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Philippe Bellande, Senior Consultant
Culturally sensitive through exposure across five continents and living in the U.S. and various countries in Latin America, Philippe Bellande is considered by many of his peers and clients to be a “bridge-builder” with a unique ability to bring separate entities together to consensus, a skill he practiced in both the for-profit and nonprofit worlds.
After taking on early retirement in 2007, from 25 years of top management positions at Mars Latin America, Philippe moved to Texas and built the house of his dreams. But pretty soon, he realized that retirement was not for him and he founded a Management Consulting Firm to lead a global project for his former employer. He also consulted for Nonprofit Entities and For Profit businesses in the development of long-term strategies aligned with their goals, vision, mission and values. The Rotary Club of Intercontinental Houston and Temple Beth Torah of Humble, Texas, were among his most successful clients.
In 2016, Philippe decided to enter the Beverage Business and moved to South Florida to start a Wine Import and Distribution company with his son. The move brought him closer to three of his six grand kids who live in Miami. Looking for ways to give back to the local community, he joined the University of Miami School of Business Mentorship Program as a mentor for MBA students and became a Senior Consultant with the National Executive Service Corps.
A native of Haiti, Philippe has a BBA from the University of Puerto Rico and an MBA equivalency from Columbia University. He is fluent is five languages, lives in Aventura and loves to travel with his wife Fortuna Bittan, who is from Venezuela.
John Cipolla, Senior Consultant
John Cipolla helps companies rethink who they are, what they do, and who they serve. He has worked with organizations ranging in size from start-ups to Fortune 10, across a range of industries, in a variety of stages of growth or crisis. As the founder of Metalevel Business Consulting, he has helped businesses and nonprofits close the gap between current organizational models and an increasingly connected world. In his capacity as a Senior Consultant, He has specialized in process improvement and change management. He has transformed organizations by integrating IT planning and e-business solutions with corporate strategy.
He has taught business, communications, and ethics at universities, and developed courses in management, entrepreneurship, innovation, and international business. He has led workshops at conferences in the U.S.A., Mexico, Britain, Germany, Poland, and Romania, and published papers on business strategy, cross-cultural issues, and change.
Jason Damm, Associate Consultant
As Senior Vice President and COO, Mr. Damm brings his experience at Goldman Sachs in NYC and University of Miami business training to Singular Global’s operations. His analytical background and emphasis on technology and documentation provide the framework necessary for Singular Global to continue its rapid growth, while providing excellent service to the increasing list of clients the company serves.
Upon graduation from the University of Miami with a BBA in Finance and a minor in Marketing, Mr. Damm started his career working for Goldman Sachs in New York. Returning to Miami in 2013, Mr. Damm began to work within a Real Estate Investment Trust with properties located in the Southeast US. Mr. Damm oversees his own portfolio of properties throughout Florida and holds a real estate license from the state.
Mr. Damm is currently pursuing his MBA at the University of Florida. He is also the vice president of the South Florida Sigma Chi Alumni Association.
Currently, Mr. Damm holds the Series 7 and 63 registrations with FINRA
Jesus Fernandez, Senior Consultant
Jesús Fernández is an educational and corporate leader. His most recent position was as Associate Provost at DeVry University. In this role, Dr. Fernández spearheaded the implementation of DeVry’ s national colleges as well as the development of several new undergraduate and graduate degree programs. He has also been a leader of accreditation activities both at the regional and programmatic levels. Before joining DeVry, Dr. Fernández was the founding Director of the School of Business and Computer Information Systems at Miami Dade Community College and held senior management positions in Human Resources and Administration at several financial institutions in South Florida.
Dr. Fernández is active in both professional and civic organizations. He has presented at numerous academic conferences and authored several articles and book chapters. He was a member of the editorial board for the Business Journal of Hispanic Research and held several roles with the National Society of Hispanic MBA’s (NSHMBA), serving as National President and CEO. He has been honored by NSHMBA as an Executive Circle Honoree and Founding Member and was awarded the Leo and Margaret Godman-Malamuth Dissertation Award by the American Association of University Administrators.
Fernandez holds an Ed.D. in Adult Education and Human Resource Development from Florida International University, an M.B.A. from Barry University’s Andreas School of Business and a B.A. in Psychology with honors from Northwestern University.
