Our Team

Elizabeth Scott, PhD, CEO/President

Elizabeth Scott PhD, CEO/President

Elizabeth Scott, PhD, founder of Brighter Strategies, provides thought leadership and high value organizational development consulting to help clients build internal capacity so they can thrive.

Liz has provided training and consulting services in strategic planning, process-improvement, and human capital development for over 200 nonprofits, associations, and socially minded organizations. She has also facilitated over 40 Board of Director retreats and is a sought-after speaker on the topic of governance. She has served on executive leadership teams in the non-profit industry and has overseen the areas of strategy, organizational development and performance. Prior to her non-profit career, Liz worked for Maximus, a large consulting firm, where she provided business process services to government health and human services agencies across the United States. She has extensive experience in developing and managing all aspects of an organization’s quality and business improvement efforts; such as developing and administering programs, training and coaching employees, and facilitating organization-wide change. She has been a Baldrige examiner for the Commonwealth of Virginia and is a certified Standard of Excellence consultant.

She is trained and experienced in delivering the Grove Consultants’ Strategic Visioning, the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument, the Organizational Culture Inventory, the Leadership Impact, the Drexler-Sibbet Team Performance Model, the Strength Deployment Inventory, DiSC, the ASSESS 360 system, and Lencioni’s Five Dysfunctions of a Team.

In addition to managing the practice, Liz holds a faculty position at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology and George Mason University.

Liz holds an undergraduate degree in Sociology and a master’s degree in Organizational Sciences from The George Washington University, as well as a second master’s and Ph.D. in Human and Organizational Systems from Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, California.

Swafia Ames, Managing Director, People Strategy & Inclusion

Swafia Ames, Managing Director, Organizational Effectiveness & Inclusion

Swafia Ames, a Managing Director at Brighter Strategies, leads our practice area that supports clients with team and leadership development, strategic change management, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strategic plans, organizational assessments, and culture work. Swafia is an expert at designing and implementing organizational effectiveness programs that support strategic business objectives and organizational change.  

Swafia has supported various organizational effectiveness and inclusion initiatives throughout her career, including talent acquisition and development programs, succession planning, strategic planning, meeting facilitation, change management, and team-building workshops. She has developed. DEI framework and assessment process to better understand and curate inclusive and equitable workplace policies and systems.  

Swafia is adept at identifying challenge areas within an organization and working collaboratively to develop and implement equitable and practical solutions. She is a personable and energetic practitioner with over 20 years of experience aligning key talent and the mission and vision of the organization. 

Swafia earned her B.A. degree in Psychology from the University of Maryland in College Park, MD, and her M.A. degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in Washington, DC. She has also been certified by the Society of Human Resources Management as a Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP). 

Mary Walter Arthur, Senior Consultant

Mary Walter Arthur, Senior Consultant

Mary Walter Arthur has been providing human resources consulting services to business for over 30 years. Her experience in global human resources operations, talent management, leadership coaching, and organizational development provide her with the tools needed to deliver HR results to both earlier stage organizations and organizations in transition. Additionally, she provides expert guidance on establishing the HR functions as a strategic business partner, building customer centric HR infrastructure for companies, operational assessment and HR audits of existing HR functions. As an HR Consultant, she brings the perspectives and lessons learned from the positions she has held throughout her career in global HR leadership roles in manufacturing, public relations, technology, and non-profit organizations.

Mary Walter has a Master’s in Human Resources Development from The George Washington University, and a Bachelor of Arts from Centre College. She holds a Certificate, Global Human Resources Management, from Villanova University and was a Leadership Philadelphia Fellow. She is certified as a Senior Professional Human Resources (SPHR).

Sheri Bender

Sheri Bender, Human Resources Consultant

Sheri Bender has over 25 years of practical HR, Training, and Consulting experience in various industries including private- and employee-owned companies, non-profit organizations, large and small manufacturing organizations, start-ups, healthcare, electronics, government contracting, legal, and construction.  Her specialty areas include compliance, employee relations, training, diversity, team building and coaching.

