Instructors, consultants and change agents

Whether your needs dictate training, facilitation or consulting, our associates provide experienced leadership in their fields. You can be confident in their expertise and professionalism, as well as their ability to deliver results.

Russ Schoen

Russ is a facilitator, trainer and speaker in the areas of productive thinking, innovation and leadership and has delivered innovation programs throughout the world including Singapore, Italy, Australia, India, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada. He holds a Master of Science in Creativity, Innovation and Change Leadership from State University of New York and is a graduate of the Second City Conservatory specializing in improvisation. Russ is a contributing author to a number of innovation articles and books including Your Guide Book, An Innovation Road Map and Your Tool Cards, an Innovation Catalyst. Organizations he has worked with include: Kraft, SC Johnson, Coca-Cola, International Flavors & Fragrances, Bristol Myers Squibb, Pfizer, Tap Pharmaceuticals, New Zealand Milk, Quaker and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

John Cabra

John has designed and presented programs on leadership and creativity in 22 countries for organizations such as Boehringer Maanheim, Quaker Oats, United Airlines, University of Rochester, Motts, Chilean Travel and Tourism Association, Hyatt, Transitions Optical, and El Dorado Bogotá International Airport Authority. His expertise is in organizational creativity and perceptions of creativity across cultures and he has published numerous articles in Latin American business journals. John holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology from the University of Manchester, England, and a M.S. in Creativity, Innovation and Change Leadership from the State University of New York, Buffalo State and he is an Assistant Professor at the International Center for Studies in Creativity. Previously he was an operations manager for American Airlines and held internal positions there in the fields of training and development, and employee relations, Before joining American, John was a bilingual training and organizational development specialist for Fisher-Price Toys in Mexico where one of his functions was to facilitate sessions to generate new product ideas.

Janice Francisco

Janice is a positive change facilitator. Always open to new ways of seeing and doing, and ready to challenge others to do the same, she is adept at helping groups to see the big picture, reach consensus, and follow the process required to achieve their goals. Her insight, clarity, and pragmatic approach are well appreciated by those seeking transformation. As a highly-trained listener, she knows how to ask the right questions and quickly identify her clients’ outcomes, and she has a great track record for effective intervention as a facilitator and change leader. Working closely with the International Center for Studies in Creativity at the State University of New York, Janice develops programs and presentations that offer to a broader audience the core concepts unique to the Masters of Science in Creativity, Innovation and Change Leadership program. In her calm, organized, personable and no-nonsense way, Janice empowers teams to discover their strengths and move beyond their limitations.

Don Lynch

Don brings his clients two decades of process efficiency experience. His work at Kraft, General Foods and Kimberley-Clark, plus an MBA from University of Wisconsin have given him a deep understanding of the productivity landscape. This combined with his restlessness with traditional approaches has driven him to blend the best practices in the field with new approaches. As a developer of a major productivity process at Kraft Foods, Don generated thousands of ideas worth millions in cost savings. More importantly, he demonstrated cost savings opportunities exist even in the most “scoured” or "mature" business systems. His genius at combining old and new approaches has produced the truly remarkable breakthroughs that our clients experience with productivity and cost optimization facilitation sessions.

Deborah Nicklaus

Deborah is an experienced moderator and has taught corporate and university courses on the topics of group moderation, creativity, and leadership. With over 10 years of experience, she has coached leaders in myriad industries and has even designed a comprehensive internal coaching program for a Fortune 200 company. Additionally, Deborah’s achievements in branding and market research shaped the advertising of a leading telecom company and laid the groundwork for an imaging company to make the transition from photography to global file sharing. Deborah holds degrees in Engineering and Adult Education, and completed advanced studies in the fields of creativity, teambuilding and moderation.