Hanna Fink, Senior Consultant, Advisory Committee Member
Hanna Fink is a results/team oriented executive with extensive nonprofit sector experience in problem solving and leading and managing people, programs, and facilities in highly complex and diversified organizations. Ms. Fink has spent the past 25 years working in the South Florida community for a national health and social service organization. Having invigorated the volunteer base, she orchestrated one of the largest walk-a-thons in the U.S. along with being responsible for planned giving, major gifts, and numerous special events,. Ms Fink’s ability to lead and manage while developing relationships with key stakeholders in the community has been critical to her success.
Previously Ms. Fink was the Executive in a multi disciplined full service Community Center serving 7,500 individuals and a local development corporation in an historic neighborhood. She recently completed a comprehensive course through the Society of Certified Senior Advisors (SCSA) earning the designation of Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®, The SCSA is an international organization that has trained more than 30,000 professionals to meet the changing needs of a growing senior population. Currently involved in the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program with the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, serving as an advocate for seniors and populations who are unable to advocate for themselves.
M.S.W. Wurzweiler School of Social Work-Yeshiva University, New York, and an M.B.A. from Pace University, New York.
Salomon Gheller, Senior Consultant
Salomon Gheller is an experienced executive manager with over 40 years experience in the telecommunications and petroleum industries. He was a founding partner and CEO of a unified messaging start-up company ,after holding senior executive positions in different vertically integrated business and then as planning, strategy and technologies consultant. He has proven success in Telecomm, IT, strategic planning, management and governance, business process analysis and alignment, outsourcing relations He has the ability to provide strategic direction and guidelines to help organizations meet strategic goals.
Mr. Gheller is bilingual (English and Spanish). He holds a Msc , and ME in computer science and systems engineering from Rensselear Polytechnic Institute and a BS in EE from Universidad Central Venezuela
Mark Gorman, Senior Consultant
Mark Gorman is an expert in not-for-profit accounting with over 35 years’ experience as an auditor, consultant, and financial executive. He has served as the Director of Finance and CFO of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the San Francisco Opera, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Broward County. He also has served as a board member for community based organizations, committees within the accounting profession, and governmental commissions. As a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Not-for-Profit Organizations Committee, he participated in the deliberation and drafting of Audit Guides, Statements of Position (SOP’s) and other authoritative literature that form the basis of current not-for-profit accounting and financial reporting rules.
Mr. Gorman was an adjunct Professor of Accounting and Economics at the University of Vermont, Vermont State College, and Sonoma State University. In addition to university instruction, he has taught seminars in not-for-profit accounting and other subjects for the AICPA, Foundation for Accounting Education, and CPE Corporation. He has made presentations at AICPA national conventions and other conferences and professional forums. His articles have appeared in the Journal of Accountancy and Philanthropy Monthly.
B.A. Franconia College, M.S. Accounting Long Island University
Barry Gruenberg, Senior Consultant
Barry Gruenberg has spent more than 25 years consulting, coaching and training in the areas of organization and leadership development. He is trained in Gestalt approaches to individual and organizational change and in Robert Kegan’s coaching methodology aimed at overcoming resistance to change.Barry has had extensive experience in both the private and public sector. He has worked as an Organization Development consultant at the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. He has also served as the Director of Organization Development for Microsoft’s Entertainment & Devices Division and spent three years there as Director of Leadership Development. Before joining Microsoft, he was an Organization Development Director for Hewlett Packard’s Storage Organization and worked for the U.S. Government.
Barry has also worked for the Center for Creative Leadership, where his major focus was on providing intensive development and coaching support to executives of Fortune 100 companies. He has worked with Marshall Goldsmith, delivering developmental feedback to senior managers, advising and coaching over 100 managers and executives. He began his career as a Professor of Sociology at Wesleyan University and also worked as a Science Policy Analyst for the U.S. General Accounting Office.
PhD in Sociology, University of Michigan, Postgraduate work at Princeton and Stanford Universities.
