About Creative Education Foundation
“The challenges we are facing are without precedent…and we are going to need every ounce of ingenuity, imagination, and creativity to confront these problems.” ~ Sir Ken Robinson
Alex Osborn founded the Creative Education Foundation (CEF) in 1954. Alex was one of the original advertising “Mad Men” and the “O” in BBDO. He founded CEF based on the idea that creativity can be learned and developed.
With Sidney J. Parnes, Ph.D., Alex developed the Creative Problem Solving (CPS) process and founded the Creative Problem Solving Institute (CPSI). CPSI is the oldest, longest-running global creativity conference that attracts hundreds of attendees from around the globe and across industries.
CEF also runs the Parnes Global Fellowship program, which trains rising leaders in CPS to make positive change in their communities, and awards the Ruth B. Noller Research Grant for cutting edge creativity research. CEF publishes the longest-running academic creativity journal, the Journal of Creative Behavior, and also provides CPS Professional Development Training to teachers, students, and professionals. CEF is a registered, 501-c-3 nonprofit organization.
The mission of the Creative Education Foundation is to spark personal and professional transformation by empowering people with the skill set, tool set, and mindset of deliberate creativity.
Our vision is to unlock the creative genius in everyone. The Creative Education Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit membership organization of leaders in the field of creativity theory and practice. Every day, principles fostered by CEF programs are helping someone, somewhere in the world, develop new products, make business operations run more profitably, restructure organizations and agencies to become more effective and less encumbered, reinvigorate economies, make improvements in our schools, revitalize communities, and replace ineffective methods and systems with new, more workable ones.
We convene businesses, governments, NGOs, and individuals to improve global health and wellness, increase opportunity for women and girls, reduce childhood obesity, create economic opportunity and growth, and help communities address the effects of climate change.
The Core Values of CEF
- Creativity is innate; it can be deliberate, studied, taught, and learned.
- Constructive creativity requires personal integrity, as well as integrity in process, product, and environment.
- Courageous and respectful communication yields meaning and understanding.
- We express viewpoints with clarity and self-awareness, ask questions to better understand others’ viewpoints, and listen generously.
- We trust and use the Creative Problem Solving process in our leadership and program development.
- Play fosters creativity and connects us to our goals and each other.
- We achieve quality outcomes by bringing together people of different backgrounds, cultures, perspectives, and thinking processes.
- Variety and differences require us to remain open-minded, to use debate, and to manage conflict as tools for stronger outcomes.
- Generosity, awareness of self and others, and ongoing learning are essential characteristics of partners, volunteers, and staff.
- Service requires high-level personal, interpersonal and organizational goals, exceptional delivery, and achievable commitments.
- Individual growth and organizational growth go hand-in-hand.
- Seeking both organizational growth and organizational stability requires fiscal responsibility, efficiency, effective resource management, and teamwork.
Beth is a 20+ year nonprofit leader who is passionate about history, education, leadership, and creativity. As the Executive Director of the Creative Education Foundation (CEF), she has grown and professionalized all contributed and earned revenue streams including the development Creative Problem Solving (CPS) Professional Development training for public school educators and administrators. Beth and the CEF team are successfully navigating the Covid-19 pandemic and have developed new virtual programs, which have expanded the CEF audience. Currently, Beth is exploring collaborative partnerships with The Illumination Project, the Center for Policing Equity, and various national Invention Conventions.
Beth taught writing at Trinity College for 10 years, and who served as Writing Fellow at Quinnipiac University where she taught and assisted with writing program curriculum design. Beth earned her B.A. in Women’s Studies (2000) and her M.A. in American Studies (2003) at Trinity College, graduating with distinction for both degrees; she was also inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. For her scholarship and community service, Beth received the Ann Petry Book Prize in American Studies, the D.G. Brinton Thompson Prize in United States History, the Samuel S. Fishzohn Award for Civil Rights and Community Service, the Elma H. Martin Book Prize for Student Leadership, and the Tyler Award for Interdisciplinary Studies.
