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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Brad Denney

Brad is a seasoned IT professional and trusted business partner/advisor with over 20+ years in the professional/management consulting services industry. Prior to Pepper Foster, he held several local/regional/global management level roles at Arthur Andersen, Hitachi Consulting, RGP and a local start-up consulting firm.  He is both PMP and ADKAR/Prosci certified with areas of expertise focusing on: developing and driving local/regional/global go to market and sales strategies, Program/Project Management, IT and operational strategy development, software selections, software Implementations, business process optimization and change management. Brad is actively involved with numerous local charities/organizations,while also holding a number of board positions. When not working, Brad enjoys spending time with his family and friends, coaching his kid’s sports, and enjoying wine country and everything Oregon has to offer.

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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. He brings experience in the financial services, real estate, manufacturing, information technology, renewable energy, sustainability, apparel and footwear industries as well as 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 two rambunctious children, part-time photographer, train/plane spotter, Cars the movie expert, and garden help.

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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.

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Brad Henderson

Brad is a collaborative leader and consultant with expertise in critical thinking, data analytics, process improvement, and creating clarity in ambiguous situations. With over 15 years of experience, he is a dependable resource to uncover underlying issues, identify root causes, and build clear action plans. He excels at building a vision for the future and leading teams to achieve their goals. Brad has an MBA from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a Bachelor's degree from Indiana University's Kelley School of Business which makes him (unfortunately) a diehard Hoosier fan.  In his free time, he is husband to his wife Cori and dad to Jackson and Grace.  Most weekends he will likely be found coaching his kids' sports teams, chasing a golf ball or enjoying everything Oregon has to offer with his family.

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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.

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Graham Hulbert

Graham is a seasoned continuous improvement professional with a varied background, and a track record for leading teams into an enjoyable high-performance working environment. Graham’s foundation in engineering and Lean manufacturing results in a natural aptitude for critical thinking and an eye for waste. Outside of work Graham can be found in the mountains volunteering for the National Forest Service, or in his workshop tinkering with classic cars and restoring them to an original condition. These hands-on hobbies regularly make their way into Graham’s work, whilst he is often working on the ‘big picture’ items, that doesn’t stop him from rolling up his sleeves and getting into the details.

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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.‍

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LJ Johnson

LJ is an experienced senior IT leader with a background in cybersecurity, business operations, organizational change management, digital transformation and technology delivery.   LJ has experience engaging with the C-Suite of Fortune 500 companies as respected technical and risk management advisor. She excels at organizational planning, stakeholder engagement, strategic planning and program delivery.  LJ also dedicates time supporting professional and community based organizations as well as mentoring women in technology. In her free time, LJ enjoys world travel and wine tasting with her wife as well as partaking in many outdoor sports including hiking, kayaking, golfing, playing soccer and walking their 2 dogs.

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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.

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Kathleen Kelly

Kathleen Kelly is a partner and leader of Pepper Foster Consulting’s Minneapolis – St. Paul office. She brings over 25 years of experience driving results and partnering with our clients to turn challenges, problems, ideas, and needs into transformative realities. With a background in business & IT strategy, transformation, project management, delivery, and outsourcing, she has successfully led her clients to achieve mission critical goals and realize millions of dollars in savings. When not serving as a trusted advisor to her clients, Kathleen is busy cultivating Pepper Foster Consulting as the best company to work for in the Twin Cities, and spending time with her family. A few favorite family activities include concerts at Lake Harriet Band Shell, Friday Night Game Nights, “Chopped” style cook-offs, gathering with friends for Vikings games, and watching her teenagers on the ice: her daughter, Veronica, is a figure skater and her son, Pearse, is a goalie.

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Paru Mahesh

Paru has more than 20 years of experience leading projects from concept to adoption. She is a PMP certified program manager with expertise in business transformation and change management. She is a leader in data strategy and business operations with expertise in business applications, ROI analysis, process design and M&A integration. Highly skilled in establishing cross-functional, collaborative relationships with internal and external partners, Paru has a strong passion for driving change and delivering measurable results. She also loves farming and owns a small vineyard with her husband. They are looking forward to producing their own wine label soon.


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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.

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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.

