MWI’s Executive Team is comprised of a passionate group of individuals who are dedicated to their objective of delivering high-impact, best-quality, and innovative solutions to MWI’s clients. Their mentorship and guidance has continued to build on their experience and has given rise to talented and motivated teams.

 

Melissa

Melissa D. Whitaker

CEO and Founder
LinkedIn

Melissa D. Whitaker is passionate about helping people in life and in business. Her motto is “Whatever you can conceive and believe, you can achieve.” Family is extremely important to Melissa, and is her ultimate driver in life. She especially wants her daughters to know that they can achieve anything they put their mind to.

Melissa is a sales & management expert, business consultant, international speaker and coach. She is the co-author of the best-selling books “Pushing to the Front” and “Beat the Curve,” with the legendary Brian Tracy (CEO, Best Selling Author, has consulted more than 1,000 companies, and given talks for 5 million people throughout US, Canada and 55 other countries) and the Founder/CEO of Melissa Whitaker International where she helps executives and their teams achieve alignment and drive profitable sales in an authentic way.

Through her proprietary program called MWI Total Sales Transformation System™ Melissa has helped thousands of sales reps and hundreds of companies achieve double digit percent increases in their business within the first year of working with her and her team. The transformation process creates long term sustainable growth through creating clarity, finding ideal clients, increasing sales, accountability, mindset and faith. Melissa is passionate about making sure people feel seen, heard and understood in her programs and in the corporate world.

Prior to founding Melissa Whitaker International (MWI), Melissa was the Director of Professional Development & Managed Print Services for a $40 million dollar technology company and a Global Relationship Manager / Business Analyst for a $54.3 billion dollar international organization. She has over 18 years of experience and success in sales, sales management, leadership, business development, and professional development.

Melissa loves to travel, enjoys all outdoor activities and is very active in her church. She is happily married to her husband for over 11 years, has two amazing young daughters, and a very lovable 110 lb. Rottweiler. Melissa is also active in her community and sponsors Compassion International and Foundation for His Ministry.

 

Tammi

Tammi Ashburn

Director of Operations & Learning Development

Tammi joined Melissa Whitaker International in February of 2013. She brought with her over 20 years of experience in learning and development. Over the past few years she has utilized her expertise in corporate learning and development to expand the reach of Melissa Whitaker International. Tammi has the ability to see a large picture vision and then see the steps that need to be completed to achieve that goal. She enthusiastically jumps into whatever task may be given to her.

Tammi graduated Cum de Laud from Elmhurst College in Illinois. She began her career as a Preschool Teacher which gave her lots of insight on being a Mom. She began working for a nationwide insurance company where she took a start- up position as a learning and development trainer. She developed and taught call center new employee training, compliance training and management training. At the executive level she was asked to facilitate meetings and conduct workplace initiatives. She became a certified trainer through Achieve Global and member of ASTD. She is a gifted speaker in the classroom environment as well as corporate large group meetings of 500 or more.

Tammi lives passionately. She loves to share her skills and talents in a volunteer capacity. She assisted in the curriculum development of Willow Creek Church’s Small Group Ministry curriculum and leadership curriculum.

Her current passions include serving as Children’s Worship Director at her church and Mom Whispers. She is the owner and creator of Mom Whispers which daily encourages thousands of Moms in the hardships and joys of parenting currently located on Facebook.

Her motto is success is seeing an individual achieve more than they dreamed they could.

 

Julianna

Julianna Swanson

Executive Coordinator/Facilitator

Julianna joined Melissa Whitaker International in January of 2018. She brought with her over 16 years of experience in business startup, operations and leadership, as well as sales support and development. Over the past few years she has utilized her experience in sales support and development, to grow sales teams in a corporate environment. Juli has the ability to lend her experience and knowledge to prioritize and execute. She brings high energy and passion to every task she is given.

Juli loves to travel, enjoys running and is active in Veteran’s causes through The American Legion. She is happily married to her best friend and soul mate, has three talented step sons and is the proud aunt “tanty” to eleven nieces and nephews.

She has a passion for real estate and rehabbing old properties, and is the owner of Finan Girl Holdings, LLC.

