Behavioral and Psychological Strategies for Managing “Stock Market Stress”

The gargantuan fluctuations in the markets these last few weeks, recently ending in positive territory, at least in North America, has sensitized me to the comments I’ve heard from friends, family and colleagues regarding the significant stress these circumstances have caused them. After some consideration, I reminded myself of the adage that, for the most part, stress is self-induced and not the result of events in the external environment.

What do I mean by “self-induced stress”? Faced by the same circumstance, whether desirable or undesirable, no two people react the same way. If, for example, you were a short seller and successfully picked oil and gas to drop, you would be very happy camper right now. On the other hand, if you owned oil & gas stocks, there is a pretty good chance that you would be feeling quite stressed by the current circumstances. Your sleep might be disrupted, you might wonder if you should sell what you have – or buy more – and you may be increasingly hostile towards the Saudis for increasing production.

So, I decided to write this article for those of you who now perceive the Dow, the S&P, NASDAQ, CNBC, BNN, The Wall Street Journal, The Globe & Mail, Fortune Magazine, Money Sense, and Cramer, etc., as toxic stimuli. Of course, these stock market related entities are merely information providers and not your source of stress. That said, I am well aware that there quite a number of you who would rather watch Jaws before going swimming in the ocean than the seeing the colour red on CNBC market reports.

My purpose in writing this article is to provide you with some behavioural and psychological suggestions to help manage the stress associated with stock market fluctuations, and even avoid this stimulus as a source of stress altogether. I’m not going to recommend you avoid investing in equities. That’s like saying if you are afraid of heights or public speaking, don’t ever go above the first floor of a building or speak in public. That’s not managing stress, that’s stress avoidance. Some of the recommendations will likely sound familiar to you. If that is the case, and you suffer from excessive stock market stress (SMS), then it is high time you put these ideas into practice. I say “excessive” SMS, because some stress is indeed inevitable, and even desirable. To some degree, stress is correlated with greater alertness, sharper thinking, better decision-making and so on. However, when
you have difficulty eating or sleeping, you can’t stop your mind from racing, you become demoralized and depressed, irritable, possibly hostile towards inanimate objects and stray dogs and cats, your sex drive does a dive, then chances are you are on the wrong side of the stress curve.


1. Don’t invest in the stock market unless you are prepared to study how the markets work. Even then, there appears to be very few people who are certified experts in market behaviour. With all the research available to your broker and analysts, they are likely as often wrong as they are right. With the plethora of information available to all of us, if you were to become a serious investor and read the available material, you would likely be just as successful following your own advice. Don’t place inordinate faith in your broker. Listen to their advice, but always do your own research regarding their advice.

2. Don’t bet the farm. That’s not called investing; that’s called “gambling”. If you heard that Alibaba is going public and you subsequently take the majority of your investment dollars and apply it to that one company, that’s like putting all of your hard earned money on red in Las Vegas. You may come out ahead some of the time. On balance, however, combining appropriate levels of risk with prudence will in the long run prove to create more consistent outcomes. Hitting singles, doubles and triples is a far more effective strategy than going for the long ball.

3. Don’t put your faith in your broker. They make money whether you do or not. They are putting their kid through college, not yours. This isn’t to say that they aren’t genuine, sincere or trying to the best job possible to advise you correctly, but read the fine print. They aren’t listed as “experts”; they call themselves “advisors”. Do your own homework (similar to #1 above).

4. Don’t follow tips or “gut feelings”. In the age of Twitter and Facebook, by the time you hear about a tip, chances are so has half of the world. Successful investors follow a success formula that works for them and they stick with it. Las Vegas does not like bettors who follow the same rules as they do; they prefer people who bet emotionally or on “hunches”. Did any of you have a “hunch” that oil would drop by 50% in 6-8 weeks? Do you think that Buffet invests in something when he hears about it from his brother-in-law? I seriously doubt it, especially since he likely employs several hundred analysts who use models, formulas, interviews, site visits, etc., before making a move. And he does this when he can afford to lose!

5. Practice for a year first. The majority of people who enter the market have probably spent more time planning a week’s vacation then investing thousands of dollars in the stock market. Create a phantom portfolio based on solid research. Play it out for a year. Or, open a personal trading account where fees are as low as $6.95 a trade, put a few thousand dollars into it, and practice for a year.

