Our Leaders

Our expertise spans generations of excellence. Bert Decker founded the company in 1979, and later recruited his son and daughter-in-law to propel Decker Communications through the new generation of business communications.

Bert Decker
Founder and Chairman Emeritus

A true visionary, Bert launched Decker Communications in 1979 to transform people's lives - and that mission remains the same today. Bert's passion for communications evolved from his early career as a successful filmmaker. After turning the camera on himself, he became keenly aware of the power of video feedback and the need for communications coaching.

Since then, Bert has become a nationally recognized communications expert, appearing on the NBC TODAY Show several times, a commentator on Presidential Debates, and featured on ABC's 20/20 and dozens of other print and broadcast media. Bert is entrepreneurial to his core.

In addition to speaking and writing, he is the founder of seven companies and organizations, Chairman of the Advisory Board of The Salvation Army, and fancies himself an early adopter of all things tech.

Ben Decker
Chairman and Co-CEO

Ben drives the Decker vision, ensuring that we always set out to transform individuals to increase their impact. In addition to speaking and leading executive programs, he spearheads Decker's strategy and expansion efforts.

His prior experience and success in sales and sales management in the telecommunications and surgical industries validated the importance of communicating effectively, even in the most brief interactions.

Ben holds a BS in Psychology from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Ben has literally been steeped in the Decker Method his entire life. Early on in his "career," he remembers being videotaped prior to his junior high book reports. In hindsight, he can certainly see the value of it, but the jury is still out on whether or not he'll subject his own three boys to do the same.

> Follow Ben on Twitter

Kelly Decker
Co-CEO and President

Head of Decker's Program Development and Training, Kelly works closely with our clients to customize innovative programs that solve their evolving communications challenges. In addition to speaking and leading executive programs, she is focused on growing and scaling the elite quality of communications training and messaging programs upon which Decker has built its reputation.

Every day, she leverages skills and past experience gained in consulting with The Alexander Group, and in corporate communications and sales management with AT&T. She holds an MBA from the Haas School of Business, and a BS in Psychology from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

Having grown up in a large Italian family, Kelly worked hard to overcome the communications challenge of over-gesturing. She's also a proud survivor of growing up with three brothers, and she uses her experience to raise her and Ben's three boys, Jackson, Joseph and Christopher.

> Follow Kelly on Twitter

John Tarman
Chief Operating Officer

A native son of the Bay Area, John's commitment to organizational leadership has included 20 years with the California Interscholastic Federation (Assistant Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer) as well as his most recent service as Executive Director of the Volunteer Center of the East Bay.

At various times during his career, his management responsibilities have included finance, administration, sales, marketing, human resources, communications, training, media relations and event management. His passions include basketball (former high school and college basketball official) and wine (ten years in the wine industry). John has served on the Board of Directors of the Volunteer Center and currently serves as Chair of the Finance Council of St. Joan of Arc Church in San Ramon. John is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley and resides in Dublin with his wife Domini.

In his operations role, John leads all aspects of administration, finance and human resources while working with the rest of the Decker Executive Team to chart the future course for Decker's growth.

Scott Bender
Senior Vice President - Strategic Relationships

Scott is passionate about helping individuals, teams and organizations work more effectively. He joined the Decker team because of the way we powerfully foster both individual growth and broader organizational change. In Scott's words, "It's so exciting to see the way we impact people. Improving the way that individuals communicate and influence impacts performance at every level!"

Scott spent 23 years of his career working in distribution for a division of International Paper and Veritiv Corporation, both Fortune 500 companies. His career highlights included climbing the ranks of sales leadership to General Manager, where he was responsible for both sales and operations. He feels fortunate to have worked with leaders who have taken an interest in his development and helped him focus on his leadership skills. He holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Arizona.

Personally, Scott enjoys time with his wife and two teenagers. They love living in the San Francisco's East Bay, and their family time includes watching their son play golf and trying to keep up with their daughter, who is passionate about dance. To "relax," Scott enjoys running. He believes his best time to think is on long runs, and since he's run 6 marathons (with another one on the horizon), he gets plenty of time to think!

Amelia McCormick
Vice President Program Development and Delivery

Amelia oversees the Decker program experience - management of the core curriculum, new program development, client customization, our dynamic team of Program Leaders and scheduling. She is the resident expert for program customization, and she enjoys the challenges of tailoring programs to meet specific client needs, goals and timeframes.

Amelia leads strategic programs and workshops, as well as serves as an executive coach. In addition to her leadership role at Decker, Amelia loves the opportunity to have a direct impact on the communication skills of others.

Amelia's professional background is in advertising and strategic communications, working with a variety of regional and national clients on message development and communication strategy. Prior to Decker, she was director of marketing and fundraising for a countywide nonprofit in southern California.

Amelia holds an MS in Strategic Communication from the University of Kansas. She and her husband live in Asheville, North Carolina with their twin children and two miniature schnauzers. In her spare time, Amelia loves to cook, run and travel.

Celeste Steenburgh
Senior Manager - Program Logistics and HR Administration

Celeste is the glue that holds the Decker office together. She works magic behind the scenes as the single point of contact for end-to-end program execution. As a result, participants experience a seamless program, helping them fully commit to honing their communication skills.

Celeste holds a BA in Speech and Communication from San Francisco State University and took her degree into the working fields of hospitality, media, and now brings her communication skills to Decker.

Jonathan Willard
Vice President - Strategic Relationships

Jonathan leads Decker's New York office. He brings two decades of experience in designing and delivering organizational communications and performance improvement programs for some of the world's most admired companies.

Jonathan has worked extensively in the areas of strategy, innovation, leadership, business development, and brand activation. His agency affiliations have included JWT, the Involvement Practice, Bonfire Communications, and New York Consulting Partners.

In addition to his work in communications, Jonathan is an accomplished artist whose paintings and drawings have been widely exhibited, and his writing has appeared in numerous journals and literary reviews.