Our people drive our success
Our business is based on trust, our fondness for each other, and our respect for each other’s strengths. We endeavor to offer unique services that are differentiated in the marketplace and employ a personal touch. We don’t want to be just like other consulting firms.
Since our beginning in 2003, we have been developing our services, delighting our clients, and getting asked to return. While we intend to grow, it will always be in a way that sacrifices neither the quality of our work nor the strength of our relationships.
Two of our principals, Alan Calvo and Jeremy Robins, are based in Toronto, while a third, Alisha Wist, calls Atlanta home. Together, they have decades of experience in human performance improvement, leading over a hundred projects at dozens of sites.
Supporting our efforts is a stellar supporting cast—talented designers, developers, and project managers. We are proud to have such great people working closely with us, and we invite you to read their profiles. As great as the parts are, the sum is even greater.
Alan likes to create things. After graduating in the sciences, Alan did product development for cleaning products for Unilever, work he likened to that of a chef who creates many different meals from just a few ingredients. After stints working in manufacturing management, Alan wanted to create robust training for the industrial workplace. In 2003, Alan was one of the four original founders of Luminance, working to create a company, its branding, and many of its core products.
Alan loves describing processes, is passionate about clear communication, and cares deeply for accountability and putting oneself in the customer’s shoes. And while it may take a while, Alan is working on a book that will somehow tie all of this together.
When not working on a home improvement project or a new barbeque recipe, Alan fights middle age by keeping active. He’s a member of two tennis clubs, an outdoors club, is an avid world traveler, and has taken up cycling, having raised thousands of dollars for heart & stroke and cancer research.
From Alisha’s beginnings in a small Midwest farming community, this Nebraska girl has spent 20 years involved in professional training. She’s run projects in towns across the US from California to D.C. and many places in between. She’s an excellent and disciplined Project Manager. Whether on a factory floor writing learning guides, or leading a skill-building workshop, Alisha has seen and done it all.
Alisha and her family are dedicated travelers, having explored Europe, South America, the Caribbean, and Southeast Asia. She also enjoys sailing, skiing, scuba diving and reading.
Alisha is a joy to speak with, no matter the subject. But if you need a reason, she’d love to tell you about Management skills building, or about paperless training technologies, or about just about anything.
A graduate of McGill University in Montreal, Jeremy has worked in the UK, New Zealand, and his native Toronto. Making partner after just 2 years at Luminance, Jeremy is a steady leader, a skilled project manager, effective instructor and a relentless servant to his customers.
Jeremy’s talent for simplifying and explaining served him well long before he joined Luminance. Jeremy has fun anywhere he works, and his enthusiasm is contagious—our clients really enjoy having him on the team, whether it’s been systems implementations, manufacturing training, or process redesign.
Jeremy brings a genuine appreciation for others to his vocation of improving peoples’ working lives. His friendliness and openness make him a sympathetic and perceptive companion and business partner.
Jeremy is a keen student of both history and football (what we call soccer), and passed skills on to his two sons. A beer and food connoisseur, he loves to travel for work just to get to know a part of the world a little bit better. An avid reader, music fan and trivia buff, Jeremy always makes an interesting project partner or dinner companion, and often both.
Finally, all of us at Luminance are amused by Jeremy’s remarkable resemblance to British politico Boris Johnson, a similarity so remarkable that Mr. Johnson sent a video greeting to Jeremy’s wedding!
After becoming a Chartered Accountant and doing management consulting in Canada, Darrell left to earn a graduate degree in Hospitality Management at Cornell University. Next, he ran the beverage category at Au Bon Pain, an international café chain headquartered in Boston.
Looking for yet another new challenge, he started his own business importing Belgian Chocolates. Darrell’s venture won the Editors' Choice Award for Best Flavor at the International Hotel/Motel & Restaurant Show in New York City, and he was featured on CNBC’s Power Lunch.
Darrell wasn’t done. After returning home, he acquired and revitalized a wellness clinic in Toronto, turning the business around and making it a success.
