Meet Valerie Rivera – CEO + Chief Culture Catalyst.

Valerie is on a mission to help organizations create workplace cultures where people thrive. Above all, she loves the thrill of seeing people come to life at work – with renewed purpose, engagement, and initiative. Valerie incorporates best practices in organizational behavior, design thinking, and coaching for change that sticks, and partners with clients to develop practical strategies tailored to their needs.

Previously, she served in the United States Air Force where she instigated a culture change movement that transformed a bureaucratic unit into a powerhouse of creativity and innovation, leading to intelligence breakthroughs. She didn’t stop there, though – a variety of game-changing programs adopted by the Air Force and the National Security Agency can trace their origins to her fearless willingness to challenge the status quo. Valerie holds an MBA from Stanford and a BS in Diplomacy and Military Studies from Hawaii Pacific University.

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Meet Lauren Grimshaw – COO + Director of Miscellaneous Mischief.

Lauren’s passion is smashing obstacles to help people and businesses grow by creating clarity and building traction. She supports business leaders at all stages using a combination of best practices in design thinking, agile methodologies, coaching, and innovation leadership to tackle their toughest challenges. Lauren is also an operations wizard, constantly searching for the most streamlined ways to perform any task or function.

With over a decade of experience leading operations and innovative product development in the military, non-profit, and technology sectors, Lauren loves jumping into the messy stuff to create a bold path forward. She holds a BS in Systems and Information Engineering from the University of Virginia and an MBA from Rochester Institute of Technology.

Meet Zayn Knaub – Big Thinker + Strategist.

Zayn believes that one’s purpose and profession should be aligned. He’s a life-long learner committed to mastering the concepts of transformational leadership, design thinking, organizational psychology, and empathy. When he’s not writing for Take Back Work, he’s working as a Senior Success Manager for a top Silicon Valley company, where he provides thought leadership and pragmatic guidance for creating a culture of innovation in the 4th Industrial Revolution.

Prior to landing a role at this Silicon Valley “unicorn,” Zayn served in the United States Air Force, where he built a team that revolutionized a business-as-usual organization into a dynamic, elite military unit that 10x’d mission effectiveness, delivered hundreds of innovations, and tripled employee retention. Zayn holds a Master of Arts (MA) from Norwich University (2014), a Bachelor of Science in Geospatial Sciences, and a Minor in Philosophy from the United States Air Force Academy.

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