Our Team


John Baird, Ph.D., Chairman

John Baird is considered to be one of the premier coaches in Silicon Valley, having coached executives from companies like Apple, Nike and Twitter, as well as founders of younger companies including Agile PM, Krux, AirPR, BloomThat, Townsquared, and Zesty. He has coached CEOs and senior executives for over 20 years, with a specialty in coaching start-up CEOs. He started his first coaching company, ExecutivEdge of Silicon Valley, almost 20 years ago with Michele Bolton.

His early study of start-up CEOs, Survival in the Fast Lane, provides a research-backed conceptual and practical framework for coaching start-up CEOs. John holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Communication and Leadership from Purdue University. He spent 17 years on the faculty at San Jose State University in the College of Business and was named Outstanding Professor of the entire University during his time there.


Edward Sullivan, Managing Partner & CEO

Edward Sullivan’s 20-year career has taken him around the globe coaching and advising start-up founders, Fortune 500 executives, and heads of state of foreign nations on 6 continents. His client list includes executives from Foundation Capital, Google, RetailNext, Slack, and many others. He has also served in senior positions at various early and mid-stage start-ups.

Edward is currently part of the career development and leadership skills training team at The Wharton School. He holds an MBA from the Wharton School and an MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School.


Marissa Peterson, Executive Coach

Marissa’s founder and executive coaching practice has thrived due to her extraordinary focus on delivering excellence and accelerated business value to clients. Her diagnostic insights, range and depth of coaching approaches, practical first-hand leadership experience, and working to the full context of the business are differentiating characteristics. Marissa's high-tech executive experience makes her uniquely qualified to coach clients such as Apple, Twitter, Microsoft, Standford Hospital and Charles River Ventures.

Marissa Peterson brings a broad senior executive portfolio to her board and executive coaching practice. She joined Sun Microsystems when it was still a small public company, helping it scale to reach a peak of approx. $20 Billion in annual revenues. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Humana, Ansell, Quantros, and Oclaro.


Susan Hwang, Executive Coach

Susan has worked closely with senior executives across technology and financial services for more than 15 years. Her engagements with leaders at both large firms and startups benefit from her background in behavioral psychology and practical business acumen.

Susan leverages years of executive experience helping grow SNL Financial, a SAAS data platform, into a thriving multi-national. Susan is currently an investor and adviser to a number of startups in varied industries and a Director at the Alliance of CEOs. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Virginia, where she was an Echols Scholar, and a Master's Degree from the University of Pennsylvania, with a focus on positive organizational leadership and behavioral science.

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Gitta Sivander, Public Speaking and Presentation Coach

Since 2008, CEO’s, entrepreneurs, and presenters around the globe have delivered masterful, authentic and impactful messages after Gitta Sivander’s coaching. Whether in a one-to-one or one-to-many Board of Directors or investor meeting, at conferences in front of large audiences, or on-camera work, clients experience how changes to their non-verbal communication profoundly impact their listeners. Gitta’s extensive background as a performer, somatic educator and movement analyst are unique in bringing out the very best in speakers and presenters. Having lived and coached in Germany, California, Sydney, Paris and Rome, Gitta’s international and quattra-lingual background brings cultural diversity and a global mindset.

Gitta’s clients include Twitter, Industry Rockstar, Zest Fresh, Environics Analytics, as well as entrepreneurs and TED presenters in the US, Europe, Australia and Asia. Degrees and Certificates include CLMA-Certified Laban Movement Analyst, SMT-Somatic Movement Therapy, Physical Therapy (University Goettingen, Germany) and she is currently adding an executive coaching certification. 


Joan Dauria, Executive Coach

Joan has over 20 years of human resources management and coaching experience at companies including Apple, Disney, Genentech, Rodan+Fields, Salesforce, and Williams-Sonoma. She provides coaching to founders and executives seeking to play a more impactful and valued role in their businesses. Her practice draws from a broad-based background in leading organizations through fast, dynamic growth and transformation and from building business-oriented, high-impact human resource organizations.

Joan works one-on-one with senior executives or with their teams to help them gain a new level of insight and self awareness through assessments and feedback about how their behaviors may impede their effectiveness. Joan is a graduate of Rhode Island College with a dual major in Education and Psychology.


Lucy Georgiades, Executive Coach

Lucy is an Executive Coach working with individuals and teams in high growth companies to help them be productive, work through challenges, communicate effectively, achieve their goals and lead their people. Lucy has coached executives at Eventbrite, Medium, Quid, Box, SideCar, Vicarious and Zesty. She also coaches C-level executives in large corporations including Flextronics, and for the Wharton Executive MBA Program.

Lucy is an Oxford University graduate with a Bachelors and a Masters in Experimental Psychology. She has diplomas with distinction in Corporate & Executive Coaching and Personal Performance Coaching from The Coaching Academy, U.K. She is also an accredited Mind Gym coach.