Gerard Puccio

Gerard works as a trainer, facilitator and consultant in the area of creative thinking, creative problem solving, facilitation and leadership. He is also the Director at the International Center for Studies in Creativity at SUNY Buffalo. In addition to his teaching, some of the organizations to benefit from his training and facilitation include: American Axle & Manufacturing, the Atomic Energy Authority (UK), AT&T, Bull, Dunlop, General Motors, Nabisco, Procter & Gamble, Wilson Greatbatch, and numerous colleges and school districts. Gerard is the author of FourSight: The Breakthrough Thinking Profile and co-author of Creative Leadership: Skills that Drive Change. He has written numerous articles, chapters, and books, and been published in publications such as the British Journal of Educational Psychology, the Journal of Creative Behavior, Psychological Reports, Creativity Research Journal, and the Creativity and Innovation Yearbook.

Douglas Reid

Doug helps leading companies create growth through collaboration and innovation. As a consultant, facilitator, trainer and executive and team coach, he applies his talents and experience to individual, group, and organizational development and transformation. Doug is a seasoned specialist in the field of organizational innovation and leadership and has worked throughout the US and Europe in many different industries. His ability to establish rapport with individuals and groups very quickly rests on his strong interpersonal skills and personality and he exhibits a keen ability to listen and clarify and make sure that meaningful communication is occurring. Doug earned a B.A. in Interpersonal Communications from Ohio University and a M.S. in Creativity, Innovation and Change Leadership from State University of New York. He received his certification as an executive coach from the College of Executive Coaching in Ventura, CA and now serves on their faculty.

Jonathan Vehar

Jonathan Vehar works with organizations to create teams who can work together productively to create innovation. A gifted trainer, presenter and facilitator, Investor’s Business Daily calls him an "Innovation Guru." His quick wit, piercing insights and commitment to excellence create powerful programs in the areas of creative thinking, new product ideation, strategic planning, creative problem solving, and group meeting facilitation. Jonathan is a regular instructor at the Creative Problem Solving Institute and the Innovation Network Convergence. Formerly the Director of Training and Consulting for the Creative Education Foundation, he worked prior to that in advertising for Leo Burnett and Lintas: USA. He holds a Master’s Degree in Creativity and Change Leadership from the State University of New York and is the author of many articles, videos and training manuals about creative problem solving. His latest book, co-authored with Bob Eckert, is entitled, More Lightning, Less Thunder: How to Energize Innovation Teams.

Mike Werner

Mike Werner is a illustrator, designer, graphic facilitator and doodler who works with Blair on new product and business development ideation sessions and prototypes. A graduate in Visual Communication at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Mike's 20 years of experience includes working at DDB Needham and Cramer-Krasselt in Chicago as well as illustrating for the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Reader. Recent clients include the Walt Disney Company, Florida Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Yum! Brands. He lives in Milwaukee and tries to stay relevant to his wife and two daughters.

Bob Eckert

Bob’s focus is on overcoming organizational challenges, team development, productive relationships, productive thinking and leadership development and is a sought after speaker in the areas of innovation, human resources and team development. Bob speaks and trains from a perspective enriched by a background which includes: management experience in both manufacturing and retail, and the creation/direction of an internationally renowned health promotion programs. He also works as the senior instructor in adaptive Outward Bound programming, founded a drug abuse treatment and prevention system and is a national trainer in the area of neuropharmacology and addiction. Bob is the author of numerous articles and books, including More Lightning, Less Thunder and How to Energize Innovation Teams. Clients include Novo Nordisk, Lotus Development, Nordion, Pfizer, Adams, Kraft Foods and University of the Orange Free State in South Africa.

Jennifer Joos

Jennifer Joos is an ethnographic researcher and communication designer. Working with the output of Blair Miller Innovation ideation sessions, she organizes and presents client ideas to maximize their utility. Jennifer helps clients answer the "Now what?" question by structuring and clarifying their work so that each newly developed concept's value and function is intelligible, able to be prioritized, and tactical. She creates final deliverables that help teams recognize the immediate and long-term value of their ideas. Her undergraduate degree is from the University of Chicago and she has a Masters of Design degree in Human-Centered Design Planning from the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Jennifer's clients have included Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, Microsoft, Mars, Kraft, and the Mayo Clinic.