Since 2008 we have dedicated ourselves as Ecstasis to creating impactful change leadership solutions that drive high performance and build leadership muscle. We provide organization development and change consulting, leadership assessment and development experiences, and executive coaching that call leaders to take change seriously and to make serious change.
- Neil Olson, JD, Managing Principal BioNeil Olson is masterful at drawing leaders and teams into collaborative inquiry around their important business challenges. Neil’s capacity to quickly and fully engage enables him to become a container for real and profound change. He specializes in helping leaders become “present and affected” and to demonstrate “compassionate responsibility” so that inspiration becomes natural and passion for their work and team unavoidable.
Neil practiced law for 11 years at Derby, Cook, Quinby & Tweedt (now Bullivant Houser Bailey PC), first as an Associate and then as a Partner, before launching his own law firms. He draws upon his experience as an attorney and executive coach to provide clients with the support, motivation, structure, and discipline they need to activate their leadership potential and enable positive transformation. Some of the clients Neil has worked with include CSAA Insurance Group, Apollo Group, Ventura Foods, Kaiser-Permanente, Cisco, Federal Home Loan Bank, QuickLogic, and Chevron.
Neil holds a JD from the University of San Francisco Law School and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of North Dakota. He is a practitioner of various assessment instruments, including 5 Dynamics Success/Satisfaction and the Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator.
Neil and his family enjoy the adventures of living in San Francisco.
- Laura Taccini, Managing Principal BioLaura Taccini is highly skilled at facilitating life-defining experiences that allow her clients to gain greater insights, understanding, and clarity of who they truly are as leaders. Her powerful presence and adept coaching and facilitation skills enable her to create an atmosphere of trust, empowerment, accountability, and commitment when working with her clients. She has used her experience to design an integral approach that empowers clients to gain clarity of their leadership style and purpose, lead with influence, authenticity, and presence, build collaborative and empowered high trust teams, handle conflict and resolution with individuals and teams and manage, and lead organizational change and transformation. When working with clients, she is masterful at being able to quickly connect, establish credibility, and build highly collaborative relationships with individual leaders and teams.
Laura has 15+ years of Executing Coaching and Strategy Consulting experience with executives and their teams across diverse industries, organizational models, and countries. She has worked with executive clients who have led Fortune 500 Companies, startups, and non-profits organizations. Her experience spans across industries including Insurance, Healthcare, Education, Digital, Customer Experience, Innovation, Technology, and National Sales.
Laura holds a BS in Biological Psychology from the University of California Los Angeles, CA. She is trained via the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching and utilizes various assessment tools. Additionally, she holds certifications for both Organizational Strategy and Enterprise Transformation and Change Leadership from MIT.
Laura enjoys living in San Francisco and supporting and serving women and youth leadership development and mentoring programs.
- Debra Bowles BioDebra Bowles utilizes her twenty-eight years of corporate and senior executive experience to assist her clients in navigating changing business landscapes and identifying their greatest strengths. She partners with top leaders, teams, and organizations to improve business results through focus on leadership and employee engagement. Debra’s expertise includes profit and loss accountability at the CEO level, large-scale change leadership encompassing organization redesign, restructuring and cultural transformation, and solving turnaround problems.
Debra was President and CEO of Blue Shield of California Life Insurance Company. She also held the position of Vice President of Change Management and spearheaded a two-year company-wide transformation initiative. Some of the organizations Debra has worked with include CSAA Insurance Group, Apollo Group, Deloitte Consulting, Goodwill of San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin, John Muir Health, Medley Health, Recurrent Energy, The Unity Council, Visa Inc., and Walmart eCommerce. Debra builds strong relationships with her clients and provides ongoing individual support, which has proven to be effective and valuable in the effort to shift leadership behaviors and attain improved results.
Debra’s coach training is with the Coaches Training Institute. She is certified by the Center for Creative Leadership and 5 Dynamics She is also a member of the International Coaching Federation and holds a degree in Marketing and Communications from St. Cloud State University.
Debra and her family live in San Francisco, CA.
- Joanne Brem BioJoanne has 18+ years of Executive Coaching and Strategic Consulting experience working with executives and high-potential leaders and their teams spanning across diverse industry sectors including Technology, Energy, Financial, Construction and Health Care. She has worked with Fortune 500 Companies, 2nd stage startups, and not-for-profit organizations.
