Team + Contact

Meet the Team

Making magic happen every day.

Jen SpencerJen Spencer // Founder, President + CEO

Jen is equal parts insightful entrepreneur and nurturing dynamo. She is an enigma: a napper who rarely sleeps and a gluten-averse bread lover. She was born in Texas and made in Alaska. An obsessive planner and a gypsy-at-heart. A Type-A woman forever aspiring to be content with B+.

Like many Boston College grads with sociology degrees, Jen headed west to California for a first career in advertising before moving to Austin in 2005. In 2007, she started Jen Spencer Coaches, her ever-evolving legacy dedicated to coaching and championing some of the world’s best creative executives to leverage human capital so everyone wins. She launched and curated the first years of TEDxAustin as Executive Producer, bringing “ideas worth spreading” to the city she now calls home.

Her proudest production to date: Leo Maxwell Spencer Maki, a chip-off-the-old-block who is currently taking toddlerhood by storm.

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Lauren RussoLauren Russo // Lead Trainer, Creative Executive Coach

Lauren has created powerful results for organizations of all sizes and with diverse specialties. Recently, she has worked with Creative Executive clients including Capital One, Indeed and Bazaarvoice. She also has experience with sales coaching and with creating programs for professionals in design, real estate and public relations. Lauren’s specialties include training and facilitating groups around goal setting, time and project management, accountability, leadership, developing strong habits and communication.

Her approach is based on the Martha Beck Life Coaching Training Program, where she was certified in 2013. During 200+ training hours, she mastered an arsenal of tools to create lasting, meaningful change, including positive psychology, thought work and mind-body practices. Lauren is also certified in Leadership Circle Profile and is an accomplished employee mentor for clients of The Creative Executive.

A native of Virginia, Lauren now lives in Austin, Texas.

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Melinda Rothouse // Creative Executive Coach

Melinda Rothouse is a creativity, leadership, and career coach who is equally comfortable exploring sacred ground in Mexico, China and Iceland as she is helping others to break new ground in their own creativity and confidence. Melinda’s a lifelong lover of learning; she’s certified by the International Coaching Federation, as well as a consultant, educator, and facilitator. She has a PhD in psychology with a specialization in creativity studies, where her research focuses on mindfulness techniques to facilitate organizational creativity and collaboration. It’s no surprise one of her favorite quotes is by Carl Jung:  “There is no way out but through.”  Melinda is also a certified meditation instructor and teacher of contemplative arts and photography, as well as a musician, songwriter, and performer.

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Shana MerlinShana Merlin // Corporate Team Building and Communications Trainer

Shana Merlin is one of the most effective improv teachers in Texas. And since founding Merlin Works in 2003, she’s proven that improv shouldn’t be constricted to crowded theatres on Friday and Saturday nights. If you want to simultaneously laugh, learn and grow as a team, let Shana be your sherpa. Shana delivers interactive presentations, custom trainings, and comedy shows to businesses and organizations using improvisation. She specializes in guiding executive development through team building, enhancing communication, sales and persuasion skills, and championing leadership and creativity. Her clients have included Dell, T-Mobile, Silicon Labs, Deloitte and The University of Texas. Ready to have some fun working through your challenges?


Beryl Greenberg // Executive & Career Coach

Beryl Greenberg is a certified executive and career coach who can help you peel back the layers of yourself and get to your core. Her coaching philosophy is that one really needs to understand who they are, what is important to them and what they want their life to look like in order to position and brand themselves for the future. She believes that every individual has their own answers and they just might need a little help to find them! Her professional experience as an advertising agency veteran working with blue chip clients is augmented by her life experiences as a professional juggler (a.k.a. working mother!) volunteer, leader and friend. Beryl lives in Oak Park, IL with her husband and three young boys.

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Andi BeiermanAndi Beierman // Account Project Manager

Andi draws on her tenacity, resourcefulness and eye for detail and design to maintain The Creative Executive’s superior client service.

As the company grows, she has been instrumental in streamlining and refining processes and systems. She keeps our calendar and deadlines on track and manages contracts. While much of her work is behind the scenes, Andi is also the first point of communication for Creative Executive clients.

One of Andi’s greatest strengths is her design acumen, she uses to ensure outstanding user experiences for Creative Executive clients. Her previous experience as a designer includes roles at Edutopia – The George Lucas Educational Foundation and Whole Foods Market. For nine years, she was deputy art director at the award-winning magazine Texas Monthly. Andi lives in Austin, Texas.


Jasmine Holan // Financial Director

As the director of money management, Jasmine is a passionate advocate for creatives and entrepreneurs to help align their values with their business goals. She’s a numbers ninja that uses her psychology degree and Master’s in business for good.

