John Engels is President of Leadership Coaching, Inc., a Rochester, New York-based leadership consulting and development company founded in 1996. His firm delivers advanced-level relationship management ideas, strategies, and skills to CEOs, presidents, and executive teams throughout the world. John has attended and presented at Bowen Center conferences since 1994, and has written a chapter in Bringing Bowen Theory to Life, published in 2010. His blogs feature the application of Bowen theory to business and family challenges, reaching 10,000 leaders every month. John also authors a regular leadership column for the Rochester Business Journal. John is a Scholar-Practitioner for Cornell University’s Smith Family Business Initiative, assisting business-owning families and their advisors as they navigate relationship challenges, advance succession conversations, and develop next-generation leaders. He has presented to and coached leaders across diverse cultures for more than 30 years. Leadership Coaching, Inc. has gained a national reputation for its Advanced Leadership Course, based on Bowen family systems theory, and graduating more than 1,500 top-level leaders since 1997.
Jo Benson Fogel has been practicing law in Maryland for more than 35 years. For the last 25 years, her primary focus has been on court-related matters involving families and individuals, primarily in the Maryland courts. She was certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy as a family law specialist. She serves clients and family members of all ages and who are involved in divorce, guardianship, custody, property distribution, estate planning, and will administration. She is also active in several Bar Associations where her activities have involved teaching classes related to family law issues, law practice management, and dispute resolution. Ms. Fogel has a Preeminent Lawyer and AV rating with Martindale-Hubbell, the national lawyers directory. She has also been designated a Maryland Super Lawyer since 2012 and has been listed in Best Lawyers in America since 2015. In 1999, the Montgomery County Bar Foundation recognized her for her Extraordinary Commitment to Delivery of Legal Services. She began attending programs sponsored by the Bowen Center in 1975. Since then, she has served as a presenter at several conferences and has been a guest on Family Matters. She considers serving on the Advisory Board of the Bowen Center to be a special honor and opportunity.
Thomas Merkel has over 30 years of experience in general management, sales, marketing, finance, and accounting. He was a partner in several closely held family businesses. He serves as Chairman of a Rochester Vistage group, which is comprised of presidents, CEOs, or owners of companies based in upstate New York. He also serves as an operating director of a private equity firm, and supports several nonprofit organizations. Mr. Merkel has held positions with Nabisco and PricewaterhouseCoopers, a national accounting firm. He is a New York CPA, has an undergraduate degree from Ithaca College, and an MBA from Rutgers University. Mr. Merkel attended the Postgraduate Training Program at the Bowen Center for three years, ending in 2012. His interests in Bowen theory revolve around leadership and succession in the family business.
Cecile Whitehead is the President and Founder of Accurate Solutions, a company she established 25 years ago when she saw the need for small to midsize organizations to have timely financial statements customized to their particular needs. Accurate Solutions has been providing comprehensive accounting services to multiple small businesses and nonprofits ever since. She provides her clients with custom designed financial statements, invoicing, accounts receivable and payable, budgeting and financial forecasting. Cecile has been a student of Bowen family systems theory for more than two decades.