6. If a broker recommends a particular investment ask whether they have invested too. If the answer is “no” then don’t. Or at least ask why they haven’t.

7. Don’t assume that your broker is tracking your investment portfolio. Chances are they aren’t, unless you are in their top 10% of investment clients. Read the monthly reports you get from your brokerage or investment advisor’s firm. Don’t give your broker carte blanche to trade within your portfolio without your knowledge or participation. Many of them are compensated by buying and selling. Don’t feel as though you are imposing when calling your advisor or broker to discuss your portfolio in order to make adjustments. That is why they earn hefty commissions.

8. Ask your broker or advisor when they recommend a particular investment whether they are receiving a special fee or incentive for promoting that investment. If so, assume that the incentive is large and that they are likely depending more on the advice of the company who created the investment than their own research. If, on the other hand, they can demonstrate that they themselves have researched that advice thoroughly, then they are entitled to the incentive and if you agree and the recommendation fits with your strategy, go for it. But refer back to #2 above.

9. Invest in companies and industries you know something about. Yes, there is an “amazing” future in stem cell research and biotech firms, likely in your great grandchildren’s time. Stick with what you know. Or, stick with
companies that have a long term track record of success and multiple products in the marketplace. Remember, most companies do not survive beyond 50 years, and, most start-ups don’t make it past 5 years.


Now, let’s assume that you have practiced with a phantom or limited portfolio for a year, and set aside X amount of dollars for serious investing that is sufficient to make it interesting but not enough to scare the heck out of you. You have decided on an investment advisor, you subscribe to several newsletters and great investment advice sites, perhaps joined an investment club and now feel ready to go.

You create a portfolio based on your level of risk tolerance ranging from ultra conservative (in which case you likely have decided to skip the markets altogether) to suicidal (in which case your hobbies consist of hand-over-hand cliff climbing without ropes because you love to confirm how clever, strong and agile you are). You stick with companies and/or industries that you either know something about or have diligently studied for the past year. Maybe you have even called on a few executives in those companies to have a chat regarding investing in their companies.

Your portfolio is experiencing some nice gains, and whamo, Putin decides it’s time to re-annex Poland and Hungary, and puts troops on their borders, or some such thing (pick your scenario). Everything goes to hell in a hand basket and the markets drop like a lead balloon. Here are some typical psychological/emotional/behavioural reactions: selling low, firing your advisor, ruminating, watching CNN excessively hoping the news will change after the next commercial, changing channels because FOX has the answer as to how to handle Putin, calling yourself derogatory names, calling others derogatory names and so on.

Yet, these reactions do not occur in a vacuum, and as you recall, is not typical of all those who are invested in the markets. These reactions are fairly typical of those whose irrational interpretation of events predispose them to reacting adversely.

Typical categories of counterproductive, irrational thought patterns which trigger these excessive emotional and behavioural reactions (SMS) consist of the following:

1. Catastrophizing. This form of thought process is characterized by words and phrases such as “I have lost (or will lose) everything”, “I will never recover”, “I am a totally inadequate investor and should never have entered into the stock market”.

2. Absolutistic Thinking. This type of thinking is represented by such clever phrases as “Putin shouldn’t have grandiose plans”, “this isn’t fair”, “the Western governments should protect my investment”.

3. Labeling (or Mis-labeling). “Wall Street are a bunch of crooks”, “my advisor is useless”, “the markets are rigged”, “I’m stupid or at best inadequate”.

4. Crystal Balling. “The markets will never recover”, “I will never recover”, “the world as we know it will disappear”.

Engage in these forms of thinking and your stress level will go through the roof. Furthermore, actions mediated by excessive stress are not only equally irrational to the irrational thoughts which created them but frequently beget more undue stress. So, you can take a positive situation and turn it into a negative or take a challenging situation and make it even worse simply by how you chose think and act in relationship to this situation. A realistic appraisal of the situation suggests that even after depressions, recessions, or major market dips, at the very worst you will not have lost everything you invested. If you invested in good companies, they will recover.
Although there are crooks on Wall Street, it’s unlikely they called Putin and suggested annexation of Poland. And, the world ultimately responds to guys like Putin and the markets recover. You are no smarter or dumber now than you were when the drop in markets occurred; you simply aren’t in a position to control all external factors which impact markets, no matter how much you try. That’s why it’s called “risk capital” and not “sure thing.”