Jasmine lives near Denver, CO. When she is not guiding financial acumen, she enjoys sailing, art, music, traveling and adventures. She is to a wonderful man with two wonderful kids for whom she’s happy to be a “bonus mom.” Her next creative project is an app which will put the peace of Hildegard’s music in your pocket.

Paige Davis // Mindfulness Coach + Trainer

Paige Davis is an entrepreneur, author, and mindfulness + meditation teacher. She designs, leads, and facilitates mindfulness and meditation programming for companies, teams, and individuals seeking more patience, productivity, and present-moment awareness. She’s worked with companies including Facebook, C3, RetailMeNot, Whole Foods Market, Austin Community College, and TxDot. Paige is also co-founder of social impact brand, BlueAvocadoand recently published her first book: Here We Grow: Mindfulness Through Cancer and Beyond.


Kim TidwellKim Tidwell // Content Director

Kim got involved with The Creative Executive after meeting Jen through her involvement with CreativeMornings/Austin. She has a range of experience that spans brand & product development and both outbound and inbound marketing. As a lover of words, her true passion is telling stories. This passion comes in handy as she helps her clients connect to their customers through SEO, social media, blogging and other storytelling mediums.


Grace Hall // Design Director

Grace’s collaborative style and sophisticated, contemporary aesthetic helped birth the visual style of The Creative Executive. Whether she’s working with big corporations or smaller boutique clients, she brings a passion for engaging design to address her clients’ unique challenges in clean, concise, and interesting ways. She’s also been known to dance without warning. Grace is also a partner and principal at McCray & Co, where she and her husband collaborate on multidisciplinary design projects.


MakiJeff Maki // Editor-in-Residence (Literally)

Jeff Maki is a Group Creative Director at GSD&M by day. And a proofer, editor, writer, and idea sounding board by night. He’s also Jen’s husband, both day and night. He loves words and comedy and storytelling and sneaking in as much playtime as possible with their son, Leo, and dog, Hank.


Creative work by its very nature is usually unorganized, passionate, and messy; navigating the field and managing creative people with professionalism takes thoughtful nurturing not required in other areas of business. The Creative Executive Method ® understands that and helps you provide structure and leadership without disrupting the flow and dynamism that’s key in a creative environment.

 

I’ve learned much about myself as a leader, how I lead my team effectively and ineffectively. The team response has been positive to the new conversations we are having.

My brain actually thinks differently since I’ve taken The Creative Executive Method ® . The way I operate on a day-to-day basis, the way I speak, and the way I listen have changed for the better. I feel I developed a stronger ability to think more critically when in a direct leadership or management situation. As a result, I’m a more effective producer, a more open-minded manager, and a much more intuitive leader.

Often I am moving too fast and don’t take the time to think about my style, my impact, and my team’s impact. I realized that taking the time to be mindful about the challenges we discussed, in particular around teams, is really important for me and for the success of my business.

If you want a course that takes the blurry edges of your career and pulls them into focus, I recommend The Creative Executive Method ® .

We love working with Lauren. We have used her at our annual retreat for two years now, and each time we have walked away with a clearer, cleaner vision of our firm, ourselves, and where we want to go next. She does a great job setting the tone for the day and keeping everyone on track. Having her facilitate allows the leadership team participate in meaningful discussions alongside everyone else. We couldn’t recommend her more.

I felt really frustrated, having been in advertising for a crazy long time, thinking it was too late to change. But we figured something out. Something great. And now I’m creatively inspired again.

We tasked Jen with helping to coach our Atlanta Sales and Strategy teams on leadership, growth, and representing yourself. She had such amazing energy and kept the team engaged through the new insights and strategies she shared, as well as her interactive approach. The team walked away energized and inspired to take the next steps in driving their careers forward.

The more business we won and the bigger projects we were given, the less control I had of my time. Through working with Jen, I made the time to not only prioritize what I really wanted to accomplish both professionally and personally, but to establish what I expected from my staff. It allowed them to grow and take ownership of tasks and let me get back to working within my skill set. It also let me keep up with some personal goals that had fallen into the background. Jen’s coaching helped Wexley grow by helping me improve my overall productivity.

I found myself thrown into the deep end, having to take charge of a team of 10 overnight. Jen helped me find my footing as a manager and gave me the confidence and skills to grow a successful, motivated team.

Working with Jen has been the best investment of the latter half of my 20-year career. I was stuck in my own narrative, and she helped me see the possibilities in a different, authentic, and valuable way.

I’m infusing more fun, energy, and creativity into team meetings as well as spending more time 1:1 with my team members. We are implementing this change across the company, and I am in the process of working with other executives at the company to do the same with their teams.

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