Founded in 1979, Spring Institute was the first organization in Colorado focused on diversity training and our Intercultural Training & Consulting services have been helping nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and global businesses communicate successfully across cultures for over 35 years.
Spring Institute is a nationally recognized provider of effective intercultural learning programs and services. We have a proven track record of success, measured and documented through program outcomes and client feedback.
Here is a sample of some of our clients:
Our team of intercultural professionals have worked extensively in the US and abroad and have conducted countless hours of cross-cultural training with professionals from organizations of all sizes. Click on the staff name for a complete bio.
Maria Velasco, Intercultural Training and Consulting Manager, has over 15 years of experience designing and facilitating trainings on building cultural awareness and promoting inclusivity in the workplace. She has worked with teachers, mental health providers, members of nonprofit organizations, and professionals from several for-profit industries through the U.S.
From 2008 to 2015 Maria served as the Diversity and Inclusion Manager at Intercambio Uniting Communities where she successfully launched a Cultural Awareness and Diversity program to educate and coach nonprofit organizations to become more inclusive and culturally competent. Prior to that, she served four years as the Director of Languages and Cultural Services at Mason General Hospital where she facilitated access to healthcare for multicultural individuals, provided cross-cultural training to physicians and clinical staff, and developed and implemented a systems-wide cultural competency improvement plan. [Read More…]
Intercultural Training & Consulting Team Members
Erin Frank has over 20 years of nonprofit experience, working with vulnerable and marginalized populations, both in the United States and abroad. Her work has included teaching and training, providing direct services, and program management. She brings energy and enthusiasm to her work, specializing in small organization and nonprofit staff development, team-building, multi-cultural team management, communication and cultural competence training. She believes that interpersonal connections and elements of fun are essential to organizational health and effective program delivery.
Myrna Ann Adkins has been a cross-cultural trainer for more than 20 years, with extensive international experience, including over three years of living and training in Asian countries. As the President/CEO (now Emeritus) of Spring Institute, Myrna Ann managed a culturally diverse organization, designed programs, led training and presented workshops in diverse environments and on intercultural communication. She has a Master’s Degree in Far Eastern Studies from the University of Michigan. Read More…
Greg Nees, Ph.D., is an author, coach, and consultant. He earned his B.A. in psychology from UCLA, worked and traveled in West Africa, and then took up residence in Europe. In Germany he worked as an English teacher, translator, and college instructor. While leading intercultural communication seminars at the Johannes Gutenberg University, he discovered the joy of promoting understanding between the different peoples of the world.
He returned to the U.S. in 1990 to complete his doctorate in communication studies. Today he works with expatriates, multicultural teams, and international organizations that want to improve their global competence. His seminars and coaching sessions focus on the interaction of culture, mind, and communication style to help his clients raise their awareness and develop the skills needed to achieve their goals. Read More…
Rossana Johnston is an independent consultant associated with a number of leadership development and cross-cultural communication firms in the USA and Europe. She has more than 18 years of leading group, individual and virtual leadership development sessions for many Fortune 500 corporations in the United States, Canada, Europe and throughout Latin America. She is certified in many clients’ trademark methodologies and delivers her work in English and Spanish. Born and raised in Mexico, Rossana moved to the U.S. for a graduate program in intercultural management. She has also lived in England, Israel, Portugal and Italy. Read More…
Adriana Medina-López-Portillo is Associate Professor of Intercultural Communication and Spanish in the Department of Modern Languages, Linguistics and Intercultural Communication at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). She is a member of the Center for the Advancement of Intercultural Communication (CAIC) at UMBC and the founder of the Baltimore chapter of the Society for Intercultural Education, Training, and Research (SIETAR).
She is an accomplished intercultural trainer, having designed and led workshops for higher education, not-for-profit, governmental, and corporate clients in the United States and abroad. Among her favorite appointments are training for The Scholar Ship, a transnational academic program housed on a passenger ship; offering pre-departure and on site orientations for the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia; leading a three-year long cultural competence initiative for the Division of Student Affairs at UMBC; and facilitating intercultural communication workshops for international Master’s students at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.
Gurudev Khalsa, Principal Consultant, assists the Intercultural Training and Consulting Manager in leading client training and strategic consulting with an emphasis on healthcare.
Gurudev has been a contractor with Spring Institute since 2000 and also served on the three-member senior management team for several years, overseeing half of the organization’s programs. Read More…
Effley Brooks, MBA, is an experienced trainer and facilitator who focuses on emotional intelligence, intercultural navigation, leading teams, and team problem-solving. Effley is an adjunct professor with the University of Denver and a core faculty member of the Advanced Physician Leadership Program at the Regional Institute for Health and Environmental Leadership.
Rachel D. Skanson, IMBA, has been leading training in intercultural communication for the last twelve years in a variety of sectors. She has given keynote presentations on mitigating the cultural risks of doing international business both in the US and abroad. Rachel has managed culturally diverse workforces and has extensive international project management experience. Currently, she teaches Intercultural Training at the University of Denver for the International and Intercultural Communication master’s degree program.
Ms. Skanson worked in Taiwan for eight years. She speaks Mandarin Chinese and has an International MBA from the University of Denver. Ms. Skanson has traveled to 32 countries and has spent over eleven years traveling, living, and working globally.
“It was thought-provoking and personally encouraging in a way that supported and respected everyone present.
Faculty Member of Denver Waldorf School
“This was a wonderful training! I would strongly suggest all people involved in customer service should take it.”
“Learning about various cultures has taught me to understand others instead of taking their behavior personally. It is about embracing differences of values and beliefs.”
“It was good! Thought provoking, inspiring and so needed. Thank you!”
“Maria and Gurudev challenged the group in a way that allowed vulnerability and room for growth and change.”
“This training really helped me think of things from other people’s points of view. I will definitively think about this training for long time to come.”