If you see merit in learning to manage your thinking so as to not inflate your stress response to unmanageable levels, I recommend that in addition to studying the markets before investing that you also study some principles of rational thinking. As a starting point, here is a link to a YouTube excerpt of an interview with Dr. Albert Ellis, which in part is humorous, a bit therapy oriented, but highly insightful and adaptable to the discussion which we just had on stock market stress.

(From Wikipedia) Albert Ellis (September 27, 1913 – July 24, 2007) was an American psychologist who in 1955 developed Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT). He held M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in clinical psychology from Columbia University and American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP). He also founded and was the President of the New York City-based Albert Ellis Institute for decades.[1] He is generally considered to be one of the originators of the cognitive revolutionary paradigm shift in psychotherapy and the founder of cognitive-behavioral therapies. Based on a 1982 professional survey of USA and Canadian psychologists, he was considered as the second most influential psychotherapist in history (Carl Rogers ranked first in the survey; Sigmund Freud was ranked third).

And, above all else, good luck.

Gerry is an Industrial/Organization Psychologist with 43 years of practical
experience, first in a variety of clinical settings and exclusively in industry
beginning around 1979.

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Lara Patriquin

Lara is a physician, speaker, and teacher of mindfulness meditation and of Transformative Inquiry in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Her personal quest for well being is informed by her medical studies on the brain and on the nature of thought.

She lectures extensively in the medical and business communities about the value of clear and reliable practices that optimize key functions of the mind. Inspired by her scientific knowledge and extensive contemplative practice, Lara’s clients are able to access a more creative, successful and inspired version of themselves. 

Debrah Wirtzfeld
Debrah Wirtzfeld

Debrah works with senior executive to facilitate organizational change management, including successful individual and team transitions. Working both one-on-one and in group settings, she assists teams in developing their strategic vision, enhancing effective team communication, incorporating best practices in board and management governance practices, including succession planning.

Debrah holds an MD degree from the University of Calgary, an MSc from Memorial University, and an MBA in Executive Management from Royal Roads University. She is a Certified Corporate Director (Rotman School of Management) and experienced facilitator in Crucial Conversations. She also holds a Certificate in Inclusive Leadership from Centennial College. Her most recent position was as the Associate Chief Medical Officer, Physician Diversity, Wellness & Leadership Development, Alberta Health Services.

Debrah is an Adjunct Professor of Surgery with the University of Alberta and has led significant change initiatives across Canada, having practiced in Newfoundland & Labrador, Manitoba, and more recently Alberta. She remains focused on the importance of building diverse and inclusive teams to support major transitions.

As a single parent to two busy sons, Debrah enjoys driving to basketball and football practices. She is a published fiction author and hopes to publish her first work of non-fiction around leadership transitions in the near future.


Elizabeth Bagger

Elizabeth has deep expertise as an adviser specialised in supporting family businesses on their journey towards more harmonious family dynamics, stronger family governance and next generation integration and education.

As the member of a family business and the former Director General of the Institute for Family Business in the UK, she has been involved in the family business field for over 20 years. She also currently serves on the Board of a 6th and 7th-generation UK-based family business and her own family business.

Elizabeth holds a certificate in family business advising from the Family Firm Institute in Boston and is trained as a facilitator and family business advisor. She holds an MA in Post-Colonial Cultures and International Relations and a BA in languages.

Having recently relocated from Europe to Mexico, Elizabeth works globally in English, Spanish and Danish.

Colleen Bastian

Colleen delivers executive coaching, leadership, team, and DEI (diversity, equity, & inclusion) consulting services to global leaders in small, privately owned companies to large Fortune 100 organizations.   She focuses on increasing leadership and team capabilities of leaders to perform at their highest level.

Colleen holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology from The California School of Professional Psychology and a B.S. in Exercise Physiology from The College of Charleston. She is also a professional certified coach (PCC) with the International Coach Federation (ICF).