Sheri serves as the Director, Diversity and Inclusion for HR Virginia State Council and her local SHRM Chapter, is an augural board member and the Secretary for the Institute for Diversity Certification. She holds two senior-level HR certifications, is a Certified Diversity Executive, an ACC ICF-certified professional coach, an ACE-certified Health Coach, and a Master’s degree from James Madison University.

Jack Boyles, CFO

Jack has more than 25 years of experience leading organizations as the senior finance executive, cofounder, shareholder, investor, and/or director in startup, rapid growth, turnaround, and consolidation situations. He is accomplished in creating or adapting the accounting organizations, processes, information systems, reporting, and external relationships to align with a company’s strategies, growth prospects, competitive environment, and value creation goals. His professional experience includes senior finance roles across commercial, technical, I.T., distribution/logistics, e-commerce, professional services verticals, and software, manufacturing, environmental, and consumer goods businesses.

Jack earned his Master of Business Administration at Dartmouth’s Amos Tuck School. His undergraduate degree focused on Mathematics with a specialization in Statistics and a minor in Economics also at Dartmouth College.

Nicole Buckner

Nicole Buckner, Senior Human Resources Consultant

Nicole has over 15 years of Human Resources experience. As an in-house Human Resources Generalist and Business Partner, she supported mid to large-sized companies in the government contracting, legal, and nonprofit healthcare fields. As a consultant, Nicole has worked with small businesses both in the nonprofit and profit sectors.  

With a passion for building strong partnerships with her clients, she enjoys understanding the business and providing talent management solutions. Nicole is experienced in all aspects of human resources management including employee relations, performance management, recruiting and onboarding, benefits and compensation, compliance, and policy and procedure.  

Nicole holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with a minor in Human Services and a Master of Arts degree in Human Resources Management, both from The George Washington University.  

Dionne Clemons

Dionne C. Clemons PHD, Consultant & Executive Coach

For over 20 years, Certified Executive Coach Dr. Dionne C. Clemons has served in and consulted for federal and local governments, nonprofits and corporate sector organizations providing strategic communication counsel. As a Certified Sherpa Coach, Dionne provides process-driven coaching to clients one-on-one with executives, entrepreneurs, and career climbers to produce specific, positive changes in business behavior in a fixed time frame. Through executive coaching Dionne helps individuals gain an increased sense of awareness of work behaviors to significantly improve their approach to personal career development.

Dionne serves as a lecturer teaching strategic communication management courses within the University of Maryland’s Department of Communication. She’s previously taught at Howard and Towson Universities and was chair of the Strategic Communication and Public Relations Graduate Program at Trinity Washington University’s Business and Graduate Studies.

A sought-out speaker and author Dionne has a Ph.D. in Mass Communication and Media Studies from Howard University, an MPA in Public Administration from The American University, and a B.A. in Telecommunications from Morgan State University. She is a Certified Executive Coach through the Sherpa Coaching Program and is certified to administer the DiSC personality and Profilor360 assessments.

Candace Griffith

Candace Griffith, Senior Human Resources Consultant

With over 12 years of HR experience, Candace has been responsible for leading overall human resources strategy for both small and large organizations domestically and internationally. Her expertise is in strategic HR initiatives, talent management, leadership development, organizational design, company culture, compliance, compensation and benefits, and employee relations. She provides thought leadership and support on company initiatives.

Candace started her HR career with the renowned key player in Aerospace, Defense & Security sector, Leonardo. There she focused on global mobility and immigration, government compliance, reporting, HR management and strategy. Since then, she has grown her HR talents with key roles at one of the largest advisory firms, Marcum LLP, in the professional sports and entertainment industry with D.C United and Legends Hospitality, and in the Healthcare sector, supporting mergers and acquisitions.

Candace received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, Sociology and Anthropology from Ohio Wesleyan University, and is a certified member of the Society for Human Resource Management. She brings not only a breadth of experience and an enthusiasm for HR leadership, but also – as a former volunteer firefighter – a passion for volunteerism.

Fern Hernberg

Fern Hernberg, Managing Director People Strategy

Fern Hernberg is a human resources executive and entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience in a variety of industries spanning both the for-profit and non-profit arenas.