Darrell’s passion for service excellence has him teaching and coaching at Dale Carnegie. His passion for travel has taken him around the world several times, and he is now an expert at acquiring loyalty points for free flights—ask him how. And his passion for health and fitness has him jogging in just about any place he finds himself in.
Tony hasn’t always been a member of our team. For more than a decade, he was a customer! Tony spent over 10 years at Wrigley / Mars being a training coordinator. Nobody can tell you more about implementing effective training on the floor—Tony has walked the talk.
Tony’s clients appreciate his street cred. He was a maintenance technician / mechanic for years before getting into training. When a client needs detailed technical training, troubleshooting or PM support, Tony’s your man.
Tony volunteers at the local food bank, is a passionate Georgia Bulldogs fan, a seasoned outdoorsman, and a dedicated grandfather. The rest of the Luminance team can count on Tony’s expertise and, especially, his helpfulness.
Mohammad an engineer by education and trade, is an eclectic soul who thrives on variety and challenge.
His forte is critical thinking—approaching problems from different perspectives to come to the best solution possible.
Mohammad applies these skills to process improvement and is able to look deeply into a system to improve it.
Mohammad left Dubai at age twelve, graduated from the University of Toronto, interned at Unilever and worked on business development on biofuel in Serbia. If that isn’t enough getting around for a young man, he also applied his love of Persian culture into starting two thriving and highly rated Persian restaurants in southern Ontario.
Besides being an engineer and restaurateur, Mohammad is something of a soccer nut. An ardent fan of Liverpool and Toronto, Mo watched the MLS final in a rural Missouri bar dressed in full Toronto FC regalia (even red socks and shoes). He also plays the beautiful game himself, scoring the winning goal against the Montreal Impact as a member of the Toronto Lynx youth team.
Manda has done, and continues to do, a bit of everything. She’s been a counselor, therapist, coach, author, wedding officiant and curriculum developer. She has five (5!) published novels and two novellas to her credit (as MJ Pullen, go buy one of her books). Manda loves variety and thinks her expertise is listening to the experts, weaving their knowledge into the big picture.
Manda is equally comfortable in the boardroom, on the plant floor, and in 1-on-1 coaching. An avid hiker and sports fan, she’s on track to visit every US national park and major league baseball stadium in her lifetime. She says she plays a half-decent first base, and even has her own glove!
Like many of her forebears, Rachel is a passionate educator. She spent 10 years teaching children from kindergarten to middle school. While she loved teaching itself, she felt constrained by the rigid programming and administrative duties. When researching her next move, she discovered that instructional design was a legitimate career, and so, she discovered Luminance.
Rachel is also a talented artist. She did an Art minor, and her output includes drawings, photography, abstracts, and scrapbooks. She even co-ran an ETSY business to create custom party decorations for children’s birthdays.
Rachel has moved around in her life, starting in the west coast, then having lived in New Jersey, Maryland, Philly, Manhattan, and Brooklyn. She did the obligatory backpacking trip to Europe in her youth, and discovered that Europe is somewhat better enjoyed when not on a backpacker’s budget. Now she’s well settled in Georgia with her husband and three children.
Contract - Designer
After graduating Ontario College of Art and Design in 1989 as an Illustrator, Steve took full advantage of any professional opportunities that he encountered. He educated himself in computer graphics which led to working with Corporate Communication companies, becoming a PowerPoint guru. He travelled internationally supporting large corporate events, including staging and presentation development at conferences, such as The Thoracic Surgeons Conference. He assisted medical professionals by breathing life and colour into brilliant and meaningful presentations.
A dedicated parent to three children, Steve grew up in Toronto and helped his father run a busy downtown sporting goods shop. With athleticism in his blood, Steve is in a winter bowling league, where he once bowled a perfect game. In the summer, Steve plays SlowPitch softball.
Steve’s connection with baseball brings a fascinating twist. In the early 1990's Steve was commissioned to paint portraits of Hall of Fame baseball players for a public signing. Steve’s painting of Cubs great Fergie Jenkins, of Chatham ON, once hung in the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.