Her motto is always leave people better than you find them.

Strategic Team Members

Craig Lowder

Craig Lowder

LinkedIn

Craig Lowder became one of MWI’s Strategic Team Members in 2019.

Craig specializes in helping small and mid-size businesses not only achieve their sales goals, but learn to love selling as much as he does.

With a 30-year track record of helping business owners and sales teams achieve their goals, as author of the highly rated book Smooth Selling Forever, and as Founder and President of the Main Spring Sales Group and Smooth Selling Forever, he has learned that success in sales comes down to three things: process, teamwork and access to experience that shortens the learning curve.

As for teamwork, he firmly believes that teamwork is a critical component of success anywhere – whether that’s achieving business goals, competing in a sailing regatta, or even helping make your community a better place. Success comes to teams, not individuals. All successful people have support behind them.

The valuable experience he offers is two fold. He has a BA in marketing and an MBA. He also has been mentored by some of the most prestigious business minds around – people like Brad Sugars, Verne Harnish, Larry Wilson and Keith Cunningham. Through his consulting, speaking and writing – his knowledge is now your knowledge.

Secondly, nothing beats experience in the work environment. He has worked with over 50 companies in various industries from retail to manufacturing to financial services to business services. For every client he has increased first year annual sales by 22 to 142 percent.

We are excited at MWI to include Craig and his organization as a Strategic Team Member.

You can learn all about his proven process here.

 

Dan Gissendaner

Dan Gissendaner

Trainer/Facilitator
Business Development
Entrepreneur/Owner

Dan became one of MWI’s Strategic Team Members in 2018.

Dan brings with him over 22 years of experience in the life sciences, healthcare (Pharmacy) and retail/wholesale industries.  Over his career he has held a wide variety of sales and account management leadership roles and has been certified in multiple sales training programs such as Spin Selling, Professional Selling Skills (PSS), Power Base Selling (PBS) and others.  He has most recently designed and implemented sales and account management procedures and practices at the organizations he has worked with.

Dan also has extensive experience in the retail / wholesale industries as he has worked with his wife to start, build and grow several successful retail stores and a new jewelry wholesale business.  He especially enjoys the Artisan Market he and his wife own as they have the pleasure of helping many small and local artisans get started in their businesses.  He has since started a mentorship program where he helps new artisans / businesses get off the ground. Dan is also a U.S. Navy veteran and is very thankful to have that experience as a foundation from which to build on as it taught him great discipline and problem-solving skills which help him deal with challenging situations with ease.

Outside of his professional life Dan has a wonderful wife and 3 children.  He enjoys just about anything outdoors which includes everything from golf to biking to white water rafting.  He and his wife love to give back to the community through their businesses as well as are very passionate about helping rescue animals and have several rescued dogs at home.

We are excited at MWI to include Dan as a Strategic Team Member.

 

Melanie Perry, MA, PCC

Melanie Perry, MA, PCC

Melanie Perry has 20 years of combined experience in Leadership Training & Facilitation, Human Capital Consulting, and Executive Coaching. As the CEO of Perry Coaching & Consulting she works with mid-market CEOs, as well as Senior Leaders and High Potentials at Fortune 500 organizations to develop, lead and facilitate training and coaching programs. She works with Melissa Whitaker International on strategic engagements to help further their mission.

A sample of clients include: Medtronic, Astellas, Walgreens, Verizon, Daiichi-Sankyo, Medline and Limited Brands. Her experience spans the following industries: retail, healthcare, hospitality, legal services, manufacturing, professional services and the financial sector.

Her commitment to helping driven, visionary leaders began at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management and was sharpened with senior executives at Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Target Corporation, Deloitte Consulting, and Medtronic, where she was consistently recognized for key initiatives and building culture.

Sample Facilitation and Speaking Engagements:

  • Speaking to 500+ clients of CIO at Medtronic on the history, mission and business overview
  • Facilitated National Sales Training for Walgreens that received 5/5 Rating
  • Launching iPad Sales Training for Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy
  • On-going Global Emerging Leaders Emotional Intelligence Training at Astellas Pharma

Melanie holds an MA in Human Resources from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management and a Bachelor of Arts in Human Resources from Michigan State University where she was a Division 1 Soccer player. She is a Professional Certified Coach with the International Coach Federation (ICF) and a certified Leadership Circle practitioner.