Beth currently serves as a Trustee of the Ahearn Family Foundation, and recently completed her tenure as a member of the Trinity College National Alumni Association Executive Committee. In 2005, Beth was hired to write “A Life-Giving Spirit:” 75 Years at the Bushnell, which was a history of The Bushnell Memorial Theater in Hartford, Connecticut. In 2017, Beth received an honorary PhD in Arts and Humane Letters from Southern New Hampshire University for her academic and professional achievements. Her award-winning Senior Seminar Thesis, “Challenging Race and Gender Boundaries in Antebellum America,” about Prudence Crandall was adapted as the play, “An Education in Prudence,” produced by the Open Theater Project in Boston, MA in February 2018. And, in 2019, Beth was recognized by her alma mater as one of the “50 for the next 50 Years,” which celebrated Trinity’s 50th anniversary of co-education by honoring 50 professors, alumni, and students as Trinity’s current and future women leaders.
Jamie is the Office Manager at the CEF office in Scituate, MA. Her career prior to CEF has been doing bookkeeping for local businesses. Jamie and her husband have two children and live in Marshfield, MA. She is also an avid runner and has completed several marathons, including the Boston Marathon in 2008 and 2015.
Manager of Education and Events
Beth holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Buffalo in History with a minor in Dance, a Social Studies Certification in Education from Buffalo State, and a Masters of Science in Creative Studies from Buffalo State, has completed a three-year Certified Humor Professional program from the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor and is in the middle of her Masters of Business Administration degree from D’Youville College. Beth has a passion for improv and enjoys studying it at Buffalo ComedySportz and Toronto’s Second City. From teaching at a middle school to adjuncting at a few of the local colleges, her long career in the education world has taught her the value of what dedicated faculty and staff bring to a student’s life. She combines this knowledge with excitement for deliberative problem solving to train people worldwide through the Creative Education Foundation.
Manager of Programs and Sales
Missy has been involved with the CEF since her first CPSI experience in 2004, where she fell hard for the concept of “In What Ways Might We.” She applies her strengths of Activator, Woo, Communication, Strategy, and Positivity to her approach to business, parenting, and life in general. Missy is President of New Directions Consulting, a market research and innovations supplier and works alongside large companies to develop the consumer products of the near future. This position with CEF is not Missy’s first foray into the world of not-for-profit organizations; she has previously worked for both Historic Hudson Valley and Girl Scouts of Westchester*Putnam.
CEF Board of Trustees
Liz Monroe-Cook has been a leader at CPSI since 1991. She is a consulting psychologist who began her work as a clinician, but transferred to organizational applications through a qualitative research position at D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles. She trained moderators at the RIVA Training Institute, and was a frequent presenter and board member at the Qualitative Research Consultants Association (QCRA).
Liz has led projects with varied clients including the US Government, corporations, non-profits, professional associations, and institutions of higher learning. She has extensive experience in strategic planning, group idea generation, leadership development, team development, analysis and planning work, and retreats. Her expertise includes an array of deliberate creativity approaches, polarity thinking, communication and relationship skills, emotional intelligence, and group facilitation.
Liz has led many workshops at CPSI, MindCamp Canada, MindCamp Chile, Florida Creativity Weekend, and the Creativity European Association (CREA). In 2008, Liz received the CEF Distinguished Leader Award, and in 2014 the CEF Leadership Service & Commitment Award. She was a Fire and Police Commissioner for six years in the Village of Oak Park, Illinois and served more than four years on the board of directors for the Geneva Foundation, a transitional living and development program for youth 16 to 19. She is currently a Mission Steward for Child’s World America.
At Michigan State University, Liz studied music, history and psychology for her BA in humanities. She earned an MA in counseling and Ph.D. in counseling psychology, also from MSU. She lives in Oak Park (Chicago area) with her husband, Dale, a fellow psychologist. They have two adult children, Brenna and Jonathan.
Denise is currently the Executive Director of Andover Community Trust. Andover Community Trust is a local nonprofit that develops and stewards affordable homes in Andover. Based on the belief that economic diversity is an important contributor to livable and healthy communities, Andover Community Trust acquires land and offers low and moderate-income families the opportunity to build equity through home ownership. Andover Community Trust develops properties and in partnership with the Greater Lawrence Technical School offers real-world experience and job training to high school students in the carpentry, plumbing, electrical and HVAC trades. Prior to being named Executive Director, Denise served as a Director on the Board of Andover Community Trust.
