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About Aubergine

I embarked on this journey with a steadfast intention to always love what I do and inspire others to do the same. 

Building and strengthening values-driven and coach-centric cultures requires a structured approach to an organization’s people philosophy. My observations, experience, and guidance with organizations that both prioritize values and support the investments in training and development through coaching, realized sustainable results, not  “seasonal.”

Our goal is to recalibrate with leaders and balance the organization to foster desired growth.  

Purple, the combination of the colors red and blue, is widely regarded as the color of good judgment and clarity. Red represents passion and energy, while blue symbolizes justice and stability. 

Our logo – a parchment “A” – is a visual representation of our values and philosophy. Parchment, made from treated animal skin, was historically used to create important documents and manuscripts, symbolizing wisdom, knowledge, and protection.


Our Values

Our values create our AHAAA! Moment


Our values, ideals, and actions align. We humbly express our thoughts, take responsibility for our mistakes and generously share our gifts.
Authenticity in connection with humility, contributes to your holistic well-being, encouraging happiness, and high self-esteem.


Life is short, enjoy! Levity builds bridges and fosters creativity and healthy relationships.
According to Hippocrates – The body was a system of four fluid “humours”: black bile, yellow bile, phlegm and blood. If the humours were in balance, then the body was in health.


We celebrate differences and seek to learn; be it people or opportunities.
The reality of recognizing a process or condition without attempting to change it.


We recognize our large and small wins, build and drive our long term success and happiness.
A thing done successfully with effort, skill, or courage.


We are curious about people and the world and have a constant desire to learn more.
Adventures expand the way we see and interact with the world.

Our Collective


Michelle Szmjada-Villatoro, CPC

Operations & Business Development

Sandi Mitchell, CPC

Certified EOS Implementer

Mary Mattson-Quagliana, CPC

Internal & External Brand Validation

Melissa O’Hara

Organizational Development, Certified Positive Intelligence & Life Design Coach

Michelle Szmjada-Villatoro, CPC

With over 15 years of experience in learning and leadership development, along with 7+ years as a certified executive coach, Michelle Szmjada-Villatoro uses a combination of leader-as-coach, hospitality, and values-based solutions to help leaders develop the mindset and skillset necessary for success in today’s ever-changing workplace. Her proven methodology, developed from training over 16,000 front-line team members and 3,500 leaders at all levels for more than 30 top brands, helps organizations become both the brand and inclusive employer of choice for their market. Michelle collaborates with growth organizations from hotels to real estate to healthcare, helping them align internal culture initiatives with external brand messaging to accelerate results of increased productivity, improved client relations, and independent solutions. Michelle specializes in leader-as-coach programs, expansion in new locations or markets, and scaling values-based culture. Michelle engages leaders and organizations through classroom and virtual facilitating, coaching, and training, bringing passion and experience to help clients sustain cultural shifts that yield a more engaged client experience.

Sandi Mitchell

Sandi Mitchell has over 20 years of experience in corporate America, where she created a technology corporate university at a Fortune 500 company, training over 4,200 employees in more than 46 countries. Sandi works primarily with Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS) implementation, working with small companies and nonprofits to determine their vision, create traction, and maintain health through ensuring leadership team alignment, communication, and a culture of openness and honesty. Sandi works with leaders in companies of all sizes to help improve and/or accelerate communication, leadership, team alignment, strategic planning, emotional intelligence, and change management. Sandi is a Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Lead Faculty in both the Dallas and the National programs, a Professional EOS Implementer, a certified executive coach, and an International Coach Federation Prism Award top 3 global finalist.

Mary Mattson-Quagliana, CPC

Mary Mattson-Quagliana, co-founder of Curated Critiques, provides modern measurement of hospitality, validating brand promise, vision, values, and culture through the guest experience. Prior to coaching, Mary served as the Corp Director of Learning and Development for Rosewood Hotels. She is recognized and respected for the work she does in leadership development, change management, and coaching to transform individuals to have sustainable influence in their organizations.

Melissa O’Hara

Melissa O’Hara is a certified positive intelligence coach and seasoned business professional with a passion for helping others find purpose and success in their lives. She spent over two decades achieving corporate success in product development, operations, finance, and organizational development  before transitioning to consulting. Melissa developed the Horizon Life Design® framework, which empowers individuals to design their lives around their unique goals and values. Recently Melissa has supported professionals design “what retirement might look like”. As an expert talent coach, Melissa helps executives, leaders, and individual contributors uncover hidden talents, increase their personal impact, and become even stronger leaders.

Rebecca Gordon Sewell

People Operations & Leadership Coach

Kurt Darre

People Operations

Marcia Kelly, CPC, SHRM, SCP

People Operations, Learning and Development

Marcie Lieberman, CPC

Business Operations and Brand Validation 

Ruth Cusack

Total Rewards Strategist

Marilyn Draper

Executive Team Performance

Brian Schwartz

Coach & Facilitator

Rebecca Gordon Sewell

With over 20 years of executive experience, Rebecca Gordon Sewell is distinguished by proven results in human resource management, business development, operational optimization, and organizational design. Rebecca served as Executive Vice President at LaForce-NYC, a full-service marketing communications firm. Prior to that, she received her SHRM certification in Professional HR Management from Pace University and worked for Ralph Lauren in human resources management. Rebecca began her career at Abercrombie & Fitch as district manager of the company’s largest district, overseeing all NY, NJ, and CT A&F retail stores.

Kurt Darre

Kurt Darre brings 12 years of human resources experience to the team, having worked in the hospitality, healthcare, and non-profit industries in four different markets, including NYC and the Bay Area. Kurt’s career has focused on improving the employee life cycle and strengthening company culture. When not working, Kurt can be found with his wife, Suzi, and his two little boys scoping out new playgrounds in CT.

Marcie Lieberman

Co-founder of Curated Critiques, provides modern measurement of hospitality, validating brand promise, vision, values, and culture through the guest experience. With over 25 years of experience in the hospitality industry, Marcie Lieberman is a leadership coach and operations consultant who approaches her work with empathy and practicality. Marcie works with teams to develop Standard Operating Procedure and harmonize process and brand promise. Her experience includes serving as Senior Corporate Director of Rooms and Spa at Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, where she supported 9 international pre/post openings, 4 acquisitions, and the development of 9 spa concepts within the company’s Sense brand. Marcie also made history as Rosewood’s first female Managing Director before moving into a consulting role.

Marcia Kelly

Marice Kelly has over 20 years of experience developing and executing talent strategies that improve employee morale and business results. A certified Executive Coach who specializes in helping hospitality executives design purposeful leadership strategies that enable high performance and business success transformation. Marcia holds a Master’s degree in Hospitality Management from Florida International University and her experience spans from learning and development to total rewards. Marcia’s passion for human capital development drives her focus on transforming HR functions to more strategic positioning.

Marilyn Draper

Marilyn Draper is an executive and leadership effectiveness consultant who works with global leaders in the financial services sector. She has over two decades of experience in the industry and was previously a Partner at Oliver Wyman, a global management consulting firm. Marilyn helps leaders enhance their individual effectiveness, teams improve their collective performance, and organizations achieve their strategic objectives. She has worked with CEOs, boards of directors, executive teams, and other senior leaders on executive and leadership strategies that have a positive impact on the entire enterprise.

Brian Schwartz

Brian Schwartz is a coach, mediator, facilitator, and trainer with a focus on bringing sustainable DE&I initiatives to life. With over 20 years of experience in leadership roles across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. He approaches his work with empathy and a commitment to intercultural understanding, and has facilitated diversity, equity, and inclusion training in a variety of settings. Brian has taught anthropology and sociology at Lesley University, worked in residence life and multicultural affairs at Pomona College and Williams College, and mediated cases in small claims courts and within the Federal Government. Most recently, Brian served as a Senior Associate at Justice & Sustainability Associates, leading the Organizational Development and Governance practices.

Ruth Cusack

Ruth is an effective total rewards strategist who formulates creative, innovative, and fiscally responsible solutions, and provides positive, team-oriented leadership to effectively tackle any challenge, no matter how large or complex. Ruth navigates extremely well in crisis or critical events and stays focused on delivering to the established goal.  She has worked to improve Compensation Committee material content, developed and implemented new salary structures to align with new organization structure,re-leveling and developed and implemented  short term and long term incentive plans. Ruth’s experience in M & A and successful transitions delivered sustainable processes for teams to accelerate normalizing operations. Ruth’s demeanor and effective communication style resonates with leaders.  She  is always welcomed “to the table” for her ability to understand the organization’s needs and successfully address them—provides value-add to any organization.