Fern led Eagle HR, Inc., a human resources consulting firm she launched in 2010, dedicated to delivering exceptional talent management solutions through a powerful combination of professional expertise and personal attention. Prior to starting Eagle, Fern held a variety of senior-level HR positions with Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, Deloitte Services LP, and the United Service Organizations (USO).

Throughout her career, Fern has devoted her energies to helping business owners and leaders accomplish their goals by making the most of their human resources. While this often starts with the development of a strong foundation of legal compliance and sound HR policies and practices, Fern encourages employers to take their HR efforts to the next level by also developing thoughtful and deliberate strategies focused on maximizing the productivity of their employees and the retention of their top performers – enabling employers to discover the joy and satisfaction that comes from successfully managing employees and enabling them to contribute to their fullest potential.

Fern holds an undergraduate degree in Communication from the University of Delaware and a Master of Science in Human Resources from Loyola University Chicago. She is a member of the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) and a certified facilitator of several personality assessments and training and development programs. Fern is proud to provide pro-bono small business counseling and training services for the Women’s Business Center of Northern Virginia (at Community Business Partnership).

Laura Kinney

Laura Kinney, Director People Strategy

Laura Kinney is a strategically focused senior HR professional with over 20 years of experience. She has worked for a wide variety of industries, including previous stints as an HR consultant and extensive work in a government contracting environment, both privately and publicly held. She has served at the Director level at several firms and was active in putting strategic plans and activity into motion. Laura is an active member of NOVA SHRM through which she has established a stellar network of HR professionals from which to gather best practice. She was co-lead of the NOVA SHRM Employee Relations Special Interest Group (SIG) for many years, coordinating compelling employment topics and speakers to bring value to her professional network. In 2010 she participated in the award-winning NOVA SHRM Peer Mentoring Program and always looks forward to returning to the program as an employee relations subject matter expert.

Laura’s areas of expertise include: Employee relations, compliance, policy and procedure, M&A integration efforts, corporate communication, recruitment life-cycle, career pathing, training and development and Executive coaching and counseling.

Payal Martin, MPH, Managing Director, Evaluation & Strategy

Payal Martin, MPH, Managing Director, Evaluation & Strategy

Payal is committed to addressing complex organizational and systems-level challenges. With her expertise in strategy, collaboration, innovation, communication, and evidence-based initiatives, Payal excels at helping organizations build the foundation to maximize their impact.

At Brighter Strategies, Payal partners with clients to re-envision the future of their organizations, responding to data, and solving for pain points. She works with a diverse range of clients, including associations, service-providing and advocacy non-profits, foundations, and socially minded companies. Payal’s specialties include strategic planning, member engagement, process mapping, participatory outcome evaluation, needs assessment, capacity building and advocacy. She is skilled in developing and maintaining partnerships and working effectively in teams.

While Payal’s skills apply to a range of subjects, Payal has a deep understanding of issues related to tobacco control, obesity, cancer, public health, clean air, and housing. Throughout her career, Payal has demonstrated exceptional leadership and strategic vision. For example, while at C-Change, she directed initiatives on cancer prevention and created and executed communications and advocacy strategies for federal appropriations and cancer risk factors. At the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Payal managed teams to support tobacco control advocacy efforts with technical assistance to NGOs throughout South Asia. She also developed and led the execution of an India strategy aimed at reducing tobacco consumption through tax increases, tobacco advertising bans, smoking bans in public places, and graphic warning labels on tobacco products.

Payal has a Master of Public Health with a concentration in Social and Behavioral Sciences from Boston University and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with honors from the University of Maryland. Among other publications, she authored a research article in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention and a policy report to advise governors and state legislators on improving the organization and delivery of state substance-use systems. Payal is a member of the American Public Health Association and the American Evaluation Association, and an active advocate for her community in Washington D.C.

Liyo Yu, Senior Associate

Liyo Yu Masvidal, Senior Associate

Liyo believes that the solution to any problem lies in understanding the underlying cause of the problem. This belief has been confirmed by  her work in diagnostic research, quantitative and qualitative data analysis, logic modeling, process mapping and content development. Liyo’s areas of expertise allows her to support strategic planning, leadership development, organizational assessments, and business performance engagements.

