To read 400-word biographies of our associates based across the Central & Southern U.S., click on a region below:
NORTH CENTRAL U.S.
*NEIL D. SAMUELS's mission is helping leaders flourish by re-discovering their strengths, clarifying their commitments, and fundamentally changing their conversations with themselves, their teams, and their organizations. He believes that conversations characterized by depth and intensity lead to successful, lasting change. His clients value his integrity, passion, and ability to magnify their strengths.
Neil received a bachelor’s degree in geology from Ohio University and a master’s degree in geology from the University of Cincinnati, after which he worked in energy exploration for BP in the U.S. and West Africa. While working for BP, he made a career shift to coaching and consulting, earning a masters degree in organization development from Pepperdine University. Neil has served as an examiner for the Texas Quality Award and was certified as a Total Quality Manager. In addition, he is certified in and applies a number of instruments in his coaching including the VIA Survey of Strengths.
Neil devoted 27 years of his career to Amoco/BP, 10 as a geologist and 17 as an internal consultant. He co-developed a cost-effective, web-based process to be used for 360° feedback throughout BP. He also developed, applied, and trained others in an appreciative-inquiry approach to feedback for use in leadership development. His extensive work with senior leaders and their teams helped create robust strategies with true alignment throughout their organizations. In his final internal role, Neil worked in London for four years as manager of organization development for Europe, leading a team of consultants serving 30,000 employees in 13 countries. During that time, Neil supported senior leaders in every business segment.
Neil founded his own consulting firm in 2006. His clients have included Rolls Royce, Glaxo Smith Kline, Celebrity Cruise Lines, BP, Stantec Engineering, U.S. Geological Survey, International Fluid Power Society, Kimberly Clark, the Naperville Community School District, and Aviva Investors (where he coached the CEO of North America and four of his senior staff). Having worked on six continents, he’s presented and published in the management, education, and organization development fields in the U.S. and U.K.; many of these contributions concern the application of appreciative inquiry in both business and education. Neil also served as adjunct faculty at Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management.
Neil resides in the Chicago area with his wife and teenage son. Always looking for a bridge game, Neil also plays tennis and enjoys bicycling on the prairie paths near his home.
SHANNON MURPHY ROBINSON is a diversity authority who is also an expert interculturalist. She partners with fellow consultants and clients to develop and implement both intercultural training and global diversity initiatives that achieve measurable business results and maximize global performance.
Shannon holds an M.A. in intercultural communication, with an emphasis on organizational development and management training, from American University’s School of International Service, in Washington, D.C. She has moderate Swedish proficiency after one year living and studying in Sweden and attaining a minor in Swedish as an undergraduate at the University of Minnesota.
Shannon began in 1994 to work for ProGroup, a provider of diversity consulting, training, tools, and products. First as a senior consultant, then as vice president, Shannon designed multi-year strategic global diversity initiatives, consulted with corporate executives to promote inclusion strategies across business units, developed qualitative and quantitative data gathering and analysis tools, led client delivery teams of up to forty consultants, and launched and managed a global affiliates program on three continents. As Vice President, she had P & L responsibility for over 45% of ProGroup’s revenues.
As an independent consultant since 2004, Shannon consults and trains internationally on cultural competencies, intercultural teaming, the globalization of diversity, and the creation of inclusive work environments in ways that are sensitive to local cultural mores. As an interculturalist, her specialty is facilitating business relationships between managers in the U.S. and Germany; in the course of delivering this service, she has both trained and individually coached senior managers in the U.S. and in Germany. As a diversity authority, Shannon has extensive experience in implementing large-scale, complex global initiatives, including one for the Deluxe Corporation for 18,000 employees, and another for Deloitte & Touche for 26,000 employees. Among her other clients have been Intel, GlaxoSmithKline, Philips Consumer Electronics, American Express, Aetna Healthcare, Medtronic, and Deutsche Bank.
As a leading practitioner in both the diversity and intercultural fields, Shannon speaks regularly at international conferences. For example, in 2005 she delivered “Global Diversity & Inclusion – A Strategic Approach” at the Conference Board’s annual workshop in Chicago, and “Creating Value By Valuing Differences” at the Women’s International Network conference in Geneva.
A native of Minnesota, Shannon now resides near Minneapolis with her husband and their two daughters. Shannon spends her free time writing books, searching for bugs with her daughters, and planning the family’s next travel adventure – favoring tropical scuba and snorkeling destinations.
SOUTH CENTRAL U.S.
*ROSSINA RUIZ SEVILLE GIL is an organization development practitioner, executive coach, consultant, interculturalist, and author with a life-long interest in human behavior. Her goal as an independent professional is to use her coaching, facilitation, and analytical skills to broaden understanding and increase productivity. Her Cuban-Colombian heritage and her experience living and working in Spain, Denmark, and Colombia all provide solid grounding for her holistic perspective on human development.
Rossina holds a masters degree in international studies from the Center of Politics & Economics at Claremont Graduate University, and a second masters in organization development from the Graziadio School of Business & Management at Pepperdine University. She has held a faculty position at California State University Northridge. She is a qualified administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory, DiSC, and several other instruments. She is completely fluent in Spanish and government-certified in Danish.