Prior to becoming an organizational consultant, Colleen was a senior sales professional at Pfizer Inc. Colleen lives in south Florida with her husband and two children.  She is a focused individual and athlete.  She enjoys competing in races and also volunteers to support marginalized communities.


Beth Corcoran

Beth Corcoran works with clients in the area of business consulting and coaching with a focus on organizational development and human resources. Based in Toronto, Canada, she works with leaders helping them solve challenges in the area of leadership, strategy, management development and organizational performance. As an executive coach, Beth works with the C-suite, VP’s and Directors, facilitating growth, development and insight for leaders both one-on-one and in group coaching settings. Beth also teaches Business Ethics at Trent University and post-graduate Organizational Behaviour at the Centre for Business at George Brown College.

Beth holds a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) from Queen’s University (Kingston), a Master of Arts (Psychology) from the Adler University (Chicago), and a CHRL designation. In addition, she has attended Harvard Business School (Cambridge) Executive Education, is an Adler International Institute trained coach and is certified in The Birkman Method Assessment Tool. She is completing her Ph.D. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology at Adler University.

Beth has served many organizations in both governance roles and as a hands-on volunteer. She enjoys travel, tennis and running. Beth’s long distance running took her to the Boston Marathon in 2005, which she ran with her husband Jon. Jon and Beth reside in Toronto with their two school aged daughters.


Liz Bernhard

Liz has more than 25 years of experience as a business psychologist helping organizations grow and achieve results by making the right talent decisions globally. A trusted talent advisor with a global mindset, Liz makes strong and lasting connections with her clients.

After completing her M.A. and PhD in Counseling Psychology at Northwestern University, Liz started her career in private practice in São Paulo, Brazil. She moved to the consulting world after seeing the profound and dynamic impact of this work on individuals and organizations. She is invigorated by helping leaders gain insight into their skills and deepen their ability to leverage their own and others’ talents to increase effectiveness.

Liz specializes in talent selection, coaching and development. She has worked globally across a variety of industries, including private equity, banking, consulting, consumer products, manufacturing, energy, media, and mining.

Liz has Canadian and US citizenship and lives in Vancouver BC.  


John A. Rogener

John Rogener has 30 years of global experience working in Fortune 500 firms in the talent development and coaching space. He is also a certified executive coach and has coached clients in the financial services, retail, not-for-profit and higher education sectors. This broad exposure of understanding human behavior in a variety of business settings gives him a unique perspective into the challenges executives face, and it enables him to identify sustainable solutions to address those challenges.

He has served as an adjunct professor at Rutgers University Center for Management Development, and also at New York University for 14 years where he was granted their prestigious Award for Teaching Excellence. 

John has a BA, an MA/Advanced Graduate Studies (Counseling) and received his coach certification via New York University. John is a member of the National Association for Talent Development (ATD) and is President Emeritus and member of the Association for Training and Development, NYC chapter. John is a recognized honoree for the New Jersey Governor’s Jefferson Award for Public Service.


Jane Brydges

Jane has over twenty years of management experience working with large companies to support their global leadership in the development and execution of enterprise-wide initiatives. With a primary focus on strategic projects, Jane works with organizations in both public and private sectors to assist them through corporate and operational transformations to achieve greater success, guide them through challenging times, or accelerate initiatives to capitalize on opportunities.

As a senior executive advisor with extensive international experience, Jane has provided executive level thought leadership and strategic consulting in organization restructuring, digital transformation, human resources management, technology and process design, change management, and organization development. She has a proven ability to direct global program initiatives designed to improve operations, impact business objectives and or maximize overall organization productivity/efficiency to ensure growth and process improvements. Her qualifications and experience enable her to deliver strategic solutions and advice on the selection, development and execution of transformative business initiatives.

Jane sits on the Board of Governors of Bishop’s University and is an active member of the Board of Directors at the Rideau Club in Ottawa.


Katrina Barclay

Katrina founded and ran a successful brick-and-mortar and e-commerce business for 10 years. Her contributions in business and the community led to her becoming a FortyUnder40 recipient in Ottawa, Canada in 2016. Before pivoting to business, Katrina had a career in journalism, working for such organizations as the CBC in Canada, and the BBC in London, UK.

