Six Sigma Certifications
+ Training Workshops Held
Attendees in 30+ Cities
+ Satisfied Clients
Dr. Ellen Burts-Cooper
Senior Managing Partner and Chief Improvement Officer
Dr. Ellen Burts-Cooper is the senior managing partner of Improve Consulting and Training Group, a firm that provides personal and professional development training, coaching and consultation. Improve has been featured in Time Magazine, Black Voices, Smart Business Magazine and Bloomberg BusinessWeek.
Dr. Burts-Cooper is on faculty at Case Western Reserve University in the Weatherhead Executive Education Program and The Institute for Management Studies (IMS). She is the author of the books “aMAZEing Organizational Teams: Navigating 7 Critical Attributes for Cohesion, Productivity and Resilience” and “Canine Instinct: A Guide to Survival and Advancement in Corporate America.” She also created the workshop curricula “Personal Positioning: Building Personal Brand Equity” and “Don’t Just Think Outside the Box, Make the Box Bigger.”
She earned a BS in chemistry from Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, AL, her PhD in organic/polymer chemistry from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA, her MBA from the University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Business and her Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt certification from 3M Company.
You can listen to Ellen on her segment, “Improve Your Day with Dr. Ellen,” aired on Wavelengths, The Wave 107.3 Community Affairs Show.
Strategy Planning and Employee Engagement
Christina “Crickett” Rastall is a Senior Consultant for Improve Consulting and Training Group where she provides process improvement, change management, operational management, strategic planning, instructional design, coaching and training services to clients in the business and nonprofit sectors, as well as at colleges and universities. Previously, Crickett served as the University Relations, Program Manager for a national sports marketing agency, American Collegiate Intramural Sports. There she was responsible for a team of University Relations Managers in the creation, management, and execution of marketing initiatives for Fortune 500 companies on over 200 college campuses nationwide. Prior to the sports marketing industry Crickett was an Account Coordinator at Northwest Strategies, providing marketing and advertising services in her hometown of Anchorage, Alaska.
She holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management. She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Public Relations with minors in Business and Journalism from Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA and her Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification from Baldwin Wallace University.
Crickett is an adjunct professor at Baldwin Wallace University in the Professional Development department where she teaches Organizational Change Management, Critical Thinking and Problem Solving, Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt and Meeting Management and Facilitation.
Thomas W. Fazekas
Quality and Process Improvement
Tom is a trainer and consultant dedicated to helping organizations improve their performance through development of their people. He has been privileged to work with organizations that are already leaders in their fields but are committed to continually improve. Tom helps top management establish and deploy their strategies objectives, and he teaches people at all levels of the organization the tools they need to develop and execute tactical plans to achieve the objectives they have been given. His approach emphasizes the clear definition of the processes by which the organization satisfies the needs of the customers and of the business. His insightful questions and deep listening help the organization discover opportunities to measure and improve those processes. His approach emphasizes collaboration and creativity to develop the outstanding leadership and highly responsive teams needed for continuous improvement and sustainable results. As a trainer, Tom emphasizes the practical application of continual improvement tools and techniques. Training participants develop work/life skills for critical assessment, for recognizing root causes of problems, and for streamlining processes to enhanced customer satisfaction. Tom’s prior professional experience includes roles in engineering, quality, and operations management. Since 1986, his consulting practice has focused on developing skills for organizational excellence. Clients include United Airlines, Cox Communications, Cuyahoga Community College, Ohio Saving Bank, St. Ives- USA, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland Clinic, Pierre’s Ice Cream, Kent State University, and the Cleveland Indians.
Jarvis Bills Sr.
Course Design and Training
Jarvis Bills Sr. designs courses and facilitates professional development and team building sessions for Improve Consulting and Training Group. He also leads the Young Professional Services which provides resume writing, college and career preparation as well as life and soft skills workshops.
Jarvis has multiple years of experience in fields ranging from sales territory management to independent insurance contracting. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree with a concentration in Business Management and a Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt certification from Baldwin-Wallace University. He also holds the following training certifications from Cleveland State University: Training & Development Basics, Needs Assessment & Analysis, Instructional Design & Development, Program Implementation & Evaluation, and Creative Training Activities.
His passion for excellence and advancement in everything from business practices to motivating and inspiring emerging leaders makes him a valuable asset to the Improve team and the communities that they serve.
Client and Administrative Services
Erica Guevarez is over client and administrative services at Improve Consulting and Training Group. Erica provides back office support and assistance to the team and coordinates activities and events within the facility. Erica has multiple years of experience in customer service and hospitality management. Since joining Improve Consulting, Erica has taken on the Administrative Assistant role for the Women’s Goal Setting and Accountability group, Organized Chaos. Additionally, her prior leadership and management experience working with organizations and teams has made her an integral part of the aMAZEing Team Building Experience through which organizations can learn to become more resilient, cohesive and productive.
Business Development & Client engagement
Joia Franks brings a unique combination of experiences from business development, human resources, and client engagement to her role as overseer of Business Development & Client Engagement. In promoting Improve’s unique services, Joia’s primary focus is to generate awareness among prospective clients, and to develop and maintain relationships with existing clients.
Prior to joining Improve Consulting & Training Group, Joia spent several years in the staffing/executive placement industry where she held the titles of business program manager and national client operations manager.
Joia graduated from Alabama State University where she studied marketing and business administration. As a member of the student government association there, Joia developed and implemented several marketing/promotion campaigns for a variety of major events and special projects.
In addition to her love for athletics and her passion for “the arts”, Joia values spending quality time with her family.
Organizational Behavior Research
Catrina Palmer is the Organizational Behavior Research Associate at Improve Consulting and Training Group. She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Organizational Behavior at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey. Her research interests includes diversity, team dynamics and gender identities. Catrina completed both her Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Business Administration degree with a concentration in Human Resources Management at Kent State University. Her professional experiences include serving as a Global Human Resource Analyst at Lincoln Electric in Cleveland, Ohio; and Academic Advisor Coordinator at Kent State University, College of Business. A culmination of Catrina’s experiences, including Improve Consulting and Training Group, has led her to develop an interest in team dynamics and behavior.