AboutServicesSuccess StoriesPeopleJoinContact

The people we hire are special and rare.

The people we hire at Pepper Foster Consulting aren't just great consultants, they're also fun to work with, smart, emotionally mature, passionate, collaborative, and humble. They're committed to excellence, to always going above and beyond, and to always making a difference.

Here are profiles of a few of them to give you an idea:

Picture of a Pepper Foster team member
Damian Smith

Damian is the founder and managing partner of Pepper Foster Consulting. Over the last 25 years, Damian has launched, turned around, and led a host of highly successful product and services businesses, and consulted with some of the largest and most influential organizations around the globe. His proudest professional achievement though is leading two different firms (Hitachi Consulting and Slalom Consulting) to be recognized as the best company to work for in Oregon, while simultaneously increasing the revenues and profits of both. It’s a feat he plans to repeat with Pepper Foster Consulting. When Damian isn’t making a difference with Pepper Foster Consulting, you can find him writing fiction (his first novel Tuesday’s Child was published in 2016); watching Project Runway with his amazing and wonderful daughter Avery; cheering on the Portland Timbers at Providence Park (RCTID); or running (very slowly) from Hood to Coast.

Picture of a Pepper Foster team member
Melanie Hoebbel

Melanie is our Talent Acquisition Manager and has over 10 years of recruiting experience in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors. She is passionate about helping connect amazing talent to professional opportunities and enjoys building meaningful relationships with new people. Melanie is a native of Chicago and spends her free time outdoors with her dog, building jigsaw puzzles, and exploring Portland’s vast restaurant scene.

Picture of a Pepper Foster team member
Michelle Simone

Michelle Simone is an accomplished leader, who delivers successful solutions using measurable analytics while aligning with project vision and strategic objectives. She has been a key member of multiple leadership teams in both Fortune 500 and mid sized companies. Led cross-functional initiatives to meet aggressive performance targets, drive innovation while growing the business. She excels in team-orientated leadership roles that require extensive communication and collaboration. Michelle leads by example with a hands on and "get the job done" management style. She spends her weekends either snowboarding in the winter or camping/hiking/outdoor sports with friends & family in the summer.

Picture of a Pepper Foster team member
Jerris Marr

Jerris is a senior leader with 25 years of experience envisioning and driving change within operational and service organizations.  With a background focused on leading transformational strategies, he has successfully led organizational change initiatives within technology support and development teams, human resources, and customer experience.  A proven leader, he enjoys helping people and teams grow through positive experiences, supportive leadership and challenging goals.  Jerris enjoys spending time with his kids and running on local trails.

Picture of a Pepper Foster team member
Galen Doucette

Galen is an experienced consultant with a breadth of skills: from team development to concrete deliverables. With a background spanning construction and software, he is adept in both Agile and traditional project management delivery. He is invested in a creative, flexible approach that is grounded in data and business realities. Galen is always excited to see details in the context of the big picture and is endlessly curious about the nexus of people, systems, and value. Outside of work he enjoys philosophy, playing in the outdoors, and life’s simple pleasures.

Picture of a Pepper Foster team member
Michelle Macy

Michelle is an experienced consultant respected for her ability to develop strategy, design programs and projects, and build foundations for exceptional outcomes and global impact. A visionary leader,valued for her cultural competence, analytical thinking, and data-based decision making, Michelle transforms obscurity into certainty and confusion into consensus. Michelle is also a dedicated long distance swimmer and was inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame as an Honor Swimmer in its Class of 2019.

Picture of a Pepper Foster team member
Madeline "Maddie" Barbera

Maddie is a dynamic consultant with 15 years experience in healthcare providing clinical care and driving quality and process improvement initiatives at the departmental level. Not one to back down from a challenge, she eagerly switched fields after completing her MBA at Portland State University. Since then she’s tackled a variety of financial, operational, and marketing targets in the food and beverage, consumer goods, and trucking industries. Her talents include detailed project management, marketing strategy, and anchoring teams with her versatile ‘take-on-anything’ approach. In her free time, Madeline can be found biking, hiking with her beagle, traveling, or tromping through underbrush to get that ultimate wildlife photo.

