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Meet Our International Team

The Bridging Principles™ is an international entity with regional representation in various parts of the world. Our team and organizational structure continues to expand as we reach into new regions and our community grows! Currently, we have representation in Canada, Europe, New Zealand and the United States. Click on the appropriate region below to learn more about our team members!

CANADA & NEW ZEALAND
Leah Taylor Best

Leah Taylor Best

CEO for U.S. & Canada
Georgia, U.S.A.
Location

Leah Taylor Best is the CEO and Lead Master Facilitator for The Bridging Principles™ in Canada and the United States. She is also an overseeing director in Europe. Leah teaches cultural anthropology at Augusta University in Georgia, United States. She is also a Senior Associate for I DO BUSINESS. Inc., supporting emerging and established entrepreneurs to obtain the knowledge, skills and resources they need to achieve dreams and find success
in business.

Leah’s driving force in life is to help create opportunities for people from diverse cultural backgrounds to find common ground and collaborate together to create a more prosperous and peaceful world for all. Her academic work reflects this personal passion, focusing on globalization issues, international development, and Indigenous knowledge.

Her international work experiences in places like Jamaica, Namibia, Peru, and the United States have gifted her with unique insights into the importance of having strong intercultural communication skills to build bridges for success in business and beyond.

Leah comments, “Learning about The Bridging Principles™ has transformed my life. Since I have incorporated these Principles into my daily practices, I have increased my capacity for building effective partnerships, problem solving, and resolving conflicts in a manner that leaves both sides satisfied with the outcome. The Bridging Principles™ are an essential tool that people in our globalizing world need more today than ever before. Humankind is at a fork in the road. One path, based in entrenched conflicts, anger, and fear, will lead only to increased discrimination, economic and political insecurity, violence, and war. The other path, based in mutual respect for our differences while celebrating our commonalities, can help us create a world where all people can thrive and find joy in their lives on their own cultural terms.”

Leah has a Masters Degree in Globalization Studies from McMaster University, with an undergraduate degree in International Development Studies. When she’s not busy building bridges across cultures, Leah loves to be out walking in the woods with her life partner, Jess, or just relaxing with her pet family: two dogs, a horse, and California Kingsnake.

 

    Jamie Varga

    Jamie Varga

    Master Facilitator
    Ontario, Canada
    Location

     

    Jamie is a wonderful speaker with a passion for effective communication and positive interaction on any level. He draws on a diverse range of training, education as well as real world life experiences ranging from certified construction health and safety programs to leadership training and conflict resolution. Creative and professional writing, visual arts, performing in a band and hosting a weekly radio program fill Jamie’s spare time which is scarce while raising three young daughters.

    In hopes of creating a healthier community, Jamie strives to help guide people in all sorts of situations but sees a desperate need for cultural knowledge to be shared between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people not only throughout Canada but especially at home in Northern Ontario. “The more I learn about First Nation peoples and their cultures the more I can’t help but wonder how vastly better off we would all be now if we had adopted their perspectives instead of the other way around. I think The Bridging Principles™ might be a way for us to take advantage of that concept and apply it to everyone, everywhere.”

    Rosemary Wyndham-Jones

    Rosemary Wyndham-Jones

    Master Facilitator
    New Zealand
    Location

    Rosemary Wyndham-Jones is one of two Master Facilitators who can offer The Bridging Principles™ – Equine Guided Learning program that utilizes Horse-Assisted-Education to teach people how to use these Principles to improve their communications across cultures.

    Rosemary is a natural horse-friendship trainer, an EAGALA Facilitator (Equine Specialist), an EPONAQUEST Riding Focused Instructor and qualified with Hildrud Strasser in Holistic Horse and Hoof-care Management. Alongside her fourteen strong herd of horses she studies the dynamics and relational development of the horse/human connection. She has a warm, accepting and welcoming presence, an encouraging, relaxed style of coaching and her intuitive understanding and knowledge of horses is impressive.

    Rosemary shares, “My intention in living and sharing The Bridging Principles™ is to uplift and enhance my life and the lives
    of others.”

