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Sheila Lewis | Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer

Sheila Lewis

A rare combination of analytical and creative talent, Sheila began her product development career climbing the ranks of corporate America at firms including Quaker Oats, Visa International, and Lane Bryant. After 15 years, she founded Flyin’ West, a business and marketing strategy consultancy. From 1997 to 2012 Sheila grew the firm into a highly respected firm with satisfied clients and consultants from coast to coast. Essential to Flyin’ West’s success was Sheila’s uncanny ability to select, assemble and support remote project teams.

In 2012, Flyin’ West expanded its services to include interim staffing which signaled the need for a new brand. Adding the expertise of co-founder Mary Ann Munro, Ashton212 opened for business providing clients with a whole new way of thinking about the use of the professional contingent workforce 3.0.

Sheila enjoys the art and act of building and expanding business. Over the years she has worked with entrepreneurs and their leadership teams to link the thought of business growth to the business rigor and behavior necessary to achieve it. She concentrates on themes addressing not only how companies and executive management must recalibrate their thinking and actions to move forward. Through Ashton212’s Business Transformation & Innovation Practice, Sheila and other senior consultants work with clients to create a vision for growth and a roadmap for getting there.

 Sheila is a sought-after speaker with a gift for inspiring her audiences on topics that are critical in the establishment, growth and sustainability of business. She also regularly serves as an emcee for charitable events. A longtime volunteer leader, Sheila works with select nonprofit organizations to help them to refine processes and enhance awareness of these groups in the community. She currently serves on the Northwestern Board of Directors of Operation HOPE; the Leadership Committee of 2.Oakland; the Economic Development Committee of the Oakland Chamber of Commerce; and the Executive Board of Advisors of the Bay Area Women Leader's Network.

Sheila earned her BS in Business Administration from Washington University in St Louis, Missouri and her MBA with highest honors in marketing and finance from Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia. 

Connect with Sheila Lewis on LinkedIn!Sheila Lewis LinkedIn

Mary Ann Munro | Co-founder and President 

Mary Ann’s diverse background includes management and finance expertise in both corporate and entrepreneurial sectors. From 1990 until 2012, she advanced from vice president to senior vice president to president of Strategic Resources Alliance (SRA), a provider of integrated contingent workforce services that assisted middle market and Fortune 1000 companies in finding outstanding human resources to meet their clients’ business objectives.

At SRA, Mary Ann developed a solid sales strategy rooted in her firm belief that understanding client needs and building long-term relationships are beneficial both for clients and the company. As the staffing industry has become increasingly commoditized, Mary Ann has proven that a more personal approach centered on truly understanding and anticipating the needs of clients produces excellent results. "The joy," she says, "is being able to put disparate parts together that you would never have thought could work. It's like solving a puzzle with a great outcome—putting people to work."

Prior to her SRA tenure, Mary Ann had a robust career with Wells Fargo that included service in retail banking, corporate banking, trust and investment services, and human resources.

A frequent panelist on the topic of contingent workforces, Mary Ann is also adept at moderating panel discussions. She has been committed to empowering women and girls throughout her career.  

A graduate of Purdue University, Mary Ann recently completed a certificate in management development for entrepreneurs, an invitation-only program of the Anderson School of Management at UCLA.

Connect with Mary Ann Munro on LinkedIn!Mary Ann Munro LinkedIn

Mercedes E. Martin, Executive Vice President, Business Transformation & Innovation

Mercedes E. Martin

Like you, business consultant, leadership expert and coach Mercedes Martin has noticed that phrases such as business transformation, disruption and innovation frequently are used to describe the current business climate. Because business journals offer an endless array of leadership solutions with very little measurable impact, Mercedes wondered if there was a better way and a new, exciting leadership approach. She believes there is.

With more than two decades of global business consulting experience, Mercedes’ views on leadership are radically different from what we find in journals and online sources. She knows that advancing the latest model, framework, theory and buzz words, without first exploring the deeper personal and business context in which they’ve arisen, inhibits real transformation and the mindset disruption essential for navigating today’s complex business world. Mercedes also knows that incorporating the basic human needs—to be seen, heard and to feel a sense of belonging—into leadership models builds the courage, vulnerability and personal power needed to navigate the uncharted journey to transformation. Unlike many leadership consultants, Mercedes weaves the political, social and economic factors into a rich cultural context for the work, which yields a more powerful and relevant collective impact.