Her business background is distinguished by 17+ years of great success selling in the information technology industry with Amdahl Corporation (now Fujitsu Computer Systems), Honeywell Information Systems and Burroughs Corporation (now Unisys). As a top performer in this extremely fast-paced, competitive environment, she learned and integrated into practice the principles, dynamics and skills of developing long-term customer relationships built on trust and delivering consistent results, while inspiring an environment of optimal creativity and collaborative teamwork to make it happen – all which intrinsically informs her coaching approach.
Janne has a B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Business Administration, Arizona State University.
Joanne’s personal interests include listening to and compiling music of all genres from all cultures, class 4-5 white water river running, adventure travel, time in nature, hiking, swimming, dancing and reading. She lives in Point Richmond where she enjoys a beautiful view of San Francisco across the bay.
- Duncan Drechsel BioDuncan Drechsel draws upon his twenty-plus years of experience building and leading high-performance teams and launching businesses. Duncan’s range of experience in large organizations and start-ups is a powerful foundation to support transformation of individuals, teams and organizations. He brings nearly a decade of coaching as part of his previous work. As a catalyst for change, his work is built around developing a highly engaged, high-performance culture on a foundation of authentic leadership.
Prior to joining Ecstasis, Duncan’s leadership roles include general management, marketing, strategy and product management with a focus on high growth and emerging businesses with organizations including Walmart, Pacific Telesis (now AT&T) and BabyCenter (now Johnson & Johnson). Some of the clients Duncan has worked with include Cisco, AAA MountainWest, and the Bay Area Lyme Foundation.
Duncan holds an MBA from Cornell, and a BA in Economics from University of California, Irvine. His coach training is with the Coaches Training Institute. Duncan is an active member of the International Coach Federation (ICF.)
Duncan and his family live in Marin County in Northern California.
- Donna Fowler BioDonna Fowler has supported the development of senior leaders through Executive Leadership Coaching and Consulting since 1993. The focus of her work is developing the leadership capacities necessary to excel in today’s business environment, including developing the competencies of leading diverse groups of people, working collaboratively, and coaching as a leader and manager. The International Coach Federation (ICF) has awarded Donna its highest credential, Master Certified Coach (MCC).
Donna’s areas of expertise include developing the unique leadership presence of each executive, coaching executives in building the culture and managing the politics of their organizations, facilitating team development through group coaching and training, and teaching leaders and professional practitioners to coach.
Donna is known for her ability to “decode” the culture of an organization as well as understand the individual motivations of each of the players. Through teaching her clients to see the culture and know how people are motivated, her clients are able to deliver the highest quality business outcomes through their people. Her work has included an emphasis on becoming a culturally competent leader, able to inspire and lead change in increasingly diverse organizations. Client experience includes PG&E, Ernst & Young LLP, Intel, Cisco Systems, CSAA Insurance Group (formerly AAA), Stanford University, Recurrent Energy, and Informatica.
Donna received a B.S. in Accounting from Purdue University and has done extensive graduate work in Organization and Clinical Psychology. She is a Certified Professional Coach (CPC) through New Ventures West, and an Accredited Enneagram Teacher through the International Enneagram Association (IEA). Donna is skilled in using the Enneagram and various other typing and leadership assessments.
Donna has contributed to the coaching profession through ten years of leadership in the Professional Coaches Mentors & Advisors (PCMA) association through positions as Northern California President, National Board Member, and National President of the organization. She also acts as a mentor and coach to other executive coaches.
- Brenda Goodwin BioBrenda Goodwin has over 30 years experience as an executive, scientist, consultant, and coach. She has used her experience to design an integral approach to enable her clients develop core competencies that encourage them to excel not only in their work, but also in all areas of their lives. Using empathetic listening, insight and compassion she helps her clients build the emotional intelligence they need to deliver rapid and long lasting results in people and intensive business environments.
Brenda has 20 years of corporate experience working for Fortune 100 companies including DuPont, UGI, Merck & Company Inc., Johnson & Johnson, and Sunmark Industries, a division of Sunoco Oil Company. Some of the clients Brenda has worked with include Intel, Hewlett Packard, Cisco, CSAA Insurance Group, Merck & Company, Barclay’s Global Investors, Sunoco, University of California, Berkeley, Stanford University and PDI Ninth House.
Brenda holds an MBA in Marketing and Management from Wharton School and a BS in Chemistry from Morgan State University. She is a Certified Integral Coach from New Ventures West and is certified in various assessment tools including Enneagram and Clark Wilson 360 Feedback Instrument.
Brenda lives in the Bay Area in Northern California.