     

    James Wilkinson

    James Wilkinson

    Master Facilitator
    Northern Ontario, Canada
    Location

     

    James (JC) Wilkinson is a singer/songwriter, concert producer, guitar/vocal/performance/recording trainer and coach/instructor and Cultural Trainer and Walk-a-Mile Training Facilitator. He is also Director of Talents Academy and Recording Studio, Director of Operations for Wiidosem (wee-doh-sem) that works with youth (18-30) artists in Northwestern Ontario and Northern Native communities teaching music and media programs that help the youth find their voices and express them in a healthy manner.

    James became a facilitator for the Walk-a-Mile project in 2015 to help raise awareness about the historical and present relationship between Canada and the Aboriginal Peoples who inhabited this land before the country was formed. Additionally, he was hired to conduct cultural training sessions for the City of Thunder Bay which has been deemed mandatory by the City Council’s Declaration of Commitment.

    James began his training in The Bridging Principles™ in Oct of 2016 to enhance the work he already does in the community as well as in the region of Northwestern Ontario. However once the training began he saw the importance of embracing The Bridging Principles in his personal and professional life and has undertaken the training to achieve his Master Facilitator’s License.

    James shares why he is participating in the program: “The Bridging Principles™ are a comprehensive, grounded and ultimately more effective set of working principles that will definitely enhance my professional and personal life, to the point that I chose to take the training and spread this wonderful message as far and as wide as I am able.”

    Check out some of James’ film work on YouTube:
    “It’s Our Call – Healing Mother Earth”
    Were Still Here Project – Hope and Unity 2011

     

    Your Name Here

    Your Name Here

    Learn how to become a Master Facilitator!

     

    Would you like to share your own stories of relationship building and teach others how to build bridges to successful partnerships in any context? We are looking for people to take the lead in spreading The Bridging Principles™ across Canada and beyond.

    An ideal candidate to become a Master Facilitator will have three or more of the following qualities/prior experiences:

    • Teaching/training experience and qualifications
    • Facilitation experience and qualifications
    • Self-starter and entrepreneurial spirit
    • Experience running your own business
    • Experience working in diverse environments
    • Proven ability to network and build effective business relationships
    • Value diversity, development of positive relationships and business development, and cooperative teams
    • Adhere to ethical business practices
    UNITED STATES
    Leah Taylor Best

    Leah Taylor Best

    CEO for U.S. & Canada
    Georgia, U.S.A.
    Location

    Leah Taylor Best is the CEO and Lead Master Facilitator for The Bridging Principles™ in Canada and the United States. She is also an overseeing director in Europe. Leah teaches cultural anthropology at Augusta University in Georgia, United States. She is also a Senior Associate for I DO BUSINESS. Inc., supporting emerging and established entrepreneurs to obtain the knowledge, skills and resources they need to achieve dreams and find success
    in business.

    Leah’s driving force in life is to help create opportunities for people from diverse cultural backgrounds to find common ground and collaborate together to create a more prosperous and peaceful world for all. Her academic work reflects this personal passion, focusing on globalization issues, international development, and Indigenous knowledge.

    Her international work experiences in places like Jamaica, Namibia, Peru, and the United States have gifted her with unique insights into the importance of having strong intercultural communication skills to build bridges for success in business and beyond.

    Leah comments, “Learning about The Bridging Principles™ has transformed my life. Since I have incorporated these Principles into my daily practices, I have increased my capacity for building effective partnerships, problem solving, and resolving conflicts in a manner that leaves both sides satisfied with the outcome. The Bridging Principles™ are an essential tool that people in our globalizing world need more today than ever before. Humankind is at a fork in the road. One path, based in entrenched conflicts, anger, and fear, will lead only to increased discrimination, economic and political insecurity, violence, and war. The other path, based in mutual respect for our differences while celebrating our commonalities, can help us create a world where all people can thrive and find joy in their lives on their own cultural terms.”

    Leah has a Masters Degree in Globalization Studies from McMaster University, with an undergraduate degree in International Development Studies. When she’s not busy building bridges across cultures, Leah loves to be out walking in the woods with her life partner, Jess, or just relaxing with her pet family: two dogs, a horse, and California Kingsnake.

