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Meet our growing network of Expert Program Leaders
Our network of experts includes selected consultants, educators and leadership professionals who are experienced and skilled in the use of the Friday Night at the ER simulation. These individuals are content experts and well-qualified program leaders with great reviews. You may contact us to arrange for an expert to get in touch with you.
Nancy L. Ashworth
Executive Coach and Talent Management Consultant, Right Management
All Industries
Denver, CO

Nancy Ashworth brings 25 years of experience coaching teams and leaders across multiple industries, including manufacturing, technology, hospitality, healthcare and government in the U.S., Canada and Europe.

An executive and team coach for organization leaders and individuals, Nancy is credentialed as a Professional Certified Coach through the International Coach Federation. She brings 25 years of experience coaching and consulting with leaders at all levels in manufacturing, research & development, marketing, quality, human resources and IT. Her clients have ranged from director level to CEO, COO, CIO, business unit presidents, boards of directors and hundreds of global leaders within Hewlett-Packard, Marriott International, Ford Motor, IBM, NBC-TV, Army Corps of Engineers, Blue Cross, Meridian Corporation and large universities.

Nancy enjoys working with all organizational levels, from the front line to the C-suite. Clients describe her style as warm and supportive and they appreciate the diversity of tools she has trained in and uses. Taking a systems approach, Nancy uses a cycle of assessment, challenge and support to accelerate development and build leadership behaviors and skills.

Her background includes serving as Director of Organizational Effectiveness, Organizational Improvement and/or Leadership Development in large companies (Hewlett-Packard, Marriott International, Catholic Health Initiatives) and medium-size companies (Kaiser Permanente; SHS; Inova; George Mason University) where she created and led corporate training.

Nancy received her M.S. in Organization Development from The American University where she graduated with distinction, and a B.A. from the University of Colorado. As Adjunct Faculty for University of Denver, she teaches Organizational Behavior and Team Dynamics.

Phil Cady
President, Cognitive Leadership Strategies West (CLSWEST)
All Industries
Brentwood Bay, BC, Canada

Phil Cady uses Friday Night at the ER in leadership and learning programs, retreats and workshops for higher education, non-profits, private sector, healthcare organizations, and all levels of government.

He brings experience and passion to his work – studying, designing and facilitating whole systems transformation; developing leadership assessment tools; coaching teams; and consulting on strategy and system leadership.

Phil is president of Cognitive Leadership Strategies West (CLSWEST) and founding partner of the LEADS Learning Scholar Practitioner Network. Since 1997, he has served as an associate faculty member at Royal Roads University in Victoria, British Columbia in the Master of Arts in Leadership and MBA programs. He is also on the faculty of the Physician Leadership Institute, the Conference Board of Canada’s Director’s College and a guest lecturer at the University of Bahrain. Phil is completing his doctoral studies in complexity science and social systems leadership at Royal Roads University.

Phil serves on several organization boards and frequently volunteers his services to non-profit and social-mission-driven organizations. His previous career was as an officer in the Canadian Forces.

He lives in Brentwood Bay on Vancouver Island with his spouse, Cindy, and three children aged 11 and under.

Mary A. Dolansky
Associate Professor, Case Western Reserve University School of Nursing
Director, QSEN Institute
Director, Interprofessional Integration and Education, VA Quality Scholars Program
Senior Nurse Fellow, Louis Stokes Cleveland VA
Cleveland, OH

Mary Dolansky uses Friday Night at the ER for teaching quality and systems thinking with health professionals. An expert in health care quality and safety, Dr. Dolansky is a leader in the practical application of systems thinking as a core competency for nurses and other clinicians. Dr. Dolansky is associate professor at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University; she is a senior fellow in the Veterans Administration Quality Scholars program, Louis Stokes Cleveland VA; and she directs the QSEN Institute which promotes Quality and Safety Education for Nurses.

For the past 12 years, she has used Friday Night in the ER in the interdisciplinary course “Continual Improvement in Health Care” at Case Western Reserve University.

Among her research interests and numerous publications, Dr. Dolansky has written about the essential role of systems thinking for improving quality and safety in nursing. Supported by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, she and her colleagues developed and tested an instrument to measure systems thinking.

Mary is available to support health professions educators to successfully integrate Friday Night at the ER in coursework and in practice.

