Operations Strategy & Implementation

Get Results - Fast

Leadership Optimization

Let's Talk
The Team: Long Biographies

The Team: Long Biographies


Ashley Prisant Lesko, President
Ashley Prisant Lesko, President

Zoe Mercurio, Program Manager
Zoe Mercurio, Program Manager


Masheka Awari, That Wellness Girl
Masheka Awari, That Wellness Girl


Alena Casey, Community Engagement, Technology
Alena Casey, Community Engagement, Technology


Michael Lozano, Doctor of Education, Masters in Management
Michael Lozano, Doctor of Education, Masters in Management


Marvin F.L.. Hansen, Msc, PgDip, Bsc.
Marvin F.L.. Hansen, Msc, PgDip, Bsc.


Monica Anderson Young, Munich Re IT Business Solutions Chief-of-Staff, Consultant
Monica Anderson Young, Munich Re IT Business Solutions Chief-of-Staff, Consultant


Shannon Watson, Cross-cultural management, North America and Asia, consultant
Shannon Watson, Cross-cultural management, North America and Asia, consultant

Ashley Prisant Lesko, President
Ashley Prisant Lesko, President

Dr. Ashley Prisant Lesko, SHRM-CP has a multi-faceted background – from working in the military as a Naval Officer to leadership roles in Fortune 100 companies, to educating students at colleges and universities. As a Surface Warfare Officer, she led hundreds of sailors and employees on ships around the world.

After receiving her MBA at MIT, she filled various senior leadership roles at Amazon, working in operations, HR and finance with over $45M in P&L, training programs, budgeting, and strategy across 4 fulfillment centers.

Her book, Go Beyond the Job Description, sheds light on ways for leaders and individuals who want to do more of what they enjoy doing in their current job. She now leads Square Peg Solutions, focused in operations strategy implementation for high growth companies & optimizing leaders’ impact on organizations. She teaches leadership, business and HR classes for Harvard Extension.

  • Name one thing most people don’t know about you.
    I have a passion for travel – I have been to over 45 countries, all 50 states, and all 7 continents. I believe the more you travel, the more you learn about yourself and those around you.

  • What is your greatest leadership trait?
    The ability to see the opportunity in others. Everyone has a potential – but it’s up to the individual to act on that potential. I help people recognize and act on that potential – and love seeing what they become when they cross those milestones! This is one of the inspirations of Leadership 9 Box – it helps leaders fill in the gaps of their skills (believe me, we all have them!)

  • What is your favorite leadership motto or quote?
    “Sometimes it’s the very people who no one imagines anything of who do the things no one can imagine” – Christopher Morcom – Going beyond what anyone ever expects is the hallmark of an inspirational leader

  • What are your strengths in Strength Finders?
    My top 5 strengths are: Learner, Achiever, Woo (winning others over), Positivity and Individualization … these strengths have helped inspire me in starting SPS.

  • What is your favorite food?
    If I could only have 1 ice cream for the rest of my life (and I really love ice cream!) it would be Rocky Road … doesn’t matter if it’s in a cup or cone!

Zoë Mercurio, Program Manager, Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health, Executive and Continuing Professional Education

Zoe Mercurio, Program Manager
Zoe Mercurio, Program Manager

 
Zoë is an experienced professional with extensive skills designing, administering and facilitating programs for secondary to adult education. From the classroom to the corporate setting of leadership development and more recently administering executive education programs, Zoë has always been educating. With a strong belief in the philosophy of ‘education for education’s sake’ and ‘lifelong learning’, she has strived to empower others to fulfill their potential and help them be more effective in the workplace.
 
Her career began in London, UK as an adult education teacher. She then moved on to be Head of Faculty for a Social Sciences department at the secondary school level. In this role, she was responsible for the operation of four departments which included professional development of colleagues.  Since relocating to the United States, Zoë has researched, written and published three student guides for Sociology, is a contributing author to the upcoming Teacher Observation Scale (TOS) Guide to Effective Classroom Instruction published by National Measurement and Testing and has helped design and implement an online leadership development course for Cambridge Leadership Associates (CLA). It was at her position at CLA that she worked as the Associate Director of Client Experience. Here, she helped ensure the execution of client-driven priorities and supported a consultant team to guarantee successful engagements. Currently, Zoë is administrating executive education programs at the Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health where she oversees programming from conception to financial closeout.
 
Zoë is also working toward a certification in Organizational Behavior from Harvard University, holds a Sociology honors degree from the University of York, UK and possesses a PGCE (Post-Compulsory) from the Institute of Education in London, UK alongside completing her GTP at Kingston University, UK. Zoë and her husband live in Northborough, MA with their cat Elvis. In her free time, she balances her love of fine wine by practicing yoga.

Masheka Awari, Founder, That Wellness Girl

Masheka Awari, That Wellness Girl
Masheka Awari, That Wellness Girl

Leading through integrity is what drives Masheka Awari’s passions and pursuits. With justified purpose she has found her greatest honor in serving the most prolific leaders in creating efficient solutions to drive their success. Be it corporate executives, new small business entrepreneurs, or filmmaker/producers, it has become her greatest pleasure in serving in a capacity that levies great return.