Rossina’s professional life began as a senior researcher for the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility, after which she participated in the McDonald Corporation’s fast-track executive training program. Later, she leveraged her international experience into a position at Disney Interactive’s “Edutainment” division. That, in turn, led to her position as global product manager at Mattel Media’s worldwide headquarters, where she was responsible for P&L, a team of 30, and a product roll-out of 16 titles destined for 12 regions. More recently, at Healthways as senior partner for leadership development & organization performance, Rossina increased her department’s budget savings by 75% while nearly doubling the number of workshop attendees.
As a business consultant, Rossina has coached executives from C-suite level to the front-line. Her expertise is in 360-degree feedback and debriefing, especially for peer-level groups. She has been requested to lead a new leader integration process, an exercise enabling teams to feel more aligned with their leaders, and vice versa. Her consulting clients have included Yahoo, Hewlett-Packard, Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Amgen, Baxter, Abbott Labs, Toyota, Occidental Petroleum, Nestlé, Mars, Merrill Lynch, and Edwards Lifesciences.
Rossina is the author of The Corporate Looking Glass: Using Culture for Your Competitive Advantage (Lulu, 2010), available from Amazon. She has been a conference speaker at UCLA, Rice University, and the Healthways ASTD event, among others, and the leadership speaker for Wellmark’s Blue Zone Institute launch.
Rossina resides near Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband, two sons, and dog Woody. She is actively involved in Executive Women’s Leadership Development engagements.
*MARILENA BEUSES is an executive coach and leadership consultant specializing in Latin America. She develops corporate leaders who can attain great results and leave a memorable legacy in their companies.
A native of Venezuela, Marilena grew up among expatriate families in the Exxon and Shell oil fields of Venezuela, where her father worked. She holds a bachelors degree from Duquesne University and an MBA from the University of Michigan. During her time as a corporate executive, she continued learning at the Center for Creative Leadership and the Harvard University business executive development program. She is certified in the use of various assessment instruments.
Marilena began her career in the HR department of Petroleos de Venezuela and held various operational roles there for 10 years. After a brief time as a consultant for Hay Management in Philadelphia, she moved to Florida and became a regional HR manager for Pepsi Cola International, responsible for seven countries in Latin America. In 1996, Marilena became Citigroup’s HR Vice President for Latin America, responsible for some 7,000 employees in 23 countries; assisting her were 15 direct reports. She became an independent professional in 2000.
A graduate of Coach University, Marilena is one of the first executive coaches with a Latin American background and interests to be accredited as a Professional Certified Coach. She is also the founder of a Spanish-speaking network of coaches for the International Coach Federation.
Marilena has worked as a coach, facilitator, and leadership consultant for companies in Latin America and elsewhere. She has consulted with the top 25 leaders at Microsoft Latin America and the top 100 leaders at Citigroup. Other clients include Unilever, AstraZeneca, Bombardier, Hewlett Packard, Chevron, Covidien, Ford, Sara Lee, Sony Pictures, MTV, Monsanto, NASA, Nokia, Procter & Gamble, Yahoo, and the United Nations. She is also working with several wealthy family businesses.
Marilena is frequently invited to speak at large professional gatherings such as International ICF conferences in the United States and Europe, the Million Dollar Round Table, Asociacion de Mujeres Ejecutivas Mejicanas, and international HR conferences. At the Wharton Business School in Philadelphia, Marilena also teaches within the Advanced Management program.
In her free time, Marilena enjoys the outdoors. An avid scuba diver, she also enjoys zumba, yoga, long distance cycling, and travel. She is married and the stepmother of four teenagers. A resident of Florida, she is doing her best to master the game of golf.
*MICHAEL H. HOPPE's combination of life experience in several cultures, leadership development expertise gained on the staff of a world-class business institute, and cross-cultural research culminating in his participation in the largest-ever business study, all prepared him to provide clients with innovative, culturally calibrated solutions to leadership challenges.
A native of Germany, Michael has also lived and worked in Greece, Austria, Italy, The Netherlands, and the U.S. He holds master degrees in clinical psychology from the Universität München and in educational psychology and statistics from the State University of New York. His Ph.D. in adult education and institutional studies is from the University of North Carolina. He is certified as an executive coach by the Center for Creative Leadership and in numerous self-assessment and 360º feedback instruments.
Michael’s early professional career included being principal of a school in Greece, after which he was an assistant director of the Salzburg Seminar in American and International Studies. Since emigrating to the U.S. in 1979, he has devoted his professional life to organization development consulting, cross-cultural research, leadership development design and facilitation, and executive coaching.
Beginning in the early 1990s, Michael served as a member of the senior faculty at the Center for Creative Leadership, the world-renowned leadership development institute. At CCL, Michael managed and delivered programs for managers and executives of Fortune 100 and other firms, including the Center's flagship Leadership Development Program®, and designed programs for business leaders from first-time supervisors to C-suite executives. As an executive coach, he worked intensively with a wide variety of business men and women.