A skilled communicator, Katrina holds a B.A. in communications from the University of Calgary and an M.A. in media studies from Westminster University, London, UK. She also completed an M.B.A at the Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa.

Katrina sits on the Board of Helping with Furniture, an award-winning not-for-profit.

In addition to her consulting responsibilities, Katrina holds the position of VP Operations for GPA.


Stephen Scanlan

Stephen Scanlan is a senior HR/Talent professional who has held senior HR roles with Deloitte, Macquarie Bank, Tangerine Bank and Dentons, the world’s largest law firm. Stephen also worked in Human Capital consulting for KPMG and Development Dimensions International. Stephen brings functional depth in human resources and change management to GPA with industry depth in financial services, real estate, private equity, insurance and legal.

He has done client work with a range of organizations including Aviva Canada, Manitoba Blue Cross, Manitoba Ministry of Health, Capstone Infrastructure, Biome Renewables and Shikatani Lacroix.


Claudio Silvestri

Claudio has over 30 years of experience successfully leading large, complex and transformational initiatives for a variety of organizations within the Information Technology and Aviation industries.  He is known for his inspirational approach in creating alignment and organizational support to successfully achieve valuable and important outcomes through the use of technology.

Claudio is a recognized IT leader and was named Canadian CIO of The Year by the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC) in recognition of his leadership and vision in leading digital, cloud and mobile technology transformations.

Claudio also brings significant experience in Cyber Security specifically as it relates to governance, maturity, Board level oversight and risk management. He led the establishment of an international consortium on Cyber Security in the Aviation industry to help develop standards and leading practices to improve the safety and security for Air Navigation Service Providers.

Claudio is a member of the Ottawa Hospital Board of Governors and serves on the Audit and Finance Committee. He is a past member of the Board of Directors at the Canadian Cyber Threat Exchange (CCTX) which is a national organization that serves the Canadian industry by helping them collaborate to reduce cyber security risk. He is also the past President and Chair of Christie Lake Kids which is an Ottawa-based not-for-profit organization serving disadvantaged youth in the Ottawa valley region. 


Colleen Bastian

Colleen delivers executive coaching, leadership, team, and DEI (diversity, equity, & inclusion) consulting services to global leaders in small, privately owned companies to large Fortune 100 organizations.   She focuses on increasing leadership and team capabilities of leaders to perform at their highest level. 

Colleen holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology from The California School of Professional Psychology and a B.S. in Exercise Physiology from The College of Charleston. She is also a professional certified coach (PCC) with the International Coach Federation (ICF).

Prior to becoming an organizational consultant, Colleen was a senior sales professional at Pfizer Inc. Colleen lives in south Florida with her husband and two children.  She is a focused individual and athlete.  She enjoys competing in races and also volunteers to support marginalized communities. 


Sharon Israel

Sharon holds a Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, a Master of Public Administration and Graduate Certificate in Personnel Management and Labor Relations. She is an experienced leader, coach, mentor, instructor, and teacher. She has successfully coached individuals in all levels of leadership.

Sharon created and delivered training and development programs in the areas of leadership, conflict resolution, management, teamwork, creative problem-solving, active listening, performance appraisal, workplace ethics, organizational health and stress management, and resiliency. She has extensive experience in talent management and selection systems as well as multi-faceted management assessment centers. She serves on the Board of Directors for three non-profit organizations in the field of reading education, dyslexia, and literacy.


Hartley Stern

Hartley has held significant health care leadership positions over a 30 year period in Universities, Cancer Systems, and Hospital Systems, in Ontario and Quebec, and most recently in the Canadian Medical Liability System (CMPA). He has forged strong relationships with governments in most provinces but most significantly in Quebec while CEO of the Jewish General Hospital and with Provincial Ministries of Health and Regulators to improve the safety and quality of care in the majority of Canadian jurisdictions whilst CEO of the CMPA.

He has also driven major improvements in quality and safety using (but not limited to): compelling articulation of vision and strategy; major refinements in data acquisition and analysis; and innovative partnerships.


Hilary Becker

Hilary Becker is an Associate Professor of Accounting at the Sprott School of Business, Carleton University in Ottawa. He holds a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) and Certified General Accountant (CGA) designation in addition to a PhD and MBA.