Having grown up in Dubai, Liyo’s international experience provides her with a culturally diverse perspective on organizations and the problems they face. She holds a BSc in Psychology with Management from Heriot-Watt University in Dubai and a master’s degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology in Washington, DC.

Dawn McAvoy B&W

Dawn McAvoy, Senior Consultant

Dawn McAvoy has 25 years of professional experience, including federal agencies and nonprofits. Dawn’s work includes facilitation, training, talent acquisition and management, coaching, and leadership development.  

Dawn has a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership, a Graduate Certificate in Organization Development, and a bachelor’s degree in English. She is a Certified Professional Career Coach (CPCC) via the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches (PARWCC). Dawn uses her certifications in the MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) and EQi-2.0 assessments in her coaching. She is also a certified facilitator in several Franklin Covey courses, including 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Project Management Essentials, and The 6 Critical Practice for Leading Teams. Additional facilitator training consists of The Facilitator Training Program from Training Resources Group and The Art of Facilitation from Georgetown University.

Dawn is an active member of MAFN: Mid-Atlantic Facilitator’s Network, PMI: Project Management Institute, and CBODN: Chesapeake Bay Organization Development Network. She currently serves on the Board of CBODN.  

Kaye Monroe, Consultant & Executive Coach

Kaye Monroe, Consultant & Executive Coach

Kaye Monroe has been providing professional coaching, consulting and program creation services for over 25 years.  She is known by her ability to consistently demonstrate passion and proficiency in coaching within the marketplace. Among her greatest attributes is her ability to understand the multitude of challenges faced by professional and emerging leaders and to offer practical solutions that are pivotal to successful performance.
As a proven strategist, Kaye’s professional clientele and experience includes service provision to the Commonwealth of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University Institute Social Services training activities, University of Virginia School of professional studies, Virginia Community College Office of Continuing Education and local Office of Economic development. In civic engagement she serves as Executive Vice Chair for the Charlottesville Chamber Minority Business Alliance and Board member for the Charlottesville Minority Business Commission.
She is a graduate of Old Dominion University Communication and Humans Services programs, Life forming Coaching Institute, University of Virginia Graduate Workforce development programs, along with credentialing from the Virginia Governor’s Workforce Council.
Ann Romosz

Ann Romosz, PhD, Senior Consultant

Dr. Ann Romosz is a strategic senior consultant with over 15 years of experience articulating data driven, organizational visions which result in improved understanding of human capital, organizational decision making, effectiveness and strategy development. Ann brings over 20 years of facilitation experience as she uses a collaborative learning approach to develop strong organizational processes, prolific leaders and shared knowledge management systems. Ann is a subject matter expert who implements empirically based interventions leading to actionable change ensuing in positive organizational outcomes. She has authored technical/non-technical reports, white papers, and scientific publications. Ann has extensive experience managing teams in a plethora of non-profit spaces. She has conducted program evaluation at the organizational, system and national government wide levels. Ann prides herself as a lifelong learner with a strong historical understanding of racism, intersectionality, social justice and ableness. She identifies as a positive psychologist who uses data analysis (SPSS, R, NVivo, Dedoose, Power BI) to champion empirically supported evolution at the individual, organizational and systemic levels.

Ann earned her doctorate in Educational Psychology from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 2008. She has held academic appointments in the areas of Business Psychology, Organizational Leadership, Organizational Development and Knowledge Management, Educational Foundations and Psychology.

Randall Thacker, Consultant & Executive Coach


Randall Thacker is an experienced leadership and team coach.He has worked with hundreds of leaders of businesses, government, and non-profit organizations throughout the world.

Randall previously worked for BearingPoint, Inc. (formerly KPMG Consulting) and Deloitte Consulting LLP. He received his MBA in Strategic Management and Organization Development from The George Washington University School of Business and his Leadership Coaching Certificate from Georgetown University. He is also a Certified Leadership Coach by the International Coach Federation (ICF).

