I started Break the Norm Leadership after working as a leadership and development consultant in corporate America. I realized that true leadership development needed to start much earlier than when adults age into management positions. I believe that every person is a leader with unique strengths and by starting to develop leaders at a young age, we can create the change in the world we want to see. Leadership skills are life skills. My favorite food is ice cream because you can eat it for breakfast, lunch or dinner because it has dairy in it ;)
Director of Curriculum Development & Training
I believe that leadership is unlocked in everyone when given the right opportunities, support and resources. BtNL provides students with the opportunities to learn, the support to grow in their confidence and the resources to make a difference in their community. It is important to develop leaders at a young age who are self-aware, creative, and active around the issues that affect them. Young people need to learn how to work together for a common goal and how their unique strengths and passions are essential to a team’s success.
I prefer a bag of Sour Patch Kids to ice cream or chocolate.
Dr. Peter A. James is a certified executive and leadership coach with over two decades of diverse leadership experience, ranging from military service as a U.S. Army officer to chairing a university's Business School and entrepreneurship. With a background in sales and marketing at a Fortune 100 company, along with military multitasking and project management skills, he brings a wealth of knowledge to his coaching practice. His tenure as a Faculty Chair and professor has deepened his ability to unlock leaders' potential, emphasizing that leaders can find their own solutions but benefit from a coach to expedite their growth. Specializing in leadership development, transformational change, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives, Peter's true passion lies in helping leaders achieve once-seemingly unreachable goals through executive coaching.
Ariela is a globally experienced leadership coach and training expert with over two decades of expertise in designing and delivering learning and leadership programs across diverse regions, including Africa, Central & South America, the Middle East, Asia, and the United States. She collaborates with leaders, teams, and organizations to foster greater awareness, inclusivity, and trust, driving purpose-driven transformations. Ariela specializes in crafting large-scale solutions such as management training, executive leadership programs, mentorship initiatives, and inclusive leadership programs. With a background as Vice President of a global non-profit, she provides strategic partnership to empower leadership potential. Her international living and work experience, intercultural mindset, and commitment to inclusive learning inform her approach to leadership development. Ariela holds certifications in leadership coaching, is qualified to administer various assessment tools, and incorporates mindfulness and meditation practices into her coaching process. She holds a master's degree in international development from Brandeis University and is fluent in Spanish.
Clinical Social Worker
Joel Gunzburg is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Lower School Counselor at Sandy Spring Friends School. He has been working as a counselor in public and independent schools for 20 years. Joel has spent the better part of his career designing, implementing, and teaching social emotional learning for Pre-K through 12th grade. Since 2007, Joel has owned and operated a private group therapy practice in Bethesda, MD. He and his team provide a variety of services for children, adolescents, young adults, and families helping them reach their optimal quality of life. Joel and his team also provide SEL workshops for students, and professional development opportunities for school faculty and staff.
Chief Learning Officer
I work because I am a helper at heart. I started working as a middle-school history teacher, and for more than 20 years I have developed leaders in multiple sectors. That includes supporting performing arts management leaders for 5 years while I worked at The Kennedy Center, 10 years working with aerospace engineering leaders while I worked at NASA, and for the last 2 years working at The Executive Leadership Council where I help Black corporate professionals advance towards the C-Suite. My areas of expertise include program evaluation, talent development, imposter syndrome, psychological safety, and work groups and teams. I am motivated by an indefatigable desire to help people who do the work to learn and grow. My core belief is leadership development be a team sport - not a solo sport.
Human Resources and DEI Practitioner
Isaac E. Dixon is the President of Vista HR Consulting LLC with over 30 years of HR experience. He has worked for renowned organizations including NIKE, GE Capital, Providence Health and Services, and government departments like Oregon Military and Transportation. Isaac also held HR leadership roles at Lewis & Clark College and Portland State University as Associate Vice President.
He earned his degrees from Warner Pacific College (BS), Marylhurst University (MA), and Capella University (Doctorate). He contributed to various boards, including Central City Concern (Chair and Vice Chair), Urban League of Portland, Oregon State Bar Association, and Portland Human Resources Management Association.
Isaac is a lifelong member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated, joining in 1992 via the Zeta Nu Chapter in Portland, Oregon. He resides in Portland with his wife, Lauri.
Ranieka Weston boasts more than two decades of expertise in commercial learning and talent management, making her a seasoned development strategist and executive leadership coach. Throughout her career, she has assumed various roles, including Sales Manager, Head of Commercial Training, VP of Talent Management, and serving as an independent consultant and coach. Currently, Ranieka serves as a coach at Harris and Weston Consulting LLC, specializing in executive leadership coaching and HR consulting. Her unique skill lies in assisting individuals she affectionately refers to as "game-changers in hiding," helping them overcome obstacles that hinder them from realizing their true identity and unlocking their full career potential.
Coretta Ross offers a strong balance between business savvy and education methodology. Possess 20 years of experience contributing to projects as a Professor, Coach, Developer and Project Manager. She is able to communicate with students, staff, parents and community partners equally well. She excels at leveraging expertise in education, numerous programming structures and technologies, vendor selection and management to align day-to-day operations with business goals and client objectives.
Floyd Bronson a New Jersey native, currently residing in Maryland. He has completed four degrees, including two separate Masters Degrees in Public Service Leadership and Professional School Counseling. While studying Floyd worked in numerous capacities from substitute teacher to college professor, with 16 of those years spent as a culture and climate specialist.
Floyd is currently working as a Restorative Justice Program Manager in DC and supporting schools as they implement restorative practices to meet the prosocial needs of all students. Floyd consults with BtNL doing professional development training and program development on the school-based level.