Bigger Brains is highly selective in the teachers and subject matter experts we use for our courses. On average, Bigger Brains teachers have over 17 years of experience in their area of expertise, plus experience teaching in a college or corporate environment.
Geoff Blake — (Multiple Courses including Getting Started with WordPress)
Geoff Blake is an award-winning veteran software trainer, author, and designer. A professional public speaker since 1997, Geoff has taught desktop publishing, web design and graphics courses for a wide range of clients and organizations, from Fortune 500 companies and colleges, to small and medium-sized businesses; and to individuals just like you. In 2009 he launched his video-based training site, Ten Ton Online, allowing him to reach learners worldwide. With his humorous, non-jargonny approach, Geoff’s style of teaching revolves around dissolving learner’s anxiety, and presenting otherwise technical subjects in a relaxed, easily understandable way. He regularly contributes to top industry magazines and web sites, and continues sharing his knowledge in his casual, off-beat style through his website, tentononline.com.
Harrison Brookie — (Creative Advisor)
In addition to his work as a Bigger Brains Creative Consultant & Learner, Harrison is the Executive Producer and Artistic Director of Alchemy Comedy Theater in Greenville, South Carolina. Harrison started improv with Clemson University’s comedy improv group, Mock Turtle Soup, in 2004. For the next four years, he performed improv in Clemson, along with Atlanta, Nashville, Orlando and Chicago. He has attended the Black Box, Implosion, Charleston, Richmond, Del Close, Spontaneous Combustion and North Carolina Comedy Arts Festivals, training under a variety of instructors from The Annoyance, iO, Comedy Sportz, SAK and Second City theaters. In 2008, he moved to North Carolina and performed, coached and taught weekly as a resident instructor at the DSI Comedy Theater. Harrison has recently moved back to the Greenville with his wife to continue teaching high school social studies. www.alchemycomedy.com
Rayanne Buchianico, EA is the owner of ABC Solutions, LLC, a consulting firm in Clearwater, Florida providing complete accounting, business, and tax consulting services to IT Professionals in the United States, particularly to those using Autotask and looking to integrate with their accounting systems. She is a Certified QuickBooks Professional Advisor and offers courses and blogs tips on QuickBooks regularly. She is featured regularly in Odd Tuesdays podcasts. Rayanne was named to the SMB150 list by SMB Nation and SMBTN for the past three years and honored with the 2012 Jim Locke Memorial Community Award. She holds a degree in Accounting and is qualified to practice before the Internal Revenue Service.
Ben is a professional engineer and teaches Skype for Business, as well as being a founding member of the Alchemy Comedy Theater in Greenville, SC. In the first 3 years of Alchemy, Ben served as Assistant Aritistic Director, coach, and instructor off-stage while performing weekly with Local Legends and several house teams. Ben returned in the fall of 2015 from a one-year hiatus splitting his time between his wife in London and his job as an electrical engineer in Alaska. With Mock Turtle Soup and Alchemy, Ben has taken workshops with instructors from around North America including the Annoyance, iO, Second City, Relapse, BATS, Impatient Theater Company, JaCKPie, Magnet, UCB, the Peoples Improv Theater, and DSI Comedy Theater, Hoopla Impro, and The Urban Yeti. He’s also taken workshops in sketch, improv, storytelling, and freestyle rap with Kevin McDonald from The Kids in the Hall, Jimmy Carrane from the Annoyance and Improv Nerd podcast, Kevin Allison from The State, and Douglas Widick and Kaila Mullady of North Coast (respectively). During his time in London, Ben was able to attend many workshops hosted by C3Something, The Maydays, The Nursery Theatre, Hoopla Impro, and visiting guest instructors like Christian Capozzoli, Teatribu (Milan, Italy), Dave Razowski, and others.
