed channel and end-customer vertical including go-to-market sales strategies. She also developed and facilitated training that increased business-relevant customer conversations. In addition, her change management methodologies have maximized wallet-share for her clients. As part of Cisco’s development, she led business development teams and pioneered management solutions for Connected Industries, Healthcare and Manufacturing.

Specialties include:

  • OEM & SaaS Business Models
  • Smart Grid, Security, Cloud, Collaboration & Management Solutions
  • Technology & Development Partner, Alliances and Programs
  • Compliance Operational Business Process
  • Architecture-based Network Solution Design
  • Channel Development, Sales Enablement & Services-led selling
  • Go-to-market Strategy Design & Execution

Previous to her work with Next Step and earlier in her career with Cisco Ms. Sanders held Senior Market Development positions with various leading independent software vendors. Rebecca is a graduate of Foothill College in Economics.

Andy Sayare

Andy is a senior business executive with nearly 25 years of leadership experience at technology companies. Andy helps accelerate the growth of technology companies as an interim VP of Marketing and through strategic project work with a focus on product marketing, messaging and positioning.

A few of Andy’s recent projects include messaging, positioning, marketing strategy, demand generation, and sales tool creation for a number of market-leading companies including Salesforce.com, Symantec, Genentech, Cisco, Ariba, Ellie Mae, AppCentral, Exalead, EdgeSpring, Ramco Systems, TekOptimize, LucidWorks, National MI, Persistent Systems, and MajescoMastek.

Prior to consulting, Andy served as co-founder and Vice President of Marketing of OuterHarbor (now Revitas), a venture-backed startup that delivers channel commerce management solutions to manufacturers.

Andy also served as Vice President of Marketing for RedKlay Solutions (now Microsoft), an eCommerce platform provider for manufacturers. Andy served as both Vice President of Marketing and Director of Technical and Product Marketing for Applicast (now ACS), an Application Service Provider.

Prior to Andy’s marketing roles, he was Director of Business Solutions for SDG, a strategy consulting firm, and Director of Advisory Services for DSCI (now IBM), a systems integrator and application service provider. Andy holds a B.S. degree in Information Systems Management from USF.

Lora Stenard

Lora is a high energy consultant and management professional with exceptional interpersonal, facilitation and communication skills. Some of the areas in which she has facilitated learning and development through workshops, coaching and consulting include Solution Selling Leadership, Planning, Problem Solving, Communications, Team Building and Project Management. She has both CCSI and CSE certifications, and is a leader in the Cisco Business Learning Program.

Some of Lora’s recent engagements have included the following:

  • Facilitation of company-wide initiative and skill development in Solution Selling Management consulting on an individual and organizational level to Fortune 1000 companies.
  • Development of strategic plans for growth.
  • Facilitate customized coaching sessions for staff and executive team members which are customized to meet common goals through a personalized approach.
  • Media training and coaching to ensure a consistent and relevant message.
  • Team building session facilitation along with change management.
  • Performance coaching workshops for a financial institution.
  • Presentation and sales demonstration skills workshops for Networking, Retail Banking and Manufacturing Companies.
  • Designed and delivered workshops in Team Presentations in a Selling Situation.

Prior to her Consulting career, Lora was Assistant Vice President for Provant Project Management and Director of Training and Operations at Global Novations. Some of her responsibilities in these roles included managing and leading a $10M+/year corporate training division.

As Director of Training and Operations at Global Novations Lora:

  • Managed over 50 training and consulting professionals.
  • Delivered project management, communications, presentation, team-building, and diversity skills training classes to internal and external clients.
  • Directed a corporate-wide staff evaluation and mentoring program.
  • Designed and developed train and trainer and consultant certification programs.
  • Delivered seminars and one on one coaching to all levels in the organization.

Lora holds an MA in Education from Lassell College in Boston and a BA in Education from Northeastern University. She is a member of the American Society of Training & Development (ASTD); Project Management Institute (PMI).

Judy Thompson

Judy is a Compensation Consultant who helps clients create compensation strategies and systems that promote company success. With over 20 years in Human Resources Management and a specialty in compensation, Judy has a proven track record in finding effective solutions to business issues.

Since entering consulting in 1993, Judy has resolved compensation challenges for hundreds of companies ranging from start-ups to large multinationals in many business sectors. Her passion is in designing competitive sales compensation plans that motivate sales reps and managers to excel and exceed company expectations.

