Academy Co-founders And Faculty
Laura and Don bring over 25 years of experience in designing and delivering learning and coaching to help leaders move from good to great.
Laura is a co-founder of Blue Key Partners. Independently consulting since 2003 (when she established The Learning Point), Laura has specialized in the areas of custom learning design and project management, change management, and leadership development. Her work has consistently helped businesses unlock the teamwork, creativity, and knowledge of their workforces to realize superior performance. Laura launched her consulting practice after 15 years of corporate human resources experience with General Electric, Bank of America, and Delta Air Lines.
As an organization and leadership development consultant, Laura combines strong business acumen with expertise in talent management, change leadership, and human resources effectiveness to serve organizations as they plan strategy, build leadership capability, and execute change. She has a broad range of experience working with clients in sales, service, operations, and staff organizations in the US as well as countries throughout Asia and Europe.
Laura's major projects have focused on the areas of learning strategy and curriculum design, leadership development, executive assessment and coaching, succession planning, and cross-border post-merger HR integration.
Laura received her Bachelor's Degree in Economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her Master's in Business Administration from Vanderbilt University. She is a graduate of the Executive Program at The Thunderbird School Of Global Management.
Don is a co-founder of Blue Key Partners. With a diverse background that spans human resources management, line operations management in healthcare services, account management, and P&L responsibility, Don brings a results-oriented perspective to his coaching and consulting. He specializes in the areas of leadership and organizational effectiveness, with particular expertise in the areas of executive assessment, leadership coaching, and development and talent planning.
Central to his partnership with leaders and organizations, Don works closely with management to identify opportunities to improve the alignment of critical organizational functions and talent along with changing business needs and priorities, to design, develop, implement, and facilitate leadership development programs.
Don has served organizations by conducting third-party assessments for staffing key jobs, for profiling talent in newly acquired businesses, for executive development, and for succession management. He has over 20 years of experience coaching professionals from a variety of fields and industries in pivotal career situations, including assimilating quickly into a new leadership role, working through strengths and development needs in a current role as well as for future growth, and managing personnel and organizational transitions. Don's professional experience spans North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.
In the area of talent planning, Don helps leaders design and implement processes for staffing the organization, from recruiting to selecting to onboarding new talent. He also helps leaders assess current talent against growth strategies and plan succession to ensure effective organizational continuity.
Don received his Bachelor's Degree in Economics from Lafayette College and an MBA from Georgia State University. He achieved a Certificate in Executive Coaching from Columbia University. In addition to his consulting with leaders and organizations,
Don is a lecturer in the Executive MBA Program at Coles College of Business, Kennesaw State University, where he lectures on talent management, teaming, and coaching.
The Academy Board of Advisors
The Academy Board of Advisors are distinguished, forward-thinking program management executives who bring significant cross-industry experience, deep expertise, and practical insights to enhance the Academy experience.
Tiffany Hannika joined CFBank (a fast-growing Ohio-based bank) in June of 2019 as SVP, Head of Business and Consumer Banking, bringing 13 years of banking experience. Her organization currently includes treasury management, retail branches, and deposit operations teams. In her role, Tiffany's team focuses on delivering an exceptional, boutique banking experience by cultivating strong relationships, focusing on what the customer needs, and delivering product solutions to support that.
Tiffany began her banking career at Chase Bank in 2006 as a branch manager, moved into the district manager role where she managed multiple districts, and then moved internally to drive large programs for the Consumer Bank. During her
time at Chase, she led various initiatives around organizational design and sales behaviors, modifying the branch operating model, implementing innovative technology solutions, and delivering product enhancements to enable digital
migration - including work with micro/tellerless branches. Tiffany is led by her passion for people and business, and she has found that success comes when you connect with your vision, get out of your comfort zone, and surround yourself
with people that support your growth.
Melissa Koehler is the Vice President of Delivery and Strategic Operations for CNN Digital where she is responsible for the delivery of all products across all digital platforms, oversight and stewardship of the technology budget, and the operational processes and standards for the technical organization. She is an operational excellence leader in technology who has been delivering world-class products in media for over 20 years.
She started her career at an ad agency in the cinema industry as a Production Assistant eventually rising to Vice President of Operations/Production/Exhibitor Relations where she spearheaded the digital transformation of advertising in movie theaters across the country. In Melissa’s first few years at WarnerMedia, she led the implementation of an investment tracking process and system for portfolio analysis of technology spend. This system was rolled out globally across 13 different departments and to over 2500 employees. She also spent time working with both CNN and NBA on their governance and operational practices to improve the way they collaborate with technology. Melissa has spent the last 5 years helping CNN evolve their products, maximize their financial investment, and help create a culture that is cross-functional, empowered, and rooted in continuous learning. Change agent, transformation leader, and connector have been core to Koehler’s strengths and her ability to create tangible and meaningful value to the business.
Koehler’s dedication to her craft and growing as a leader has not gone unnoticed. She was given the Dr. Ed Montana Leadership Award by her Executive MBA professors and nominated in back-to-back years (2016, 2017) for the Woman of The Year by Women in Technology. She also was the Gold Stevie Award Winner for Leadership in Transforming Customer Engagement in 2017. Koehler has a deep passion for diversity in technology and is the co-founder of Ladies in Tech @ WarnerMedia (LiT).
Melissa attended Kennesaw State University where she obtained her BBA in Marketing and her Executive MBA. She is a native of Atlanta and now lives in Acworth.
Noel Smyth has over 25 years' professional experience delivering large scale technology and engineering initiatives. He has extensive experience in global financial services technology and is passionate about continuous learning and the environment.
Noel has a Bachelor's of Science in Civil Engineering from Penn State University, a Master's of Science in Information Technology from Drexel University, and a Masters of Arts in Sustainability from Harvard. His certifications include
PMI-ACP and PMI-PfMP. Noel is an alumnus of JPMorgan Chase and is currently a Senior Vice President at Wells Fargo in Philadelphia. Noel volunteers his time in multiple environmental groups, including the Citizens Climate Lobby and
the Delaware County Natural Resources Working Group.