Jen Spencer // Founder
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.
Lauren Russo // Lead Trainer, Creative Executive Coach
Lauren Dearing Russo, M.A., is a certified coach who loves working with creative professionals, helping them make the most of their time and do what they’ve been putting off. She’s on a mission to empower every creative professional and entrepreneur to step into their visionary role and have a meaningful impact on their world. With expertise in academia, non-profits, and advertising, she has a decade of experience cultivating effective and meaningful change for individuals, organizations, and communities using the power of story, practical strategies, and insight that makes you go hmmm. After living in 5 cities in the last 5 years including, Rome, Eugene, and New York, she’s happy to call Austin her home.
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 is a PhD candidate 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 with Shambhala International, as well as a musician, songwriter, and performer.
Shana 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.
Paige Davis // Mindfulness Coach + Trainer
Kim 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.
Jeff 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.