Prior to consulting, Judy managed Human Resources in Silicon Valley high tech companies. Some of the highlights of her HR career included:

  • BT North America – Judy directed the Compensation, HRIS and Staffing functions including management of all U.S. salary programs and expatriate, sales and executive compensation.
  • Harris Corporation – July managed compensation and benefits for US and Canadian operations while also developing and delivering management development and service training programs.
  • Implementation of HRIS systems, metrics and compensation reporting methodologies for technology companies.

Before her high tech positions, Judy worked at Far West Laboratory for Educational Research and Development, designing and conducting statistical research, surveys and program evaluation.

Judy is designated a Certified Compensation Professional (CCP) by World at Work (formerly American Compensation Association). She holds an MA in organization studies, an MLA in liberal arts and a BA in education. She is a member of Institute of Management Consultants, World at Work and Northern California Human Resources Association. Judy’s broad background in HR, training and compensations allows her to combine strong technical expertise interpersonal and facilitation skills. Judy meets commitments through good up-front planning, excellent project management skills and a strong commitment to quality. She recognizes compensation touches all areas of the company and can work effectively throughout the organization to solicit input and obtain buy-in at every level. Judy’s motto is, “My job is to make YOU look good.”

Sandy Thorpe

Since 1994, Sandy has been offering marketing communication services via her company Blue Sky Consulting, to high tech companies such as Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Cisco, Red Hat, Symantec, VMware, Informix/IBM, BEA/Oracle, Logitech, Business Objects, Intuit, and many others, large and small.

Sandy has expertise in strategic marketing communication and planning, executive communications, and IT communications. Her niche is to provide a strategic communications plan, and then deliver on it. Often, this includes making highly technical topics palatable or convincing execs and teams to choose or move on an initiative. She has the ability to “translate” complex ideas, complicated IT concepts, and highly technical or lengthy material into easily-understood graphics, everyday terms, and/or condensed bullet points. Specific expertise is in the area of virtualization/cloud computing, XaaS, SOA, and Linux.

Deliverables include both internal and external communication including: communications plans, EBC, All-Hands, Ops Reviews, training, and other slide decks, IT roadmaps, custom company publications, web and wiki content, social media (blogs and communities), case studies, collateral, sales tools, white papers, and partner packs.

Some examples of her work include:

  • Via a slide deck, she convinced Apple’s retail department to invest $15M to beef up and secure the network by creating a series of compelling slide decks depicting what the retail experience could be like, given a fatter network.
  • Eating your own dog food: For Cisco, Red Hat, VMware, Symantec, and other companies, she created compelling case studies of how the IT department used its own products with great results.
  • For 10 years, she created customer publications (in print, via email, and online) that helped drive millions of dollars of incremental business for HP.
  • For BEA, she produced sales Playbooks, slide decks (with versions for sales teams and customer viewing), and customer collateral to demonstrate the features and benefits, and position them against other competing products. The sales team was quickly and effectively trained, and armed with customer presentations to begin selling the products.

Prior to founding Blue Sky Consulting in 1994, Sandy was Director of Sales and Marketing for Gale Gengage, achieving and maintaining leadership position for its entire line of 40+ InfoTrac databases into University, College, Community College, Public libraries in North America, via sales and marketing management.

Sandy holds a BA in English Education from the University of Connecticut, and an MBA equivalent from the Aji Network, and graduate work at various institutions. She is active in Women in Consulting, and is recognized in too many “Who’s Who” books to mention.  She has taught sales/marketing courses at San Jose State University and Notre Dame de Namur University. Sandy is a marathon runner and yoga instructor.

Anne-Mette Thunem

Anne-Mette specializes in international marketing communications, editorial management, and content marketing. For 15+ years, she has worked with European and Scandinavian B2B companies, and U.S. companies entering those markets, to use content marketing to improve customer loyalty and retention, and drive lead generation. 

