Steven J. Ramirez, CEO

Steven’s expertise focuses on effective customer experience and communication strategies to help companies achieve success through key corporate initiatives, and mergers and acquisitions.

His work spans strategic planning, program management, optimizing customer and internal communications, and social media strategy, as well as data science and predictive analytics.

  • Supported several strategic initiatives for Top 5 bank including partnering with over 40 lines of business to help launch and sustain enterprise-wide initiative to improve customer communications, and successfully manage communications for a major banking merger.
  • Helped financial, tech, and media clients develop Voice of the Customer and predictive analytics solutions to improve customer experience and solve key business problems.
  • Co-founder of the San Francisco/Silicon Valley Integration Gurus (SVIG), a professional association of the merger integration executives from leading Bay Area companies including Cisco, Google, and Microsoft.
  • Formerly an executive with Time Warner, responsible for creating and successfully implementing corporate development strategies.
  • BA and MBA from UC Berkeley.
What inspire my work

Matthew Cross

Matthew is a highly experienced brand strategist and public/media relations specialist. He’s helped dozens of companies create new brands and revitalize existing ones through targeted communications, nationally and locally. His approach homes in on the interrelationship of brand, business strategy, and the intended audience.

From brand research to positioning to communicating in a brand’s voice, his expertise helps rally an organization’s audiences around its common cause.
  • Brand strategy and architecture
  • Brand analytics
  • Naming strategy
  • Brand management and guidelines development
  • Brand integration for user interfaces and industrial design
  • Content strategy
  • Marketing communications
  • PR and media relations
  • Customer communications
  • Created and revitalized brands in technology, finance, food & beverage, apparel, destinations, and non-profits.
  • 20 years of experience, both agency- and client-side.
  • Agency experience includes Interbrand, Landor, Primo Angeli, Inc., and Philippe Becker Design (now Sterling Becker).
  • Brand experience includes Intel, Nokia, Wells Fargo, Dolby, Pedigree, PowerBar, Seagram’s, Kaiser-Permanente, Johnson & Johnson, Sunkist, LSI Logic.
  • 5 years in radio and TV news journalism in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco.
What inspires my work

Jacqueline Espinoza

With more than 20 years of consulting experience, Jacqueline has deep understanding of financial services and energy industries. As a strategy and operations senior manager with Deloitte Consulting, she worked with leading companies including Union Bank of California, AIG, HP, AT&T, Xcel Energy, and SCE.

As an executive and consultant in the insurance industry, she led the shared services organization, and advised senior leaders on issues ranging from sourcing strategy to process improvement and change management.

  • Customer experience
  • Communication strategy & deployment
  • Customer communications
  • Business process redesign
  • Organization design
  • Smart grid/smart utility analytics
  • Asset and inventory management
  • Operations improvement
  • Performance metrics and measurement
  • Strategic sourcing
  • Optimized operations by automating manual processes, and redefining roles and responsibilities to increase workforce efficiencies and boost customer satisfaction.
  • Developed customer experience program and communication strategy. Significant improvements demonstrated in performance metrics and measurement of customer experience.
  • Maximized value for a limited preventive maintenance budget through strategic planning and asset risk assessment.
  • Increased value of strategic supplier relationships by developing a Supplier Relationship Management program.
  • BA from Pomona College and MBA from UC Berkeley
What inspires my work

Gavin James

Gavin is passionate about helping our clients build stronger relationships by focusing on what matters most to customers. As our our Director of Creative Services and our Communications Lead, she brings 25+ years of expertise in customer experience strategy, writing and design.

She specializes in writing clear, compelling communications, and visual design for ease of use and emotional appeal. Gavin also rocks at helping companies build a customer-centric culture to deliver on their brand promise.

