Senior IT Consultant
Are your technology projects missing deadlines? Is your IT team having challenges communicating with other departments?
Richard has over 30 years of experience in consulting, management of technology teams, data analytics, and as an enterprise architect. From directing $400K to $3M initiatives to managing over $20M in VC/equity funding, Richard understands how to achieve success and what to do when you have it. One of his greatest successes was the transition he made from advertising and marketing to a new project that resulted in moving the needle on children’s’ education throughout our country. Richard’s work building Interactive Achievement allowed him to make a powerful impact and one he expects will continue with the PowerSchool organization, who recently acquired Interactive Achievement.
With experience as an enterprise architect with organizations like NASA, AOL, Discovery Channel, and Freddie Mac, Richard led teams that consistently delivered the right innovation at the right time.
Richard has a talent of transforming low performing IT teams with his ability to synergize the worlds of technology, business, and people.
Richard is an expert in SQL and other business analytic tools that allow him to find holes in data that others can’t and presents them to clients in a language they can understand. Combining this with his “big picture” understanding of success, it is not surprising that Richard is highly regarded as a community technology leader.
In Jonathan Hagmaier’s book, Aha to All In, about the rise of Interactive Achievement, he describes the period when Richard entered the organization as the beginning of the “Golden Era”. Working with Cortex, Richard will be able to help you usher in your own golden era of growth.
Courtland James, CPBA, CPDFA
Courtland James currently resides in Richmond, Virginia, with his wife and two children. His main focus is an executive with CapitalOne. Courtland continues to contribute as a coach to some of the team members at Cortex and may be available for a limited number of coaching assignments.
Courtland has shifted his focus from leading and training some of the most motivated, disciplined, and intelligent teams in the military, to developing leaders and teams in business and civilian organizations. His experiences as a Marine Corps Tank Officer have shaped him into an advanced, forward-thinking leader who is constantly asking the question, “What can we do better?”
At age 22, Courtland endured the most grueling and intensive leadership training in the world during his 3-month initiation into the Marine Corps at Officer’s Candidate School in Quantico, Virginia. At 24, Courtland led a tank platoon on over 100 combat missions in Afghanistan, always achieving the two primary objectives of every Marine Corps unit – “mission accomplishment” and “troop welfare.” At 26, he designed and implemented a comprehensive annual training program that set the current standard by which his unit’s Anti-Tank Missile Platoon is trained. These, and the many other experiences leading and training Marine Corps combat units, give Courtland a unique perspective on the leadership challenges today’s millennial business leaders face in their organizations and an effective framework from which to draw to develop solutions to overcome them.
Courtland earned his executive coaching certification from the Center for Executive Coaching, is a Certified Professional Behaviors Analyst (CPBA) and Certified Professional Driving Forces Analyst (CPDFA) through Target Training International, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from Virginia Tech. He has also completed some of the most challenging leadership training programs the military has to offer. These include the Marine Corps Officer’s Candidate Course, Basic Officer’s Course, and Fire Support Coordination Center Course and the US Army’s Armor Basic Officer Leader’s Course, Airborne Course, and Army Reconnaissance Course.
Currently a Captain in the United States Marine Corps Reserve, Courtland continues to serve in the position of Tank Company Executive Officer with Alpha Company, 4th Tank Battalion. His professional awards include a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and Combat Action Ribbon for meritorious combat service in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Baraka Kasongo is a transformational leader and CEO of Volatia Language Network and was named an Inspiring Leader by Virginia at Work. He demonstrates an exceptional ability to lead, innovate, and pioneer new paths through his collaborative nature. His passion for bridging language and cultural barriers is fueled by Baraka’s experience of being a refugee fleeing from a genocide and being a refugee in five different countries over a span of seven years. Baraka founded VOLATIA to be the means through which he can mitigate linguistic and cultural disparities that exist in every community throughout the United States and around the world. To learn more about Baraka’s story click here.
He serves on numerous boards that focus on creating and fostering diversity and inclusion at every point of contact.
Baraka’s newest endeavor is a collaborative educational experience with Cortex Leadership designed for corporations and organizations known as “Escape from the Biasphere”. His energetic, experienced, and light-hearted approach to the keynote speech, breakout session, or full day training, educates and delights audiences and attendees about the power of working together for optimal outcomes, regardless of gender, race, or cultural background.
To find out more about booking Baraka for your upcoming conference, corporate event, or team building session or leadership training, contact Cortex at 540.776.9219 or [email protected]
Baraka holds a bachelor of science degree in Management & Leadership from Bluefield College, an associate of applied science in Emergency Management from Frederick Community College, and is certified as a Green Belt Lean Six Sigma practitioner through Virginia Tech.
Ken has made a career out of leading change in one of the toughest environments to do it in, local government. Ken’s biggest strength proved to be his ability to navigate the politics of different initiatives while maintaining the tenacity and focus on the things that would matter most to the “customers” of the City – the citizens. His understanding and experience in effective communication and team building lead to forward momentum towards the change his region needed to see.
As the Director of General Services/Sustainability, Ken was responsible for a budget in excess of $14 million with a staff of 100. In this role, Roanoke reduced energy consumption by 16 percent between 2009 and 2015. This initiative was recognized by the US Department of Energy in 2015 as part of their Better Buildings Challenge.
For more than 17 years Ken was responsible for a broad range of human resources and risk management functions as the Director of Human Resources for the City of Roanoke. He took the lead on major changes to the human resource function at the City by establishing a pay-for-performance employee evaluation system and by establishing an on-site physician program that helped stabilize health care costs. He won the 2005 ICMA Program Excellence Award for Innovations in Local Government with his white paper, “Managing the Rising Cost of Health Care”.
Some of Ken’s major accomplishments include: development of strategic plans for each division; improved long-term strategies to save energy and provide environmentally responsible facilities; establishment of a properly sized fleet; implementation of a vendor self-service automated system; development of methods to increase small and locally owned businesses in the purchasing process; improved efficiency and effectiveness of the risk management program; establishment of the Citizens Green Academy. Through the Virginia Municipal League, Ken provided state-wide training to local governments regarding carbon reduction strategies.
Other awards include winner of the inaugural Virginia Municipal League’s Green Government Challenge with Platinum awards in subsequent years; national recognition by Office Depot with the Green Purchasing Award for sustainable purchasing; recognition by the Roanoke Valley Cool Cities Coalition as the outstanding local government official, 2009.
Ken holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration degree, Bachelor of Arts in History, and has attended countless, robust, leadership training programs from established institutions like the University of Virginia and Cornell University.
Ken is an experienced in Executive Level Coaching and has the experience in leading along with leadership training that any size organization can benefit from.