Hilary has worked as an analyst with DuPont Inc., and has consulted with Board of Directors, management and on projects for the World Wildlife Fund, the MacArthur Foundation, AFNI, Mosaid, Merck-Schering Plough, Canada Blood Services, Canadian Dental Association, Ottawa Festivals, Global Affairs Canada and CGA Ontario, among others, in areas of Blue Ocean Strategy, Performance Management, Balanced Scorecard, Tourism and Financial Literacy. Hilary is certified in Blue Ocean Strategy by the Blue Ocean Strategy Network (INSEAD University, France) and has served on the National Board of Directors for CGA Canada as the Ontario representative for 7 years ending as Vice Chair, CGA Canada prior to the merger of the accounting professions in Canada.


Carey Stevens

Carey holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and has completed the Executive Program in Human Resources Management from University of Toronto, Rottman School of Business. He is also a Certified Fitness Instructor.

Carey has over 45 years of experience in behavioral psychotherapy, business and family mediation and forensic assessments and over 25 years of experience in the execution of large, complex business transformations. His guiding philosophy is to integrate psychological principles with innovative management practices that resolve both complex organizational challenges and result in sustainable personal changes. Carey’s unique history of blending psychological and business insights coupled with his hands-on style has provided his clients with deeper and more insightful executive coaching, transformational change management, talent management, and career transition within a business transformation environment.

Carey has provided coaching and leadership development services for individuals and several Fortune One Hundred corporations in Canada, United States, Europe, and Asia Pacific. Carey prides himself on being a builder of teams and a developer of people.


Sandra Bertoli

Sandra is located in London, England. Her role with GPA is as a talent management consultant and executive coach. Her strength is to support professionals in identifying their potential and developing it in accordance with their aspirations. Sandra treats each project as unique and combines relevant assessment, coaching and development methods to achieve the specific goal of the individual and teams.

An Organisational Psychologist, Sandra started her career in the banking industry with UBS. She held various Management Development then High Potential Management roles at local and international levels.  She moved into the consulting world 17 years ago. Her activities focus on talent identification, assessment, individual and team coaching, leadership development as well as training fellow consultants in the use of assessment methodologies and psychometrics.

Sandra has international experience having lived and worked in Switzerland, Singapore, Paris, Brussels and London covering global assignments.  

In addition to banking, Sandra has extensive experience in the automotive industry, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and professional services.

Sandra holds a BSc in Organisational Psychology and a diploma in Executive Coaching from the Academy of Executive Coaching in London. She is accredited in the Solution Focused methodology and in several psychometric tools (Hudson suite, Wave, OPQ, etc.). Sandra is also an in-house trainer for SHL’s psychometric tools.

Sandra is fluent in English, French and Italian.


Marc Prine

Known for his dynamic professional style and analytical approach, Marc thrives on using data and analytics to take an objective perspective to improving human performance. His key areas of focus include working with organizations to integrate empirically supported methodologies into the management of human capital. His expertise is on optimizing the selection, development, engagement, retention, and leadership due diligence of employees through use of people analytics, assessment, and psychology.

Marc has over twelve years of consulting experience working with organizations from financial services, technology, life sciences, manufacturing and both federal and local government. Marc earned his Ph.D. in Business Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, M.A. from West Chester University of Pennsylvania and undergraduate degree from Temple University. He is an adjunct professor in statistics and his work has been published in the Huffington Post, Forbes, and Fast Company.


Melissa Warner

Melissa holds a Ph.D. in Industrial/ Organizational Psychology and a certificate in the Neuroscience of Business from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She has assessed and coached business leaders for over 19 years and held a leadership role at Canadian Tire Corporation, developing and overseeing executive assessments and leadership development programs. Melissa has extensive experience drawing on neuroscience, psychology, and business, to help leaders in various sectors and business functions. She has contributed to the academic body of research through publication in books, peer-reviewed journals, and conference presentations.

In addition to consulting with GPA, Melissa is a Professor in the School of Global Business Management at Seneca College, where she teaches training and development, leadership, and human resources. In addition, Melissa sits on the advisory committee for Specialisterne, helping organizations obtain business results through neurodiversity. Her style of consulting is customized, results-driven, and measurement/results-focused.    


