Leadership

Paula Courtney

Chief Executive Officer

A passionate change agent and entrepreneur, she believes that organizations remain competitive and profitable when they are brilliant at the basics of service delivery.

As President of the Verde Group, a research consultancy specializing in helping companies improve customer retention, Paula leads the development of new research methods for helping companies link customer and employee experiences to financial outcomes. The Verde Group’s Canadian and US retail studies have been published globally in over 35 publications including Business Week, Bloomberg News, the Wall Street Journal and Fortune. A frequent conference presenter, Paula has delivered keynote presentations for various industry and professional associations and is also a regular guest lecturer at the Wharton School of Business.

Paula holds a BSc in Psychology and a post graduate certification in Personnel & Industrial Relations (CPIR) from the University of Toronto. Paula is also fluent in French, Spanish and Portuguese.

Jon Skinner

Executive Vice President

Jon has more than 20 years’ experience in helping clients and organizations raise customer value through improved customer insight, relevance, satisfaction and operational excellence.  Spanning both B2B and consumer categories, he has consulted to market leading companies across the Financial Services, Pharmaceuticals and Medical, Telecommunications, Software and Consumer Package Goods verticals designing and implementing programs to grow customer value.  As practice area leader for Digitas, Jon led the Customer Management Group, which was responsible for customer value management, satisfaction strategy and channel execution. He was also VP of CRM Strategy for Seurat, a marketing outsourcing and services provider. His general management experience includes executive leadership positions at Excite@Home, Webroot Software, and New England Business Services.  Jon holds an MBA from the Amos Tuck School at Dartmouth, and a Bachelor of Arts from Union College.

Sarah Pierce

Sarah Pierce

Senior Vice President

Sarah Pierce is a Senior Vice President who works with organizations to help them grow revenue by linking customer experiences to business outcomes. She is an experienced executive and marketing strategist with over 15 years’ experience working across multiple industries such as medical devices, agriculture, healthcare, technology, consumer packaged goods, manufacturing, software as a solution (SaaS) with companies including GE, IBM, Cargill, Caterpillar, Target, Cook Medical, and Enterprise Rent-A-Car. She has held leadership positions in sales management, global marketing and insights, product management and customer operations.

Sarah brings a big picture, strategic perspective and has the knowledge, skills and understanding of on-the-ground realities to guide big thinking into successful tactics and deliverables that achieve results.

Sarah believes that how a company delivers its solutions is just as important as what it delivers. Understanding the specific experiences that generate the highest economic value helps a business maintain focus on the critical drivers of loyalty.

Sarah holds an MBA in International Business and Market Research from St. Louis University, and a B.S. from University of Missouri. She currently resides in St. Louis with her husband and two daughters.

Gord Ripley

Senior Vice President Operations

An experienced executive manager in the loyalty research and analytics space, Gord has over two decades of experience managing the operational complexities of enterprise-wide customer experience programs for North America’s largest organizations.   Adept at optimizing existing processes and developing new ones that deliver greater client efficiencies and new sources of client value, Gord oversees all operations at Verde Group.

Prior to joining Verde Group, Gord was Vice President of Client Experience for Greenwich Associates where he was responsible for the implementation and ongoing success of customer experience and loyalty programs touching millions of customers across all segments and business categories.  Gord has a particular depth of expertise in strategic program development and execution in the Financial Services category.

Gord has held positions on the Board of Directors for the MRIA, is a Net Promoter Certified Associate and holds a BA in Sociology from Dalhousie University.

Sandie Parker

Vice President, Customer Experience and Loyalty

Sandie specializes in consulting with clients in the areas of customer experience and loyalty assessment, sales force research and strategy, measurement and reporting. Her expertise encompasses both qualitative and quantitative research and facilitation of strategic action planning. Sandie has extensive background in the financial services industry including retail brokerage, wealth management and financial planning, investments and securities, insurance, commercial and investment banking, and contact centers. Before Verde, Sandie was responsible for commercial strategy development, planning, execution and measurement at leading North American bank. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Mathematics and holds a specialty in Administrative Management from the Life Office Management Association.

Lori Childers

Vice President, Client Solutions

Lori manages Verde’s large client engagements related to customer loyalty and retention and applies her management consulting experience to discern actionable insights from client studies. Her expertise encompasses both qualitative and quantitative operational analyses focusing on the people, process, and technology aspects of an organization. Lori has extensive background in management consulting for both Canadian and U.S. clients to include Federal Government agencies, non-profit associations, and Fortune 100 clients within the Pharmaceutical and Consumer Processed Goods industries. She has more than 25 years of experience facilitating private/government business operations transform to more efficient and effective models through implementation of management controls and reporting systems, business process reengineering, and organizational effectiveness.

Before Verde, Lori oversaw Canadian and U.S. proposal responses for the public sector arm of a leading global $600M consulting firm, delivering compliant, compelling, and winning proposals in support of overall business development activities to include a multi-million dollar contract with the Canadian Federal Government. Lori’s leadership experience includes prior positions within the IT industry for CP Rail and EDS in both Canada and the U.S. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Business Administration from the University of Waterloo and is certified as a Proposal Manager Practitioner from the Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP).

Michael Tropp

Vice President, Business Development

Michael leads Verde’s Business Development outreach efforts.  With over a decade of experience in market research, financial analysis and sales leadership, he has designed and led customer satisfaction, sales and training programs for a number of companies, including the US Postal Service.  A graduate of the University of Richmond, Michael has studied extensively abroad, attending both Oxford University and the University of Copenhagen.

Christine Young

Christine Young

Associate Vice President, Customer Experience

Christine has over 20 years’ experience in the market research industry and specializes in program development and consulting with clients in the area of customer experience and loyalty. Prior to joining Verde, Christine was a Senior Engagement Manager at Greenwich Associates’ Customer Experience Management division. She was responsible for the overall success of high-valued strategic client accounts and led a team of experienced Project Managers, overseeing the execution and delivery of insights on over 65+ customer experience research projects for clients in the Financial Services sector. Christine works with the client to build, measure and optimize their customer experience programs, with a focus on operational excellence and consistent delivery of high-quality CEM programs.

Christine holds a Honors BSc in Life Sciences and Economics from the University of Toronto, and is also a Net Promoter Certified Associate.