Melanie Hillenbrand, President and CEO, Senior Consultant
Melanie Hillenbrand has a passion to help organizations build the capacity of leaders to drive success. She brings strong skills in Leadership Development, Succession Planning, Talent Acquisition Executive Coaching, Team Building, Organization Development and Career Development. Before leading her own consulting firm focused on executive development , Melanie held senior level leadership and organizational development positions at Mercer HR, one of the world’s premier HR consulting firms; KPMG, one of the Big Four Accounting Firms; and Bellevue Hospital, the oldest and largest public hospital in the country. She also served at CNA Insurance and with the BlueCross/Blue Shield Association.She has received recognition for two major innovative initiatives which have been judged as “best-in –class.” The first was development of a Business School for over 600 partners and managers to help them develop leading edge skills in consulting to their Health and Life Science business sector. The other was creation of a Global Career Development program for the 15,000 consultants of an international HR consulting firm.
She has a strong track record of building teams that get results, notably successfully managing a national interdisciplinary team of over 100 professionals tasked with realigning a 12,000 person organization. Melanie has particular expertise in functional start-ups and turnarounds, in one case enhancing employee satisfaction by over 200% while increasing product offerings and reducing costs by over 30%. She has also been a pioneer and facilitator of 360 degree feedback systems, as well as assessment tools such as MBTI, DISc and several other well known tools.
BA from Boston University and an MBA from DePaul University.
Alan Karo, Senior Consultant
Alan Karo is an innovative marketing and advertising executive with an extensive background in strategic development, brand marketing and creative communications.Alan has held senior management positions for in-house marketing divisions within manufacturing and retailing corporations that include Calvin Klein, Draper’s & Damon’s, LILL Studio and Limited Brands, particularly Victoria’s Secret. In 2005, he was named one of Advertising Age magazine’s “Marketing 50” for the roll-out of discount specialty retailer Steve & Barry’s University Sportswear.
Alan has also done extensive pro-bono work for non-profit organizations that include After School Matters, Dining Out For Life, Inspiration Corporation, Partnership for a Drug-Free America and The Taproot Foundation.
Alan spent his early career in media planning/buying in ad agencies, working for NYC shops that included Bozell & Jacobs, Doyle Dane Bernbach and Wells Rich Greene. His experience expanded to include research, account planning and account management, leading to the founding of his own $40 million Chicago-based ad agency which was ultimately acquired by global agency NW Ayer.
Alan graduated from Duke University, with a double major in Political Science and Dramatic Arts/Literature. He also attended The New School in NYC, working toward a MA in Media Communications.
Paulo Leocadio, Senior Consultant
Paulo Leocadio has 30 years of experience in the computer sciences industry, having designed a multitude of products from microprocessors to enterprise and government solutions. Paulo had a 20-year career with Microsoft Corp, where he worked with their Services organization, first with the Microsoft Consulting Services, and later holding management and executive positions in Customer Services and Support.He has had the opportunity to accumulate a broad international experience solving business problems through the use of technology and helping businesses to meet their business objectives with the adoption of software solutions. During his professional career, in addition to his applied sciences and technology knowledge, Paulo built a strong track record on operations management, cost control and reduction (operational efficiency), quality control, risk management, project management, business startups and business turnaround.
Graduate in Electronic Engineering from Mackenzie University (Brazil), with Post-Graduate work at Universidade de São Paulo (USP) in Microelectronics and Computer Engineering and at Mackenzie University in Higher Educations. Paulo has an M.B.A. in International Business from Strayer University with Post-Graduate work at Kellogg Northwestern University. He is currently pursuing his Doctorate in Organizational Leadership with University of Phoenix.
Shobha N. Lizaso, Esq., Legal Counsel, Consultant
Shobha N. Lizaso serves as a Consultant and Legal Counsel for the NESC of South Florida. She has her own law firm where she provides legal services to businesses and tax-exempt organizations. She provides ongoing legal and compliance counsel to charities, museums, educational organizations, scientific research organizations, and social/recreational clubs.Ms. Lizaso serves on the advisory board for several non-profit organizations and is the founder of The Captive Animal Research & Enrichment (CARE) Society, Inc. This non-profit focuses on research, training, and education in support of the well-being of captive animals at zoos, sanctuaries, and rehabilitation centers.
In addition to her legal skills, Shobha has a strong financial background that she gained from her work as a forensic accountant at top national and regional CPA firms. In connection with this work, she has earned the Certified Fraud Examiner credential. In 2015, Shobha was recognized by Brickell Magazine as one of the “Top 20 Professionals Under 40” in Miami.
She graduated from the University of Miami School of Law with a Juris Doctor degree. She also attended the University of South Florida & Tulane University, where she earned a B.A. in Psychology.