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Heidi Oestman

Heidi is a multifaceted strategic consultant with a demonstrated history of process improvement and project implementation experience. She is naturally inclined to align people, processes, and technology to deliver success; boosting efficiency, optimizing productivity, reducing risks and unlocking capabilities. She possesses the ability to pivot between creative strategy work, refining technical solutions and directing and monitoring project objectives. Her reputation for personal integrity and inquiring leadership style make her a strong business development professional. Heidi is a PNW native and avid supporter of the Portland Thorns and Timbers teams. Outside of the office, you can find her at Providence Park, hiking local trails, traveling the world or enjoying a good book or puzzle at home.

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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.


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Steve Rollins

Steve is a Managing Consultant with a broad background in change, project / program management, process engineering, and software selection. Leveraging his 25 years of experience in IT infrastructure and driving change for enterprise projects, his focus is on achieving business outcomes, driving value, and ensuring that employees are prepared for the future state once a project goes live. Known as a strong leader, Steve invests his skills as a Rescue Leader and Board member of Portland Mountain Rescue, leading teams in technical rescues to save lives in the mountains of Oregon and Washington. He is an avid outdoorsman, enjoying mountaineering, backpacking, kayaking, and scuba diving.

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Monica Shukla

Monica is a collaborative and results driven consultant focused on managing high impact, customer centric technology and operation solutions. She has a strong record of providing strategic analytic insights, managing projects, and building relationships with senior level management. She excels in taking on many roles depending on the project and leading impact across various divisions of work. Coming from the banking world, she has experience building relationships with high impact clientele, leading technology change and implementation and providing solutions for operational inefficiencies. When not working Monica is teaching North Indian Classical dance and performing in the professional company. She is also finding adventures around Minnesota and traveling when possible.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Katy Smith

Katy is an HR professional with a passion for providing a positive candidate experience and supporting employees in their careers at Pepper Foster. She’s known for being curious, energetic, maintaining authenticity and championing culture. Prior to joining our team, she was with the Portland Trail Blazers driving employee engagement, talent acquisition, and acting as a go-to resource for staff members. When she’s not connecting with candidates or employees, you can find her outdoors exploring the wonders of the Pacific Northwest or popping around local eateries and neighborhood pubs in Portland.

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Sam Smith

Sam is a results-driven associate with a background in project coordination and management. He earned his BA in psychology from the University of Oregon and his MBA with certificates in both global supply chain management and athletics/outdoor industry from Portland State University. Sam has experience working with both for-profit and nonprofit organizations from industries ranging from construction to food and beverage. He places high value on developing a shared understanding with stakeholders and using data to support and drive strategy. When he is not working, Sam loves to get outside where he enjoys backpacking, snowboarding and hiking with his fiancée and their border collie.

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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.

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Caitlin Wahlers

Caitlin is a dynamic associate with experience in the private and nonprofit sectors. She is a self-starter, bringing leadership experience delivering valuable insights via data analytics. Committed to social and environmental sustainability, Caitlin started her career as an AmeriCorps member in the public health sector and has successfully led projects and teams to improve business processes. She earned her BA in international affairs from Northeastern University and her MBA in sustainable business practices from the University of Oregon. Outside of the office, Caitlin can either be found in the kitchen listening to music in pursuit of her next culinary masterpiece or kayaking the local waterways.

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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.

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Denise Winkler

Denise Winkler is a passionate Supply Chain Operations consultant with a flair for Continuous Improvement through data driven Business Intelligence (BI).  Denise is a lifer when it comes to employment, spending 13 years at United Parcel Service and another 13 years at Archway Marketing.  Denise has had a fun and exciting career ranging from facility design/build, human movement/time studies at UPS to Labor Management design/build/implementation at Archway.  All along the way one thing resonates in her work ethic and that is determination and passion for excellence.  This pursuit of excellence is what led her to be a volunteer President of a local non-profit youth soccer organization.  Throughout the 10 years that Denise has held this position, the club has grown extensively in their competitive prowess as well as completing a club merger that grew their geographic and membership footprint by more than 2x.  Denise and her husband can be found on the golf course, soccer field, or on the lake in the summer months and in the winter, they can be found at an indoor turf soccer complex (somewhere) as outdoor soccer is tough in the MN winters.  Denise has a husband and a 14-year-old daughter, they are her “why”.

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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.

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Lee Wyland

Lee is an accomplished technology leader with significant experience in a variety of roles including executive management, program management, project management, application development, and software engineering. With certifications in project management and Lean, and a background that ranges from large to small companies from the Banking to the Music industry he brings a wide variety of experience to consulting. Lee is also well balanced between people and technical skills and adapts quickly.  He is a get stuff done kind of consultant.  Outside of work you can find him either working on a home project or singing with his barbershop chorus.