  • Improving customer communications – Helped Top 5 bank drive enterprise-wide improvements by developing a web portal with 100+ model language tools to help teams learn writing best practices and brand voice. Developed customer-focused plain language for 1000’s of communications, impacting over 100 million touch points.
  • Building customer-centric culture – Helped multiple banking divisions define and socialize their customer value proposition, with messaging playbooks and tools, new customer communications, and team training.
  • IoT content marketing – Create blogs, social media, white papers, and email campaigns for industry-leading provider of Internet of Things platform technology.
  • Fintech content marketing – Drove campaigns to promote digital banking with multi-channel deliverables (emails, flyers, online guides, talking points, mobile-friendly video demos).
  • Past life: 5 years at Microsoft as Information Design Manager and User Education Manager; authored web animation book (Microsoft Press); won Society of Tech Communications Award for interactive product tours; Director of User Experience at high-tech startup; Communication Design Consultant for many industries.
What inspires my work

Bruce Johnson

Bruce is our resident expert in data science. He specializes in the use of statistics and data mining, delivering actionable business insights to drive improvements in customer acquisition, churn, cross-sell, segmentation, loyalty, and revenue optimization.

An expert in text mining and SPSS Modeler, Bruce has helped ferret out specific customer pain points so that service models and communications strategy can be improved.

  • Created a 100-category automatic classification and reporting system reading 2 million emails a year.
  • Created a text algorithm to weed out customer complaints for quicker actionability.
  • Created a customer acquisition and behavioral data warehouse system for a large media company.
  • Created a system to discover significant emerging issues in social media.
  • Devised a system to measure customer viewing preferences for a national cable company.
  • Co-founded Overbeck Analytics Ltd (OAL), a UK-based data mining consultancy in 2002. OAL works to enable utility customers in water, electric, and telephone to solve problems in maintenance, billing, and customer retention based on data mining insights.
  • Many years with SPSS, Inc. where he helped establish the company’s sales engineer staff.
  • Managed survey research projects for the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University.
  • B.S. ED and M.A. from Northwestern University
What inspires my work

Cynthia Jones

Cynthia is one of the leaders in our utility practice. She brings a depth of experience and knowledge from the utility industry – both as a senior leader and as a big six management consultant.

In large electric and gas companies, she formulated and evaluated corporate strategies, and helped leadership gain approval of projects through financial analysis and building consensus. Cynthia also has the unique experience of working as an electric distribution operations engineer that gave her direct line of sight with utility customers, field and planning personnel, and electric distribution maintenance, design, planning, construction, grid operations and emergency response.

  • Strategic planning
  • Program management
  • Corporate goal development and measurement
  • Financial analysis and risk assessment
  • Team development; consensus building
  • Electric and gas utility operations
  • Utility industry structure and regulation
  • Senior leader in strategic planning and analysis for three different large electric and gas energy companies.
  • Lead financial analysis team to perform financial analysis, create pro formas, and build cases for developing large-scale (2 – 345 MW, $13 Million – $1.5 Billion) solar and wind energy generation investment projects.
  • Developed global energy investment strategy applying decision analysis to assess risk based strategy profiles.
  • Management consultant for “big six” management consulting firm working for clients in the aircraft manufacturing, energy utilities, healthcare, and wireless.
  • B.S. in Electrical Engineering from University of Delaware, and MBA in Human Resource Management from Rutgers University.
  • Professional Development: The Wharton School – Strategic Thinking and Management Program, Mergers & Acquisitions; Strategic Decisions Group – Decision Quality Program; Rutgers University-School of Business Leadership Program
What inspires my work

Nina Katz

Nina has over 25 years of experience in corporate learning and performance improvement in retail, commercial and international banking— filling key roles from training manager to instructional designer and curriculum advisor.

She specializes in helping clients design and develop training programs that support an organization’s strategic initiatives such as improving communications and customer service. Nina is also a skilled writer, and brings an inventive, customer-focused approach to every project.