  • What are you most proud of in your career?
    Being able to say “no”. I’ve learned my limitations and it has helped me to focus on opportunities that hone my skills, not drain my creativity.

  • Name one thing most people don’t know about you?

    I suffer a chronic health issue. These things really try to sap out your self-confidence. You achieve greater when you begin to live your life accepting what it is, but not letting it define you. Your mind can be your worst enemy and I’ve learned to battle it out with remaining focused on daily (even momentary) victories.

  • What is your greatest leadership trait?

    Forecasting. I believe when you take the time to sit and listen to your clients, you can literally see the end from the beginning before they launch that project. It’s as if I can smell success from a mile away. It’s taken time and I still work on it. However, I love this skill I’ve developed and I enjoy continuing to strengthen it.

  • What is your favorite project you’ve ever worked on?

    I absolutely love working on projects with campaigns with entrepreneurs and filmmakers. I’m an INFJ. Thus, doing projects for a cause puts fire in my feet! I just have to do it! When a project is mixed with my other passion, filmmaking, it’s like the creative juices mix together and the fire…something explosive happens. I become one with that thing and nothing will stop me from ensuring that leader succeeds.

  • What is the best advice you’ve been given? What is the best advice you have shared?

    Thrive where you are. Do not neglect those humble beginnings nor covet another’s success. Never ever ever think you are behind or not “there”. I enjoy hanging out with seniors. During this time, I’ve been blessed to talk to leaders in the 70+ age group who have continued to share the same mantra with me. I’ve learned to stay in my lane and enjoy the speed in which my life is providing. There is nothing wrong with life having Sunday strolls. You learn more.

Fun Fact: I named my business That Wellness Girl because community members could not remember my name. They remember me from the community health outreaches I was apart of so they would ask can “That Wellness Girl” come speak on this or help us with that. An inside joke became something that stuck. I enjoy being “nameless” because I have found my skills to do the talking.

Alena Casey, Community Engagement, Technology

Alena Casey, Community Engagement, Technology
Alena Casey, Community Engagement, Technology

Through the engagement of community, Alena Casey spends her days building strategic processes to strengthen employee engagement with community partnerships. From working with employee resource groups to local organizations, no workday is ever the same.

Before coming to the technology space, Alena worked in the Development Office at Harvard University as a part of the events team. While in this role, she was promoted to University Group Leader where she interviewed, onboarded and trained employees at Harvard.

She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, Graduate Certificate in Organizational Behavior from Harvard Extension School and is currently working towards her Master’s in Science in Industrial and Organizational Psychology at Baruch College – The City University of New York.

  • What are you most proud of in your career?
    Being a part of the Diversity & Inclusion working group at Harvard and now currently taking a role in a diversity task force in the technology space. Creating these spaces for open and honest conversations is crucial.

  • What is your greatest leadership trait?
    Adaptability and relatability to people and settings. I genuinely love people and new environments.

  • What is your favorite project you’ve ever worked on?
    Commencement at Harvard. One year with Mark Zuckerberg, the next with Congressman John Lewis.

  • What is the best advice you’ve been given? What is the best advice you have shared?
    Mentors! Finding a mentor and being a mentor – be poured into as you are pouring out into others.

  • What is your favorite part of your workday?
    The beginning of the workday: a time and space to get my thoughts and to-do lists organized for the day – typically with a nice cup of coffee.
Michael Lozano, Doctor of Education, Masters in Management
Michael Lozano, Doctor of Education, Masters in Management

Michael Lozano comes to us from Los Angeles, California where he earned his Global Executive Doctor of Education at the University of Southern California. Armed with a Master’s in Management from Harvard University, he is formally trained to achieve large-scale improvements across organizations through strategic use of policy, innovative practice, and assessments. As a professional educator, Dr. Lozano is extremely vested in creating educational change at the global level and stresses the examination of educational solutions from around the world to solve local challenges. He constantly seeks to broaden his perspectives on the challenges that organizations face and identifying root causes impeding performance.

On a personal level, Dr. Lozano is on a mission is to help every person—whether it be student, teacher, parent, or community member— to improve themselves and prepare for the next stage of their lives. He believes in elevating opportunities for all and helping the people he meets to become the thinkers, leaders, and creators of tomorrow.

Dr. Lozano also attended UC Berkeley and graduated with Highest Honors for his outstanding academic record and contribution to the research community.

About Marvin F.L. Hansen

Marvin F.L.. Hansen, Msc, PgDip, Bsc.
Marvin F.L.. Hansen, Msc, PgDip, Bsc.

A dedication to innovation shapes the direction of Marvin. He runs his consulting company and works as strategic advisor specialized in digital business transformation. Currently, he focuses on practical applications of artificial intelligence in the financial industry. In his spare time, Marvin collects Academic Degrees and dances the Argentine Tango.

