Our Team

Our team is dedicated to creating Decker's communications experience for our clients. Our Program Leaders are the best in the industry - they deliver consistently superior quality programs every day that continually exceed our client's expectations. Our Sales professionals are consultative in their approach to ensure that programs are designed for maximum impact for each client. Finally, our office staff brings it all together for an end-to-end seamless experience.

Yassmeen Abo-Elreich
Manager - Program Scheduling and Support

From the moment Yassmeen stepped into a Decker program, she knew she had embarked upon a "life-changing" organization. A people-person at her core, she loves that Decker cares so much about both its clients and staff.

Yassmeen graduated from UC Davis with a double major in psychology and communication, and she's passionate about how the two are related.

A Fresno native, Yassmeen is proud to now call the Bay Area her home. Her favorite things include laughing, doing yoga and exploring all the cultures, sights and restaurants San Francisco has to offer.

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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.

Gene Bloch
Senior Program Leader

Gene was six minutes into the Communicate to Influence program when he realized Decker was exactly where he wanted to be. He loves helping people become better communicators and is consistently amazed by the effectiveness of video feedback.

Gene comes to Decker with an extensive background in journalism, including more than two decades at CNN in a wide range of production and newsgathering roles. He played a lead role covering stories including the financial crisis, the Occupy Wall Street movement, the Bernard Madoff securities fraud case, Superstorm Sandy and the September 11th terror attacks.

His passion for communication extends to music, as well. A pianist, bassist and guitarist, he's recently begun composing and recording. Additionally, Gene loves hunting for the best artisanal cheeses among many other foods. He lives in New York City with his wife and two children.

Linda Capello
Senior Program Leader

As a Senior Program Leader for Decker, Linda's enthusiasm for her clients is infectious. She is honored to foster program participants' growth as leaders and communicators as they learn and apply the Decker Method.

Prior to joining Decker, Linda held leadership positions in industries ranging from not-for-profit to venture capital. Outside her life at Decker, Linda is the Communication Coach-in-Residence at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and teaches entrepreneurial communication to Stanford undergraduates. Additionally, she developed the curriculum for, and taught, Stanford's first class on presentation design and delivery skills.

Linda has an MBA from the University of Connecticut, an MAT from Fuller Theological Seminary, and a BS in Accounting from Fairfield University. And as if that wasn't enough, she spent two years studying at the Academy of Art University. She considers herself over-educated, over-caffeinated, and at times, over-stressed.

In her free time, she enjoys hiking, cycling, and reading. She lives in the SF Bay Area with her daughter.

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Erin Clausen
New York Office Manager

Erin knew that she wanted to be a part of the Decker Team immediately after reading the core values. It was exactly what she had been looking for—a company that cares about people.

Erin graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a degree in Film Studies. As a lover of storytelling, she had always wanted to be part of an organization that used the power of storytelling to inspire people to create a positive impact and transformative change in others.

Outside of work, Erin is a huge book nerd who loves to read. As a native of western New York, Erin is a huge Buffalo Bills fan. When she’s not watching the Bills, she spends her weekends in New York City writing, rock climbing, seeing movies or spending time with family and friends.

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Ben Decker
Co-CEO and Chairman

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 briefest 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.

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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.

Susan Eakin
Senior Consultant

Susan is passionate about encouraging people to lead confidently in their area of expertise. Susan truly cares about the people with whom she works, and she is committed to their transformation and success.

Prior to joining Decker, Susan worked as an Account Executive at Google Networks. Susan led a team in ad campaign management for key travel and technology clients. She brings over ten years of experience in the technology industry to Decker.

A respected leader, teacher and coach, Susan has established the foundations of two nonprofit organizations, implemented leadership processes and managed teams of over 80 people. Susan enjoys running, hiking, horseback riding and RVing with her husband and three children. She graduated Cum Laude from Hamilton College.

