Communicating with Candor

“All faults may be forgiven of him who has perfect candor.” – Walt Whitman

I have recently encountered several situations in my consulting work which have reminded me of the vital importance of candor, whether it be in life, love or on the job. Given candor’s importance for successful interpersonal relationships in every environment and business performance, it is nonetheless ironic how difficult it seems for people to be honest, direct and fact-based. Indeed, we too often see people go underground with their perspectives, or come on like bulls in a china shop, or worst of all, play various passive-aggressive games (sarcasm, cynicism, innuendo, discussing others behind their backs, saying “yes” while doing “no”, being unavailable or “too busy to discuss”, and so on).

Jack Welch, the renowned former leader of General Electric, argues in “Winning” (Welch, 2005) that candor is critical to success, especially in today’s turbulent business climate. In “Good to Great” (Collins, 2001), Jim Collins encourages executives to “confront the brutal facts” in leading their organizations. And Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan discuss the importance of “robust dialogue” in “Execution” (Bossidy and Charan, 2002).

Everyone seems to be talking about candor, but what is it, and are there real payoffs for you and your business? Welch points out that as more people get involved in a conversation, “more ideas get surfaced, discussed, pulled apart, and improved.” Noting that candor speeds implementation, Welch adds, “When ideas are in everyone’s face, they can be debated rapidly, expanded and enhanced, and acted upon.”

Finally, Welch maintains that candor cuts costs by eliminating meaningless and redundant meetings, PowerPoint slides, and “mind numbing” presentations. To Welch’s list I would add another: reducing the number of situations that lead to anger, mistrust, disengagement…..all undermining effective functioning both on an individual and team level. Most of us think of candor as telling the truth; we assume that candor means “tell it like it is.” Honesty may be the best policy, but candor is honesty with skill: a way of communicating that succeeds at solving problems in an efficient, respectful, and even in a profound way. It’s not a soapbox speech; it’s dialogue.

Candid dialogue creates the openness that allows people to explore different, even uncomfortable, perspectives. Truly candid conversations move beyond individual points of view to yield fresh insights about an obstacle or opportunity. Seen this way, candor becomes a source of actionable wisdom that— in ways both big and small—can yield the competitive advantages Welch describes.

The Personal Case for Candor We benefit both personally and in our work when we engage with candor. The word candor comes from the Latin, meaning “to shine.” The goal of candor is to allow both you and those around you to shine by being genuine. Candor is not a switch to be turned on and off; rather, it is an internal commitment that is expressed in who you are and how you work with other people.

Overcoming Candor

A prerequisite for candor is authenticity— being real. But when people are afraid, they speak defensively rather than authentically. Unfortunately, opportunities for candor are riddled with fear. To protect ourselves or others from the sting of defensiveness, and the pain of conflict that results, we hold back, failing to be fully and publicly ourselves.

We’re not clear about how we might react when confronted with a candid moment. We’re also afraid of the impact which our own candor might have. So we shut down, failing to express what we truly believe. To become more authentically direct, we need to first clarify our intention and transform it into a commitment.

Before doing that, we need to understand why going public with our private thoughts, wants, and needs feels so risky. The harm or loss that looms over us as we contemplate candor can be found in these distinct but overlapping categories:

1) Job Retribution. We worry that our words will be held against us. We might not be selected for a high-visibility project or position; we might alienate our managers; we might lose the influence and support we’ve worked so hard to gain. Given these worries, it seems safer to remain quiet than to speak up….or to find alternate, sometimes backdoor methods to expressing our needs and wants. However, many people realize, in hindsight, that in the end their lack of candor actually hurt their chances for advancement.

2) Social Retribution. Because the experience of work is inseparable from those we work with, we worry about the consequences of damaging those relationships. Among our team there may be a fear that being candid might anger others, and that this perspective might spread among others without us knowing. We might resist being candid in order to avoid awkwardness with others in the group. Yet avoiding authenticity leads to festering problems that destroy team effectiveness and relationships.

3) Hurting Others’ Feelings. We often censor ourselves because we don’t want our feedback or disagreement to be hurtful to others. We try to protect people from feeling bad by not telling them the truth. While our concern for others may be genuine, it’s also true that hurting others’ feelings often results in more work for us, as we have to fix the relationship problem that we think candor created. This is a further incentive to keep quiet. In the end, our impulse to saving face does more harm than good, ultimately interfering with our own effectiveness and the effectiveness of the other person.

4) Self-Perception. We worry that if we speak up, we may look bad. And while the chances are remote, even the slightest potential for humiliation acts as a deterrent to candid discussion. Yet in the long term, not speaking up also damages our self-perception and others’ perception of us.