Picture of a Pepper Foster team member
Brett Lyon

Brett is a collaborative, results oriented consultant with ten years of experience leading and driving projects in the business and non-profit sectors. He is a business analyst, product owner, and project manager who enjoys thinking about the big picture as well as keeping track of the important details. Brett enjoys complex projects and approaches challenge with a healthy sense of humor. Brett has played a key role in variety of software development projects including database development, web development, data integration and migration, and machine learning analytics and has an MBA in Sustainable Business. When not working Brett enjoys trail running, biking, indulging at Portland’s restaurants, and traveling.‍

Picture of a Pepper Foster team member
Dylan Siperstein

Dylan is a consultant with a proven track-record of streamlining processes and supporting strategy development with data-driven
insights. He has a passion for discovering and implementing technological efficiencies and experience leading projects, improving processes, and conducting analysis and visualization on large datasets. His background also includes supply & logistics management and Lean problem-solving. Outside of work, Dylan enjoys traveling, hiking, kickboxing, and hanging out at sandy spots near water.

Picture of a Pepper Foster team member
Llyswen Berna

Llyswen is a motivated and energetic consultant who has experience within both commercial and non-profit organizations. Developing strategies for project success, team engagement, and coming up with/implementing new initiatives are some of her areas of interest. Her passion for sustainability, both in an environmental and social perspective,was fortified by her background of serving as an AmeriCorps member in the education field, working in healthcare technology, earning a BS in Environmental science from Oregon State University, and an MBA in Sustainable Business from the University of Oregon. In her free time, you can find Llyswen developing her painting skills, baking new recipes, playing with her cat, and learning how to cook.

Picture of a Pepper Foster team member
Kristin Culpepper

Kristin is an engaged consultant who enjoys diving into the details of a project and coming up with the big picture. She commits herself to finding the best possible solution for the client. She has over 10 years of experience delivering results in both the nonprofit and private sector. Her myriad background ranges from launching digital marketing strategy in food retail, to business development at a $1B non-profit financial institution, to project management in the healthcare and medical device industries. Kristin split her childhood in Philadelphia & Nashville, has lived oversees and moved to Portland in 2004. She has an MBA from Portland State University and MS from Oregon Health & Science University. Fun times are spent hiking up mountains, watching MotoGP on Sundays with her kiddos, and reading the NYT Magazine.

Picture of a Pepper Foster team member
Vainateya "Desh" Deshpande

Desh is an accomplished strategy and project delivery professional with a proven track record of developing and implementing key business strategies. His career highlights include leading the implementation of the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) launched by US Treasury under President Obama and developing Nike’s Global Renewable Energy program that resulted in $150M in renewable energy deals. With prior experience in financial services, real estate, manufacturing, information technology, renewable energy, sustainability, apparel and footwear sectors, he brings a diverse skillset that helps his clients translate concepts to business value. His prior work has required extensive C-Suite interaction at Fortune 100 companies. He has a reputation for high-quality delivery, being fun in the workplace, and remaining cool & fact-focused under pressure. Desh is a full-time dad to a rambunctious toddler, part-time photographer, train/plane spotter, Cars the movie expert, garden help.

Picture of a Pepper Foster team member
Kurt Borchardt

Kurt is an energetic and team-oriented senior leader with demonstrated business skills and ability to drive technology and functional based enterprise programs in fast-paced environments with measurable results.  He has over 25 years experience as a technology professional- technical program manager consistently leading and delivering on Agile & Waterfall Programs on-scope, on-schedule and on-budget. Kurt consistently builds collaborative teams and relationships across technology, business customer and vendor partner teams.  When he's not driving results for clients, Kurt enjoys following his 3 teenage boys' sports with his wife Michelle, snowboarding in the winter, and camping and trail running in the summer.  Kurt is also an active volunteer and board member of Portland Community Football Club www.PCFC.co which provides access to high quality coaching and soccer leagues to low-income, immigrant and refugee youth in the Portland metro area.

