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Mary Verstraete, PCC

President, Leadership Consultant and Coach


Mary’s focus is developing leaders of significant influence. With more than 30 years of experience in leadership development, training, and consulting, Mary consistently demonstrates the role of coaching in helping leaders apply conversation strategies that build trust and employee engagement. 

In 2007, Mary cofounded the Center for Coaching Excellence (CCE) along with Roger Erdvig, who now serves as an educational administrator and adjunct professor. Working together to author and publish the first version of what is now known as Essential Training, Mary and Roger built the foundation for what would become one of today’s most effective resources for leaders and coaches.

In her current role as President of the Center for Coaching Excellence (CCE), Mary continues to expand coaching into diverse industries and create professional coach training programs that deliver effective, lasting impact. Mary has developed customized training for organizations such as ExxonMobil, Luse Companies, MJ Senior Housing, Fairview Health Systems, and Hennepin County (serving Minneapolis and surrounding suburbs).

Prior to launching CCE, Mary served in the nonprofit sector as an Executive Pastor, overseeing staff development during a time of intense growth, organizational change and multi-campus expansion at Eagle Brook Church in the Twin Cities.

In addition to her work at CCE, Mary is a leadership consultant and coach who enjoys training leaders to maximize their competencies, develop greater agility, and achieve more influence by developing their unique leadership brand.

Mary earned a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Administration from University of Northwestern - Saint Paul, MN. She holds certifications as a Professional Certified Coach (PCC), Level 1 Gallup StrengthsFinder Coach, Myers-Briggs Administrator, Brand Alignment Trainer, Business Agility Coach, ScrumMaster and Scrum Product Owner. In 2016, she became certified as a Conversation Intelligence Coach with a concentration in the neuroscience of communication.

Joe Denner

Senior Advisor, Executive Coach, Consultant and Coach Trainer


Joe partners with leaders to increase their personal effectiveness and efficiency, helping them create transformational, sustainable leadership development within their culture. With over 15 years of leadership experience in finance, accounting, operations and human resources, Joe brings a wealth of knowledge relating to the development of human capital for positive, profitable, and sustainable growth. In his most recent position with Microdynamics Group, he succeeded in promoting operational excellence and quality service with a 99% quality and on-time delivery rating while Vice President of Plant Operations.

Annie Perdue-Olson, MA

Senior Advisor, Leadership Strategist, and Trainer


Annie has worked in ministry and nonprofit organizations through seasons of growth and downsizing; transition and restructuring; chaos and hope.  

Her focus includes:

  • Leadership skills training programs to leverage the way people are wired to do relationships at work and in life.

  • Coaching leaders through the unique challenges of small organizations on limited budgets to achieve excellence.

  • Clarifying roles, design organization structures, and evaluating processes with a strengths-based approach.

  • Facilitate sessions for strategic planning and goal setting with a unique approach on how to use metrics in ministry.

Annie has 16 years in nonprofit management and pastoral ministry, and eight years as a leadership trainer / consultant. She has a Master of Arts in Human Resources and Change Leadership from the University of St. Thomas, a coaching certificate from Center for Coaching Excellence, and certification as an MBTI practitioner.

Annie’s ultimate goal: Working with individuals to compliment the brilliance in their leadership, teams, and organization.

Leading Better Together

Rick Raiford

Senior Advisor and Conversational Leadership Trainer


Rick Raiford has spent his entire career in the field of investment management. His career began as a registered financial advisor with Phillips Capital Management in Greensboro, NC. Rick transitioned to Wachovia Wealth Management (Wells Fargo Private Bank) in 2006 where he worked as an investment manager, responsible for actively managing over $200 million in assets. As an investment manager, Rick was responsible for establishing investment policy statements which outline the investment allocation and strategy for each client. Rick also was responsible for the active and ongoing management of the investment portfolios, and regularly communicated with clients about investment performance and market/economic news and outlooks. In addition to his career as an investment professional, Rick has served on the board of directors for several non-profit organizations, and one for-profit corporation. The non-profits include Men Of Vision & Excellence (M.O.V.E.) (Co-Founder, Vice President), Restoration Place Ministries (Former Chairman), Cornerstone Charter Academy Athletic Committee (Former Chairman), and Daystar Church (Trustee). The for-profit corporation is the Center for Coaching Excellence, which is a leadership development organization based in Minneapolis, MN.

Rick has lived in Greensboro for the past 19 years. Rick is married to Amber Raiford, and has six children; Caleb, Camryn, Avery, Evan, Landry, and Levi. Rick enjoys watching, participating, and coaching a variety of sports, spending time with his family, and Executive Pastor at Daystar Church.

Alice Bourdon

Personal Advisor to the President


Alice works with clients to leverage their strengths in order to live purposeful and productive lives. Her coaching approach focuses on creating a coaching environment that inspires insight and action for clients to achieve their desired future.

Alice’s zeal for creativity and vision for developing leaders led her to her current role as director of Grace Adventure, an organization that offers workshops for personal growth, spiritual formation, and leadership development. She also serves as a mentor and group coach in a leadership development program for young adults in her church.  

Grace Adventure

Carissa Gay

CCE Coach Trainer


Carissa has spent 20 years in non-profit and corporate leadership roles with a focus on coaching, training, and leadership development. She has developed curriculum taught internationally and worked with teams to maximize their strengths. Her skill in coaching and developing leaders is effective in helping managers and high-potentials grow their confidence, communication, and vision as a leader. She founded Courageous Leaders in 2017 with the passion to develop leaders of significant impact. 


Jim Reklis has a broad experience working with leaders for over 30 years. As a relational leader, Jim has a fascinating network of relationships in the US and abroad. His ability to develop and coach leaders produces effective results with leadership teams in businesses, churches, and non-profit boards.

Jim brings his own signature presence of values, passion, creativity, and discerning wisdom to any given moment with his clients. He founded Reklis Coaching & Consulting (RCC) in 2015 with the passion to invest in leaders and their organizations to make a difference in the world.

RCC offers a team of consultants and coaches to serve client needs.

My growth from the training gave me confidence to coach in challenging workplace situations. The training was very thorough, with personalized attention that allowed me to absorb the coaching concepts and skills, apply them to my coaching context, practice the skills, and receive feedback.

Jay Baumgardner
Leadership Coach