Conscious Leadership Connection | Advisory Board

Lisa Arie | CEO + Founder of Vista Caballo

Lisa Arie is a master at navigating the unknown. She's done it all her life.


The former founder and CEO of two multi-million dollar companies, Lisa learned at a very young age how to wake up in a world without context, and thrive. Tucked in the arms of globetrotting parents, she travelled across six continents and developed a fearless sense of adventure, all the while honing her instinctive intelligence and learning to make decisions without fear or assumptions.


Using the world as her springboard, Lisa's career began in the fast-paced, high-strung, anything-goes jungle on Madison Avenue. She worked on some of the advertising industry's most notable campaigns, including the landmark Motel 6 campaign with Tom Bodett. From there, Lisa founded two pioneering companies in production and talent management, which became a standard for a new way of doing business on Madison Avenue.


As her business soared, part of Lisa didn't. She noticed a gap growing between who she really was and current 'measures of success'. So she left what she knew to go discover a new measure of success for herself--and in doing so she learned--and now shares with others, show up completely present to their most challenging issues.


In her role as CEO mentor, Lisa draws conscious leaders from around the world looking for ways to access a fuller range of responses they had no idea existed.


Vista Caballo gives leaders access to the most refined, authentic, real-time feedback on the alignment of intent and action . Today, described by Fast Company as the "ceo whisperer', Lisa Arie is an author, speaker and the founder of Vista Caballo, an inclusive self-discovery center for a new breed of visionary leaders, thinkers and explorers. It is a discovery zone for people who have accomplished much and now want to take our world to a new level by taking themselves there first.

Michael Besancon | Retired Senior Global VP of Purchasing, Distribution & Communications, Whole Foods Market

Michael Besancon is the former Senior Global Vice President of Purchasing, Distribution, & Communications for  Whole Foods Market. As an entrepreneur and environmental advocate, he has spent most of his career in the business of providing natural and organic foods to a population craving a healthier lifestyle. In 1970 he built, owned and operated Follow Your Heart Natural Foods in Canoga Park, CA. At that time it was the largest natural food store on the West Coast. The line of vegan products he developed back then is still sold in natural food stores throughout the nation. In 1990 he established a food brokerage firm, representing vendors throughout the U.S. In 1994,  Michael joined Whole Foods Market as Director of Purchasing in the Southern Pacific Region and was promoted to Regional Vice President two years later. 


In 1998 he became President of Whole Foods Market's Mid Atlantic Region and in 2001 President of the Southern Pacific Region.  He has held the newly created position of Senior Global Vice President of Purchasing, Distribution and Marketing for the Company since October 2008 until retiring in March 2012.  He has chaired Whole Foods Market's National Green Mission Task Force and helped the Company lead the charge for environmentally sustainable practices which range from promoting sustainable agriculture and creating farm animal treatment standards to store recycling and composting programs.


Michael has also been director of the Company's Animal Compassion Foundation (which became the Global Animal Partnership) and is currently on the board for the Whole Planet Foundation.

Samantha Collins | CEO + Founder of Aspire

Dr. Samantha Collins is the founder and CEO of ASPIRE, an internationally-recognized and award-winning leader in leadership development, diversity and social responsibility for women leaders.


Samantha has been an executive coach for 12 years and was named One of the Top Ten Coaches in the UK by the Independent on Sunday and the Association for Coaching. She was also named One of the Top 200 Women to Impact Business & Industry by HM The Queen of England. She has contributed to The Financial Times, CNN, The Times and the BBC Global Business Report. Her PhD thesis examined the future world of work for women and she is the author of a soon-to-be published book, Go MAD - Women Leaders Making a Difference. She is also the winner of an Ogunte Women's Social Leadership Award in the category of Leader in the Workplace and was shortlisted for the Women in Marketing Award.


Samantha is passionate about making a difference for women both in and outside of the boardroom which is why she started The Aspire Foundation. This not-for-profit foundation offers pro-bono mentoring, fundraising and campaigning for women in charities, social enterprises and community projects that are making a difference to women and girls across the world. The goal is to make a significant difference to 1 million women and girls by 2015.


Samantha is an inspirational speaker and regularly addresses women's conferences, corporate and entrepreneurial events and workshops.