Previously, Denise was the Director of Museum Finance and Registration at the Addison Gallery of American Art at Phillips Academy where she spent 24 years. In recent years Denise has acted as Chair and Treasurer of the Andover Cultural Council as well as serving a variety of other non-profit organizations, including the American Alliance of Museums and the New England Museum Association.
Denise received an M.B.A. with a concentration in non-profit management from Suffolk University’s Sawyer Business School, a B.A. (summa cum laude) in Art History from Columbia University, and an A.A.S. in Accounting and Business Administration from the Lincoln School of Commerce. Denise is a member of The Phi Beta Kappa Society and The Beta Gamma Sigma Society. Denise and her husband Mark live in Andover, MA, and have two grown children.
Mary Wisenski is a CPA and a Director of Assurance & Advisory Services for Fiondella, Milone and LaSaracina LLP (FML). She has more than 17 years of public accounting experience across a variety of industries including manufacturing, bio-technology, software, and consumer goods. She began her career at PricewaterhouseCoopers and joined FML in 2004. Mary is responsible for supervising and managing financial statement audits both under accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (US GAAP) and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), as well as employee benefit plan audits, and consulting engagements related to Sarbanes-Oxley initiatives for publicly- traded companies. In addition, Mary provides a variety of consulting services to both public and private clients focusing on internal audit services and her diverse industry experience ranges from startup businesses to large multi-national corporations. Her internal control experience includes the identification of significant accounts, the detection of prevent and detect controls within significant processes, and the development and execution of testing strategies for internal control environments. In addition, Mary has significant experience identifying control weaknesses and assisting in the development of process improvement opportunities within an organization’s control environment. Mary’s experience includes performing such work on Connecticut Water Service, Inc., Arvinas, Inc. Twin River Worldwide Holdings, Inc., Stanley Black & Decker, Inc., Delcath Systems, Inc., The Eastern Company, and American Bank Note Holographics, Inc., to name a few.
Mary has extensive professional and volunteer experience working with nonprofits. She performed audits for Theater Works, Inc. in Hartford, CT, as well as The Justice Education Center, Inc.. She served on the Board and was the former Treasurer and Co-Chair of Connectikds, Inc., a tutoring and mentoring organization also in Hartford. Mary is interested in CEF’s mission and work as creativity and critical thinking and sees these as critical life skills for one’s career and in life in general. She sees being able to deal with a situation and problem solve using creative thinking is the key to independence and confidence. Though Mary resides in Connecticut, her roots are in Buffalo, NY and she is there several times a year visiting family. She is excited about CEF’s Buffalo connections.
Greg is serial entrepreneur, blazing trails for the future. By creating companies that produce innovative solutions for social and environmental issues, he has recently set new standards in several industries. Attributing his continued success to the creative mindset, Greg was also recognized in the 2018 class of 30 under 30 in his hometown of Buffalo, NY.
Beyond his companies, Greg possesses a unique skill set and approach life which both fuel his passion to help others achieve their goals and deliberately improve the world we live in. He had his first volunteer experience as a People to People Student Ambassador. Greg’s travel included trips to New Zealand and Australia in order to promote peace among cultures. After his first trip to CPSI in 2015, he was instantly hooked and he seeks to help bring deliberate creativity into the lives of others after seeing how the process can affect one’s personal and professional life in such a profound manner.
Judy currently serves as Director, Design Thinking Strategy as part of an FCB Health team that uses Creative Problem Solving and Human Centered Design to spark breakthrough thinking and insight-led innovation. She designs, facilitates, and manages group innovative thinking and insight sessions across a range of brand and organizational needs. Previously, Judy was principal of CBA Full Gallop, an insights and innovation firm that provided qualitative research and facilitation to major manufacturers of consumer packaged goods, Rx, OTC and medical devices.
She also served the Joint Special Operations University’s Center Design and Innovation as Adjunct Professor of Creative Problem Solving where she had the honor of introducing elite military operatives to the body of knowledge she first encountered at CPSI in 2014. Additionally, she had the pleasure of working as an instructor for the LUMA Institute supporting client teams in developing their ability to apply LUMA’s approach to innovation and problem solving.
