Six Sigma Certifications


+ Training Workshops Held


Attendees in 30+ Cities


+ Organizations Served

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, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Cleveland Jewish News, Cleveland.com and Crain’s Cleveland Business.

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.”

Previously, Ellen served as a Senior Vice President and Senior Director of Operational Excellence, IT Performance Management and Governance for PNC Financial Services. Prior to the financial services industry, Ellen worked in the electronics industry where she led global teams in several functions at 3M Company in St. Paul, MN.

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. Ellen is also an active volunteer and supporter for a host of community-related organizations across the US and provides college scholarships through her fund at The Cleveland Foundation. She is also a member of the National Wellness Institute.


Erica Guevarez

Program Manager


Erica Guevarez is the Program Manager at Improve Consulting and Training Group. Erica provides back office support and coordinates all activities and events within the facility. Erica has multiple years of experience in customer service and hospitality management. Additionally, her prior leadership and management experience working with organizations and teams has made her an integral part of the Team Building Experience through which organizations can learn to become more resilient, cohesive and productive.


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.

Catrina Palmer

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.