Refinery gives clients the real feedback and the right tools they need to develop their leaders and inspire people to do great work.
We’re a highly skilled team with diverse, deep business and life experience. We share a natural curiosity, passion for our work, and a desire to develop our clients. We’re always learning, evolving and sharing.
Refinery Leadership Development
Years In Business
Meet Our Game Changers
Barbara Ross- Denroche, Executive Chair
As Refinery Leadership’s co-founder, Barbara has been actively engaged in, and responsible for, the development of leadership strategy in many organizations. An accomplished entrepreneur and executive, Barbara is passionate about building enduring organizations that provide purpose, meaning and impact. This spirit and intent drive the vision, culture and values of Refinery Leadership internally, and extends through to our work and purpose to transform organizations by developing leadership capacity.
Susan Eick, CEO
Susan has more than 30 years of business strategy, marketing and executive development experience in the financial services, technology and non-profit sectors. She is known as an individual who can assess a situation quickly and develop plans of action to support change initiatives within an organization.
An active writer and public speaker, Susan is passionate about the topics of creating real strategies that work, authentic leadership, executive burnout and aligning teams. She regularly facilitates executive team sessions and loves to “dig in” to the complexities of business performance.
Susan is a competitive paddler and runner who enjoys telling stories that draw on team effectiveness from her experiences as an athlete.
Julie Butcher, VP, Consulting
Julie is a Professional Executive Coach and a Leadership Development and Organizational Health Consultant, having coached senior leadership teams and facilitated discussions around team development. She has over 30 years of HR and organizational change experience, specializing in aligning leadership and HR practices with organizational strategy. She is also an experienced facilitator and training development leader. Julie is practical, results-oriented and inspiring.
Warren Baxter, Senior Consultant
Warren Baxter is an Executive Coach and Business Consultant with 30 years of experience elevating organizational performance. As a young entrepreneur, Warren built a successful manufacturing and distribution business, creating a company that was admired as much for its culture as it was for its financial success. After selling his company to a European multinational, he went on to hold senior roles in a variety of public and private organizations.
A respected and engaging facilitator, Warren’s approach to development has been further enhanced by a love of travel, experiencing the diversity of more than 35 countries. This truly unique background fosters the capability to build the leadership skills in others that can shift the performance dynamics of individuals and entire organizations.
Rhonda Gorman, VP, Client Leadership
Rhonda brings a breadth and depth of corporate experience across sectors such as energy, technology, communication and education. She is known for building and nurturing long-standing client relationships. Rhonda brings a deep understanding of people and the impact that great leadership has on business results and partners with her clients to ensure their desired outcomes are met.
Julian Fuentes, Country Manager
Julian sharpened his business skills working for and with multi-national companies as part of a data and information management organization. He went on to establish his own consulting practice before joining Refinery Leadership in 2013. Value creation for his clients has been his main driver throughout his career. Julian is passionate about organizational and individual development, inspiring and coaching self-awareness, self-management and team empowerment.
Caroline Lewis, VP, Operations
Caroline has 25 years of experience leading support services teams in international professional services organizations. A self-professed process geek, she is opportunistic about finding smarter, better, faster and more practical ways to help translate business strategy into results. Caroline has a track record for nudging people in to uncovering their hidden talents in order to grow and thrive in their career.
Rafael García Monroy, Consultant, Executive Coach
Rafael is a Leadership Consultant, Executive Coach and Trainer, specializing in Leadership Development of established and upcoming managers, leaders, and teams. Through his consulting and coaching approach, which is ontological and generative, he serves clients maximize their potential to show up in new powerful ways for creating a desired future –where learning, growing awareness, and embracing ongoing challenge become key on the path to clarity, results and excellence. Rafael draws on his knowledge and experience working across countries and industries to support the learning process of his clients. He is a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) by the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and was President for the ICF Mexico Charter Chapter in 2018.