     

    Jennifer Salina Grizzard

    Jennifer Salina Grizzard

    Chief Operating Officer
    New Hampshire, U.S.A.
    Location

     

    Jennifer Salina Grizzard is the Chief Operating Officer for The Bridging Principles US™. Salina’s role spans across several departments in the organization. Salina spearheads marketing and development with our NGO and education organizations to create collaborations and outreach to help these organizations achieve their missions and create a broader culture of acceptance. Salina also directs corporate sales and partnerships which offers companies of all sizes the opportunity to train their teams and increase their company’s productivity by activating positive management strategies and conflict resolution.

    Salina comes to The Bridging Principles™ with a diverse background of service and funding experience. Salina has worked for two decades fighting for mental health, women’s equality, LBGTQ rights, children and family services, education equality, and anti-racism campaigns. Over the last decade, Salina has raised more than 6.5 million dollars for these causes and is honored to continue her work in the campaign for equality and diversity with The Bridging Principles™.

    For Salina, The Bridging Principles™ is programing that is a framework for how businesses and organizations can grow and become more productive as well as a structure that can be used to fall back on when difficulties arise. Salina believes that every business has it’s difficulties but she pushes the envelope and asks the bigger question: How do you solve those conflicts when they arise? As businesses move forward in this fast pace and ever changing world, every company and organization can benefit from these tools and the timeless wisdom of the 5 Principles. The Principles can ignite you and offer you and your teams courage and strength and the Principles will support a vision of equality and stability for future generations.

    When Salina is not working on equality infrastructure she is an avid yogi and chef, who enjoys her garden and the outdoors whenever possible in every season. Salina is a devoted mother and wife who lives with her husband Patrick, their amazing daughters and their Shepard Loki in New Hampshire US.

     

    Rob Pliskin

    Rob Pliskin

    Master Facilitator
    New Zealand
    Ohio, U.S.A.

     

    Rob Pliskin is one of two Master Facilitators who can offer The Bridging Principles™ – Equine Guided Learning program. This program utilizes the Horse-Assisted-Education approach to teach people how to use these Principles to improve their communications across cultures through experiential exercises with horses.

    Rob is the only Advanced Dual Certified EAGALA facilitator in New Zealand. Rob was gentling wild horses at Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue in Lancaster when he witnessed and then helped guide the profound and spontaneous healing occurring between wild horses and clinic participants there to learn gentling. He certified as an EAGALA professional working with a diverse group of clients including county high school programs in the US for youth-at-risk, the Amish and Mennonite communities, the Israel Defense Forces, and the clients of Dune Lakes Lodge and Equine Pathfinders. As a Masters level Social Worker with license in the US Rob has completed the Graduate Training Program at the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland, and Dr. Herb Stevenson’s Gestalt Coaching Intensive, helping him to build coaching programs with horses for leaders and teams. He is on the board of The Cloud Foundation, an advocacy organization for the wild horses and burros of America.

    Rob shares with us that, “The reason I share The Bridging Principles™ is to help us all build relationships in which we are safe, respected, included, and fulfilled.”

     

    Your Name Here

    Your Name Here

    Learn how to become a Master Facilitator!

     

    Would you like to share your own stories of relationship building and teach others how to build bridges to successful partnerships in any context? We are looking for people to take the lead in spreading The Bridging Principles™ across Canada and beyond.

    An ideal candidate to become a Master Facilitator will have three or more of the following qualities/prior experiences:

    • Teaching/training experience and qualifications
    • Facilitation experience and qualifications
    • Self-starter and entrepreneurial spirit
    • Experience running your own business
    • Experience working in diverse environments
    • Proven ability to network and build effective business relationships
    • Value diversity, development of positive relationships and business development, and cooperative teams
    • Adhere to ethical business practices
    EUROPE
    Barend Gerretsen

    Barend Gerretsen

    Master Facilitator
    The Netherlands
    Location

     

    Barend Gerretsen is an entrepreneur, organizational psychologist, coach and trainer. Here, he has focused on working with horses. In the last 20 years he was a partner and founder of different training organizations, specialized in management and team training. In his today’s enterprise Zeyn (www.zeyn.nu) the focus is on leadership development.