Judy holds a MS in Creativity and Change Leadership from the International Center for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State and a BA in Theater Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
A Hartford, CT native who got an early start in New York City, providing choreography and artist development for record labels such as Sony/Epic and Tommy Boy Records. A Dance Educators of America certified dance teacher.
Nicole Established dfx Entertainment LLC in 2002, building an extensive network of talented performers and entertainment professionals. A natural entrepreneur and creative thinker who fosters strategic partnerships and delivers custom productions and stellar entertainment experiences to clients including Casinos, Corporations, Record Labels and Sports Venues.
Henry Eduardo Chavez specializes in helping businesses grow their top-line revenue using information technology. He currently works at Amazon Web Services (AWS) as an Associate Account Executive. As an Amazonian Henry helps organizations reinvent themselves by discovering new lines of business and bottom line growth using AWS cloud technology. As a technologist, Henry drives focus on understanding a range of business problems in efforts of understanding where and how technology can solve core business needs.
Prior to joining Amazon, Henry helped small, medium and enterprises drive measurable business outcomes using the Facebook family of apps and services. Henry launched his career in the technology industry at his alma mater where he taught local Hartford community residents how to leverage the Google suite of services to harness professional skills needed to thrive in today’s economy.
Henry is actively a candidate for the Public Leadership Credential (PLC) from the Harvard Kennedy School. He graduated from Trinity College magna cum laude with a B.A. in political science and urban studies. He also graduated with distinction as a Phi Beta Kappa member and as the 2018 recipient of the Senior Achievement Award for his commitment to Trinity’s advancement both as a student and as an alum. While at Trinity, he helped found the college’s first university recognized Latino-oriented Greek Letter Organization, Latino America Unida, Lambda Alpha Upsilon Fraternity, Inc. Henry is a proud Salvadoran~American, an immigrant, a DREAMer and a first generation college grad that calls Boston home.
Tricia became passionate about the creative process her senior year of high school and has been researching creativity and teaching corporate, educational, and individual clients how to develop and apply creative and innovative techniques ever since. Through her Philadelphia-based consulting business, The Idea Shop, Tricia helps her clients establish a creative culture through individual and corporate coaching, seminars, classes, and facilitating ideation sessions.
She joined the Disney Company in 2001 and is currently leadership development manager at the Disney University, a role in which she works with executives to assess and then design the right learning solution to drive leadership success and optimize business. Tricia also provides consultation to various clients within the company to help them fully tap their creative expertise. Through her research and experience, Tricia has explored the often-stormy relationship between the psychological fundamentals of creativity and the practical components of innovation with their direct applications in business, the arts, and sciences. Tricia has a Masters in human resources from Villanova University in and a doctorate in interdisciplinary leadership from Creighton University where her dissertation focused on collaboration and leadership creative problem solving preferences. Tricia has authored and co-authored a number of publications over the years, most recently a chapter in Emerald Publishing’s “Grassroots Leadership and the Arts for Social Change” entitled Benevolent Subversion: Graffiti, Street Art, and the Emergence of the Anonymous Leader.
Kimberly Hawkins is a Change Management Consultant that specializes in the technology industry. She has worked as a Human Resources Professional for over 20 years prior to transitioning to the change management discipline. Additionally, she has worked in education as an Adjunct Professor at Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA teaching Human Resources.
Her current interests include understanding how diversity, project management, and creative problem solving can work together to help solve some of the most challenging and complex problems of our times. She was led to the Creative Problem Solving Institute through her natural curiosity about what she witnessed as disconnect between organization’s promoting creativity but not always supporting cultures that truly support the risk taking and tinkering needed to discover and synergize new ideas.
She is a Western New York transplant (Albion, New York to be exact) to Atlanta, Georgia. She is also a world traveler and lived in London, which gave her great access to much of western Europe including Barcelona, Rome, Sweden, Amsterdam, Brussels and Lisbon. She’s also spent a little time in the West Africa and Brazil. She is a currently a participant in the year-long Tulsa Remote program sponsored by the Georgie Kaiser Foundation where she lives and works in Tulsa for a year as a remote worker. She believes the remote workforce is the emerging industry and she is excited to be having this experience and making Tulsa her other home.