Ralph Cochrane, Consultant, Executive Coach
As an Executive Coach, Ralph brings broad experience garnered from a diverse career in which he worked with over 250 executives globally across many industries. His strong business acumen and strategic mindset build upon a firm foundation of solid business knowledge and experience. Ralph’s focus is helping leaders and teams create accountability in the workplace, develop coaching skills for leaders to create sustainable results, and improve executive presence. A dynamic and engaging facilitator and who leaves a lasting positive impression, Ralph shares experiences in his sessions and is a great storyteller.
Javiero Caro, Program Coordinator
Javiera brings a dynamic and proactive approach to her role as Project Coordinator. Her passion, creativity and organizational skills drive her attitude to go above and beyond with our clients. Born in Santiago de Chile, Javiera has lived and worked in the United States, Andorra and throughout Central America. Javiera has a strong background in the arts working both in television and live theatre.
Winnie Chick, Program Manager
Continuously working on self-improvement, Winnie is thrilled to be a part of a company that encourages reflection and nurtures growth. With her previous experience as an elementary school teacher, Winnie likes to emphasize HAVING FUN: in her Program Manager role, she is the brains behind many of the engaging activities in our virtual programs. Additionally, you can find Winnie online offering tech support during our virtual sessions.
Ana María Larenas Mackay, Consultant, Executive Coach
Ana María has developed her career as a psychologist and consultant, always inspired by her passion and main interest in life, which serving people in their development and transformation. With that goal in mind, the world of work and business has been a propitious setting for deploying and growing her coaching and skills development competence. Ana María is an expert in listening to clients and understanding their dynamics, empathizing with the participants of our programs and discovering the strengths to take them to the next level of development.
Jelena Vath, Director of Design
Jelena brings a varied skillset to The Refinery developed throughout years of her work in the field of client relationship management, business development, organizational management and consulting. Known for turning challenges into opportunities, Jelena’s personal-professional style involves strategic foresight and is influenced by a passion for the development of others and the belief that organizational success relies on consistent, quality collaboration.
In her role as the Director of Design at Refinery, Jelena oversees the creation of immersive developmental learning programs that target leaders at all levels of an organization.
Sue Abuelsamid, Consultant, Executive Coach
Sue Abuelsamid is a specialist in cultivating leaders with a focus on using curiosity as a tool for engagement in authentic dialogue and designed relationship that brings about sustainable, impactful, and effective leadership. An experienced facilitator, educator, and professional certified coach, Sue brings a wealth of experience to deliver results that lead to real culture change and enables clients to design their ideal teams and lives while connecting with their whole selves.
Barry Forward, Consultant, Executive Coach
Barry Forward is a Vancouver-based Certified Executive Coach with 20+ years’ marketing and executive experience including CEO, President and Board Director (public and private companies), Community Governance Board Member, and Vice President Marketing and Communications. Barry has worked with large corporations, small and medium-sized businesses, early-stage start-ups, government agencies and the non-profit sector.
Mariana Veras, Program Manager
Mariana is invested in helping her internal and external clients succeed and feels that she has landed in a role that provides the perfect combination of challenging work that meets her goals for personal development with a rewarding career helping people realize their potential as leaders. Mariana has over ten years of business management experience across industries such as education, finance, consulting and human resources.
Faris Khalifeh, Consultant , Executive Coach
Faris coaches individuals to embrace who they are and leverage their natural strengths. Before becoming a coach, Faris was successful in the corporate world and served clients ranging from startups to Fortune 100 companies. He accesses his creativity and intuition and problem-solving in leading teams and building strategies.
Kate Duggan-Radford, Program Coordinator
A self-proclaimed wizard behind the curtain, Kate brings a diverse mix of business, project management, public relations, and marketing skills to her role as Project Coordinator. She is passionate about creating impactful experiences and thrilled to be working with a team that challenges people to climb toward the best version of themselves every day.