    Barend is experienced in developing training programs, in training groups and in individual coaching. He specialized in the training with horses as a mirror of the human ‘personality’. Barend Gerretsen a Licensed HorseDream Partner and provides train the trainer seminars in the Netherlands.

     

    Helga Meurs

    Helga Meurs

    Master Facilitator
    The Netherlands
    Location

     

    Helga Meurs is co-partner in the organization Zeyn and more than 20 years active as a trainer and coach, in which horses are an active component throughout this training. She is a certified HorseDream trainer.

    Helga provides training to both, organizations and companies in the Netherlands and abroad as well coaching sessions to individual persons. She also provides training in social skills for students and adolescents through the interaction with horses, in which the main themes are aggression-regulation and enhance resilience.

    Key points in Helga`s training sessions are raising awareness about the impact of non-verbal communication, literally get moving, and finding inner strength. Central to this, is the development of (personal) leadership. Furthermore, she is working as energetic- and integrative massage therapist for horses and is specialized in the studying of horse-behavior. In addition to this is Helga an educated and experienced “Centered Riding Instructor Level 2”, which central focus is on posture and motion of the rider. She is a member of EAHAE, EAGALA and AAIZOO.

     

    Sven Laue

    Sven Laue

    Master Facilitator
    Wiesbaden, Germany
    Location

     

    Sven Laue is a manager, consultant and social entrepreneur with long-term experience in financial steering of international technology, R&D, and growth-driven companies. He has extensive experience effectively leading international, culturally diverse teams. Sven has a Master of Business Administration from the Catholic University Eichstaett-Ingolstadt.

    Sven shares his intentions for becoming a Master Facilitator:

    “In recent years, our world has become very much international. At the same time our communication tools have totally changed compared to 20 years ago. Many people do not know how to react to this situation. They escape into an ethnocentric world and start to talk about other people, not with other people.
    To cope in an international world together with today’s communication tools, we need to know how to communicate and how to avoid misunderstandings. However, shared operating guidelines for international communication are missing. The Bridging Principles™ have the capability to be these guidelines. I would like to be a guide who shows people how to talk with each other rather than about each other and help to establish The Bridging Principles™.”

     

    Dory Estrada

    Dory Estrada

    Certified Facilitator
    Wels, Austria
    Location

     

    Dory Estrada achieved her B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Tampa in 2013. After graduating, she worked as a Project Coordinator with an environmental non-profit organization in Tampa for 2 years, where she discovered a passion for sustainable gardening, community development, grant-writing and food justice. Her previous experience abroad in Costa Rica as an undergraduate and volunteering on an eco-farm ignited her interest in permaculture, and in the summer of 2015, Dory attended an intensive course to achieve her internationally-recognized Permaculture Design Certificate. Dory co-founded a sustainable agriculture-focused start-up for 1.5 years, where she developed an interest in social enterprise and entrepreneurship as powerful tools for change. Dory is a recipient of the DAAD scholarship and completed her Master’s degree entitled Integrated Urbanism and Sustainable Design in Stuttgart, Germany in Fall 2017.

    Carmen Valenzuela

    Carmen Valenzuela

    Master Facilitator
    Spain
    Location

     

    Carmen Valenzuela is a mother of two children, daughter, sister, friend and entrepreneur, but also so much more than these roles. Carmen has a law degree, public management expertise, a PhD in European Union studies and many diplomas as a therapist. In 2014, Carmen launched HorseDream España to expand Horse Assisted Education in Spain and others Spanish speaking countries, providing professional development trainings based on this concept.

    Carmen shares that “In 2015, I discovered that my mission in life was to bring more light and consciousness to the world giving people tools for living our lives from the perspective of happiness, love, compassion and consciousness.” This conviction about her life purpose has helped her to create her own products and services, providing her clients with integration tools for evolution (personal development) and HorseDream seminars ( professional development tools). Carmen lives in southern Spain, in Andalusia.

    All of these aspects of her life are currently integrated in her personal brand www.carmenvalenzuela.com, that showcases her services as a consultant, trainer (with and without horses) and therapist.

