Learnit team and instructors
We love to help individuals and organizations grow. All our instructors are subject matter experts, have real-world experience in their field and have proven success in creating outstanding learning environments.
After dedicating the initial 22 years of his life to the pursuit of becoming a Major League Baseball player, Damon pivoted in 1995 to help his father (Walt Lembi, Founder of Learnit) by investing his heart and soul in Learnit to help individuals gain the knowledge and confidence they need in attaining their professional goals through the value of education. Damon has a deep commitment to the Learnit team past and present and the San Francisco Bay Area community as a whole, where he was born and raised. Damon attributes Learnit's longevity and success to the ability to surround himself with "A" players and taking advantage of learning / evolving through past mistakes. Outside of Learnit, Damon is an avid reader, moviegoer, and live music fanatic. Most of all, Damon loves spending time with his wife, children—Lucy and Wally, and his dog.
Matt is a native Northern Californian who loves the outdoors and grew up hiking, biking, skiing, and hunting. Matt is a no excuses, get it done kind of guy. He believes in survival of the fittest—mind and body—through hard work, discipline, and focus.
With 15+ years of experience in corporate sales at Learnit, Matt has successfully driven profits and created lifelong corporate partnerships. His mantra is Listen, Learn, Grow, Share, and Repeat.
When not in Learnit mode, Matt is either enjoying a well-brewed cup of coffee while burying his nose in the latest influential business book or he's exploring the great outdoors with his beautiful wife, rambunctious two boys, and dog.
Darren is a Bay Area native and UC Berkeley alum whose first professional career was spent performing on regional stages in lead roles and in films and TV in decidedly supporting roles as a full-time, working actor. Since then, he has become a communications and leadership trainer and consultant.Prior to joining Learnit, Darren served on the executive team of a top professional skills development company where he designed and delivered programs for Fortune 100 organizations around the world, managed key customer accounts and served internally as the Head of Faculty Development.When not at work, Darren enjoys spending time with his family, getting outdoors as much as possible to bike, play tennis and backpack with his 16 lb. beast of a chihuahua terrier sidekick, Tecate, in the High Sierras.
In addition to helping individuals elevate their skillset through formal training, Kandis Porter loves working with organizations on planning and executing productive offsite meetings, teambuilding, solving challenging problems associated with programs or projects, and ensuring a structure is in place to support effective communication. Through Learnit, Kandis has collaborated with numerous organizations to successfully design customized solutions, to include Sony, Travis Credit Union, and Lyric. She is also one of our primary instructors for getting certified as a Six Sigma Green Belt. Kandis has a MS in Project Management (MSPM) from The George Washington University and MBA in Human Resources. She is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP), Prosci Change Manager, and Six Sigma Green Belt. She is also a practitioner of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), Thomas-Kilmann Instrument (TKI) for managing conflict, and DiSC Workplace assessments. Outside of work, she enjoys running, skiing, and spending time with her family. Kandis proudly spent more than seven years on Active Duty in the United States Air Force and is passionate about giving back to veterans and their families.
Courtney Ritchie is a seasoned executive learning professional with over 15 years of experience in driving learning and development initiatives within organizations. As an integral member of the team at Learnit, she is passionate about collaborating with businesses to build and grow effective learning programs and foster a culture of continuous learning. Her expertise in the field of corporate learning and development makes her a valuable asset in creating impactful learning solutions that drive business success.
Brian Lanier is Learnit’s primary leadership development and diversity, equity & inclusion champion. He has over 20 years of experience coaching scores of business leaders in a wide range of industries across North America.
Brian helps executives address diverse performance challenges, reimagine what’s possible and achieve their goals. He does so by altering the prevailing context and expanding corporate leadership and communication practices.
Prior to his training and development career, Brian was a Regional Vice-President with Starbucks Coffee Company and a Director of Operations for KFC-Canada.
Brian holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia and studied journalism at the University of Houston. He serves as Vice-Chair of the Advocacy Committee for a non-profit group of Black professionals and academics committed to ending systemic racism for Black, Indigenous and People of Color.
Brian lives in Calgary, Canada with his spouse, Yvonne, their “velcro” dog, Fletcher, in their forever-house with breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains and Bow River. Together, Yvonne and Brian are parents of an extended “modern family” that regularly gather for meals, real conversations and to remind Brian that he’s not nearly as funny as he thinks he is.
