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Russ Gaskin

Russ has a unique ability to build practical tools that turn complexity into simplicity and bring people together in deep trust and shared understanding, empowering them to move quickly from analysis to strategy to action.


Through rich examples, stories, and practical applications, Russ designs training programs that build the capabilities of others to do the same. His approach to training is highly interactive and experiential because he knows that people learn best when they can engage their whole selves–including their heads, hearts, hands, and feet. Most of all, he's driven by an imperative to help others gain the capabilities used at CoCreative so that more collaborations can create real positive impact in the world.

Maren Maier

Maren is a design strategist, writer, and producer who builds partnerships for CoCreative and leads our learning and human insight development areas.

She is a faculty member at Pratt Institute Graduate Program in Design Management and a founding board member and editor of the CATALYST Strategic Design Review, an online and print publication platform designed to promote creative economies that address real human needs. CATALYST content emphasizes the value of applying the creative design process to the solution of complex challenges that are often considered outside the realm of traditional art and design disciplines.

Heather Equinoss

Heather brings 16 years of process and meeting design, graphic facilitation, project management and community engagement experience in public, non-profit, private, and community settings.


She has taught workshops and courses with Cascadia Center for Leadership and Humboldt State University's Leading Organizational and Community Change Program on community change processes; designing meetings that engender collaboration and get stuff done; and how to use graphic facilitation to build collective knowledge. When designing and leading trainings, she always aims to make the experience interactive, experiential, and application-focused.

Sharon Simms

Sharon leverages her experience in curriculum development, program development, strategic planning, and training to advance meaningful collaboration among diverse stakeholders.


She has trained social workers, human services professionals, other trainers, volunteers, and community leaders in leading collaborative change. She has also served as a lecturer for the graduate program at the University of Hawai‘i, Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work and with the Outreach College at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.

Melissa Darnell

Melissa leads our training program through recruitment, planning, and delivery, leveraging her experience in capacity building for community organizers and place-based collaborations.


Specializing in relationship building as a vehicle to bring about positive social outcomes, Melissa brings 20 years of community organizing and resident engagement experience to her work. She is passionate about strengths-based interventions that build upon individuals' unique social and cultural assets as a strategy to solve complex social problems. Melissa holds a master's degree in Social Work where she focused her studies on macro practice interventions and collective empowerment strategies. She has a BA in Sociology from the University of Oregon. 

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