Cyrus Engineer
Clinical Professor and Director, Healthcare Management Program, Towson University

Adjunct Faculty, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health

Healthcare / All Industries
Towson, MD

Cyrus Engineer uses Friday Night at the ER in classrooms at undergraduate and graduate healthcare management programs in the U.S. and internationally to teach systems thinking, leadership, conflict management and team based problem solving.

Dr. Engineer also uses Friday Night at the ER to coach C-suite executives in building high performing organizations through operational and cultural excellence. He integrates theories of change and other management techniques into Friday Night at the ER workshops to build capacity for organizational development and innovation.

Cyrus has more than 25 years’ experience in healthcare management and leadership. He is currently a clinical professor and director of the Healthcare Management Program at Towson University, and an adjunct faculty member at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He teaches courses in public health, monitoring and evaluation, quality and patient safety, and healthcare management.

In 2013, Cyrus was awarded the prestigious Knowledge for the World Award by Johns Hopkins University for his contributions to the international health arena including Afghanistan and the World Health Organization (WHO). He is on the board of the American Society for Quality (ASQ) Baltimore section, and is an ISO 9000 certified auditor. He is also a national Malcolm Baldridge Examiner for the Malcolm Baldridge Performance Excellence Program.

Cyrus began his career in India. After obtaining his Masters in Hospital Administration from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, he pursued administrative careers at Hinduja and Breach Candy Hospitals in Mumbai. His passion for quality and performance excellence led him to Johns Hopkins University, where he received a Doctorate of Public Health in healthcare management and leadership followed by a decade long career trajectory at the WHO, and Johns Hopkins.

Timothy Flinn Smith
Corporate Organizational Development Specialist, Novant Health
Winston Salem, NC

Timothy Smith has deep and broad experience spanning a 30-year career devoted to performance improvement and change management in healthcare. He combines systemic and pragmatic approaches to effect change.

With experience using Friday Night at the ER dating back to the mid-1990s, Timothy has found the simulation game highly effective to uncover bias and behaviors that impact patient flow. He leverages the experiential learning of the game play to open minds to new ideas and to enable a group to define change strategies and make plans.

A focus of Timothy’s work has been to align functional and enterprise-wide culture change with business strategy. He applies tools and methods of systems thinking, organization development, leadership coaching and change management.

Author of When Change Hits the Floor, Timothy has assembled a practical guide for patient-care leaders to create a culture in which individuals and teams can excel.

His professional work history includes leadership roles in large healthcare systems (at Novant Health and Ministry Health Care / Marshfield Clinic) and health insurance (at Humana). He has presented at state and national conferences, including Kansas Society for Human Resource Management and the national Systems Thinking in Action Conference. Timothy’s academic preparations include a Bachelor of Science and Master of Public Health.

Carol Fowler Durham
Professor and Director, Education-Innovation-Simulation Learning Environment (EISLE) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing
Chapel Hill, NC

Carol Durham is a visionary educator and consultant with expertise in practice-based education for all levels of nursing. She uses Friday Night at the ER as an immersion experience to demonstrate the system of care in which health professionals influence outcomes, and to uncover bias and behaviors that affect quality in patient care.

Dr. Durham brings more than 30 years’ experience in nursing and interprofessional education. She is professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing where she also directs the Education-Innovation-Simulation Learning Environment (EISLE). As a member of the RWJF’s Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN) project, Carol has developed simulation-based educational experiences that reflect cutting-edge pedagogy.

Known for teaching learners, practitioners and faculty with stimulating content and methods, Carol’s contributions to quality and safety education have been widely recognized. She is a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and the National League for Nursing Academy of Nursing Education. She received the 2010 Academic Achievement Award from Western Carolina University; the Alumni of the Year award from the University of North Carolina and Western Carolina University in 2008; and Nurse Educator of the Year award in 2005 from the North Carolina Board of Nursing. She is Past President of the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation & Learning.

At an interpersonal level, Carol has a unique ability to connect with learners and to inspire them.

Bette Gardner
Founder & Senior Educator, Breakthrough Learning
All Industries
Morgan Hill, CA

Bette Gardner created the Friday Night at the ER simulation game, one of several innovative developments that has marked her 25-year career in leadership development, business planning and management consulting.

Bette designed Friday Night at the ER based on her interest in creating innovative tools that employ principles of systems thinking to manage within complex systems. She initially developed the game following a consulting engagement that led to breakthrough performance at an urban hospital and trauma center. She assists customers to successfully use the product with training and support services in all industries.