- Kayla Kirsch BioKayla Kirsch has spent over 20 years working with non-profit organizations, particularly healthcare, environmental, and educational groups. She is expert at process design and facilitation, assisting in strategic planning and communication, collaborative direction-setting, and staff/board development. Her year-long travels to 25 schools in 10 states of the USA strengthened her understanding of transformational learning processes, as well as the challenges of developing effective organizational structures and governance systems.
From 1990-1995, Kayla worked as senior analyst at Far West Laboratory for Educational Research and Development (now called Wested). She served as Associate Project Director for a state-wide school reform program in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and led a Systemic Reform Initiative dedicated to sharing “systems tools” to address large-scale problems facing schools and districts.
Kayla received a Masters of Science degree in Organizational Behavior at the California School of Professional Psychology. She also has extensive training in mediation and conflict-resolution with the Ombudsman Association.
Kayla is an Oakland-based artist and musician and the recipient of a Creative Artist Fellowship from the City of Oakland.
- Pat Newmann BioPat Newmann has worked for over 25 years helping leaders, teams, and organizations to design and implement change – clarifying vision and values, shaping strategy plans, and building the practices that enable successful change. She is well-known for the depth and breadth of her knowledge and experience in regards to organization change and development. Pat is sought-after for her ability to engage leaders and teams with elegant solutions in order to bring about real, profound change. Pat’s reputation for direct, precise consulting has earned deep trust that enables her to work with top leaders at organizations around the world, some of whom continue to work with her for over ten years after their initial connection. Pat’s clients appreciate the safe environment Pat creates in which they can have bold conversations that enable risk-taking, smart decisions & focused action.
Pat draws on her business experience as a leader at PG&E, the Lawrence Livermore Lab, and Hexcel Corporation in her work with a variety of clients from Fortune 50 companies to start-ups and non-profits. Some of the organizations Pat has worked with include Apple, Cisco, Autodesk, Avista Corporation, Blue Shield of California, Dolby Laboratories, ebay, Genentech, HP, Intel, Kaiser-Permanente, McKesson, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and Red Lion Hotels.
Pat has a Masters Degree in Behavioral Sciences from the University of Minnesota and completed doctoral coursework in Business/Organizational Behavior and Education at the University of California at Berkeley. She has taught at the University of Minnesota, Claremont Graduate School, and the Dominican University of California.
Pat lives in Marin County in Northern California.
- Ken Parekh BioKen Parekh brings over twenty years experience consulting to global businesses in highly competitive marketplaces, strengthening organizational capabilities and building and leading high performance teams. Ken has a passion for growing and developing people and has forged and cultivated relationships with many leading organizations. He specializes in talent development and executive coaching assignments for high technology and professional services organizations with an emphasis on innovation and sales transformation.
Some of the organizations Ken has worked with include Hewlett-Packard, Cisco, Ventura Foods, and Deloitte Consulting.
Prior to Ecstasis, Ken was a Senior Client Partner with Korn/Ferry International driving executive recruiting and development for advanced technology and services clients. In addition, Ken was a Principal with Deloitte Consulting where he founded their successful High Technology practice and was a leader in their innovation practice.
Ken began his career as a Lead Design Engineer with Texas Instruments in Dallas, Texas and holds a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He is also a graduate of The Coaches Institute and has numerous facilitation and coaching techniques training.
Ken and his family live in the Bay Area in Northern California.
- Cynthia Ridley BioCynthia is an accomplished credentialed executive coach, leadership development expert and transformational change consultant with 25+ years’ experience that combines deep business acumen and engineering systems knowledge with a passion for inspiring leaders to play a bigger game. She is instrumental in driving better business results and has established a proven reputation for her ability to develop leaders to their next-level potential, solve communication challenges and improve relational-dynamics. She has a penchant for helping leaders to advance their team’s ability to deliver on demands of fast-growth scaling and audacious goals.
Cynthia has successfully coached 160+ executives and senior leaders. She has designed and delivered 60+ leadership development programs/workshops and also managed 8+ large-scale transformational change management projects.
Cynthia has worked with clients from a wide variety of organizations including: Abbvie- Pharmacyclics, Altimeter Group, Apcera, Avago Technologies, Cadence Systems Design, Charles Schwab & Co., Cisco, Dropbox, Fossil, Ghirardelli Chocolate, Intuit, Juniper Networks, Kaiser-Permanente, Kimberly-Clark, Lam Research, Levi Strauss, Lotus Bakeries, Nextgen Climate, Openwave Systems, Quantenna, Rubicon Consulting, Samsung, SLAC – Stanford University Linear Accelerator Center, Starbucks, Symantec, TriNet and Watermark.