  • For Top 5 banks, helped develop training for brand education and a white label treasury management platform. Revised hundreds of customer communications for retail and high net worth customers.
  • Designed certification program to jump-start new team-focused approach to sales across business lines.
  • Helped drive success of new business unit with service workshops for providers and user training to accelerate adoption of new technology.
  • To support rollout of a new brand strategy at a top bank, consulted on training for marketing and communications professionals worldwide to help them express the brand.
  • 12 years at Bank of America including VP for Retail Training Programs, managing training of 1,500 financial relationship managers nationwide for the bank’s top consumers and small businesses.
  • Managed Bank of America training program for branch and customer service managers during the merger with Security Pacific. It contributed to the bank’s award from the American Society of Training and Development.
  • Master’s degree in Organization Development
What inspires my work

Christine Matteo

Christine is an ace program and project manager, leading and coordinating change across multiple teams to ensure that client goals are achieved smoothly and effectively.

She’s our Ironman athlete (really), and, at work as in endurance sports, knows how to both plan and execute a strategy, from keeping an eye on top-level goals to tracking details that help everyone do their best work.

  • 15+ years in program & project management
  • Strategic planning and execution
  • Customer communications
  • Change management
  • Negotiation and conflict resolution
  • For a Top 5 bank, helped develop a communications and marketing strategy framework and execution plan, designed to increase adoption and usage rates of online and mobile applications, and strengthen customer relationships.
  • Program-level leadership for enterprise-wide, multi-project communications and analytics initiatives, coordinating with multiple lines of businesses. Provide expertise to drive customer experience goals, focusing both on customer needs as well as internal needs and solutions.
  • Led integration team in large-scale business divestitures for a major pharmaceutical company, managing planning and scheduling, and facilitating conflict resolutions between project teams with diverse priorities.
  • Practice Leader for worldwide teams charged with implementing new initiatives and driving change in operational and highly sensitive strategic environments.
  • 10+ years’ experience in procurement, strategic sourcing and negotiations; and development and implementation of cost-savings strategies across commodities, products and services.
  • BA in Economics – University of Pennsylvania; major in International Trade with the Wharton School of Economics. Attended California Western School of Law; MBA from University of San Diego. Project Management Professional (PMP) certification.
What inspires my work

Ana Pallas

As our PR Coordinator, Ana is skilled in media outreach and developing strong relationships with press. Her main focus has always been helping clients tell their stories and securing the media coverage. She has secured top-tier media coverage, both national and regional, for clients in fitness, beauty, wine, and commercial real estate.

  • 3+ years in Public Relations
  • Secured coverage in national publications including People Magazine, Pop Sugar and 7X7
  • Coordinated and executed media events that resulted in media coverage.
  • BA in Broadcasting Electronic Communications, San Francisco State University
What inspires my work

Tony Pines

Tony has incredibly strong quantitative and analytical skills, with extensive experience in creating and analyzing data models to implement with the latest technology. He also has significant experience in data preparation including establishing access and data understanding of social media native feeds; and analysis using IBM SPSS Modeler and related tools.

But he’s not your textbook data scientist —he’s also a veteran creative executive in film industry, highly skilled in marketing and business development, plus he’s got access to leading filmmakers at the Sundance Film Festival. How cool is that?

  • Proven ability to connect technical analytics to business processes including recent client projects for analysis on customer experience, Voice of the Customer, predictive analytics, and preventive maintenance.
  • Manages BTA’s social media analytics, helping clients gain insights from millions of social comments on targeted topics.
  • Deploy and perform analysis on predictive analytics and text mining infrastructures in partnership with IBM.
  • Researcher in IBM’s highly elite and confidential Federal Systems Division.
  • 18+ years as film industry executive in marketing and foreign sales, and highly skilled in creating distribution assessments and film profitability models.
  • BSEE degrees in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science from Duke University; MBA from Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley
What inspires my work

Josh Tiongson

Josh is a driven PR professional who is passionate about two things: helping our clients build relationships with the media and telling their stories in a meaningful way that resonates with their target audiences.

Having worked with clients across a number of different verticals, Josh understands that PR is not a one-size-fits-all approach and provides clients with an individualized PR strategy based on their specific goals and needs.

  • Secured regional and national coverage for B2B tech companies, local government and nonprofit organizations.
  • Organized and coordinated logistics for media briefings and client conferences.
  • Successfully coordinated and implemented social media strategy for Friends For Youth’s Mentoring Institute.
  • BA in Political Science, UC Santa Cruz
What inspires my work