Bette has also developed computer-based tools for learning and decision support, including 'management flight simulators' for private clients and for the public. She collaborated with Peter Senge and Arthur Andersen to create The Fifth Discipline-Interactive, and with High Performance Systems (now isee systems) to create simulations for population health management and for healthy communities development.

Bette's career includes 15 years in senior management positions with a hospital, a health care ventures company and a medical association. Formerly, she was a principal of the healthcare management consulting firm, HealthWorks.

Bette’s volunteer work includes providing humanitarian flights as a pilot for Angel Flight West, and supporting environmental causes as a pilot for LightHawk. She and her husband live in Northern California where they raised three amazing sons.

Mark Graban
Consultant/Speaker/Author, Constancy, Inc.
Founder, LeanBlog.org
Colleyville, TX

Mark Graban is a consultant, author, professional speaker, and blogger. He builds upon a deep education in engineering and management with practical experience working with executives and frontline employees in multiple industries to synthesize and practice methods including Lean management, continuous improvement, statistical methods, and people-centered leadership approaches. Mark finds Friday Night at the ER well aligned with these disciplines and valuable as a hands-on teaching tool.

Mark is author of the Shingo Prize-winning book Lean Hospitals: Improving Quality, Patient Safety, and Employee Engagement. Mark is also co-author, with Joe Swartz, of Healthcare Kaizen: Engaging Front-Line Staff in Sustainable Continuous Improvements (also a Shingo recipient) and The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. His most recent book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is also the founder of LeanBlog.org, producing blog posts and podcasts.

He serves as a consultant to organizations through his company, Constancy, Inc and is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus. He has focused on healthcare improvement since 2005, after starting his career in industry at General Motors, Dell, and Honeywell.

Mark has a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Northwestern University and an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering and an M.B.A. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Leaders for Global Operations Program.

Kay Hall
Principal, Perspective Consulting Group
All Industries
Portland, OR

Kay Hall brings extensive experience in Lean leadership, performance improvement and organization development. Her clients have learned how to design the systems needed to engage every team member to become problem solvers and innovators aligned with organization priorities.

She has used Friday Night in the ER with leaders, work teams and cross-functional improvement teams. Citing its effectiveness, Kay remarks that Friday Night at the ER consistently creates a common experience that participants draw on long after the workshop as a “north star” in the midst of day-to-day challenges.

Kay’s accomplishments include pioneering work to design methods for integrating Kaizen principles and Toyota Production Methods within the healthcare environment. Known for her knowledge, skill, commitment and emphasis on practical solutions, Kay has been engaged to lead multi-year organization-wide transformations through new practices and methods for continuous improvement.

As principal with Perspective Consulting Group for more than 20 years, Kay has served healthcare systems, financial institutions, school districts and utility companies. Her prior experience includes 17 years as the internal organizational development consultant in three metropolitan hospitals.

Bob Hamburger
Principal, The Bach Group
All Industries
Mendham, NJ

Doing what is right is a principle that has guided Bob Hamburger’s career as a leader, manager, intrepreneur, coach, mentor and educator. He is a principal in The Bach Group LLC, where he provides consulting, coaching and training services to a variety of constituents.

As Chief Learning Officer for ProSight Specialty Insurance Group, Bob developed and delivered training programs for a fast growing property and casualty insurance company. Bob’s highly regarded programs included blended learning platforms with experiential case-based challenges.

Working for Chubb Corporation for 29 years, Bob held a variety of leadership positions in the areas of Operations, Marketing and Distribution Management. Bob had responsibility for oversight of a robust Continuing Education program for insurance agents and brokers throughout the United States, and he was the creator and corporate sponsor for a widely recognized Business Ethics curriculum that was delivered to thousands of producers across the country. Bob continues his dedication to the field of Business Ethics as a contributor and teacher at Fairfield University and Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.

Bob is a graduate of University of Rhode Island and holds the Chartered Property & Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation. He and his wife Cynthia hail from Northern New Jersey and are proud parents of three children. Personal interests include kayaking, tennis, the arts, and support for many organizations including Learning Ally and The Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts/ New Jersey Youth Symphony Orchestra, where Bob serves as a Trustee.

