Tonianne is partner and principle consultant at Modus Cooperandi, co-author of the Shingo Research and Publication Award winning Personal Kanban: Mapping Work | Navigating Life, and the upcoming Why Kanban Works and Kidzban™. She is co-founder of Kaizen Camp™, the continuous improvement un-conference with events held worldwide.

Passionate about the roles collaboration, value-creation, and happiness play in “the future of work,” and appreciative of the ways in which Lean thinking can facilitate these ends, she works with clients globally to create cultures of continuous improvement. Ones where effectiveness is valued over productivity, where learning and improvement is ongoing, and where innovation can take hold. Where healthier, fulfilling, and more integrated lives can result, the effects of which can prove profound to both business and by extension, society.

Her career spans the fashion industry and government agencies, nonprofit associations and Fortune 100 corporations, start-ups and international development. With undergraduate and graduate degrees in history and public history respectively, her academic training lends itself well to Modus, where she is forever helping clients investigate exactly Why and How things happen, and how to improve them going forward.

Not unlike Jim, Tonianne draws from a multidisciplinary background. She cut her teeth in New York City’s dynamic fashion industry, buying, merchandising, and marketing for high-end retailers. It was here – at the age of 19 – she came to understand budgeting and margins, inventory/merchandising/and promotional planning, vendor negotiation, and supply chain management. She had to successfully forecast under constant systemic pressure from angles as disparate as designers/manufacturers/and media, international trade regulations, capricious consumer markets, outsourcing in Asia, staffing and training sales and merchandising teams, and even the impacts of climate change on textile production and consumer demand. While each of these “systems” was unique unto itself, their interdependence and impact on related systems quickly became obvious.

After a stint in Europe she moved to the Washington DC Beltway, where she completed her studies in history. There she opened Renaissance Consulting, where systems thinking underscored Tonianne’s every endeavor. Whether she was compiling a bibliography for the House of Representatives, providing research for political documentarians, writing corporate histories, creating benefits programs, establishing the framework for a learning organization, or conducting a full-on Lean transition for knowledge workers, she recognizes that there are systems comprised of the individual, the organizational, and beyond that intertwine to create the context of value-creation.

She has drawn from these experiences to assist clients as varied as The World Bank, The United Nations, Comcast, The Library Corporation, Trimble, and the State of Washington in leveraging the stories and values embedded within their culture. Merging her history and business backgrounds she’s helped individuals gain a clear understanding of their past and present contexts to establish priorities, achieve goals, and make informed and innovative decisions. With her Federal and State clients especially, Tonianne has bridged the gap between historic and current systems, giving government workers, their leadership, and their stakeholders much-needed transparency into the context in which their processes emerged, the impacts of variation on those processes, and how to improve those processes in ways that will be sustainable.

Along with Jim Benson, she is co-author of Personal Kanban: Mapping Work | Navigating Life (winner of the Shingo Research and Publication Award, 2013) and the upcoming Why Kanban Works. She is likewise co-founder of Kaizen Camp, the continuous improvement un-conference with events held worldwide.

Alaine MackenzieTonianne DeMaria