He holds three degrees in computer science, holds a degree candidacy towards a master’s degree in management at Harvard Extension, holds a professional certificate in Disruptive Innovation from Harvard Business School, and got recently accepted to the 2019 Innovation Bootcamp at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

  • Name one thing most people don’t know about you.
    In college, I discovered a security flaw in the university email system and so I send out a bunch of prank emails to fellow students from the Dean’s email address.

  • What is the best advice you’ve been given? What is the best advice you have shared?
    Bright minds give new answers.
    Brilliant minds ask new questions.
    Be bold and ask new question to find a new way.

  • What is your favorite leadership motto or quote?
    Only what happens eventually matters in life.

Monica Anderson Young, Munich Re IT Business Solutions Chief-of-Staff, Consultant

Monica Anderson Young</strong></a>, Munich Re IT Business Solutions Chief-of-Staff, Consultant
Monica Anderson Young, Munich Re IT Business Solutions Chief-of-Staff, Consultant

A philosophy of servant leadership has defined the career path of Monica Anderson Young. From the classroom to the boardroom, she has created and delivered impactful programs aimed at assisting and encouraging people to find their most productive, connected, educated results through a platform built on communication and compassion.

Before coming to Munich Re, Monica most recently served the Global Director of IT Employee and Community Relations for AIG, where she worked for six years. Her tenure began as the Strategic Internal Communications and Engagement leader within the Americas IT region. Fostering communication and engagement led to becoming AIG’s first Global Innovation Catalyst, connecting business and IT stakeholders with external insurtech game changers for profit-driven solutions.

Prior to AIG, Monica owned a boutique communications firm specializing in small business growth, and her writing was published in a variety of local, state, and national publications. Monica’s deep community rots and passion for volunteering resulted in recognition from a variety of organizations, included being awarded the Kay to Kernersville, North Carolina when she moved to the northeaster United States. Monica was the second person in town history to receive the honor.

She is currently working toward certification in Organizational Behavior from Harvard University and holds an executive master’s degree in Global Strategic Communication from Georgetown University where she was named to the The Hoya Professional 30, a prestigious honor, within the university. She plans to start her doctoral work in Leadership and Learning Development this fall. Monica and her husband have three daughters, a son-in-law plus another wedding planned soon, and a plethora of pets, including a hedgehog.

  • What are you most proud of in your career?
    The lasting relationships I’ve built and nurtured.

  • Name one thing most people don’t know about you.
    The Atlanta, Georgia furniture company Tritter Feefer (www.tritterfeefer.com) named a chest after me — The Monica!

  • What is your greatest leadership trait?
    I genuinely like people. I like when people are different from me. I like when they are similar. I like knowing what makes people function at their highest level and then helping create work utopia.

  • Who has been your biggest inspiration?
    Similar to many, my parents are my biggest inspiration. My mother grew up in a time and a place where women had few options other than becoming teachers, nurses, or housewives — all important roles but also limiting if one has different dreams. She wanted to be a technologist.

    She married, had children but then returned to her goals of returning to college. My dad became her biggest cheerleader. He came home from work and started doing tasks that had previously been my mom’s. He cooked for us, cleaned up, and then I would hear my dad quizzing my mom long into the nights before her exams. She graduated with the highest of honors; and collectively as a family, we celebrated. We called her “Magna cum Mama!” [127 words – this is what running long looks like]

  • What is your motto or favorite quote?
    • “Teach us to number our days,/ That we might get a heart of wisdom.” Ps. 90:12 – A thousands of years old reminder to about list prioritization and completion.
    • “Be the change that you want to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi – a daily goal

    Shanon Watson

    Shannon Watson, Cross-cultural management, North America and Asia, consultant
    Shannon Watson, Cross-cultural management, North America and Asia, consultant

    Shannon Watson began her career as an operational auditor at Coca-Cola before deciding to move overseas to teach. She later returned to corporate life in finance and is currently working as a corporate consultant. Having lived for many years in both North America and Asia, she has developed a keen sensitivity to cross-cultural communications and how easily miscommunication can happen when not cognizant of the norms of an organization, a group, or a nation.

    Shannon graduated with a B.Soc.Sc. from the University of Ottawa and an International MBA from National Cheng-Chi University in Taiwan. She has also completed a certificate in Organizational Behaviour from Harvard University Extension School.

    • What is your favorite leadership motto or quote?
      “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” (Eleanor Roosevelt) This quote is a very relevant reminder in today’s society when we are exposed to an almost daily barrage of information about other people’s accomplishments. It also reminds me that we alone determine whose opinion should matter to us – and whose does not.

    • Name one thing most people don’t know about you.
      An enduring lesson in positivity and resilience was taught to me as a child by my three-legged cat Bootsy. Despite the setback of losing his leg he quickly recovered his physical strength and agility as well as his affable disposition.
  • Comments are closed.

    Solutions

    Square Peg Solutions works with mid-size companies, growth leaders and rising managers to create practical leaders and leadership programs to improve business continuity
    More...

    Resources

    Square Peg Leaders know that a good leader never stops learning. We post trending articles and insights to help our clients continue on their paths of leadership effectiveness & reliability
    More..

    Programs

    Leadership Development Courses and Online Programs
    More...