Michael was the first to replicate Geert Hofstede’s groundbreaking 1970s study on cross-cultural differences in business-related values. More recently, he served as a co-country investigator in the U.S. for the Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness (GLOBE) project, a massive 62-nation, eleven-year research effort [details]. Michael collected the U.S. data and is lead author of “Leadership in the U.S.A.: The Leader as Cultural Hero” in the second volume of findings (Chhokar et al., Culture and Leadership Across the World, 2007). Among Michael’s numerous other publications is “The Effects of National Culture on the Theory and Practice of Managing R&D Professionals Abroad,” (R&D Management, 1993), which won the “Industrial Paper of the Year” award.
Michael remains on CCL’s adjunct faculty but has retired from full-time work. He lives with his wife in North Carolina and loves to fish, travel, and read.
RITA WUEBBELER is an intercultural corporate trainer, consultant, and coach. She works with individuals and teams to help them maximize their effectiveness in a variety of global business contexts such as international relocation, virtual team performance, and global leadership development. Having lived and worked in not only in her native Germany but also in the U.K., Spain, Luxembourg, and the U.S., she is able to train and coach in German and English; she also has a good command of Spanish.
Rita holds a masters degree in applied linguistics for English and Spanish from Mainz University in Germany. In 1986 she moved from Germany to the U.S. to work as project coordinator in a German-American business incubator firm. In 1990 she founded her own intercultural consulting firm, which designs and conducts team-building workshops, cross-cultural effectiveness training, executive coaching, and business briefings. Her clients have included DaimlerChrysler, Porsche, BMW, Robert Bosch GmbH, AMD, Sematech, Siemens, Solvay Pharmaceuticals, Novartis, Glaxo Wellcome, Roche Diagnostics, UCB Pharmaceuticals, Marriott Hotels, BellSouth International, Turner Construction, Shaw Pittman LLP, Kurt Salmon Associates, Commerzbank AG, and Deutsche Bank.
Rita’s executive coaching practice includes working with (1) leaders of multidisciplinary global drug submission teams as well as production teams in industrial manufacturing companies, (2) executives in the process of starting or ending international job assignments and overcoming personal and professional transition challenges, (3) and top executives engaged in post-merger corporate culture integration processes. She has also worked with female executives who are moving up to global leadership roles, with special emphasis on gender-specific expectations related to their new roles.
Some of Rita's other professional specialties include on-going global business skills training for European and U.S. based electronics, diagnostics, and automotive supply companies; global team optimization programs for European and U.S. based pharmaceutical companies; teambuilding programs for diverse teams at international law firms and other professional services companies; and global leadership development training for high potentials. In addition, Rita speaks on intercultural topics at universities and international conferences. A recent article that she co-authored focused on the dynamics of dispersed teams and appeared in German Trade, a publication of the German-American Chamber of Commerce.
Rita sees herself as a "cultural bridge person" who enjoys connecting people from different backgrounds with each other. She travels as much as possible and loves writing travelogues for her friends and family from far away destinations.
*LYNN STRAVECKY is an executive coach and consultant with a diversified history of working within, and later for, large corporations and their senior leaders. With living experience in Brazil, the U.K., and the U.S., she is now a long-time resident of Puerto Rico and a specialist in its business and social cultures.
A native of Connecticut, Lynn lived and worked in Belem, Brazil, as a young woman, then briefly resided in London, finally settling in Miami for nearly a decade. There she was employed for seven years as a human resource specialist at the world headquarters of the Burger King corporation. Subsequently, Lynn gained her bachelors and masters degrees in counseling from Florida International University.
Lynn relocated to Puerto Rico in 1998, opening a consulting business as well as a private counseling practice. She traveled to the U.S. mainland to become certified as a cross-cultural trainer. Today, Lynn is completing her first book, Living & Working in Puerto Rico, and is the only business consultant on the island trained to provide intercultural coaching and adaptation support services. Her clients have included Prudential, Johnson & Johnson, Amgen, Glaxo Smith Kline, Merck Sharp & Dohme, AT&T, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, Wyeth Pharmaceutical, Proctor & Gamble, Pfizer, Daimler Chrysler, Shepfield, Praxair, Brystol-Meyers Squibb, Pepsico, and Clorox.
Lynn takes pride in her success in enabling senior managers and executives of large corporations to come to terms with, and master, both business dilemmas and cross-cultural challenges. One coachee wrote, “I credit my coaching sessions with Lynn with providing me the essential skills for changing my managerial approach with my executive team. I have recommended her to my best friend, also a high level executive. [Lynn has the] capacity to help you turn ‘knowing how’ into actual performance.” Another coachee said, “After many sessions with Lynn, a recurring thought pops into my head, ‘Boy, she’s good!’”
Lynn has been a guest speaker at schools, seminars, and other functions throughout Puerto Rico and has appeared as well on radio and television. The topics of her presentations include culture shock, cultural awareness, and cultural adjustment as well as a variety of other personal and family challenges.
Lynn resides in Puerto Rico with her two children, Jessica and Peter. One of Lynn’s passions is working out on a daily basis, often by engaging in an outdoor sport such as cycling, sailing, or running.