Steven J. Ramirez, CEO

For over 20 years, Steven has been helping clients in financial services, fintech, and technology develop data-driven strategies and communications to strengthen customer experience, marketing, and operations.  His work spans data science, strategic planning, optimizing customer and employee communications, media relations and social media strategy.

Steven also leads Beyond the Arc’s data science practice, advising clients on how to deploy machine learning and AI to make better decisions.

  • 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 clients develop machine learning, Voice of the Customer, and predictive analytics solutions to improve customer experience and solve key operations 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.
  • Served as regional spokesperson for AT&T, DIRECTV, and Cricket Wireless with daily media interaction.
  • Formerly an executive with Time Warner, responsible for creating and successfully implementing corporate development strategies.
  • BA and MBA from UC Berkeley.

Gavin James

Gavin brings 25+ years of CX expertise to help companies achieve goals with engaging communications for customers and employees. As our Director of Creative Services and Communications lead, she specializes in strategy, writing and design for digital marketing, content marketing, customer communications and employee engagement.

With deep experience in financial services, fintech, and technology, Gavin helps clients improve customer experience, strengthen internal teams, and ensure successful change management.

  • Banking customer communications – Helped Wells Fargo drive enterprise-wide improvements by developing an educational web portal with 100’s of best practice writing tools. Edited and designed 1000’s of omni-channel communications for retail, B2B, and wealth audiences.
  • Fintech content marketing – Boosted sales engagement for fintech companies with thought leadership white papers on innovative solutions in digital payments and AI-powered customer engagement.
  • IoT content marketing – Supported Cisco’s Internet of Things platform solutions with thought leadership blogs and white papers, website copy, event marketing and lead-generation emails.
  • Agile Marketing – Accelerated marketing campaigns on Agile teams in a Top 5 bank, with writing and designing for web landing pages, digital ads, social media, and customer emails.
  • Customer-centric culture transformation – Helped banking businesses improve customer experience with internal culture changes, including messaging playbooks, employee training, and new customer communications.
  • 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.

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.

  • Developed databases and predictive algorithms to analyze electric utility data
  • 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

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

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

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, Sempra, and Southern California Edison (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

Michelle Espinoza

Michelle is a creative writer and graphic designer who has a passion for bringing stories to life through visual storytelling.

She is skilled at introducing new ideas to tell engaging stories and break through the clutter, particularly for millennials and Gen Z.

  • PR and media relation relations
  • Social media
  • Content marketing
  • Video production
  • Graphic design and web design
  • Content marketing – helped write and design a Top 5 bank’s quarterly newsletter.
  • Social media – developed social media content for a multinational hospitality company.
  • Graphic design – designed product brochures, infographics, landing pages and flyers for a Top 5 bank.
  • Web design – created an online training and resource portal for a national research institute.

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