Cynthia started her career as an automotive and software engineer and gained both strategic and operational expertise as a management consultant at Deloitte Consulting, leader at Visa USA/Inovant, Sr. Practice Director of Innovation Leadership & Change Management at Kalypso, Sr. Practice Director of Human Capital Services at RGP and Founder/President of two successful consulting firms.
Cynthia lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her Acadian fiancé, her 99-year-old grandma and many dear tenured and shiny new friends. She keeps up with her away-at-college daughter via FaceTime.
- Jonelle Rodericks BioJonelle has 20+ years of Coaching and Organization & Leadership Development Consulting experience with executives and their teams across diverse industries. She has worked with Fortune 500 Companies, Startups and Social Ventures. Her experience spans industries including Pharmaceuticals, Retail, Hi-Tech, Government, Education, Insurance and Financial for clients like – Cisco, Gap, Inc., Yellow Pages, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co, UC Berkeley, d.light Design, Stanford University, Salesforce, Roche and Genentech.
Jonelle is particularly skilled at working across cultures and in global environments and has worked as an external and internal consultant in Europe, UK, India, China, Singapore, Africa, UAE and the US. She is passionate about strategic business consulting drawing on deep expertise in Management Science, Organizational Change, Human Resource Management, Psychology, Psychotherapy and Human Development.
Jonelle has a B.A. in Psychology, M.A. in Psychiatric Social Work and an M.B.A. in Organization Development.
Jonelle grew up in India, and has made the US her home for the past 21 years. When not engaged in professional, learning or consciousness inquiries Jonelle is found connecting with a diverse community of family, friends and fellow travelers with whom she engages in light-hearted, fun adventures and mutually supportive relationships.
Here are some of the resources we have drawn on to help enable us to lead through change. We have read, watched or utlized the concepts from all of these resources.
People & Organizations
The Presencing Institute
Otto’s Scharmer’s work in positing Theory U has been an invaluable gift to the work of forward-looking organizations and leaders. Theory U is a framework for all our organizational initiatives and individual coaching relationships. It’s also the name of Otto’s book, which we highly recommend.
The World Café
The contribution of Juanita Brown and David Isaacs as co-originators and stewards of The World Café cannot be underestimated. The World Café, written by Brown and Isaacs explains the process as an innovative yet simple methodology for hosting conversations that matter. The World Café deepens our facilitation activities and accelerates collaboration and consensus-building in teams.
Society for Organizational Learning
Peter Senge and SoL support ongoing individual and collective development within and among organizations. The five disciplines of organizational learning are fundamental to our work. We highly recommend The Fifth Discipline and Presence.
Arie de Geus
A “global statesman” of business change and widely recognized as an originator of many of the principles and practices underlying the Learning Organization concept, Arie de Geus is one of the world’s most effective business strategists. Arie’s book The Living Company is a must read for any serious practitioner of organization change work.
Ingrid Stabb is co-author of The Career Within You, sought after speaker and a national media source on the topic of careers. She became a leader in the field of personalization with innovations that were applied to product management, loyalty marketing and career management at global Fortune 500 companies and international startups. Ingrid is among the Top 100 Most Desired Mentors for Gen Y.
Books & Movies
(Yes we have read or watched all of these!)
C. Otto Scharmer
A Sense of Urgency
The Future of Management
Leading Minds: An Anatomy of Leadership
The Leadership Pipeline: How to Build the Leadership-Powered Company
Ram Charan, et. al.
Beyond Change Management
Anderson & Ackerman-Anderson
Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies
Collins & Porras
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team
Immunity to Change
Kegan & Lahey
Man’s Search for Meaning
Start With Why
To Sell is Human
The Shawshank Redemption
Remember the Titans
Ecstasis Music CD
Terms of Engagement: New Ways of Leading and Changing Organizations
Richard H. Axelrod
The Servant as Leader
Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity
Peter Senge, et. al.
Kaplan & Norton
Ronald Heifetz, et.al.
How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work
Kegan & Laney
The Living Company
Arie De Geus
Good to Great
The World Café
Brown & Isaacs
The Practice of Management
In Search of Excellence
Peters & Waterman
The Fifth Discipline
Heath & Heath
How: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything
Great By Choice
A Few Good Men
The Legend of
To Kill A Mockingbird
The Hero’s Journey
Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World
The New Leaders: Transforming the Art of Leadership into the Science of Results