John Galvin
Senior Consultant

John Galvin thrives on the transformation that takes place with clients after a Decker experience. "It's cathartic to shed bad habits, and incredibly powerful to emerge on the other end as an outstanding communicator," he says.

John is the founder of Strategic Media Group, a company that creates dynamic content for clients such as Deloitte Consulting, Russell Reynolds Associates, iInside and Customerville. He also founded One Day University, a live adult-learning experience featuring the country's best professors.

As a journalist, John's work has appeared in National Geographic, The New York Times Magazine, Wired, Popular Mechanics, Outside, GQ, and other publications. His assignments have taken him from the Egyptian desert in search of a mythical pharaoh, to the Arctic Circle with Kenya's first winter Olympians.

He lives in Northampton, MA, with his wife and their three children. As a family, they play a mean game of Wiffle ball, and challenge each other to hot-sauce eating competitions.

Maura Hunter
Director - Strategic Relationships

Maura is passionate about the power of influence and was intrigued from the first time she was introduced to the Decker program and methodology in 2014. Years later, she would run into Decker again and was thrilled at the opportunity to join the team!

Maura's professional background includes 21 years in financial services. Prior to Decker, she led various teams at Fidelity Investments including a Communications Consultant team and a Customer Experience team for the business unit she supported. She was also Chair of the Women's Leadership Group, the largest employee resource group in the company, and is very committed to helping women in business.

On a personal note, Maura lives outside of Boston, MA and has one daughter. Maura and her daughter love to travel and have been blessed to take some great trips. So far, their favorite is Italy-specifically Tuscany. She looks forward to more great trips in their future.

Courtney Kwan
Finance Manager

Courtney joined Decker because she wanted to be part of an organization that makes a difference, and communication is such a large part of our daily lives. She loves being a part of Decker's friendly and supportive team.

Courtney brings several years of experience in accounting, A/P, A/R, payroll, GL management and fixed assets to the team, formerly working for Restoration Hardware and Paradise Foods.

Courtney holds a BS in Business Administration from San Francisco State University. She currently lives in Marin with her husband and their dog. Her friends and family are still trying to convince her to sell her special pecan pie at the farmer's market.

Terry Lee
Vice President - Strategic Partnerships

As the Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, Terry builds relationships with Decker's most important partners and clients. He was employee #3 with the company in 1980, and he feels strongly that Decker is the preeminent communications training and consulting firm in the business.

Terry has been in sales and sales management for almost all of his 40 years in business. In addition to Decker, past positions included stints as the Director of National Ad Sales for the San Francisco Chronicle, the Vice President of Sales for SoftAd and work for such larger corporations as Continental Can and Castle and Cooke. He is one of 7 children - a graduate of the University of Notre Dame - and is proud to be a husband, father and very active in the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization.

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Bryan Lemos
Senior Manager, Digital Learning

Bryan thrives on hearing about professionals who have changed their lives through better communication skills. His experience in film and television, international aid development, and Silicon Valley tech have given him a unique perspective on what unleashes potential.

Bryan has coached senior executives and emerging leaders from companies like Facebook, Google and Delta.  At Decker Communications, Bryan draws from his experience working with top tier executives and creating over 100 professional development curriculum and courses for Silicon Valley companies. His work has reached over one million students worldwide. He served in the Peace Corps in Honduras from 2009-2011, a life-changing experience where he became dedicated to personal and professional development. 

In his spare time, Bryan frequents live music and travels internationally to tropical locations as much as possible. His favorite is Fiji.  Bryan lives in Denver with his wife and dog.

Eliza Leoni
Senior Manager - Program Customization & Delivery

Eliza fell in love with the Decker Method when she took Communicate to Influence. "Seeing such fast transformations in a fun atmosphere was incredibly exciting. I couldn't wait to get involved."

