• Meet Our Team

    Over 100 Years Combined Experience in Management Consulting

    J. Michael Payne

    President & Managing Principal

    J. Michael Payne offers 30 years of experience in business and human resources management. Prior to his consulting career, Mike held positions Strategic Planning and Human Resources Management for Exxon Chemical Company, Mobil Oil Company and Occidental Chemical. Michael has expertise in organizational systems redesign, total quality and diversity management, human resource strategic planning, labor union and management partnering processes, and executive coaching and succession planning. His experience also includes international human resources and diversity management experience for development of compensation, and career development systems for companies in Europe and Latin America. While at Exxon, he received the Presidents award for his involvement with diversity initiatives.

    In the area of executive and personal coaching Michael is certified to use the Center for Creative Leaderships Benchmark 360 instrument, The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the Firo –B personality profile. Michael has also received certification as an auditor for ISO 9001-2015 quality systems.


    Michael attended Ohio State and Cleveland State University and received his degree in Industrial Psychology from Cleveland State. In 2017, Mike was made an honorary alumnus of the Marshall-Wythe School of Law, The College of William & Mary for his contributions to the education of citizen lawyers. He is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR).

    Barbara L. Johnson

    Vice President

    Ms. Johnson has over 30 years of legal experience in assisting employers of all sizes in developing innovative approaches to address their workplace challenges especially in the area of diversity. An accomplished legal strategist with multifaceted experience, strong analytical skills, and an impressive track record in high-stakes situations, Ms. Johnson has substantial experience in helping clients translate complex legal issues into practical business-minded solutions and drive legal strategies aligned with business objectives. A career as law firm partner in a top 25 law firm, in-house counsel at a fortune 100 corporation, trial lawyer, and leader within the profession provides the experience necessary to assist clients in addressing the challenges of today.

    She has helped clients develop training and processes that support their overall diversity strategies.


    Barbara is a graduate of the Marshall Wythe School of Law from The College of William & Mary. Barbara is a past president of the William & Mary law school foundation, and works with the college on diversity related initiatives.

    Swafia Ames

    Swafia has over 17 years of experience working with the human capital management aspect of organizations to maximize business results. Specifically creating and implementing programs that attract, develop, and advance key talent. She also has extensive experience in the area of diversity and inclusion management, and has led efforts across global organizations that positively impacted the recruitment, development and retention of an engaged and fully utilized team.


    Swafia has a B.A. in Psychology and an M.A. in Organizational and Industrial Psychology for The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.


    Swafia is a member of The Society for Human Resource Management and the OD Network.