Before joining Ashton212 to design and build the Business Transformation & Innovation practice, Mercedes spent nearly ten years at Ernst & Young (EY) as a Talent Development and Organizational Change Consultant, and certified Executive Coach. There she consulted, facilitated and coached internal leaders across the Americas to align market and talent strategies by building high-performing global teams. Much of this work was driven by global mergers and acquisitions.

Prior to her tenure at EY, Ms. Martin was cofounder and CEO of InPartnership Consulting, where she specialized in business strategy, leadership development, and global diversity. She worked with executives in small and mid-sized businesses in the Americas, West Africa, and Europe. She is a pioneer in designing global leadership and diversity training programs for senior leaders, women and people of color for Fortune 50 companies such as PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Shell Oil, and Kellogg’s. 

Early in her career, Mercedes served as a member of the United States Air Force, initially as a Critical Care and Trauma Nurse. She was promoted to Staff Development Officer, tasked with training officers and enlisted medical personnel in professional and leadership development. Martin achieved Master Facilitator status in USAF’s Total Quality Management Training

After earning a Bachelor of Science in Transcultural Nursing from the University of Miami, Mercedes obtained her Master of Science in Leadership Development from the University of San Francisco. She holds multiple certifications, including in 360o Assessment Coaching from the Center for Creative Leadership, Diversity Facilitation from IBM, and Executive Coaching from Results Coaching Systems and Mindfulness Coaching—a brain-based approach that applies discoveries in the field of neuroscience to develop personal communication and leadership skills. 

Connect with Sheila Lewis on LinkedIn!Mercedes E. Martin LinkedIn

 

Brenda Adams Sterling | Chief Financial Officer

Brenda Adams Sterling

Brenda combines more than 40 years’ financial experience with proven organizational and managerial skills. Her clients have ranged from start-ups to international Fortune 500 companies, and her areas of specialization include financial, systems, mergers and acquisitions, leadership and corporate culture change, workforce motivation strategies, cross-cultural communication, operations and training.

Brenda’s practice specializes in providing CFO consulting services for a variety of clients including entrepreneurial ventures, not-for-profit organizations and colleges, financial services companies and retailers. She also provides internal audit support for SOX compliance with public companies. Her corporate positions have included Vice-President of Operations and Controller, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Administrative Officer, and Senior Auditor. In addition, she has founded two businesses and grown them to profitability.

Brenda has designed and conducted numerous seminars in the United States and Europe on a wide variety of business issues.  Her seminar on business planning, management, and delegation was given national recognition in USA Today and Vogue magazine. Among others organizations to which she belongs, Brenda is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and National Association of Women Business Owners. She has served in leadership positions for numerous non-profit organizations.

Brenda earned a BS in Accounting from the University of New Orleans, is a Certified Public Accountant and has extensive continuing education in the fields of management, finance and interpersonal skills.

Connect with Sheila Lewis on LinkedIn!Brenda Adams Sterling LinkedIn

Zareen Safi | Finance Manager

Zareen Safi

Zareen has held accounting positions since 2001, when she became an accounting assistant with a Walnut Creek, California-based CPA firm. She then became the Business Manager at a small advertising agency where she worked closely with an external CPA. For those who don't know, the financial management of an advertising agency is fast-paced with many layers of billables.

After stops at Jack in the Box, another CPA firm and a Sacramento-based consulting firm  all with increasing responsibilities, Zareen worked as the Accounting Supervisor at Sterling Administration, an Oakland healthcare company. There she managed the accounting team, was responsible for the monthly close and maintenance of all accounting ledgers, prepared financial reports and worked with internal and external auditors. 

When she’s not at work, Zareen enjoys time with her family, reading and travel. She plans to travel around the world!

Zareen earned an A.A. in Accounting from Diablo Valley College in 2002 and her B.A. in Psychology from California State University Hayward (now California State East Bay) in 2005. She expects to receive her MBA from St. Mary's College in 2017 and is now a CPA candidate.