Ben Cothran — (Workplace Safety: Active Shooter)
Ben Cothran (Workplace Safety: Active Shooter) Ben Cothran has over thirteen years of Law Enforcement experience to include time at Greenville Police Department, Anderson Police Department,and currently at Anderson County Sheriff’s Office. During his tenure, he has worked on uniform patrol, school resource officer, Crime Response Team,and Investigations. He has worked on Greenville Police Department Dignitary Protection Team, and has served over seven years on SWAT teams as a sniper. His education began with a Bachelors in Science of Business Management from Lander University and continues through a Masters in Criminal Justice from Anderson University. In addition to teaching part time for programs at Anderson University, Tri-County Technical College, and Brown Mackie College, he also teaches firearm fundamentals and South Carolina Concealed Weapons Permits classes. He has obtained instructor certifications in Driving Instructor and Sniper Field craft Instructor. He has been married for 25 years, and has two children that are in College.
Chris Chase — (Gmail Essentials)
Dr. Christopher Craft is an award-winning educator and speaker based in South Carolina. As a classroom teacher, he has been recognized both locally and nationally for innovative teaching with technology. Most recently he was named to the National School Board Association’s “20 to Watch”list for 2013. He has a B.A. in Spanish, a M.Ed in Educational Technology, and a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and Research from the University of South Carolina. Chris is a Google Certified Teacher, and a Google Certified Trainer, and was recently accepted to be an Apple Distinguished Educator. Find out more about Dr. Craft at www.christophercraft.com or follow him on Twitter (@crafty184).
Robert has a degree in Electrical Engineering as well as Masters of Business Administration. He is also a Small Business Specialist and Microsoft Certified SharePoint Professional. Robert has over 15 years of IT experience in a variety of fields and positions, including working on Wall St in New York. He continues his involvement with information technology as the Principal of the Computer Information Agency. Apart from resolving client technical issues, Robert continues to present at seminars locally and internationally, as well as write on a number for topics for the Computer Information Agency. Since 2012 Robert has been awarded a Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award from Microsoft for his contributions around the Office 365 product. He also develops and presents technology courses on a regular basis at various locations. Robert is committed to a process of ongoing business and technical education to continue developing the skills required to assist clients with their business challenges.
Barbara V. Evers, MAPC — (Multiple Courses including Mastering Excel 2016 and Increase Your Listening Power!)
It doesn’t take long for people who meet Barbara Evers to recognize her talents in written and verbal communication. Tapping into this strength, Barbara has found success in many facets of her life. Her mission is to help others do the same professionally and personally. Barbara received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Zoology and a Master of Arts in Professional Communication from Clemson University. She is an active member of the Association for Type International, and her certifications include:
- Myers Briggs Type Indicator
- Coaching Using Multiple Models
- Global Corporate College (GCC)
- Development Dimensions International (DDI)
- Zig Ziglar
- Achieve Global
Barbara has over twenty-five years’ experience in training and public speaking with an emphasis in Career Development. With a broad list of clients in the corporate, non-profit, and government arenas, she excels in teaching participants the skills and techniques that will advance their careers. Her educational and career pursuits have provided a diverse background for her to use in instructional design and in the classroom. She draws from this experience to customize her materials and provide a valuable, interactive experience for each participant. Her areas of expertise include Communication, Customer Service, Management, and Leadership as well as software training. Barbara lives in Greer, SC and is a published writer and the recipient of several writing awards, including a Pushcart Prize nomination. She writes for several blogs including two of her own and is an active member of South Carolina Writers Association and HubCity Writers. For more information, visit her website, http://eversworks.com/ and her writing blog, https://aneclecticmuse.blogspot.com.
Chuck Gallagher — (Motivational Ethics)
Chuck Gallagher is an American entrepreneur, speaker and author. He is the author of Second Chances and has been featured in media outlets including Life & Health, Small Business Opportunities, Business Week, CBS, CNN, Lifetime, and National Public Radio. As a business ethics speaker and author his clients include Medtronic, the FBI, U.S. Navy, University of Florida, Skanska, University of North Georgia, Barclays, and United Healthcare.