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Silvia Christmann, Executive Coach

Silvia was born in Germany and raised across Europe before establishing her life in New York City. In her early career, she specialized in business development and helped build successful companies from pre-revenue to their first million and beyond. Now, she focuses on structuring businesses and transforming leaders during periods of rapid scale. Before starting her boutique practice in 2011, she played a central role in launching the startup venture MediaRadar. Under her tenure, the company developed into an ad tech leader with more than $20 million in revenue.

She has worked with with impact-driven leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs as well as C-level executives who work at companies like Google, Bridgewater, PWC, Deutsch, Tom’s Shoes, among many others, and has helped scale companies like The Bond Collective (US), Look at Media (RU), and Sapina Ltd (APAC). She has given talks and taught workshops and seminars at numerous global conferences, at Columbia University, and at Fortune 100 companies.


Vivian Groman, Executive Coach

Vivian brings 25 years of finance and technology leadership experience to her coaching work with senior and high potential emerging leaders across a broad range of industries.   Whether building the confidence and relational sophistication of rising leaders or supporting C-suite visionaries to broaden and deepen their long-term impact, Vivian helps her clients demonstrate visible, sustainable changes in their leadership effectiveness. 

Vivian also draws on her personal experience leading organizations,  aligning  diverse groups around shared goals, and developing team leadership skills individually, as well as collectively. Clients say her work gets to what really counts, stands the test of time, and is refreshingly honest, but kind. Prior to starting her coaching practice in 2004, Vivian was the Senior Vice President of Client Relationship Management at Charles Schwab for 12 years. She has as business degree from the University of California, Berkeley and is certified Integral Coach® and Somatic Coach.


Gilly Weinstein, Executive Coach

Gilly has coached across cultures, countries and industries since 2005, supporting clients in making choices that create more emotionally intelligent leadership and a more balanced and fulfilling life. Gilly has lived and coached, in French and English, in several countries. She brings her international and multilingual background and sensitivity to coaching across cultural divides, especially within organizations boasting diverse cultures and mindsets.

Gilly has coached C-suite executives and teams at Air France, Amnesty International, Coca-Cola, Disney, Hilton Hotels, LEGO, NY Public Radio, SalesForce, SWIFT and Unilever as well as Directors in the public sector, within the main European Institutions

A professional certified Coactive Coach, and PCC since 2009, Gilly holds an Masters in Communications from Boston University and a BA from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

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Katy Kvalvik, Executive Coach

Katy  has been inspiring leaders, executives, and entrepreneurs all over the world to be empowered, lead their best lives, and achieve optimal results since 2009. The CEO and Founder of the Performance Empowerment Group, Katy is a graduate of UC Berkeley, and she is a certified executive coach, board certified health counselor, certified trainer of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, certified yoga instructor, and business mentor.

Katy is an expert in leadership development, advanced communication skills for high stake conversations and presentations, influence and negotiation, and integrative health, specifically stress reduction, gut health, and all day energy.  She has spoken at conferences like Wisdom 2.0, the Hive Global Leadership Conference, NAIFA Sales Conference and the Wanderlust Festival circuit. She has worked with companies such as Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, Sony, American Express, Beach Body, Singularity University, Best Friend's Animal Society, United Nations, Draper University, Thrivent Financial, Verisign, Entefy and tech start-ups like VideoAmp, Pivot Bio, and MediGram to name a few. 



Lauren Detro, Executive Coach

Lauren has over nine years of combined experience as an executive coach, operator in VC, and therapist. Her broad experience in clinical therapy and venture capital positions her uniquely to support founders, executives, and co-founder teams. Lauren takes a personalized and pragmatic approach with each of her clients; whether it’s promoting greater well-being and productivity or working together through crisis, she helps leaders uncover insights and develop skills to grow and scale healthy organizations. Her areas of expertise include leadership development, interpersonal communication, co-founder relationships, women in leadership, burnout, and stress & anxiety.

Lauren has a Bachelor’s from UC Santa Barbara and a Master’s in Counseling Psychology from Santa Clara University.

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Maggie Adams, Executive Assistant & Account Manager

Maggie joined Velocity Group in August 2017, and provides administrative and operational support to Velocity's clients and coaches. She enjoys running Velocity's day-to-day activities, serving as a friendly face for clients and coaches, and helping out wherever she is needed! Maggie's passion project is teaching business, social, and dining etiquette. She has taught etiquette workshops across the country, most notably partnering with The Watergate Hotel in Washington, DC.

Maggie graduated with a BBA from Saint Mary’s College in 2007. She completed her etiquette training at the Institut Villa Pierrefeu Finishing School in Glion, Switzerland where she received certificates in The European Art of Dining and International Etiquette and Protocol. She received an Etiquette Consultant Certificate from IAP Career College and is currently a member of the International Association of Professional Etiquette Consultants.