She has an undergraduate degree in Sociology and Philosophy from Hamilton College and a Masters in Industrial Labor Relations from Cornell University. Additional she holds a graduate certificate in project management from Grantham University. She is also on the Board for the East Point Georgia Cultural Enrichment Commission, a graduate of the Atlanta United Way Board Training Program, and a member of the Atlanta Change Management Professional organization.
Frank is the Founder and President of Unleash Your Mind Consulting, an independent consulting firm focused on creative leadership and innovation since 1990. Frank is an executive consultant to CEO’s and Senior Management teams. Organizations hire Frank to develop strategies that drive results through innovation. He facilitates the creation of long-range strategic plans. Frank also counsels executives on their presentation skills and co-creates presentations with them.
Frank attended his first CPSI in 1984 and it changed his life and career. He has served as a CPSI leader since 1989. He served as an adjunct instructor for the Center for Creative Leadership and as an adjunct professor for George Fox University teaching “Creativity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship.” He also taught “The Creative Manager” course at Motorola University. Frank founded One Ball One Village, a nonprofit organization which brings remote villages throughout the world together through building community centers with clean water, sports fields and play supplies.
Frank applies the same creativity, strategic planning and goal achievement processes to his personal life through a passion for riding motorcycles and extreme adventure travel. A few major accomplishments include: winning the Baja 1000 on a motorcycle, racing a sled team in the Iditarod and completing an Antarctic expedition with Cornell University and National Geographic. He always has a new adventure in the works.
Frank lives in Tampa, Florida with his two children and wife Cherri who he met at CPSI in 1999. She also serves as a CPSI leader and is the Head of Growth and Innovation for Seed Strategy.
Melissa St. Clair
Melissa St. Clair joined the CEF Board of Trustees in 2022 and is a Vice President at TIAA, leading TIAA’s Inclusion Programming and Innovation and Diversity Strategies team. Melissa has end-to-end responsibility for the strategic planning, delivery, execution and measurement of the firm’s enterprise-wide ID&E programming, including Business Resource Group management, client engagement initiatives, Employer of Choice surveys and Federal Compliance reporting (AAP). Prior to her role on the Inclusion Team, Melissa managed TIAA’s Contingent Worker Program at TIAA and led the firm’s award-winning and best-in-class Supplier Diversity Program.
Melissa has more than 17 years of experience in communications, staffing and procurement, and diversity-related fields in the financial services industry.
Ms. St. Clair received a bachelor of business administration (B.B.A) in International Business with a French Minor from Texas Tech University. From 2018-2021, Ms. St. Clair served on the Board of The Sundara Fund, a non-profit whose mission is to empower women and eradicate health and hygiene disparities across the globe. She also co-founded Sundara’s Rise 100 which provides mentorship, seed funding and resources to female entrepreneurs that are building sustainable businesses in low to middle income countries. Melissa is a founding member of the Women’s Council at Make-A-Wish Metro NY, as well as a wish granter to children with life threatening medical conditions. From 2017-2020, she also served on the steering committee at Lincoln Center Kids which develops musical and artistic performances for neurodiverse audiences, including children with autism and other disabilities.
Melissa is a recipient of the 2020 Women’s eNews “21 Leaders for the 21st Century” award. She is married with two children and resides between NYC and Miami.
Alexandra graduated Cornell University and pursued an MBA in Consumer Behavior from ESADE Barcelona. She lived in NY, Spain and South Africa and traveled to over 40 countries before moving back to Puerto Rico to work in Consumer Research, Strategic Planning and Advertising for over 15 years.
Working largely with Marketing Departments, Alexandra uses her creative multicultural background to bring the unconventional thinking, leadership and creativity that are always at the core of successful brands. As a Researcher, her job is to analyze and dissect issues from every angle to unearth the barriers the strategy needs to solve. As a Communication/Advertising Strategist, her job is to conceptualize all the brand and consumer knowledge and synthetize it in a way that inspires Creativity, while aligning the consumer, the culture, and the brand seamlessly. This ability was first prized in 2013 when along with the LATAM Regional Strategist they brought Puerto Rico’s first Cannes Grand Prix for Creative Strategy and a Jay Chiat Strategic Excellence Award.