Ciaran Irwin, Program Delivery Coordinator
Ciaran is practiced at blending different contexts and processes in a career that has included supporting and developing remote working teams for multinationals, working for social enterprises and non-profits, and producing live multimedia projects. Across these experiences, the common thread has always been a focus on helping create the conditions where people and organizations are empowered and engaged to perform at their best.
At Refinery, Ciaran combines these skillsets in the production of virtual programs where clients have unique opportunities to learn experientially and connect to meaningful, purposeful work.
Geoff Curzon, Consultant
Geoff is an experienced Leadership Consultant, Facilitator and Coach working with corporate clients designing and delivering strategic leadership development programs. He has consulted for organizations in high technology, petrochemical, insurance, finance, utilities, social services, hospitality, professional services, and government sectors. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree, a Master of Arts in Leadership, and has completed the Provincial Instructor Diploma program and the Co-Active coaching program.
Rocio Olvera, Accounting Lead
Rocio has 10 years of experience working in finance and project accounting for professional services firms in both Canada and Mexico. She was attracted to the inclusive and supportive culture at Refinery Leadership so much so that she joined our team twice. Rocio enjoys being hands-on in our business and is absolutely fearless about taking on new challenges wherever help is needed.
Joanna Kirke, Consultant, Executive Coach
A global-minded and passionate believer in the power of transformation and change, Joanna has worked in over 27 countries, communicating in English, French, Spanish and Japanese. With 20 years of experience working in multiple industries and ten years in HR Management, Joanna has helped build a Corporate University for PMC- Sierra. Joanna holds an MBA, HR/Global Consulting, Evidence Based Coaching Certificate, HR Management Post- Diploma and a BA Honours in Sociology and French.
John Whitehead, Consultant, Executive Coach
John Whitehead is an experienced leader, facilitator, and Professional Certified Coach (ICF Credentialed), with over 40 years of senior leadership and management experience. John holds a Masters Degree in Leadership from Royal Roads University, Victoria, BC, and before becoming a Certified Executive Coach (CEC, Royal Roads University, Victoria, BC,) held a senior operational position with a leading national organization, achieving significant recognition for his results. John’s clients have included senior and emerging leaders in various industries including major utilities, mining, sports, Hi-Tech, entertainment, retail and direct sales, along with coaching other coaches and training professionals.
Dan Buchner, Consultant
Dan is an award-winning designer, entrepreneur, educator, and leadership facilitator. As the former Vice President of Leadership at the Banff Centre, Dan provided overall leadership, strategic direction, and program philosophy focusing on leadership for social innovation.
His recently published book, “How Might We…Championing Design Thinking In Your Organization?” has drawn accolades from leaders around the world who are striving to bring innovation and practical ideation to their organizations.
Alessandra Ringstad, Consultant, Executive Coach
As a Consultant, Alessandra brings life and humour to her facilitation; engaging participants to actively learn and be accountable for applying their learning. She enjoys utilizing her experience, knowledge and interest in others to guide our clients’ team members to move forward, grow as leaders and engage at a higher level to deliver and exceed on business and career goals.
Ben Miller, Consultant
Having led leadership and team development workshops in a variety of countries and companies. Ben’s success is attributed to his engaging facilitation style, curiosity and passion for learning. Ben brings a business background with a Master’s degree in Organizational Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He is trained in improv, worked in creative development in film and television and led business development for the e-learning platform, Pollenzie. Ben enjoys developing creative leadership programs.
Pam Schmidt, Consultant
Specializing in high engagement and high inquiry facilitations, Pam partners with leaders and works with them to design custom facilitations. She is a leader and organization development consultant, working in both private and public sector. Pam holds a Master of Applied Behavioral Science and has training and/or certification in: Human Systems Dynamics Co-Resolve, Deep Democracy, The Art of Hosting, Large Group Conferencing, and Problem Solving through Human- Centered Design Thinking.
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