Originally from the UK, Samantha followed her dream and now lives in California, near the ocean, with her husband, Robert, and 2 young sons, Jake and Charlie.

Lawrence Koh | Founder + President, International Diversified Products (IDP)

Lawrence Koh is the founder and President of International Diversified Products (IDP) which he established in 1987.  This highly successful product-development business that creates products and programs for selected corporate clients is built on Lawrence's commitment to a relationship-centered approach to business and is a natural legacy of his more than twenty-five years as a motivational speaker and personal development facilitator.

Inspired by his recognition of the potential inherent in America's youth, Lawrence founded the Students for a Better Tomorrow Foundation (SBT), an organization dedicated to mentoring youth in successful relationship-building and entrepreneurial business skills through an experiential, interactive after-school program offered to high school students in Los Angeles.  In 2003 Lawrence was the recipient of America's Promise - Marketable Skills Award for his contribution and empowerment of America's teens, ensuring them a more promising future through the development and learning of marketable skills.

Calling upon his 35 years of expertise in manufacturing, automation, design, marketing and sales, Lawrence crafted The UTOPIA Project, a powerful non-charitable business model designed to harness the power of conscious capitalism by offering a broad spectrum of socially-responsible products of exceptional quality.  By delivering the human and capital resources, the expertise, the technology and a strategy to empower society to co-create opportunities for the betterment of mankind, UTOPIA will add value to the lives of individuals around the world.

Kazumi Mechling  | CEO, Radarworks Los Angeles

Kazumi (Kaz) Mechling is the CEO of Radarworks Los Angeles. With over 20 years of experience in Marketing and Public Relations in the U.S. and international, specifically Japan and the Asia Pacific region. Her experience spans both agency and in-house positions with global brands and all facets of public relations and marketing communications.  


Kazumi is an innovative leader with a proven track record in business development and market entry for a wide range of companies-from tech start ups to Fortune 200 corporations-to launch and expand their products and services to niche and mainstream audiences. She is also a successful entrepreneur who founded and sold her own public relations firm in Tokyo, Japan to the world's largest independent PR agency, Edelman. 


While Kazumi's career has emphasized technology and consumer products, her passion has been in blending her eastern philosophy within a western culture.  Her east meets west approach has allowed her to embrace many new and often difficult situations with an uncommon perspective on collective wellness in the face of challenge.  Kazumi has been involved with a number of non-profit organizations as well as serving as a board member for Washington Women in Need-WIN. 

Paul Spiegelman | Founder + CEO, The Beryl Companies

Paul Spiegelman is founder and chief executive officer of The Beryl Companies, which includes: Beryl Health, a technology-focused patient experience company dedicated to improving relationships between health care providers and consumers; The Beryl Institute, a research and educational entity that publishes information about improving the patient experience and how that activity links to better financial outcomes for health care providers; The Circle, a training company that helps businesses enhance employee engagement and develop more positive workplace cultures; and The Small Giants Community, a global organization that brings together leaders who are focused on values-based business principles.

Paul is leading a unique, people-centric culture that has remarkably high employee and customer retention rates. Beryl has won nine "best place to work" awards, including being voted the #2 Best Medium Sized Company to Work for in America. Recently, Spiegelman was honored with the Ernst & Young 2010 Entrepreneur of the Year award.

Paul is a sought-after speaker and author on executive leadership, entrepreneurship, corporate culture, customer relationships and employee engagement. His views have been published in Entrepreneur, The Dallas Morning News, Inc. Magazine, Healthcare Financial Management, Leadership Excellence and many other noteworthy publications, as well as in his first internationally published book, Why is Everyone Smiling? The Secret Behind Passion, Productivity and Profit. His next book, written by Beryl employees, is called Smile Guide: Employee Perspectives on Culture, Loyalty and Profit.

Paul practiced law for two years prior to starting Beryl. He holds a bachelor's degree in history from the University of California Los Angeles and a law degree from Southwestern University in Los Angeles. He mentors MBA students at Texas Christian University and Southern Methodist University, as well as nurse executives in the Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellows Program. He also is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives and on the board of the Entrepreneurs Foundation of North Texas.

Casey Sheahan | President + CEO, Patagonia, Inc.