Donna Grindle has been in the healthcare IT field for 30 years. After spending her early years in software development, she progressed through various departments, management, and executive positions throughout the 1990s. Donna opened her own consulting firm in 1998 specializing in consulting and technology support for a variety of businesses in the medical industry. As Founder and President of Kardon Compliance, Donna’s extensive experience is focused on developing and maintaining effective privacy and security programs for all kinds of businesses. You can hear Donna’s weekly podcast, “Help Me With HIPAA”, on your favorite podcasting platforms and apps. Donna is a featured speaker at conferences, forums, organization meetings, webinars, and more. She can be heard speaking on topics ranging from general business cybersecurity to complex HIPAA topics for Compliance Officers.
Rich Harshaw — (Top Five Marketing Mistakes Businesses Make)
Rich Harshaw is the CEO and author of Monopolize Your Marketplace?, and one of the nation’s leading marketing minds and business leaders. At the age of 19, he learned to speak Mandarin Chinese. Two years later he started an import-export business in Taiwan and China. He graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in business and entrepreneurship. In 1994 he founded Marketing Strategies, and over the next several years developed the Monopolize Your Marketplace system. In 2000 he started Y2Marketing, which made the Inc. 500 list of fastest growing privately held companies for three consecutive years (2002, 2003 and 2004). In his professional career, Rich has become one of the nations most sought after marketing consultants and speakers because of his deep understanding of what motivates people to buy. He has written Marketing and Sales materials for over 1,500 companies in virtually every industry. His articles about marketing, sales and advertising have appeared in dozens of magazines and newspapers worldwide. Because the Monopolize Your Marketplace system exposes the inadequacies and questionable business practices of big ad agencies, it has earned Rich the title of the “Most Hated Man in Marketing.” Rich lives near Dallas, TX with his wife Tonia and their six children. He is an active member of his church and serves as a leader and mentor in the Youth program. Rich says, “My passion is teaching young people how to be successful in school, their families, financially, spiritually and in life. www.mymonline.com
Rebecca Heiss — (Blind Spots)
DR. REBECCA HEISS Business, biology, brain science: Dr. Rebecca Heiss brings the best of all three worlds together. With her expertise in human behavior and evolutionary psychology, Rebecca’s style brings her audiences along for an enlightening journey into their own minds. After earning a PhD with research designated as ͞transformative͟ by the National Science Foundation, Rebecca went on to hold multiple appointments in academia, applying her research to solve practical problems in overcoming what she refers to as ͞biological ghosts͟—subconscious behaviors that haunt modern life. Described as a creative thought leader, she was honored to deliver a TEDx on a portion of her work and has built her career on helping others break through their evolutionary ethical ͞blind spots.͟ Having conquered the business of biology, Dr. Heiss has turned her focus to revolutionizing the biology of business. Rebecca’s engaging personality energizes individuals and organizations to view their behaviors and choices through an insightful new lens. Her accessible, fresh perspective empowers clients to ͞connect the dots͟ to transform conceptual frameworks into actionable items that deliver results. www.rebeccaheiss.com, Twitter: @drrebeccaheiss
Courtney Herda — (Online Marketing 101)
Courtney Herda, founder and CEO of Smarter Searches, is an expert in digital marketing, having spent the last twelve years working on SEO, PPC, social, and digital marketing campaigns for clients of all sizes at the agency level and in-house. Her knowledge of search engine strategies, pay per click optimization and auditing, and website user experience has made her a frequent speaker at conferences like Pubcon, ClickZ Live, and Search Engine Strategies, and is a contributor to Marketing Profs and the Online Marketing Institute. She was recently named a top 20 digital marketing strategist by the Online Marketing Institute, one of the top 15 most influential educators in digital marketing, and was a finalist for the Young Entrepreneur of the Year at the Pinnacle Awards. She was also named to 2016’s class of 40 Under 40 by the Greater Knoxville Business Journal.
Andy Offutt Irwin
Andy Offutt Irwin is an arts educator, theatre director, songwriter, comedian, keynote speaker, and traveling writer & storyteller. As a one-person showman, Andy has been a perennial favorite of the Teller-in-Residence Program at the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough, Tennessee, (twelve seasons, now) and he has been a Featured Teller at the National Storytelling Festival seven times as of 2017.