James Handyside
Director, Improvision Healthcare Inc
All industries
London, ON, Canada

James Handyside is a training consultant specializing in organizational improvement. Focused primarily in healthcare, he is the principal and director of Improvision Healthcare Inc., a consultancy he formed in 1995. Based in Ontario Canada, James has served clients across North America, in India and Taiwan.

James has integrated Friday Night at the ER in many programs and initiatives since 1997. His facilitation of the game at the University of Toronto MHSc Health Administration program regularly scores as one of the most highly regarded and memorable components of the program.

Recently, James was the curriculum lead for Ontario’s province-wide learning program, IDEAS, a key learning strategy in health system transformation. Friday Night at the ER was included in the IDEAS advanced learning program on quality improvement. James has also provided the game play learning experience as a program element in other industries including warehousing, finance, insurance and management consulting.

James began his career in an occupational safety role in the electrical utilities with a degree in Ergonomics and Human Factors Science. Despite lacking a clinical background, he has worked for more than thirty years in support of organizational improvement in healthcare. For many years he served as the quality director for Vermont Oxford Network’s collaborative on improvement in neonatology. Recently his interest and aptitude in digital technology has led him to design and develop blended learning programs using web-based modules.

Mark Heffernan
MEngSci, MBA
CEO, Dynamic Operations / Systems Innovation Practice
All Industries
Sydney, Australia

Mark Heffernan is an Australian-based consultant and educator. He has developed and applied simulation tools and systems analysis in his work throughout South East Asia and elsewhere. A civil engineer, Mark brings a people and process focus to performance improvement.

Mark is a specialist advisor with Advisian and a member of the Systems Innovation Practice. He formerly managed Evans & Peck's decision modelling services, where his major area of expertise was the application of collaborative techniques (both computerised and physical) to assist teams to improve. His Fleet Doctor system for the RAAF F-111 fleet won a gold medal for productivity improvement. In conjunction with Drs. Geoff McDonnell and Lyn Lee, Mark has authored several papers on the use of System Dynamics in healthcare.

In addition to leading teams with the Friday Night at the ER simulation game, Mark is a facilitator for Rehab 2139, The Beer Game and The Manufacturing Game. Mark also mentors students ranging from overseas PhDs to E&P undergraduate programs.

A civil engineer, Mark has experience locally and overseas in planning and project management. In his spare time he is Secretary / Treasurer of The Norway Brigade of the RFS, and a patrolling member of Avalon Beach SLSC where he has served as chief instructor, assessor and club president.

Russ Linden
Principal, Russ Linden & Associates
Adjunct Faculty Member, Federal Executive Institute
Government & Nonprofits / All Industries
Charlottesville, VA

Russ Linden leads Friday Night at the ER programs, supporting government, nonprofit and private-sector organizations to improve performance, develop leadership, foster innovation, and adapt to change. He is an adjunct faculty member at the universities of Virginia, Maryland and Connecticut, and at the Federal Executive Institute; and he writes a column on management innovations sponsored by Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and Governing Magazine.

Russ' teaching and consulting interests include collaborating across organizational boundaries, managing the human side of change, developing organizational learning, maintaining resiliency, and fostering customer-focused organizations. His latest book, Leading Across Boundaries (2010), focuses on the leader's roles and challenges in making collaboration work in government and nonprofits. For more, see his website or blog.

Before beginning his full-time practice, Russ was a senior faculty member at the Federal Executive Institute. He has served as director of executive programs at the University of Virginia's Center for Public Service, taught at the University of Virginia McIntire School of Commerce, and managed programs in the human services field.

Russ and his wife Jackie live in Charlottesville, VA. They have two adult kids and one delightful grandson.

Jill Steiner Sanko
Assistant Professor, University of Miami
Miami, FL

Jill Sanko uses Friday Night at the ER in the university classroom and in a variety of settings in which health professionals come together to learn. A leader in the field of simulation-based education in healthcare, Jill’s expertise includes both application and research. Special interests include inter-professional education, teamwork, patient safety and communication.

Jill is an assistant professor at the University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies. She studies the impact of simulation-based education on improving patient safety, and has authored a number of articles and book chapters on this and related topics.

Jill began her career in simulation and patient safety at the National Institutes of Health as founding associate director of the simulation and patient safety program, and later at the University of Miami-Jackson Memorial Center for Patient Safety as simulation education and research specialist.

Jill’s experience includes nursing positions at Miami Children’s Hospital, with Johns Hopkins and with a home health organization with responsibilities for managing the care of acutely-ill pediatric patients.

