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OUR TEAM

Kristin Cullen-Lester, PhD - Chief People Scientist

Kristin is an organizational psychologist and Assistant Professor of Management at the University of Mississippi. She received her Ph.D. from Auburn University in 2011. Her research focuses on relational aspects of leadership, including the role of networks in leadership effectiveness, complex collaboration, and implementing change within organizations. She publishes her research in top academic journals. For example, her paper, Integrating networks into leadership development: A conceptual model and evaluation of research and practice, was recognized as the best paper published in 2017 in The Leadership Quarterly. Learn more about Kristin's ongoing research, including a project examining the networks of top executives.


Cassaundra Brownell - Chief Revenue Officer

Cassaundra Brownell is an experienced executive and serial entrepreneur. She is currently CFO and founder/co-owner to a real estate company, an operations management company, a logistics company, and two transportation companies. She believes that the bottom line is reflective of strong teams and processes. She has a strong background in strategy and consulting and has partnered with Fortune 100 organizations in creating solutions and learning journeys that enable their people strategies and drive business outcomes. Prior to joining Network Leader, she was a Strategic Business Partner at the Center for Creative Leadership where she oversaw the delivery of leadership development, assessments, global learning products (digital), executive coaching products, and services. Cassaundra holds a BS in Marketing and an MBA in Entrepreneurship.


Ryan Higley - Creative Director

Ryan is a multi-media designer who knows how important effective design can be in helping people understand complex ideas. His BFA in animation and his Masters in graphic information technology helps him craft videos, layouts, and user experiences for Network Leader that communicate those important ideas in clear and concise ways. Working as an instructional designer, video editor and graphic designer in the education and leadership development field for a majority of his career informs a lot of his work with Network Leader. Ryan also created and manages his personal YouTube channel with 40 million views and 20 thousand subscribers which helps him understand the community building and analytics side of online marketing.


Christopher Kirkos - Technology

Chris is an experienced Software Engineering Lead with an academic background in Social Network Analysis. During the day, he builds scalable software systems and technology teams. At night, he researches networks and builds tools to help people understand and improve theirs. He studied Computer Science and Software Engineering at Steven's Institute of Technology, and Social Network Analysis at George Mason University.


Phil Willburn - Strategic Advisor, Board of Directors

Phil is currently the Vice President of People Analytics at Workday where he helps Workday make better people decisions by creating data-driven solutions for HR and Business leaders. Prior to joining Workday, he was a senior faculty member at the Center for Creative Leadership where he integrated a "network perspective" into leadership development strategies and programs for global Fortune 500 companies. Early in his career Phil worked inside the intelligence community teaching network identification and analysis. It was this experience that inspired him to bring the complex world of network research and analysis to everyone by making it easy to understand and apply.