From 1991 to 2007 he was Artist in Residence at Oxford College of Emory University where in 2001 he was the recipient of the Sammy Clark Award for Exemplary Teaching and Service. He continues providing theatre and service projects for Emory’s Oxford Campus (where he is now known officially as Artist in Just Passing Through).
Since 1993 Andy has worked in conjunction with Oxford’s Counseling and Career Services, designing original theatrical orientation programing aimed at empowering student PeerAssistant Leaders (PALs) with tools to guide incoming freshman into a greater awareness of social and health issues.
From 1993 – 2015 Andy was a teaching artist with Young Audiences, Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta. He continues to receive fee support from the Georgia Council for the Arts, as a member of the Touring Artists Roster. Other Trophies: He is a recipient of seven Storytelling World Awards; Two Just Plain Folks Awards, and in 2013 he received the Oracle Circle of ExcellenceAward from the National Storytelling Network, and a Parents’ Choice Honor for his kids’ album, “Andy’s Wild Amphibian Show!” In 2017 Andy received a Special Congressional Recognition–For outstanding and invaluable service to the community. From Rep. John Lewis.
Other Notable Arts Education Engagements Include…LaGuardia School of Art, Music, and Performing Arts (the FAME! School) New York, NY: Visiting Lecturer and Performer Library of Congress-Virburnum Foundation Conference on Family Literacy:Keynote Speaker/Performer Georgia College: Playwright in Residence Georgia Tech: Visiting Performer, Songwriter with the Georgia Tech Glee Club Amherst College, Men’s Double Quartet: Visiting Songwriter University of Alabama: Resident Facility Speaker Series Conference on Children’s Literature, Ft Lauderdale, Florida, 2012: Keynote Speaker On Stage Atlanta Youth Theatre Camp: Director, 2004 – 2011 The University of Nebraska at Kearney: Guest Lecturer – 2012, 2017 East Tennessee State University, Storytelling Institute: Guest Instructor – 2017
Everybody is impressed to know that from 1984 to 1989 Andy began his career selling out to a mouse at Walt Disney’s EPCOT Center where, under the auspices of SAK Theatre he performed, wrote, and directed live comedy shows.
Andy proudly holds a BA in Sociology from Georgia College &/or State University. They handed it to him in 1983. www.andyirwin.com.
Kathy Jones — (Multiple Courses including Mastering Outlook and Excel: Data Analysis with Pivot Tables)
Training professional with experience in all aspects of training and consulting, including classroom presentations, project management process analysis, program design and development, and individual knowledge transfer. Specialfocus on work with project management teams to improve processes, as well as the soft skills involved in managing projects and teams such as negotiation and problem resolution. Also specialize in working with technical teams such as IT groups or help desks to improve communication and customer skills.
Specialties: Project management process analysis and training; Communication, negotiation and team building skills for technical managers and specialists.
Marisa Pensa — (Sales 101)
Marisa launched Methods in Motion in 2004 as a spin-off from D.E.I. Management Group. Prior to launching Methods in Motion, Marisa held positions that included Sales Director with Marriott Hotels and Regional Sales Manager with IDT/Winstar. It was at IDT/Winstar that Marisa was introduced to D.E.I. Management Group. She was a client for four years before starting her business, which is a spin-off from D.E.I..
For over 14 years, Methods in Motion has helped hundreds of companies from diverse industries grow their businesses. Marisa knows that in life, it’s all about building good relationships. The average client engages Methods in Motion for five to seven years. Marisa has conducted sales training workshops throughout the U.S. and abroad, has been certified by the Leadership Strategies Institute as an “Effective Facilitator” and is regularly published in Independent Dealer Magazine. Marisa also started two separate Manager peer-sharing calls across two unique industries to foster an environment where Methods in Motion clients in similar industries can exchange ideas and help keep one another on track.