Randall currently works with clients from dozens of organizations, including Hyatt, PhRMA, the World Bank, Exelon, H&R Block, the Inter-American Development Bank, Banyan Global, Goodwill-Easter Seals, and many non-profit and federal government agencies. He works with leaders at all different levels, including those moving into higher leadership positions and those looking for ways to increase their effectiveness in delivering business results and engaging their teams.

Jennifer Till, Senior Consultant & Executive Coach

Jennifer Till, Senior Consultant & Executive Coach

Jennifer Till, an Executive Coach and Facilitator with Brighter Strategies, has demonstrated abilities and experience in leadership development, coaching, and facilitation for business, government, and non-profit sectors. She has successfully developed planning, marketing and operating programs for many industries including health care, manufacturing, and publishing. She managed the turn-around of an electronics manufacturing plant, including ISO 9000 Certification utilizing the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence and TQI process management. Jennifer brings her business acumen and strong training and development skills to clients to create an environment of excellence and to help them maintain focus and direction while increasing productivity and efficiency

Using humor with her high-energy yet caring approach, to get results, Jennifer has been coaching and training for over ten years. She is certified in various assessment and developmental tools including DISC, Belbin Team Profiles, Attribute Index, Values, Index and RAC Leadership development curriculum. She is a highly effective facilitator and is highly effective in working with group dynamics. She has developed curriculum for team chartering, high performance teams, conflict resolution, and highly effective communication for all organizational levels.

Jenny Toole

Jenny Toole, Human Resources Consultant & Executive Coach

Jenny Toole is an executive coach, culture creator and a leader in the field of human resources. She has 15 years of experience working with executives, teams and companies to reach their full potential and achieve their desired results. Jenny is a strategic thinker and problem solver who is able to see the big picture and develop creative solutions. She is an excellent communicator and has a track record of successful team building. Jenny is knowledgeable in a variety of areas including leadership development, change management, and all things HR. She is known for her ability to build relationships, influence others, and drive results.

Jenny is a strong believer in the power of communication and relationships, and she works hard to help others develop the skills they need to be successful in both their personal and professional lives.

Jenny graduated from Virginia Tech with a degree in Hospitality, Tourism, Management. She is a SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) and holds her Certified Executive Coach Certificate from the Center for Executive Coaching.

Jonathan Tuteur

Jonathan Tuteur, Executive Coach

Jon is an Executive Leadership Coach and Management Consultant with over 20 years of experience working across numerous industries including Financial Services, U.S. Federal Government, Higher Education, Nonprofit, Retail, and High Tech. Jon has held senior leadership positions at multiple consulting firms.

Jon’s Executive Leadership Coaching work focuses on helping individuals and groups optimize their performance, enhance their mindset, and achieve their potential. Some of the key challenges in which Jon partners with his clients are: emotional intelligence, decision making, deep listening, charisma and executive presence, time and stress management, and leading during times of change. His coaching clients include CEOs, senior executives, and emerging leaders. Jon is an International Coach Federation (ICF) Professional Certified Coach (PCC).

Jon has a Bachelor of Business Administration with a double concentration in Human Resource Management and Information Systems and a Minor in Psychology from The George Washington University. Jon also received an Executive Certificate in Leadership Coaching from Georgetown University. He is an ICF Professional Certified Coach (PCC) and is certified in Leadership Circle Profile, Emotional Intelligence Quotient Inventory (EQi) 2.0 and EQ 360, DRiV assessment, and Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

Fernanda Vergara, Associate Consultant

Fernanda Vergara, Senior Associate

Fernanda brings an eye for detail and a passion for process improvement using systems thinking and data analytics to the Brighter Strategies team. She is deeply interested in cultural studies and exploring the impact of diversity, equity, justice, and inclusion in the workplace.  

Fernanda supports a wide range of projects in the areas of assessment, evaluation, and planning, as well as human capital and inclusion. Her passion for research and her drive towards data-based decision-making is evident in her academic research on social media and its effects on college students’ well-being. 

Fernanda has a Master’s degree in Industrial/Organizational (I-O) Psychology from the University of Maryland’s School of Psychological Professional Studies. She is bilingual in Spanish and English.  

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