ETiENNEPARTNERS is a full partnership in both work and in life. Principals Gerard and Jina have been happily married for over 28 years. Although in different professions, their work often intersected around the importance of self-awareness in leadership and navigating conflict within teams. Their work to understand these patterns led to the development of Real-Time Awareness™ (RTA™) and Collaborate In Conflict™ (CiC™) – what they believe are core skills necessary for driving meaningful change in organizations. Together, RTA™ and CiC™ bridge the gap between diversity and inclusion. They offer practical solutions for building teams capable of leveraging their full diversity of thought to drive innovation, growth and lasting cultural change. They live in Silver Spring, Maryland, with their two sons and their dog, Coda.
By working with small intrapreneurial teams and designing iterative market “experiments” based on validated customer learning, Gerard has helped teams parse, cull, and identify worthwhile innovative ideas and opportunities while eliminating the ones that are not worth pursuing, thus saving companies money.
Gerard is the creator of a several dynamic and interactive seminars and workshops on innovation, intrapreneurship and customer intimacy - all designed to help clients interact more effectively with their customers and develop a deeper understanding of their needs and behaviors. Topics covered include navigating challenging customer relationships, understanding trust, conscious communications, empathic listening, and mindfulness. His broad set of skills, combined with a rigorous analytical background and strong intrapersonal skills, have helped him enjoy and thrive in customer-facing roles.
Formerly V.P. of Intrapreneurship at Relativity Sciences Inc (RSI), a boutique consultancy focused on helping large companies be more innovative and intrapreneurial, he guided, coached and led numerous teams to move innovative ideas and projects forward, using various aspects of the Lean Startup, Business Model Canvas, and Design Thinking. Before RSI, Gerard was a Senior Analyst with Synthesis Partners, a business intelligence and consulting firm. After a 10 year career as a Mechanical Engineer, he decided to make the change to business consulting with a focus on intrapreneurship and innovation
Gerard is a native French speaker and has a broad multi-cultural background that spans Haiti, Ivory Coast, India, and Switzerland. He is an avid motorcyclist, a mindfulness practitioner, a former guitar player, a self-taught classical pianist who really wanted to be a drummer, and a passionate Arsenal FC fan! He has a degree in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA from the University of Maryland, College Park
An accomplished leader and former business owner, Jina has demonstrated leadership, communications, strategic planning and management skills. She is results-oriented with proven success in serving diverse clients, developing unique products and services, and creating value for customers, stakeholders and team members.
At Grant Thornton (GT), Jina managed the firm's Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Team responsible for developing and implementing GT’s firm-wide D&I strategy. Before GT, as President & CEO of the National Association of Black Accountants, Inc. (NABA), Jina was responsible for strategic direction, stakeholder relationships, organizational priorities, and managing the day-to-day operation of the Association and its staff. Before joining NABA, she was Director – Taxation, Tax Ethics & Professional Standards, AICPA Tax Section at the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). She joined the AICPA after 17 years in private practice at Etienne & Associates, LLC (E&A), a boutique CPA firm in Silver Spring, MD. E&A provided a wide range of accounting services for businesses and individuals, including tax planning and preparation, business consulting, tax research and representation before the IRS. She began her career in public accounting in the tax department of Touche Ross (now Deloitte).
In her “spare time,” she travels the country speaking at local and national conferences. While at E&A, she was an in-demand trainer and facilitator for private companies, clubs, conferences, and various organizations, including 5 years in the Financial Management division at Management Concepts and 3 years as a Gear-Up speaker. She has also served as an adjunct accounting professor at American University in their MBA program.
She is part of the Peloton community (#Mama_Cat) and enjoys jigsaw puzzles, Sudoku, and cake decorating. She plays piano and has occasionally been known to sing karaoke. She earned an M.S. in taxation in 1993 and a B.S.B.A. in accounting in 1989 from American University.