5) Change. We fear the unknown consequences of speaking the truth. At work, we may choose not to share ideas that could improve our own or our team’s performance if we see those changes as possible threats to our job security, social standing, or advancement. We may also keep problems to ourselves, anticipating a worst-case scenario: “What if I’m just wasting my time?” “What if I get on her bad side?” “What if the team thinks my idea is stupid?” When we visualize the worst consequences, our fear makes us quiet. We remain silent, hoping the problem will go away. Instead, we are better off asking the questions a different way: “What if my feedback helps him overcome a glaring weakness? What if my idea helps the team achieve a breakthrough?” When considering candor, we need to move beyond the worst-case scenario, considering the not-so-bad and best-case scenarios as well.

How Do You Show Up In Candor Moments?

The first challenge is to practice candor with yourself—to be honest with yourself about your typical decisions during these moments. Do you choose a positive mind-set, seizing opportunities to reap the personal and business benefits? Do you speak your truth and encourage others to do the same? Or do you allow fear to push you to the extreme ends of the candor continuum?

The Candor Continuum

Choices regarding candor can be identified on a continuum reflecting our possible responses to a situation or crisis requiring candor. On one end of the continuum is a tendency to bail, to simply avoid a potentially difficult conversation by not raising an issue or responding honestly. Or even more damaging, is the tendency to do an end run; that is, speak harshly and critically of others but not give the target of your opinions direct feedback (the passive-aggressive type who triangulates….not having the fortitude to be respectfully honest and direct). On the opposite end is a tendency to bruise, to be truthful in a way that is harsh or harmful. In the center is the ideal: constructive candor, saying what needs to be said in the most productive way possible and encouraging others to do the same.

Bail: The Passive End of the Continuum

We all have had times when we’ve bailed out of raising an issue, avoided telling someone the thing they needed to hear or the thing we needed to say. With a bad feeling in our stomachs, we decide not to speak up so as not to rock the boat, alienate a colleague, take a risk, or hurt someone’s feelings. Those decisions to bail, driven by fear of the worst-case scenario, ultimately steal our vitality at work and sour the very relationships we think we’re preserving. The more often we choose silence, the more difficult it becomes to speak up. We become marginal players who then spend time after the meeting complaining about the decisions that were made when we didn’t speak up. The meetings after the meeting become a black hole of time and energy, sucking other people in to more and more dysfunctional conversations. We expend a considerable amount of energy defending our decision not to speak up, when being candid would have saved time and energy for not only us, but our managers and colleagues whom we dragged in to those after-meeting meetings.

Bruise: The Combative End of the Continuum

Fear drives bailing, but it also drives us to the other end of the extreme, to an honesty that hurts. Harry Truman, famous for his brutal honesty, said, “I don’t give ’em hell; I just tell them the truth and they think it’s hell.” As satisfying as it may be to lash out or act brazenly, that satisfaction is short-lived at best, and worse, can cause lasting damage to vital relationships. The bruises we inflict in the workplace may be metaphorical, but their impact can be all too real. To change our bruising behavior we need to be aware of our fear of candid dialogue.

We bruise when we are afraid of being out of control, when it doesn’t look like things are going our way. So we speak in a way that shuts other people down, from a defensive rather than an authentic posture. Ultimately that backfires on us in a couple of ways. People don’t always support the decisions that were pushed on them. Also, they choose not to be forthcoming about problems we need to know about because they don’t want to deal with our bruising reactions. Rather than defending our outspoken ways, and blaming others for not speaking up loudly enough, we need to become more aware of the impact this bruising behavior has on the potential for candid conversation.

Candor’s honesty involves understanding how to be appropriately honest: communicating with transparency, to the right people, without defensiveness, at a time and in a way that shows respect and good intentions. Be brief, objective, and specific in your speaking; use a neutral tone; and listen with empathy even when you don’t agree. In addition to creating an environment of openness and trust, these skills can defuse the raw emotions and defensiveness common to most difficult conversations, moving beyond bailing and bruising to addressing and resolving the real, underlying problems.

The Continuum’s ideal candor may not come easily, but through awareness and skillful dialogue, we can move toward the happy middle of the candor continuum. The results? A chance to shine by achieving mutual goals while reaping the personal rewards of job satisfaction, physical health, and peace of mind. The best leaders are candid – always. They say what needs to be said, and they do not mince words. They motivate by their assertiveness (not aggressiveness or passive-aggressiveness) – and their team knows what is expected of them.

Oftentimes those on the receiving end don’t like what they are hearing– but they believe in their leader and know it is the truth. Communicating without candor does just the opposite – it causes fear, lack of trust, resentment, team dissension and, ironically, even more anger.


GPA, work with organizations throughout North America and the UK advising senior-most executives in the areas of strategy formulation and implementation, business transformation and change management, executive succession (both planning and implementation), executive and executive team development, executive assessment/selection (in conjunction with executive recruiters) and executive transition. Our differentiators are our practical business focus, responsiveness, commitment to results and candor.

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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.