    Carmen shares: “At this moment in my life it’s an honour being accepted in this Sacred Place and I hope to integrate The Bridging Principles™ into my personal and professional life. I hope I will contribute to expand this way of life in Spain and in other countries.”

     

    Your Name Here

    Your Name Here

    Learn how to become a Master Facilitator!

     

    Would you like to share your own stories of relationship building and teach others how to build bridges to successful partnerships in any context? We are looking for people to take the lead in spreading The Bridging Principles™ across Canada and beyond.

    An ideal candidate to become a Master Facilitator will have three or more of the following qualities/prior experiences:

    • Teaching/training experience and qualifications
    • Facilitation experience and qualifications
    • Self-starter and entrepreneurial spirit
    • Experience running your own business
    • Experience working in diverse environments
    • Proven ability to network and build effective business relationships
    • Value diversity, development of positive relationships and business development, and cooperative teams
    • Adhere to ethical business practices
    UPCOMING MASTER FACILITATORS
    Charlotte Larocque

    Charlotte Larocque

    Upcoming Master Facilitator
    Manitoba, Canada
    Location

     

    Charlotte Larocque is a Metis entrepreneur, CEO of Mikinak Group, former Executive Director and Sr. HR Director of Spirit Staffing & Consulting Brandon Inc. and President of ius Opes. Charlotte specializes in Leadership Development, Workforce Development, Leadership Coaching, Intercultural Communication and Supervisor Training. As a private company she has the flexibility to go to sites and remote locations, customize plans and programs to fit their specific needs and incorporate the psychological aspects required for effective achievement of goals, as well as the technical. Coast to coast, bottom to top, she is all about the thinking behind the actions.

    Being 100% Aboriginal owned and operated, Charlotte has extensive experience working with Aboriginal Communities to prepare, strengthen and engage their members in the workforce while maintaining their traditional culture, values and beliefs. This is done through creating relationships, building trust, delivering programs such as workforce preparation and overcoming barriers to meaningful, long-term employment. Charlotte strongly believes in the success that can come from having a diverse way of thinking and behavioral flexibility. Charlotte is a strong, influential leader and asset, who brings professionalism, innovation and drive to various public and private sectors.

    Charlotte was raised in Northern Manitoba and recently moved back to the north after calling Brandon home for 17 years. In addition to her own business, Charlotte also works in Human Resources at University College of the North in Thompson, Manitoba.

     

    Dougall Meloney

    Dougall Meloney

    Upcoming Master Facilitator
    Southern Ontario, Canada
    Location

     

    Dougall was born in Winnipeg, the heart of the prairies, and grew up through hot summers and northern winters there. He moved to Northern Ontario and spent his teen years learning to love the lakes and northern forests.

    His first venture into business was a commercial diving company, started with his family when he was seventeen. This eventually grew to include a SCUBA retail store and training center. His varied career has included many years in business, including several advertising and marketing companies, a silk screen printing venture, a camera store and custom darkroom, and a scientific glassblowing business. He has also worked in industry as an analyst in pollution control labs.

    He is a scientific glassblower, and makes art glass as a hobby. Teaching has been a constant theme, with Dougall teaching photography, SCUBA diving, industrial safety, industrial policy. glassblowing and lately entrepreneurship for Aboriginal Youth.

    His passion has always been to share knowledge and ability, and he regards his greatest achievements to be the positive changes in the lives of those he has taught and mentored.

     

    Your Name Here

    Your Name Here

    Learn how to become a Master Facilitator!

     

    Would you like to share your own stories of relationship building and teach others how to build bridges to successful partnerships in any context? We are looking for people to take the lead in spreading The Bridging Principles™ across Canada and beyond.

    An ideal candidate to become a Master Facilitator will have three or more of the following qualities/prior experiences:

    • Teaching/training experience and qualifications
    • Facilitation experience and qualifications
    • Self-starter and entrepreneurial spirit
    • Experience running your own business
    • Experience working in diverse environments
    • Proven ability to network and build effective business relationships
    • Value diversity, development of positive relationships and business development, and cooperative teams
    • Adhere to ethical business practices