Marina Ivanoff

Marina is a consultant and an Executive Coach specialized in helping individuals and teams reach their full potential. She brings a breadth of experience in human capital optimization, strategy and change management. Her industry experience ranges from FMCG, transport, pharmaceutical, public entities and financial institutions.

In the first part of her career, Marina held regional and global, operational and strategic HR roles with Griffith Laboratories, Coca-Cola Enterprises and DHL Express.

In the last 15 years, she has worked as a Leadership Consultant focusing on talent assessment, executive coaching, and leadership development. Her expertise spans leadership program development and design, facilitation, talent assessment, individual and team coaching.

In addition to consulting, Marina is a tutor at INSEAD for strategy and leadership programs and a co-founder of Acteva Stars, a boutique accelerator for start-ups.

Having lived and worked across Europe and the US, she is currently based in Singapore and has been working throughout the Asia Pacific Region for the last 10 years.

Marina holds a degree in mathematics and a Master’s degree in Individual and Organisational Psychology from INSEAD. She holds an advanced diploma in coaching from the Academy of Executive Coaching and is a certified coach (PCC) from the International Coach Federation. She is also a Practitioner Systemic Team Coach from GTCI.  She is an NLP Senior Practitioner and is accredited in several globally recognized tools (MBTI, Hogan, etc.).
She holds a certificate in Business Strategy and Financial Performance from INSEAD.

Marina speaks French and English fluently.


Jon Donald

Jon received his M.B.A. in International Management from the Asia-Pacific International Institute.

Jon is a recognized leader in designing and implementing organizational change.  He is an expert in organizational re-design, change management, business communication, and the development and execution of change strategy. He has extensive international experience in training delivery, alternate service sourcing & governance, program development & review, performance assessment, and strategic policy and planning.

With over 23 years’ practice in consulting, Jon has extensive experience with multinational corporations, NGOs, government-owned corporations, and the public sector. Rated in the top 1% of change management experts on LinkedIn Canada, Jon co-designed and delivered an in-house organizational change strategy for a global consultancy. He has also designed and delivered change management education and training at the post-secondary level.

Jon has served on boards and advisory councils for organizations involved with youth mentorship, cancer research, and amateur sports.


Gerald Pulvermacher

Gerry has been advising companies throughout North America for almost 50 years. Additionally, he has led 5 different consultancies including being Senior Partner and Global Practice Director of 4 lines of service (Change Leadership, Human Capital, Learning and Organization Performance) at Deloitte Consulting, was President of Oliver Wyman Delta (Canada), Managing Partner of PSS Consulting and Co-lead of PulvermacherFirth (acquired by the Hudson Highland Corporation, a publicly traded company listed on NASDAQ).

He has consulted to central banks, pension funds, multi-faceted real estate companies, oil & gas producers, pipeline companies, airports, professional services firms, lottery corporations, family businesses in such sectors as automobile dealerships and home healthcare, crown corporations and hospitals. He has sat on the Boards of hospitals, high tech companies and community services organizations. MacLean’s Magazine labeled Gerry as one of Canada’s “management gurus”. He has lectured in the business program of Queen’s University School of Business and the University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Family Business. As a dual citizen, Gerry’s clients can be found both in Canada and the USA.


Marion Weiler

Marion Weiler serves as an Executive Advisor, Growth Strategist, and Branding Expert. She advises and guides businesses and leaders on how to create new levels of brand loyalty internally and externally based on a culture of teamwork and collaboration with a view to achieving high impact and sustainable growth.

As a global citizen and former Senior Executive working and supporting industry-leading global brands such as Sotheby’s International Realty, BMW and IBM, serving on executive boards and leading multi-million dollar business divisions, teams and projects, Marion has gained valuable insight into what works and what doesn’t across industries.

She has a deep understanding of the opportunities and challenges businesses and leaders face as they navigate through the complexities of corporate environments, particularly complex when dealing with intercultural differences and sensitivities. At the core of her success is her talent for understanding people, and  bridging gaps and putting puzzle pieces together to recognize strengths in team members and leaders. She is also experienced at structuring organizations and teams on an international scale.