Prior to Decker, Eliza worked for UC Hastings College of the Law, where she recruited legal employers to hire law students. Before UC Hastings, she managed American Conservatory Theater's adult education program, promoting acting training as a professional development tool. Eliza has also pushed people out of their comfort zones as a theater director, coaching actors in full productions, cabarets and concerts.

Eliza graduated from Willamette University with a BA in theater and politics. Now a resident of Brooklyn, NY, she spends her free time seeing plays and strolling Prospect Park.

Jennifer Lewis
Senior Program Leader

Jenny has long been fascinated by what people say and how they say it. She is passionate about leveraging storytelling in business and loves helping Decker clients all over the world craft their messages.

A former news reporter in Los Angeles, she covered gritty urban crimes, investigated the inner world of street gangs, followed high-profile celebrity trials and tracked the occasional Presidential visit. Her breaking news story about the murder of a social worker at a clinic won a statewide award and led to tighter OSHA security measures.

A San Francisco native, Jenny holds a BA in Journalism with Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude honors from the University of Southern California.

At Decker, Jenny also draws upon her experience working at CBS-TV and Hyatt Hotels. But it's her love for travel and a stint as a cruise ship activities director that gave Jenny a lifetime of stories and taught her an essential skill for Decker road trips: how to pack light.

Mike Lewis

Mike Lewis
SVP, Sales and Marketing

Mike has over two decades of experience building high-performance teams and driving revenue growth for leading B2B technology companies, successfully scaling go-to-market strategies across the Fortune 500. He has held senior leadership roles at startups, private equity, and multinational publicly traded companies. He spent 18 years at Seagate Technology leading global GTM teams as well executive sales and marketing roles at Rapid Robotics, Flex, Enphase, and Aricent. Mike has a Bachelor of Science degree from Park University and an MBA from Regis University.

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Susan Levy
Program Leader

Susan Levy describes Decker as “serious fun,” the idea that even professional development can be joyful and exciting. With an impressive 20-year background in consultative selling and coaching, she’s passionate about providing both the education and encouragement her clients need to move their careers forward.

Prior to joining our team, Susan worked as the Senior Manager, Corporate Business Development for Peet’s Coffee. She held an array of management roles focused on employee engagement, leadership development, and sales training, including work as the Regional Vice President of Sales for Richardson, the Vice President of Business Solutions for IMPACT Group, and as a Facilitator and Coach at BlessingWhite. She also served as the Director of Business Development for Pecos River, facilitating change management training for Fortune 500 clients. Susan is a Certified coach and facilitator with Coaches Training Institute, ATD, Pecos River and BlessingWhite, and holds certifications in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (the Results Model), Coaching Frameworks, the Miller Heiman Sales Process, the Richardson Sales Process, and more.

Outside of work, her passion for “serious fun” often displays itself on the tennis court or glued to the TV watching grand slam tournaments.

Bruce Marcey
Senior Consultant

As a Senior Consultant, Bruce trains, coaches and consults with clients nationwide. He has personally coached several key executives at many prestigious companies.

Prior to coming to Decker, Bruce was V.P. and Director of Communications for FactSet Research Systems where he was responsible for external, internal and executive communication. He previously served on the Communication Faculty at Queens University of Charlotte and founded and ran Influence Communication Consulting, a communications consulting firm, where he specialized in coaching executives to be more influential in their high-stakes presentations.

Bruce graduated from Bucknell University with a dual degree in International Relations and Economics. He also holds a Ph.D in Rhetoric from Regent University. He and his wife, Nann have three grown children and live in the mountains of North Carolina with their dogs Wilson and Hobbes. In his spare time, Bruce enjoys soccer, boating and great beer.

Amelia McCormick
Vice President Program Development & 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, Kevin, live in Asheville, North Carolina with their twin children and two miniature schnauzers. In her spare time, Amelia loves to cook, run and travel.