On weekends, you can find Melanie exploring book stores, parks and orchards with her daughter. At home, she enjoys cooking gourmet meals with her husband when he’s not traveling internationally for work. Seeking moments of awe has always been important: marathon in Hawaii, sky diving in New Zealand, surfing in Sydney, sand boarding in Peru, cooking in India, hiking in Kazakhstan, prayer in Abu Dhabi and contemplation outside Nelson Mandela’sformer prison cell.

"I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” ~ Maya Angelou

We are excited at MWI to include Melanie and her organization as a Strategic Team Member.

 

Marie-Genevieve Pawlak

Marie-Genevieve Pawlak

Marie-Genevieve Pawlak became one of MWI’s Strategic Team Members in 2019.

Marie-Genevieve Pawlak is an experienced leadership and team strategist leveraging her global background and over 20 years of corporate operations and executive experience, working for top companies and organizations in higher education, non-profits, and manufacturing industries, to guide you through creating a succession and team plan that matters. She has also worked as a financial literacy speaker at many colleges and universities across the country. Living and working in Japan for four years as an International Relations Specialist; she worked with Japanese companies trying to break into western markets. During her time in Japan, she learned about marketing, team building and Japanese coaching initiatives for international companies. Her clients experience a dramatic improvement in key performance indicators by creating strategic communication plans and cultivating trust through cross-cultural leadership and team development.

A graduate of Lewis University’s Executive Coaching Program, Marie also holds a Master’s in organizational leadership. She is a volunteer and member of The Taproot Foundation, a 501-nonprofit organization that engages design, marketing, IT, strategic management, human resources professionals and executives in pro bono service projects to build the infrastructure of other nonprofit organizations.

Marie is a Strategist and Managing Principal of Planning101 Group and is also a contributor to Forbes Magazine and Trainingindustry.com. In addition to strategic execution work, Marie speaks and trains on Team leadership, Succession planning at all levels, productive meeting, and organizational health. Her lively speaking style and unique ability to engage and motivate her audience to action have earned her the reputation as an "action" speaker. Marie’s mission is to inspire individuals to inspire their teams to build better workplaces. She doesn't see herself as an expert in leadership and organizational health, but a lifelong student. She has traveled the lived across the globe and currently resides in a suburb of Chicago with her very supportive husband and dog.

We are excited at MWI to include Marie-Genevieve and her organization as a Strategic Team Member.

 

Jeff Bishop

Jeff Bishop

Jeff Bishop became one of MWI’s Strategic Team Members in 2019.

Over the past 30 years, he has been leading corporate sales organizations and consulting with companies that were growing but who now seem stuck, he has learned the secret sauce that allows salespeople to excel, sales teams to work in harmony to hit goals out of the park, and organizations to grow faster.

He earned his sales experience in various sales and marketing leadership positions at IBM, Entex Information Services, and Winstar. Then, as Founder and President of Effective Directions, Inc. a sales coaching and consulting practice, his creative, resourceful, and strategic ideas as well as his innovative facilitations skills have helped numerous companies rise above.

But when it comes to helping people change – coaching and motivating them to reach their goals – that is where he stands out from other sales coaches. Like others, he has earned the designation of Professional Certified Coach (PCC) through the International Coach Federation. Unlike others, he has taken it further and is in the process of earning his Master Coach Certification (MCC).

Some of his results have been.

  • Increased sales by 38% to $16M over a two-year period for an emerging pharmaceutical firm by educating, coaching and mentoring a sales team of 6 sales professionals.
  • Grew revenue 27% with margins improving by 11% for a $20M manufacturer by providing sales consulting and coaching services including creating a comprehensive sales infrastructure, organizing the sales team and coaching the sales team of 10 (both inside and outside sales professionals).
  • Improved overall sales by 32% to $18M for a technology firm by educating, training and enhancing the skill set of 11 sales professionals over an 18-month period.

We are excited at MWI to include Jeff as a Strategic Team Member.