A former New Yorker, Sheila enjoyed a first career in finance, from financial writer and editor to Wall Street analyst and portfolio manager. She did a 10-year stint as an entrepreneur and currently coaches business owners in profitability and management. The real-world business experience furnishes her with stories and examples for Professional Development workshops in Leadership, Work Relationships, and Change Management. She has a degree in economics from Bryn Mawr College and an MBA from NYU. Outside of work, Sheila’s enthusiasms include reading, ballroom dancing, hiking and bird watching with her husband and serving on the Board of an historic SF cultural Institute.
Joe recently moved to the Bay Area from New Jersey. As an avid world traveler, Joe has lived in Ukraine, Russia, Macedonia, Bulgaria, London, and a quick stay in China. When he isn’t traveling, he loves singing, acting, volunteering, and hanging out with his wife and son. Joe is very enthusiastic about being a part of the Learnit team as an End User Instructor. He truly believes in what Learnit has to offer to its customers.
James Jeffley is an award-winning international speaker and trainer, a professional coach, published author, accomplished musician, ordained minister and a two-time finalist in the Toastmasters International World Championship of Public Speaking. He blends humor and a varied skillset and knowledge base, with proven, real-world strategies and tools, and practical wisdom to create an environment where students are not only engaged, having fun and learning, but also motivated to take action after class to apply what they learned to create meaningful change in their lives.
Nadia is a San Francisco native who is currently far from the Best Coast - after moving away to attend Princeton University, she has since settled in Brooklyn, NY. Nadia considers herself a lifelong learner, and has been so happy to find a group of like-minded colleagues at Learnit! She is new to Learnit, but not new to the educational field, having worked in a variety of organizations in the nonprofit and for-profit sectors. She aims to cultivate a fun, comfortable space to explore different ideas in all of her Learnit workshops, in which participants can share their expertise and develop best practices for themselves moving forward. In addition to working at Learnit, you can find her providing academic coaching for K-12 students, hunting for delicious pastries at local bakeries, and acting in live theater performances.
Faz Karim possesses a strong background in computer science. He provides a tailored and hands-on approach to teaching software with comprehensive explanations of not only how to use software, but how the various components work behind the scenes. Faz’s tailored teaching methods support the student(s)/client(s) in developing and nurturing an overall deeper understanding of the concepts and ideas presented, with best practices applied.
Michael has been working in E-Learning since 2012. Starting out in the K-12 world, he’s now squarely focused on creating and managing content for adult learners. A majority of his free time is spent finding and listening to new music, eating an absurd amount of salad, avoiding the beach, and planning his next trip to NYC.
After studying business administration and marketing management at the university level, Kareen went on to work as a marketing assistant in Thailand, Vietnam, and in the Philippines before becoming a part of the Learnit team. Outside of work, Kareen enjoys hiking, reading books and travelling locally and internationally.
Evans has supported and helped develop Learnit's client base since 2005. As a Senior Account Manager, she helps Learning and Development, Technical and Individual teams build and implement tailor-made learning programs to support their business goals. Her event planning background prior to Learnit brings the tools to treat each class and program as its own unique event, requiring ultimate customer service and attention to detail. In addition to working at Learnit, you can find her doing yoga, hiking in Marin, or spending time with her family.
Nick is a Bay Area native and a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley. He spent his early years and time in college as a competitive swimmer, where he eventually became a US Open champion in 2017. After his athletic career, he moved to Miami, Florida to pursue his professional career. In August of 2020, Nick joined the Learnit team. He enjoys building lasting relationships with his clients while providing top-notch customer service and delivering a product that truly helps his customers. In his free time, you can find him at the beach, dining out at his favorite local restaurants, or spending time with his dog, Mac.
Tayler is a Southern California native and a graduate of Azusa Pacific University. With a background in nonprofits and event management, the love of hospitality and taking care of customers is ingrained in her sales approach. When she is not helping clients develop amazing programs, you can find her volunteering with Make- A-Wish, playing beach volleyball, and frequenting Taco Tuesdays around San Diego.
Mo is a resident of Atlanta, GA. Originally from New York, he graduated from Hofstra University with a degree in Computer Information Systems.
He has a passion for technology and has served at Adelphi University and Georgia Tech as a computer engineer.
Three years ago, Mo answered the call to serve as a computer instructor at a new, small school in the Republic of Panama. In that role, he discovered his passion for teaching and completed his Master of Education. Mo believes teaching and technology are a great fit and is committed to lifelong learning.
During leisure time, you can find Mo enjoying the great outdoors with his family of four.