Andrea Nwoke

Andrea Nwoke
Program Leader

Nigerian-American Executive & Leadership Coach, Andrea Nwoke, leverages her diverse experience to support executives and rising leaders in developing their authentic leadership style, building confidence and achieving powerful results. She empowers clients to find their full voice with intention, grow with definitive action, and celebrate every accomplishment. Through executive and leadership coaching, she supports teams and individuals to overcome momentum blockers, take charge of their professional development, and skillfully manage difficult situations.

As a professional opera singer, Andrea's devotion to language, nuance, and precision translated beautifully to the corporate world, where she was an indispensable presence in the C-suites of global companies such as Coach for the past decade. Andrea loves that her work with Decker gets to blend her two lives. Coaching professionals to communicate well when the pressure is on is the perfect marriage of her lifelong expertise of being center stage and the high-level intimate understanding of the demands faced on modern working professionals.

Honoring her artistic passions, Andrea serves on the Advisory Board of Directors for the Seagle Festival. She is a frequent guest speaker, moderator, facilitator, and panelist for various arts organizations and DEI initiatives. She is a certified Co-Active Coach (CPCC), Quantum Endeavors Licensed Coach, InPowered Leadership Licensed Coach, and member of the International Coaching Federation.

She resides in NYC with her aptly named and well-dressed shihpoo, Tosca. She loves to travel and aims to someday claim fluency in French and Italian. When she's not at Decker she's probably singing.....loudly.

Alex Pagonis

 Alex Pagonis
Senior Consultant

Alex brings more than 20 years of integrated in-house and management consulting experience to Decker. His career spans internal and external communications with a deep expertise in global employee and stakeholder engagement and change management. He has a passion for innovation and sustainability and has worked across industries such as technology, healthcare, finance, energy and nonprofit organizations. Key engagements have included: unifying the global communications function at Hewlett Packard; rebranding Lilly’s Ethics and Compliance organization; facilitating the international acquisition of Gymboree’s Play and Music; leading Great Place to Work and change management communications at Blue Shield of California; and helping launch Future of Tourism, a global sustainable travel coalition.

Susan Popovich
Director - Strategic Relationships

Susan is passionate about helping develop, coach and train people to find "it" - that influence that will make them successful.

During her 30 years of medical sales experience with extraordinary companies, such as Johnson & Johnson, Surgikos, Quest Laboratories, Hanger Orthopedics and Abbott, Susan was most passionate about sales training and professional development of her teams. When she learned about Decker, she thought, "Why haven't I been doing this all along?"

Susan graduated from UCLA with a BA in English (and she still has a fantasy of using that degree to become a food critic). Susan loves travel, hiking, yoga, biking, collecting seashells and anything spa. She never misses a sunset.

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Maritza Revon
Program Leader

Maritza's professional experience has taught her the value and importance of knowing your audience and structuring your message in a way that truly resonates. She is self-proclaimed "obsessed" with dissecting and perfecting the art of influential presentations and is passionate about teaching the Decker Method to so many. During her time, Maritza has coached business leaders and executives from several prestigious companies including Bristol-Myers Squibb, Digitas, GitHub, Nomura, Raymond James, Shell Oil, Stryker and more.

 

For nearly 15 years working with the smart and savvy likes of the McDonald's client in multiple states and Governor of Pennsylvania, Maritza diligently honed her ability to provide solutions for client business challenges and offer strategic recommendations that won client approval. Over the years she also carved out areas of expertise spanning from community relations, crisis management, strategic business planning, creative marketing ideation and execution, account management, and has been regarded as the New Business Pitching Guru!

 

Korey Riggs

Korey Riggs
Program Leader

The stunning transformations by lunchtime were what drew Korey to Decker!  The participants of the 2-day CTI program made tangible strides in their speaking ability in only 3 hours.  The Decker method is straightforward and easy to follow.  Korey knew this is where he wanted to be.