Picture of a Pepper Foster team member
Sandra Wintterer

Sandra is a bi-lingual (German and English) consultant with experience leading and driving initiatives and events within and for multi-national manufacturing corporations and healthcare non-profits. Sandra has studied and worked in both the US and Germany and is a smart, self-motivated, and passionate professional who makes a difference for her clients. She has a track record of success thanks to a highly organized work approach, great communication, and team spirit. When Sandra isn’t working, she enjoys exploring the world, through travel or a good book; taking care of her furry friends; or cooking to loud music.

Picture of a Pepper Foster team member
Jason Mitsky

Jason is an accomplished business leader with two decades of experience in strategic planning, program management and organizational change leadership. He consistently leads and delivers large scale organizational change initiatives focused on operational and financial improvement. His career highlights include a shared service implementation for the largest health system on the west coast; and the design, development, implementation and ongoing measurement of a successful clinical quality program for the largest radiology practice in the US. He brings deep experience and expertise working with executive leadership and cross-functional teams to develop strategic goals, collaborate on a roadmap for success and align the organization to achieve short and long-term milestones. Jason enjoys audio books, outdoor sports and family movie night.

Picture of a Pepper Foster team member
Melanie Scherer

Melanie is an experienced and dynamic consultant who enjoys collaborating and finding creative solutions. She is an effective project manager and former attorney with significant experience in successfully managing a range of complex projects. Melanie has led teams in developing new business processes, software development, database management, and strategic planning. She is a dedicated leader who prioritizes effective communication with stakeholders and thorough consideration of all facets to any project. Melanie tackles even the most challenging projects with confidence, resourcefulness and commitment to success. Outside of the office, Melanie enjoys outdoor adventures of all kinds, learning how to sew, and hanging out with her chocolate lab.

Picture of a Pepper Foster team member
Bud Borja

Bud is an experienced business and technology leader who drives IT modernization efforts through continuously improving the quality of the IT solutions, services and support while always having the end-user, and cost effectiveness in mind. As a former CIO, he draws on his own experience to bring innovation, industry standards and best practices into organizations and develop and empower teams that exceed the needs of the business. Prior to Pepper Foster, he was a Partner and Director for CGI. He oversaw multiple areas that focused on business development and the delivery of projects and services that range from full IT Outsourcing to specialty ERP implementations. Bud is passionate about giving back to the community and has volunteered with Kids Inc, iUrban Teen, SOLVE, SMART, Cycle Oregon and is on the Board of the Society of Information Management’s (SIM) Portland Chapter. In his free time he hangs out with his kids, kickboxes, and rides his road and mountain bikes.

Picture of a Pepper Foster team member
Tom Wieczorek

Tom is a highly analytical consultant and business/financial analyst who excels at utilizing data to drive businesses forward. A committed project manager and problem-solver who understands how to affect change, Tom has experience tackling challenging business problems, implementing new processes and systems, and creating strategic business plans. He has a penchant for developing tools for evaluating business performance and crafting engaging data visualizations. Tom consistently takes a collaborative approach with partners and his amiable demeanor ensures a positive and fun work environment for his teammates. He graduated with a B.S. in Finance, Accounting, and Technology Management from Indiana University and was selected as one of the youngest leaders for The Walt Disney Company’s Leadership Development Program. Tom is an avid racquetball player, runner, and hiker and enjoys camping with his wife and dog.

Picture of a Pepper Foster team member
Erin Stone

Erin is an accomplished business leader with over 15 years experience designing and executing process improvement and change management programs. She has a knack for transforming data into actionable insights and employs a pragmatic approach to tackling challenges of all shapes and sizes. Erin delivers results with confidence and humility, and is adept at developing strong relationships with clients, colleagues, vendors and partners. Outside of the office, you'll find Erin out riding her bike, coaching endurance athletes, or adventuring with her two border collies.

Picture of a Pepper Foster team member
John Pierce

John brings more than 35 years of experience as an information technology executive, leader, and consultant across a broad range of high-tech manufacturing, software, healthcare and public sector organizations ranging from in size from startup to $32 billion in annual revenue. John collaborates effectively with senior leaders and staff across the organization to identify needs, process and technology solutions, and to define and execute the tactical plans necessary to accomplish organizational goals, making efficient use of staff and financial resources.  When not contributing to client success, you’ll find John and his wife riding their tandem bicycle on roads near and far.