Jorge Mastrapa, Senior Consultant
Jorge Mastrapa holds a Masters Degree and a Doctoral Degree in Business Administration, with a focus on the areas of culture and diversity, organizational intelligence, and multinational business. He has over 20 years of experience helping multinational Fortune 500 and Startup companies consistently increase employee engagement, organizational effectiveness, and global leadership efficiency. During this time, he has worked with companies such as NCR, Tech Data, Cisco Systems, UPS, IBM, ATT, Flextronics and many others in the high technology, telecommunications, manufacturing, logistics and supply chain industries.As a first generation Cuban immigrant to the US, Dr. Mastrapa developed an interest in the study and application of the most modern leadership and management strategies, to address the integration of immigrants into the business environment of their host country. These experiences motivated him to continue his studies and graduate as a Doctor in Business Administration, with a focus on culture and diversity in the business environment. He is also a Hofstede’s institute certified cross-cultural, and organizational culture lecturer and management consultant. Currently Dr. Mastrapa is a Managing Partner at ICQ Consulting, a company focused on helping organizations improve their performance and employee engagement through the development and integration of culture and diversity into their organizational design, leadership principles, and management practices.
On his spare time, Jorge enjoys reading, sailing, diving, and spending time with his family and friends.
Shellie Morrison, Senior Consultant
Shellie Morrison is an advertising and marketing professional with over 35 years of experience working with numerous business categories on a local, regional and national level. As owner of the Shelmor Group, a full-service award-winning advertising agency, she led the firm to over $3 million in billings. She specializes in creating marketing plans and integrated advertising campaigns designed to meet client goals, objectives and budgets. Her expertise is in working with various media from original creative concepts to completion and placement, including direct response, outdoor, print, public relations and broadcast.She is especially proficient at helping clients increase revenue, brand awareness and customer retention. Along with numerous hands-on creative abilities, she is also known for strong communication, organization, sales and management skills.
BA from the University of South Florida in Mass Communications, with specialization in Advertising.
Kathy Octavio, Senior Consultant, Advisory Committee Member
Kathy Octavio is an experienced, multi-faceted CIO and executive manager with over 35 years experience in the oil and gas industry. She was a founding partner and CIO of a successful oil and gas start-up company after holding senior executive positions in different vertically integrated business units and then in corporate headquarters in a major international oil and gas company. She started her career in its Research and Technical Development affiliate.She has proven success in IT, strategic planning, management and governance, business process analysis and alignment, outsourcing relation design and assuring IT service levels. She also has the ability to provide strategic direction and guidelines, leveraging IT so it becomes a fully client-oriented function contributing to meeting the organization’s strategic goals.
Ms. Octavio is bilingual (English and Spanish). She holds a PhD in Environmental Systems and a MSc in Civil Engineering from M.I.T. and a BA in Physics from Clark University.
Bindu Rammohan, Senior Consultant, Advisory Committee Member
Bindu Rammohan comes to NESC with several years of experience in Marketing and Operations. She started her career as a market researcher and held roles of increasing responsibility in Marketing, Product Management, Operations and Strategy in various industries including consumer products, telecommunications, publishing and insurance. A results-driven executive, Bindu has worked as a liaison across various business units managing multi million dollar technology initiatives.Her expertise includes working with shared resources, problem solving, streamlining processes and program management. She has a track record for formulating successful strategies, building virtual and productive teams, leading change initiatives, using creativity to maximize resources and impact and building relationships across functional and business entities.
Since moving to South Florida, she has been a consultant and has completed assignments for the healthcare industry, professional associations and non – profit organizations. She is involved with both the Women’s Fund and the United Way chapter of Miami – Dade.
Bindu holds undergrad and graduate degrees from the University of Delhi, India. She is an active member of the South Florida Chapter of the Project Management Institute.