Alexandra is all about creativity with a purpose. This has given her a chance to exercise both her analytical and creative brains. She loves the mental process behind Creative Problem Solving and is also a Design Thinking Practitioner.
Alexandra currently lives in her beloved Puerto Rico where she founded Lateral Strategy, a research, branding and strategy studio that serves clients in Latin America and other Caribbean islands. Despite all the accolades, she is often referred to as Ignacio’s or Julieta’s mom a title she holds with great pride.
Kirk Young serves as the Vice President of Student Affairs at Jamestown Community College, a position he has held since 2014. Prior to joining JCC, Kirk worked for ten years at Utah Valley University, a large regional university in Utah. Throughout his years working in higher education, he has worked in enrollment, fundraising, and marketing, as well as serving for several years as the director of the Center for the Advancement of Leadership at UVU. Prior to his career in higher education, Kirk worked in sales and management in private industry where much of his work focused on employee development and engagement.
Kirk holds a BA in psychology from Utah Valley University, an MS in sociology from Brigham Young University, and a Ph.D. in leadership studies from Gonzaga University. His master’s studies focused on the social impacts of large-scale mega events, particularly the 2002 Winter Olympics. His doctoral studies focused on the 360-degree assessment as a leadership development tool. His other areas of expertise include transformational leadership, appreciative inquiry, servant-leadership, leadership and creativity, and strengths-based leadership. Kirk is a certified strengths coach with the Gallup organization, and spends some of his time consulting with individuals and teams on strengths-based performance and leadership solutions.
Kirk is the founder of 221b Performance Solutions, a leadership and organizational development firm that works closely with organizations across the country to assess performance, design solutions, and implement strategies for addressing a variety of challenges. In this capacity, Kirk is responsible for helping individuals, teams, and organizations identify and achieve their potential.
Kirk currently lives in Lakewood, NY with his wife, Katie, and their three children.
CEF’s Lifetime Trustees
Dr. Sidney J. Parnes (1922 – 2013)
Sid Parnes is professor emeritus and founding director of the Center for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State College (1967). Sid met the CEF Founder, Alex Osborn, at the very first CPSI and took the conference content and morphed it into a “How to” conference, piloting this idea in his Creative Retailing Conference in 1956 at the University of Pittsburgh. Impressed with his initiative, Alex recruited Sid to work with him and evolve the model shortly thereafter.
From 1967 to 1984 Sid served as President of the Creative Education Foundation. He was the premier researcher on the development of creative behavior, so much so that he decided to launch The Journal of Creative Behavior (in ’67); the longest running and foremost academic journal dedicated to creativity in the world. He is responsible for assembling the most comprehensive library on creativity with more than 2,400 volumes. Throughout his career, Sid has emphasized two key principles on deliberate creativity. First, creativity is the result of a balance between divergent and convergent thinking and second; everyone can be taught to apply creative behavior in their personal and professional lives.
Gordon A. MacLeod (1926 – 2010)
Retired Partner, Hodgson & Russ LLP
Marion Osborn (1922 – 2008)
Past Secretary, Creative Education Foundation, Inc.
Past Board Chairs / Presidents
Chief Operating Officer, Boys and Girls Clubs of St. Joseph’s County
2017 – 2020
Principal, Mountain View Group
2014 – 2016
Katherine O. Heusner, Ph.D.
2010 – 2014
David Magellan Horth
Senior Designer, Center for Creative Leadership
2004 – 2010
Author, Speaker and Founder of Hedria Consulting
2004 – 2007
2001 – 2004
1997 – 2001
Lyman Randall (1933 – 2009)
1994 – 1997
Dorie A. Shallcross
Professor Emeritus, University of Massachusetts
Raymond A. Binis
1984 – 1988
Sidney J. Parnes
Co-founder of the International Center for Studies in Creativity
1967 – 1984
Former Head of Manufacturing and Advertising, Bristol-Meyers Company
1964 – 1967
Alex F. Osborn (1888 – 1966)
Founder, Creative Education Foundation
1955 – 1964
Robert F. Berner
Professor Emeritus, University at Buffalo
Louis Gersten (1922 – 2010)
Retired President, Utilo Corporation and Board Member, National Stroke Association
Doris J. Shallcross
Professor Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts