Collaborative Team

Meet the core team of volunteer contributors who helped author Warren Berger during the research phase of A MORE BEAUTIFUL QUESTION.  

Susan O'BrienSusan O’Brien, Research Director

Susan Schenk O’Brien is a passionate researcher. After receiving a Masters in Library and Information Science from Pratt Institute, she worked for 8 years in a corporate setting supplying quick turnaround research on business and industry topics to consultants worldwide. In 2000, she became involved in the development of the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, NY, and remained there managing its website and online services for 12 years. She’s now happily back doing research on a freelance basis.

What interests Susan about the subject of questioning: “Questioning is a fascinating topic for research, touching as it does on philosophy, history, society, science, psychology, education and so many other things. When I heard it was something my neighbor Warren was studying, I was eager to get involved. In this age of ready reference on Google, it’s nice to be involved in a project that delves deeper.”

Chuck Appleby

Chuck Appleby is a leadership and organization development consultant with over 30 years of management, consulting, and coaching experience in government, industry, and non-profits. He is the founder of the Great Enterprises Consortium, an alliance of independent consultants who are dedicated to creating great workplaces. He is also a founding member of the World Institute for Action Learning (WIAL). He has served as an examiner for the President’s Quality Award and the Virginia quality award known as the U.S. Senate Productivity and Quality Award. He is an Adjunct Faculty member in Human and Organization Learning Program at The George Washington University.
What interests Chuck about the subject of questioning: “I am an Organization Development professional with many years of experience exploring powerful questions in the context of teaching and coaching action learning teams.”

Daisy Azer

Daisy holds an MBA from the Joseph L. Rotman School of Management from the University of Toronto and an undergraduate degree from McGill University. She has spent her career working with start-ups in the financial industry and in education and technology, culminating in co-founding her own software company in testing for educational organizations and professional certification. Since 2008, Daisy has been pursuing a portfolio of projects including consulting, studying and volunteering.
What interests Daisy about the subject of questioning: “The subject of questioning follows from my interest in design thinking and having a deeper understanding of the problem or situation in order to develop optimal solutions. The bottom line for me is that we are not always doing the best job at coming up with answers or solutions and I wonder if a different process (perhaps better questions and questioning) would result in a better solution and outcome.”

Dinesh Balasubramaniam

Dinesh Balasubramaniam works as an engineer in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is a voracious reader, avid photographer and a cricket lover (the sport, not the insect!). He lives with his wife, son and dog.
What interests Dinesh about the subject of questioning: “The first step to living a better life is to question the way you lead life right now. To get to the correct answer, a life that’ll work well for everything on this planet, you need to ask the right question. I’m trying to find out what those questions might be.”

Dave Baldwin

Dave Baldwin is the President of Aquarian Technology Systems located in Lexington, Ohio. A seasoned and veteran consultant, Aquarian’s services have evolved with the current focus on entrepreneurship, innovation, economic, organization and community development, education reform and futuring. Dave has recently embraced the description as a synthesist serving as a bridge between silos or specialty areas of a client’s enterprise and bringing new perspectives to those specialties thus stimulating innovation. Dave collaborates with partners world wide and has recently launched The Creative Collaborative Ohio, an initiative supporting the efforts of the National Creativity Network.
What interests Dave about the subject of questioning: “Questions are an essential and integral part of Aquarian’s work with clients, collaborators and communities especially when considering innovative or transformative approaches to the very challenging problems in our world and in organizations. The more powerful or far reaching the question, the more likely to get answers that no one has yet considered and a future that no one has yet imagined.”

Theresa Garcia

Theresa Garcia is an organization development advisor at the Boeing Company and is founder of Trust, Leadership & Growth, a minority and woman-owned organization development and executive coaching firm. She is a featured technical advisor in the Phoenix Business Journal, Association Management Magazine, and How to Comply with Sarbanes-Oxley Section 404.
What interests Theresa about the subject of questioning: “I am contributing to the AMBQ project because I know that a more beautiful world requires positive, disruptive change ignited by the spark of authentic inquiry—a more beautiful question.”

• Twitter: @TrustLeadGrow    • Website:

Nikhil Goyal

Lauded by the Washington Post as a future U.S. Secretary of Education, at age 17, Nikhil Goyal is the author of One Size Does Not Fit All: A Student’s Assessment of School by the Alternative Education Resource Organization. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, MSNBC, NPR, FOX and Friends, FOX Business, NBC Nightly News, The Globe and Mail, Huffington Post, Fast Company, and Education Week. In 2012, Goyal was named one of the “World Changers” for Dell #Inspire 100.
Nikhil has spoken at NBC, Dell, Cisco, Fast Company, M.I.T., Florida International University, College of the North Atlantic, and other conferences around the world. He is also a guest lecturer at Baruch College.
He is leading a Learning Revolution movement to transform the American school system. Nikhil lives with his family in Woodbury, New York.
What interests Nikhil about the subject of questioning: “I’m fascinated by the conversations that result after a simple, yet powerful, question is posed.”

• Twitter: @NikhilGoya_l     • Website:

Justin Hamilton

Justin Hamilton is pursuing a BS in Computer Information Technology. While attending Brigham Young University–Idaho he manages a sales call center for a hotel revenue management company. He also has started a full-time internship for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints focusing on User Interaction & Design. His wife is working towards her BS in Nursing.
What interests Justin about the subject of questioning: “A main focus of life is to learn, grow, and gain experience. To accomplish this, questioning things in life not only is important but becomes essential.”

Philip Howell

Phil Howell recently graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder. “I am honored to be a collaborator on AMBQ and look forward to the boundless potential of our exploration.”
What interests Phil about the subject of questioning: “Progressive ideas and communities are created by inquisitive spirits who ask the right questions. Questions sculpt our collective lives–they are the foundation of everything that exists and will exist. If we understand how to ask the right questions, the right solutions will be within reach.”
            • Twitter: @whimsofficial

Dan McDougall

Dan McDougall is the author of several best-selling books: Everybody’s Economics, Everybody’s School for Success, and his latest Everybody Teach. He has received several national awards including the esteemed Gus Stavros award as the top Economic educator in the country. He has taught at Florida State, Michigan State, Western Michigan University, Floyd College, and Traverse City West HS, creating courses in Design, Marketing, Finance and Success. Dan has also been an educational and business consultant for the past ten years, as well as business owner for the past twenty years.
What interests Dan about the subject of questioning: “I have researched the question of “What if?” while creating my matrix on the Psychology of Needs to determine our needs, wants and values when creating products and services that meet those personal attributes of all of us.”

Katherine Orthwein

Katherine Orthwein is a Financial Advisor with The Harbor Financial Group at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. Prior to joining the firm, Katie received an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management. She also holds a BSBA in entrepreneurship, marketing, and finance from Washington University in St. Louis. Katie has a keen interest in persuasive technologies that benefit humanity by changing attitudes and behaviors, and has held positions at Stanford’s Persuasive Technology Lab as well as MIT’s Media Lab.
What interests Katie about the subject of questioning: “‘Curiosity kills the cat. Since I’m not a cat, I guess that’s not dangerous.’” That has always been my response to the constant chiding of my friends and family who tell me that I’m too curious. For Achilles it was his heel, for Macbeth it was his hubris, for Superman it was Kryptonite, for Oedipus it was his arrogance… for me, it’s my curiosity. However as Ralph Waldo Emerson once said “our strength grows out of our weaknesses.” So instead of trying to limit my curiosity, I have used it to develop personal strengths through intellectual pursuits and challenging situations. I am very interested in learning more about how to ask better questions to feed my curiosity and that of others!”

Sid Ramnarace

Sid Ramnarace is the VP of Global Brand Integration of Lifetime Brands, Inc., North America’s leading resource for nationally branded kitchenware, tabletop and home décor products. Ramnarace began his career as an automobile designer with Ford Motor Company. In 2005 Ramnarace joined Lifetime Brands to sharpen its focus on design as a competitive advantage. Ramnarace is an alumna of the Cleveland Institute of Art and has been a speaker at the University of Michigan ‘s Ross School of Business.

What interests Sid about the subject of questioning: “Like many others, I’m excited to see what unfolds. The old adage of, what you see depends on what you are looking for seems to correlate to the idea of a more beautiful question; by being more thoughtful about what we seek—is there not more potential in what what types of answers we’ll find? I’m excited to see how this all works out.”

Harvey Richards

Harvey Richards is a student at the Pennsylvania State University who is pursuing a dual degree in Communications and Integrative Arts. Richards is currently in training to become a film and theatre director. Aside from his aspirations to become a director, Richards is also an entrepreneur. He has used his computer knowledge and has begun a graphic design company, High Society Studios, which strives to design websites and graphics for its customers.

Lana Rimboym

Lana Rimboym is currently finishing her sophomore year at the University of Colorado at Boulder and is in the process of applying into the Advertising major. She hopes to double major with Economics and minor in Technology, Arts, and Media.
What interests Lana about the subject of questioning: “The idea of design fascinates me. I view every material object as a work of art, even if it’s just a desk or a chair. I am constantly observing, or rather analyzing, the world around me and to think that the greatest innovations come from questioning why or how something is done, is a brilliant place to start.”
• Twitter: @Lanasays32

Larry Rubin

Larry Rubin is an Advertising & Sociology student at the University of Colorado at Boulder, originally from Brewster, New York.
What interests Larry about the subject of questioning: “AMBQ interests me not only because it’s collaborated in a new way, but also because sometimes a broad question can be more influential or inspiring than a well thought out statement—I couldn’t say why, but it fascinates me.”
• Twitter: @larryR

Damon Taylor

Living in Washington, DC, Damon Taylor is a thinker and doer, passionate about inquiry as the means to connect, solve problems and innovate. He has over twelve years of experience as consultant to senior leaders on strategic thinking, planning and communications, a technology entrepreneur, international lawyer and development volunteer, poverty fighter and visual artist.

What interests Damon about the subject of questioning: “For me, asking and sitting with beautiful questions is the means for creating order from chaos, leading and contributing, and growing. Indeed, questioning (and actively listening) is core to the learners mind. And the “learners mind” is critical to innovation, avoiding, mitigating and resolving conflict and problems, and connection–with self and other. Without questions, we cannot inspire dialogue and the opportunity to actively and authentically listen for content and emotion or surface roots of problems, ideas and choices in safe environments (not to mention work product that is clear and measurable).”

Bill Welter

Bill Welter is the lead author of The Prepared Mind of a Leader (Jossey-Bass, 2006) + 3 other books.
What interests Bill about the subject of questioning: “I “teach” critical thinking for McDonald’s and Walgreens and others. I was also one of the 470 “co-authors” of Alex Osterwald’s book Business Model Generation. Questions are critical to critical thinking.”