Casey Sheahan is President and Chief Executive Officer of Patagonia, Inc., and Patagonia's parent company, Lost Arrow Corporation.  Patagonia, a designer and distributor of technical outdoor clothing, is widely known for its commitment to product quality and environmental responsibility.  As a member of 1% for the Planet, Patagonia pledges to donate a least one percent of it's annual sales to promote conservation and preservation of the natural environment.

Casey, a long-time  outdoor industry veteran, came to Patagonia from his post as President of Kelty, Inc.  Prior to his tenure at Kelty, he served as Vice-President of Marketing for Merrell Footwear and was Category Marketing Manager at Nike ACG.  In addition to his diverse management background, Casey brings a breadth of skills in the fields of writing, marketing and sales.   He has edited for several outdoor-inspired publications including Runner's World, Marathoner and Nordic World and was editor and publisher of POWDER Magazine in the late 1980s.  He is aligned with a number of environmental organizations and served as President of the Conservation Alliance, a non-profit organization of outdoor businesses whose membership dues support grassroots citizen-action groups and their efforts to protect wild and natural areas. He is a co-founder along with his wife, Tara, of the Conscious Global Leadership Institute, whose mission is to "share best inner practices for inspired, heart-centered leadership."

Casey is a lifelong skier and fly-fishing enthusiast. He has a personal affinity for cycling, paddling and all water-related activities, as well as backpacking, sleeping on the ground and spending time with his family.

Peter Stranger | Executive Director, Creative Services, Wagstaff Worldwide

Peter was born in South Africa, raised and educated in England but began his career in advertising in the US, achieving positions such as CEO of J. Walter Thompson, West, President of Della Femina, McNamee, Los Angeles and Managing Partner of Bozell in Irvine, California.  Peter managed accounts in every category from automotive to package goods, financial services to entertainment, airlines to alcoholic beverages. Former clients include Isuzu, Taco Bell, 20th Century Fox, Transamerica, Singapore Airlines and Carl's Jr. restaurants. Peter subsequently ran his own agency, Rabuck Stranger, and then developed a new partnership, Kopald/Stranger, providing business development, applied strategic insight and communications for ethical organizations. Peter is currently Executive Director, Creative Services, at Wagstaff Worldwide, providing strategic, brand and executional solutions to the web, video, advertising and collateral needs of the organization's clients.


Peter has consulted for the WILD Foundation, The Rocky Mountain Institute, The Forum For Education and Democracy, The Esalen Institute and The Green LA Coalition.


He is on the advisory Board of Oceana, serves as a Trustee of the WILD Foundation and as a director of the 5 Gyres Institute. He was formerly a Trustee of Pitzer College in Claremont, California, and served as a Director of the Los Angeles Opera where he was Chairman of the Marketing Committee. Peter and his wife, Camille, live in the Hollywood Hills home from which they have fledged their two children.

Birgitt Williams | Founding Partner and President, Dalar International Consultancy, Inc.

As a grandmother, Birgitt is passionate about being able to look into the eyes of her grandchildren and the generations that follow with the knowledge that 'we did it well, we created organizations that you can work in that are life nurturing for you and for the planet'. In other words, she believes that we are the people who have the power to leave a legacy of productive life nurturing organizations that honor the coming generations.


Together with her business and life partner Ward Williams, as well as developing and leading Dalar International Consultancy, Inc, they are co-creators of the Genuine Contact™ program that is now used by leaders, managers, and consultants in many countries. Several thousand people have been trained in modules of this program, and some millions of people have benefitted from leadership work using this program in all kinds of organizations. In 2006, as the program went into greater use in more countries, Birgitt and Ward opened co-ownership of the Genuine Contact program to authorized Genuine Contact trainers in the world. This resulted in the formation of The Genuine Contact Co-owners Group, Inc. Birgitt is excited and inspired by the pioneering work offered through this co-leadership model and the resultant culture of leadership throughout the global organization.


Birgitt has worked in many countries with numerous individuals and types of organizations, received a number of awards, published articles, and her work has been cited in a number of books and journals. She most recently authored The Genuine Contact Way, a guidebook for leaders to create a shift in consciousness, with the second edition coming out May 2013.