An Advanced Certified Simulation Educator, Jill has been active in the Society for Simulation in Healthcare in leadership positions focused on research, membership, international program planning, and as an accreditation site reviewer.

Locally, Jill was active in the Florida Healthcare Simulation Alliance; she co-chairs the UMSONHS Patient Safety Committee; co-chairs the UM Interprofessional Education task force; is a member of the Academic Technology Committee and Undergraduate Curriculum Committee; and she is part of the leadership group for the Beta Tau chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International.

Donna Sullivan Havens
Connelly Endowed Dean and Professor, M. Louis Fitzpatrick College of Nursing, Villanova University
Villanova, PA

As a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing with more than 25 years in nurse education and leadership, Donna Havens is not only a gifted Friday Night at the ER facilitator, but the leader of multiple federally-funded research projects designed to improve nursing practice.

Her most recent HRSA-funded study, “Shaping Systems to Promote Desired Outcomes,” which aims to improve patient care in four emergency rooms in rural North Carolina uses Friday Night in the ER as a key simulation for this effort. Her other recent HRSA-funded projects include “Building Capacity for Better Work and Better Care” and “Spiraling Upward for Nurse Retention and Quality Care.”

As part of Donna’s decades-long study of the nursing practice environment, she developed the ‘Decisional Involvement Scale,’ an instrument now used worldwide to identify levels of actual and desired staff nurse decisional involvement and to guide change.

Donna’s career includes a rich blend of roles in nursing practice, administration, and academe. Prior to joining Villanova University in 2018, she spent 15 years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing as a professor, division chair and interim dean. She has also worked internationally at King’s College in London, the University of Toronto, and the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia.

Donna has received multiple awards including, but not limited to: induction into the Sigma Theta Tau International Research Hall of Fame, the University of Maryland School of Nursing inaugural Visionary Pioneer Award, the University of Maryland School of Nursing’s Distinguished Alumni Award, the Pennsylvania Nightingale Award for Research Excellence, and the Villanova University School of Nursing Distinguished Contributions in Nursing Research Medallion.

Linda Booth Sweeney
Game Design, Big Picture Productions
Systems Educator, Consultant and Writer
Education / All Industries
Cambridge, MA

Linda Booth Sweeney has used the Friday Night at the ER simulation for years with diverse groups in her global and groundbreaking work as educator, consultant and collaborator. A Harvard-educated systems educator and award-winning author, she has led Friday Night at the ER programs throughout her career.

Friday Night at the ER blends seamlessly with Linda's work helping people develop systems literacy or a deeper understanding of living systems. As a systems educator and consultant, she translates complex systems theory into accessible books, seminars, games, museum exhibits, web content, children's media and more.

Linda's most recent work includes developing a systems literacy curriculum and games for PBS Learning Media. She is also working with fellow researchers to convey the systems story of a research project focused on childhood obesity. For more, see Linda's website or blog.

Putnam published Linda's first picture book for children, When the Wind Blows, in early 2014. Other books by Linda include The Systems Thinking Playbook (with Dennis Meadows), When a Butterfly Sneezes, and Connected Wisdom: Living Stories about Living Systems.

William J. Ward, Jr.
Associate Professor, Healthcare Finance and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Principal, Healthcare Management Resources
Director, University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health System
Baltimore, MD

Bill Ward is an educator, consultant and former hospital executive who has used Friday Night at the ER with hospital managers, trustees, hospital associations and universities in the U.S., Latin America, Asia and the Middle East.

Bill has integrated Friday Night at the ER in graduate education curricula and large-group seminars, and he uses the simulation game in his consulting practice, Healthcare Management Resources.

An avid worldwide traveler, Bill confirms that Friday Night at the ER works across diverse settings and cultures.

Along with his consulting practice, Bill teaches at several universities and schools of nursing. At the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, he is an associate professor of health finance and management, former director of the Master of Health Administration Degree Program, and faculty director of the Sommer Scholars leadership program.

A former healthcare executive, Bill spent 12 years as chief operating officer at Baltimore City Hospitals (now Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center). He currently serves on the boards of two health systems.

Bill is the author of two textbooks (with a third book underway) and numerous articles, and he has lectured widely on healthcare financial and operational subjects. His hobbies include travel, golf and doting on grandchildren.