Korey is an international business consultant who specializes in nonprofits working in Mexico. He is passionate about the cultural aspects of communication and enjoys coaching nonprofit leaders and boards as they navigate operating in the Mexican market.  He currently lives in Los Cabos, Mexico, where along with his Decker role, he works as the Executive Director of the El Dorado Foundation and hosts the only English-speaking radio show in the Southern Baja. Korey is a motivator, a teacher and a student who has a voracious appetite for learning.

He enjoys sparking people’s interests and has worked in training and development through various roles at General Motors, MGM Mirage, and the Discovery Land Company.  When Korey is not engaged with a client, he can be found in a yoga class or trekking up a mountain somewhere in the world.

Debra Robinson
Director - Strategic Relationships

Debra enjoys assisting executives, teams and individuals to realize their full potential. Her clients value and appreciate her consultative approach to helping them maximize the training and coaching they receive through Decker programs.

With a passion for excellence, Debra has over 25 years experience in sales and sales leadership. Prior to joining Decker, Debra held senior leadership positions with PowerSpeaking, Valassis Inc., American City Business Journals and the Bay Area News Group. She is adept at generating business opportunities and has a keen understanding of team building and training.

Debra enjoys the arts and loves to travel. She is passionate about fitness, wellness, cooking and wine pairing. She lives in San Francisco's East Bay, and devotes much of her free time to her daughter and her two grandsons.

Kristen Sasser

Kristen Sasser
Director of Marketing

Kristen is responsible for marketing and sales operations. She has worked with numerous consumer and technology brands including Adobe, Yahoo!, Kikkoman, Sage|Intacct in both demand generation & branding roles.

Kristen has a passion for outdoor adventures, so you'll often find her running, in the mountains, skiing, camping, or traveling to new locales. Some of her favorite recent travel adventures include Machu Picchu, Everest Base Camp (Nepal), and white water rafting in the Grand Canyon.  In her spare time, she enjoys reading, expanding her knowledge of wines.

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.

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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.

Maurice Teffel
Senior Program Leader

Fascinated with the power of video, Maurice was taken aback by the disparity of how people feel in front of the camera versus how they actually look from the audience's perspective. He loves watching people grow and thrive, as they embrace more effective communication processes.

Maurice's background includes public relations, corporate communications, and academia. He founded MTC Consulting, a firm that develops internal and external communication materials in multiple languages for U.S. multinationals operating in Latin America and Europe, including Avon, AOL, and Enron.

Maurice holds a BA in Psychology from Northeastern University and is a certified Coach Practitioner in Neuro-Linguistic Programming. He is fluent in Spanish and French, and has good working knowledge of Portuguese. Combining his passion for skiing, scuba diving and other cultures, he has lived and traveled throughout the world. He currently resides in New York City.

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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.

Pete Zeskind
Director - Strategic Relationships

Pete joined the Decker team because we help people in an area where many struggle. He also loves being surrounded by talented colleagues who challenge him to be better every day.

Pete has over 5 years of sales experience in the sports marketing industry. Most recently, he worked for IMG College at UNC Asheville, managing the relationships of 45+ corporate sponsorships for the athletics department. He's a huge sports fan, specifically, he's a die-hard Arizona basketball fan.

Born and raised in Tucson, AZ, Pete earned a B.S in Agribusiness Economics and Management from the University of Arizona, where he also played club soccer. Pete enjoys playing soccer, basketball and golf, as well as hiking and being in the outdoors. He also aspires to travel to every continent.

Carmen Zhong

Carmen Zhong
Sales Operations Manager

Carmen comes to Decker from the SAAS start-up space with a wealth of experience in Sales Operations. She has experience in starting from scratch, building up, and expanding efficiency within Sales and Marketing organizations, and enjoys supporting the team to do what they do best.

Carmen graduated from UCLA with dual degrees in Psychology and Sociology. In her spare time, she likes to travel, snowboard, indulge in sweets, and volunteer as a first responder in music and sport events in the San Francisco Bay Area.