Bindi is originally from Australia, currently residing in sunny San Diego, CA. She graduated from the University of Sydney with a Master of Teaching, and Wollongong University with a bachelor's degree in Exercise Science.
Bindi has a wealth of experience in education, health, and wellness both here in the USA and in Australia. She has been a teacher, a coach, an instructor, and course developer - leading the creation of professional development education courses in previous roles.
Bindi believes that education and fun are the keys to help people develop a lifelong relationship with health and wellness. Outside of teaching, you'll find Bindi skiing, biking, swimming, hiking, and taking on outdoor adventures!
Nick has been fortunate to work for and with companies who champion learning and development.
Prior to Learnit, Nick held entrepreneurial roles that required him to generate new business, build teams, create process, and be comfortable in the weeds. Learning was a necessity in those roles, and he developed a great appreciation for the mentors and managers who gave him the space and resources to grow and develop. Nick joined Learnit because he believes in helping others become the best possible versions of themselves at work.
Nick lives near the beach in San Francisco with his fiancé and dog. You can often find him surfing at Ocean Beach, golfing at Harding Park, or walking his dog in Golden Gate Park.
Christian Durso is a professional development trainer, accomplished playwright and screenwriter, and runs a non-profit arts organization in his hometown of Los Angeles. He values bringing more creativity into the lives of working professionals, and bringing more professionalism into the lives of creatives. He has a background as a crisis counselor and values clear, empathetic communication as the basis for building powerful relationships at home and at work.
Christian has executive produced and written for shows on Netflix, films for Sony, and plays for theaters across the nation. He's managed teams internationally and remotely. He creates engaging environments where his students, colleagues, and peers can access their potential and discover joy in their work.
Originally from South Carolina, Mary attended the College of Charleston Honors college, where she competitively swam while earning a BA in biology and Spanish.
After graduation, Mary started her career in education by working in Morocco as a high school science teacher. She has since relocated to San Diego, CA, where she has worked in public and private schools developing curriculum, teaching courses, and implementing policy change. Mary most enjoys crafting thoughtful, research-driven curriculum that is engaging to her audience.
In her free time, you will most likely find Mary near the ocean or any body of water, surfing or swimming. She also enjoys traveling, camping, and any kind of outdoor adventure.
Mickey Fitch-Collins is a lifelong education professional with a deep passion for performance management, supervision, leadership, and professional development. Mickey has also worked in the higher education and adjacent spaces in educational technology and professional development and training, an area where she gets the most energy and excitement in her work. Mickey has served in a variety of leadership and managerial roles supervising large and small teams, facilities, initiatives, and services, and has also had the opportunity to teach on unique topics at the collegiate level.
Mickey earned her PhD in Leadership in Higher Education from Northcentral University in 2019 while researching how professional development and supervision influence middle manager self-efficacy.
Mickey is an avid outdoorsperson, where she enjoys spending time on Lake Superior with her family, gardening, fishing, or just reading a good book on the porch.
Madison began her career as an actor and spent over a decade performing in plays and musicals throughout the United States and on Broadway. A multi-passionate artist and health advocate, she now weaves her love of storytelling, collaborative learning, and wellness into her work as an Inclusive Leadership Facilitator, Professional Development Instructor, and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. She feels endlessly inspired to help others to improve their quality of life with holistic nourishment and self-development. Currently, Madison lives in Brooklyn, New York, and spends much of her free time galavanting through Prospect Park and connecting with family and friends.
Calvin Strachan is a speaker, facilitator and consultant with experience delivering organizational trainings to improve leadership, sales, and business performance.
Additionally, Calvin is a sought-after professional coach who brings a proven track record for helping clients close deals, pinpoint solutions and problem-solve, boost their personal brand, and establish powerful identities that catapult success. Cal resides in Toronto, Canada.
David Bencomo brings more than twenty years of corporate experience to Learnit as a learning & engagement leader who has helped organizations establish a learning culture that advances proficiency, boosts employee engagement, and promotes professional development.
His expertise is helping individuals and organizations flourish in uncertain times. He enjoys delivering programs focused on building personal resilience, developing inspirational leaders, and fostering team unity and engagement.
Joe Little - Joe is a professional facilitator and corporate trainer, a certified executive presentations coach, and an entertaining, energetic, dynamic presenter who keeps live & virtual global audiences engaged...in multiple languages
He is a specialist in workplace communication and leadership skills, including public speaking, listening, virtual communication, business writing, cross-cultural fluency; and relational skills like empathy, influence, persuasion, emotional intelligence, conflict management.