Howard Rothchild, Senior Consultant Emeritus
Howard Rothchild is a marketing/advertising executive with over 44 years of successful advertising agency experiences, with active participation in top agency management and account supervision, and direct responsibilities in the specific disciplines of marketing, advertising, public relations and sales promotion.Mr. Rothchild served two years in the US Army as a primary instructor in psychological warfare. He then became a major part of the “Mad Men” advertising world, working at the partnership and above levels, with agencies in Pittsburgh, Atlanta and Miami. His personal marketing/advertising client collaborations included one of the country’s largest cellular retail chains (Let’s Talk Cellular – 241 stores); a large national retail chain(Sears); France’s largest toy manufacturer (Majorette); the 36th President of the United States (Jimmy Carter). His clients also included the State of Georgia Departments of Tourism and Commerce and Mako Marine, the industry originator of offshore fishing boats. He has done PR work for the U.S. Maritime Association and marketing for the No. 1 world tennis player at the time (Ivan Lendl)
In addition, he served as an adjunct instructor in Marketing and Advertising for potential young ad executives at the School of Business at the Universities of Pittsburgh, Georgia State, Florida International and Phoenix. Along the way, he co-founded the Big Brothers chapter and Rolling Hills Country Club in Pittsburgh and the Florida Advertising Golf Association in Miami. Presently, as a volunteer with the National Executive Service Corps – South Florida, he is helping nonprofits to re-energize their agency’s workings and providing them with fresh insight drawn from his long career.
Graduate: University of Vermont (B.S.) and the University of Pittsburgh (M. Lit).
Barbara Schechter, Senior Consultant
Barbara Schechter was most recently the Executive Director of the Heart Gallery of Broward County and was a founding board member. The Heart Gallery is a nonprofit organization that raises awareness of foster care and adoption and connects the community to help. Prior to joining the Heart Gallery in 2007, Barbara pursued a career in marketing, both as a senior manager at several New York advertising agencies and as a consultant to companies that include Alamo Rent a Car and T Rowe Price.
She has been active in local non-profit organizations, serving on the boards of the Russell Education Foundation, Taylor’s Closet and the Broward County chapter of the American Heart Association. Barbara is a graduate of Leadership Broward and Lifework Leadership. She has been honored as a South Florida Woman Extraordinaire by Business Leader Magazine and recognized as one of 100 Outstanding Women of Broward County by the Boys and Girls Clubs.
She holds a BA degree from Stanford University and an MBA from the Tuck School at Dartmouth.
Carolyn A. Tonge, Senior Consultant
Carolyn A. Tonge is a transformational leader in public and independent higher education, experienced in developing and managing people and programs in large and small colleges and universities. She has spent 37 of the past 42 years in full-time administrative and part-time instructional roles. A five year hiatus from university positions took her into account management in advertising. Her work on IBM accounts (Corporate, Arts, and Personal Computer) involved her with clients in Canada, the Caribbean, Latin America, and Asia-Pacific.Her volunteer services include a variety of training and leadership assignments in her church and service with local and regional YMCAs and with her alma mater. She served as the chair of the Board of Advisors of the Mt. Vernon (NY) YMCA and as a board member of the Board of Directors of the YMCA of Central and Northern Westchester, NY. For the past 18 years she has served as a member of the Board of Trustees of Nyack College, as well as the trustee designated to the Board of Advisors of the College’s Seminary in Puerto Rico (STPR).
B.A. in English/Bible from Nyack College; M.A. in Spanish/Education from The City College, CUNY; and Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership from Florida International University. Member of the class of 2005 of The Chair Academy for Leadership and Development.
Jim Vitkus, Senior Consultant, Advisory Committee Member
Jim Vitkus joined the NESC-South Florida team with 25 years of strategic planning, product management, project management, and start-up experience. Jim is a strategic thinker, a client service expert, a revenue guru and a highly respected marketing strategist who has built a solid reputation on hard work, honesty and innovation.
A technology maven who is highly skilled at conceptualizing, developing and implementing out of the box creative solutions, Jim developed and implemented B2B and B2B2C sales and marketing campaigns for Varilux and many other major brands in the healthcare marketplace throughout his career. Assuming the role of VP and CMOin early 2000, he provided “hands on” direction and input for the design and successful implementation of VisionWeb.com, a start up e-commerce application for thevision care industry. While in senior management roles at Jobson Medical Information and Advanstar Communications, he directed, designed and implemented dozens upon dozens of multimedia campaigns and services designed for branding, product and service promotion, database marketing, web design, continuing education, e-commerce and social media. Jim also served as Board Marketing Chair for the National Children’s Oral Health Foundation (NCOHF) from 2009 to 2011.
BA (cum laude) from Carthage College- Kenosha, WI majoring in Business Administration and Marketing with a Philosophy minor.