Marisa and her husband Troy of 19 years, reside in Atlanta, Georgia with their two dogs, Katie and Maggie. Marisa is actively involved with Mostly Mutts, a non-profit animal rescue organization and also competes in a sport called adventure racing throughout the southeast with her team that has been together for twenty plus years. Marisa received her formal education at Kennesaw State University and holds the rare designation of Atlanta Native.
Bigger Brains Founder and President Chip Reaves is a serial entrepreneur who has started five successful IT companies. An Atlanta native, Chip began fixing computers for small businesses in the1980’s while studying Computer Science at Georgia Tech. After 10 years building a successful IT Service Practice in Atlanta, Chip founded the Computer Troubleshooters USA franchise system alongside Wilson & Suzanne McOrist, which became the world’s largest computer service franchise and received multiple awards from Entrepreneur Magazine, Franchise Business Review, and AllBusiness.com. Chip has been interviewed on TV and other major media on topics related to small business technology and entrepreneurship, including ABC News, BusinessWeek TV, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times, and is a member of Jim Blasingame’s “Brain Trust” on SmallBusinessAdvocate.com. In 2010 Chip was listed among the Top 150 most influential people in small business IT by SMB PC magazine. Chip lives with his wife Maren and step-daughter Meg in Anderson, South Carolina where they also co-own a local Managed Service Provider. In his spare time Chip is very active with his church and local charities, and consults with aid organizations serving Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa.
Bigger Brains co-Founder Maren Reaves has the perfect background for her position as Director of Curriculum: 15+ years in professional education, experience as a curriculum writer for CNN Student News as well as training in acting, comedy, and music. She has degrees in Physics, Theology, Education, and Religion and Social Ethics. When not busy with Bigger Brains Maren creates curricula for Tri-County college, teaches science, math, and orchestra in local schools, and is a member of the Anderson Symphony Orchestra. She also serves on the board of directors of the Anderson School of Theology for Laypersons.
Experienced educator with a demonstrated history of working in the higher education industry. Skilled in Adobe Creative Cloud Applications, Non-linear Editing, Advertising, Photography, and Videography. Strong arts and design professional with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) focused in Arts, Entertainment, and Media Management from University of South Carolina-Columbia.
Christina Tankersley has been involved with software education and project management since 1994. Her career includes working on software development and varying manufacturing projects, helping people understand the power of diverse thinking, and continue to learn tools to share with customers, students, and the population at large. Her primary focus for instruction includes:
- Project Management
- Microsoft Software
- Herrmann Brain Dominance Index
- Customer Relationship Management Tools
- Business Analysis
- Information Technology Infrastructure Library
She has a BS in Business from the University of Charleston, an MBA from North Greenville University, and certifications including Project Management Professional (PMP), Comptia A+, Comptia Certified Technical Trainer, and Microsoft Certified Trainer. When not working or studying, she loves to travel, read, and spend time with friends and family.
In an attention-deficient, entertain-me-now, wait-while-I-post-that-on-my-Facebook-page kind of world, the typical business presentation is lame. Professional speaker, trainer, coach, tweeter and blogger Kelly Vandever is on a mission to eliminate boring business presentations from the face of the earth. An award winning speaker herself, Kelly helps organizations crank up their content to connect and interact with their audiences using old school and hi-tech techniques all while annihilating bullet points and making this world a better place for business audiences everywhere. www.speakingpractically.com
Peggy Ward has almost 15 years of experience as a Microsoft Certified Trainer, educating professionals of major corporations and small businesses. As a Certified Trainer, Peggy provides training in Microsoft Office applications such as Excel, Access, Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook as well as a variety of other software applications. In addition to computer training, Peggy delivers many professional development classes focusing on leadership, emotional intelligence, communication, time management, customer service and conflict management. Peggy’s interest in helping others, as well as her drive for excellence, knowledge and success have made her an outstanding trainer, teacher and mentor. She is quickly able to put a classroom full of strangers at ease with her warm and friendly personality. She not only has your best interest at heart but considers your success her success.
Bigger Brains Staff
Director of IT Channel Sales