Will Whittle is an international transformational teacher and leadership mentor who helps people bring empowering wisdom into their lives so they can transform the roadblocks that are holding them back and live with greater happiness, harmony, and authenticity.
For over 20 years, he has been inspiring audiences around the world, helping organizations develop authentic leadership and achieve extraordinary performance. His illuminating presentations, seminars and travel retreats not only offer real world practical ideas and profound wisdom, but also open the heart and inspire courageous action.
He has led seminars on five continents and at the following diverse organizations: Sony, Visa, Wells Fargo, Chevron, Walmart, Gap, Federal Reserve Bank, Stanford University, University of California, Universitat de Barcelona, Kaiser Permanente, and more.
Kay Terera joins Learnit from Zimbabwe. Kay has been facilitating learning and stimulating the hearts and minds of people from all walks of life–professionals, university students and entrepreneurs. Kay specializes in topics that promote the usage of emotional intelligence, creative thinking and presentation mastery.
Kay has delivered training to 400+ participants each year on topics including Interpersonal Communication, Effective Evaluation, Design Thinking, Harnessing Creativity in a Fast-Paced World, and Public Speaking with Style and Substance. In 2020, Kay became the first ever champion to be crowned in an online version of the Southern Africa Public Speaking contest (Toastmasters International, District 74).
Terri McMahon is a Communication, Leadership and Public Speaking Coach/Consultant based on the West Coast.
She works locally and globally with populations ranging from private individuals, to senior leaders within organizations, to teams within both non-profit and for-profit sectors.
Terri has a performing arts background and combines personal and professional growth strategies with techniques that promote higher impact communication, allowing clients to achieve new levels of authenticity, ease and influence in their lives and work. Her business touchpoints have been with technology, wealth management, pharma, insurance and more.
Dale Barnes practiced law for over 40 years, focusing on litigation and mediation, with extensive experience in persuasion, team management, mentoring and team development, and real-world problem solving. Dale is also a certified mindfulness and meditation instructor with an interest in helping others to develop and grow both professionally and personally. In his spare time, Dale enjoys golf and the art of bonsai.
Elizabeth holds a degree in Business Administration from the University of West Alabama. Prior to joining Learnit, she spent 11 years in upper leadership roles within the retail industry, which is where she honed her expertise in training and development, emphasizing the significance of fostering strong relationships with her team and customers.
With a passion for continuous learning, Elizabeth is committed to creating impactful learning experiences that empower individuals and drive organizational growth. She currently resides in beautiful Durango, CO and in her free time you can find her hiking, practicing yoga, playing with her dog and 3 cats, or traveling in her camper van with her partner.
Dr. Brenda Harms has spent the last two decades of her career immersed in the field of higher education. A self-proclaimed“student” of the industry, she brings to her work experience as a higher education administrator with a diverse marketing and admissions background.Brenda’s perspective on the industry of higher education is strengthened by her hands-on experience serving in both academic and administrative roles in higher education.
For the last two decades Brenda has taught adult students in face-to-face, virtual and online settings. Her work in education includes program and course development as well as training for professional development for a wide range of organizational levels.
Brenda received a B.S. in allied health and an M.A. in Educational Psychology and Counseling from the University of SouthDakota. She received her Ph.D. in Human Services with her dissertation focused specifically on adult student retention. She is also a licensed mental health counselor.
The child of two college professors, Skyler grew up in an environment of scholarship and academic rigor, so naturally, she dropped out of high school to be a ballerina. She has a master’s degree in theater and work experience in education and advertising. She’s won awards as a stage director, published six novels, and appeared on reality TV—and if you can spot a “career path” in that, you have a better eye for pattern than she does.
She spent a half-dozen years as a ghostwriter and book coach for a full-service publishing company, working with consultants, entrepreneurs, and industry leaders on narrative strategy and market positioning. As one of the company’s two title experts, she collaborated with authors to crystallize even highly technical books into juicy, memorable titles that piqued curiosity and drove sales.
Before that, as the head of advertising for a small acoustics firm, she was responsible for defining the company’s brand, building sales collateral, and helping prepare senior executives for high-stakes presentations, interviews, and industry conferences.
She has a hobbyists’ interest in behavioral economics and design thinking and developed a lifelong fascination with how the creative process works and breaks into a web-based choose‐your‐own‐adventure game for getting unstuck in collaboration with Write or Die wizard Jeff Printy. She’s a mom, a writer, a dancer (yes, still), and lives in Austin, Texas.