Some prior successes have included:

  • Developed editorial calendars and content strategies for a wide range of global B2B brand publications covering industries that ranged from telecommunications, paper manufacturing, hygiene products, and financial services.
  • Sourced and managed translations of communications into 16 languages, and directed the custom publishing industry’s first Chinese language launch (1997).
  • Built an international network of journalists, photographers, and suppliers in 50+ countries to produce cost-effective, localized communications.
  • Publications regularly exceeded client expectations: one manufacturer’s B2B publication had a 42% conversion rate.
  • Integrated marketing efforts across teams comprising of designers, editors, marketing, branding, and business development.
  • Successfully navigated international corporate structures, understanding the relationship between headquarters and local markets, and managing complex international budgets.
  • Managed introduction of a client’s heavy industrial/manufacturing B2B magazine in nine former eastern European countries and China.
  • Led market research and business development for a U.S-based start-up looking to expand distribution in Scandinavia and Central Europe.
  • Initiated, conceptualized, and organized an exhibit in association with the Norway Day Festival, celebrating Norwegian innovations in architecture, design, technology, and consumer products. The exhibition, part of the 5,000-visitor annual festival sponsored by the Norwegian Consulate General in San Francisco, highlighted contributions made by Norwegian inventors and entrepreneurs in the world market.

A former journalist, Anne-Mette has traveled extensively in emerging countries, both on journalistic assignment and to fulfill personal ambitions, taking care where possible to “go native”, so as to best absorb the unique flavor of the indigenous people and their culture. These experiences are fundamental to her ability to help organizations uncover the local culture and climate that will affect the content that will best resonate with the targeted European audience.

Prior to becoming a consultant in 2007, Anne-Mette was the Editorial Director and Managing Editor at Appelberg Publishing Group in Stockholm, Sweden’s largest and most successful editorial communications agency, managing content strategy, and execution for some of the largest companies in Swedish export industry and their worldwide subsidiaries.

Born and raised in Norway, and now residing in the San Francisco Bay Area, Ms. Thunem holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from University of Oslo, Norway.

Zach Van Van Doren

Zach is a multi-disciplined digital marketing and product strategist who brings a unique ability to define strategies and market opportunities through technology while bringing the ‘know how’ and resources to define, build and implement great solutions.

With experience in all aspects of video collaboration, digital marketing and social media, Zach is a valued resource within the Next Step team as we bring our clients into the future of collaboration and marketing. Skype, Cisco WebEx and PGi (parent of iMeet and GlobalMeet).

Recent Engagements:

Cisco WebEx

Zach provided technical marketing leadership (for over 18 months). During this period, he developed custom content and technological alignment with partners including LinkedIn, Evernote and IDG. View examples of Zach Van Doren’s content development.

Zach’s most recent project with CiscoWeb has been development of third party application strategies and applications (ie. LinkedIn app for WebEx).

MUH·TAY·ZIK | HOF·FER

Zach led digital strategy and development of the core product for iMeet. His direct responsibilities included analytics development and implementation, custom development, social media advisory and application partner integration.

Wacom

During the past three years, Zach has been instrumental in helping Wacom develop and implement technology solutions to effectively develop and grow market-share for their consumer line of graphical pen tablets (Bamboo).

Google Maps

Through Zach’s collaboration with Google and their Google Maps division, he has been instrumental in development of the framework and application ecosystem around the e-Google Places API technology.

Other experience / education: Zachary has held senior technical positions at eBay/StubHub, Carat and iCrossing. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Gwen Wagner

Gwen is a dynamic, results oriented professional who has assisted many high tech companies achieve their sales and productivity goals through her effective instructional design, facilitation and consulting approaches. She has in depth expertise in the employee development process from needs and competency assessment through program design, development and facilitation. Whether it is a multi faceted training program, competency assessment or building an initial sales team, Gwen is experienced in providing the assessment, full (level five) evaluation of results and client consultation through the entire experience.

Gwen brings over two decades of sales, customer service and management experience to Next Steps corporate and individual clients. She has successfully designed, developed and facilitated training for over 20,000 people and consults with many Fortune 500 companies, as well as, medium and small businesses in a wide variety of industries. She has also coached hundreds of executives in the art of presentation effectiveness.

Gwen has facilitation and coaching experience, combined with a successful sales career in the high tech market, enables her to bring a unique, practical, and real world perspective to all programs in which she is involved. Gwen incorporates proven methods with humor, compassion, and inspiration into a powerful learning experience.

Gwen has a BA in Business Administration from Augustana College, Sioux Falls, SD. She also achieved a training certificate in Human Resource Development and Training from the University of California at Berkeley. She belongs to ASTD, CCQS, and sits on the Education Academy Advisory Board at Ygnacio Valley High School in Concord, CA.

A passion for her family fulfills Gwens free time and volunteering for many organizations keeps her grounded in her core values. And for fun, singing in a vocal quartet that performs in local venues and caring for a household of pets is icing on the cake.