Meet our team

Different from any other lean healthcare consultancy, RCG is the only assembly of senior healthcare executives who have implemented lean methods in complex healthcare settings with a demonstrated record of success. RCG has an in-depth understanding of authentic lean methodology and philosophy, with many team members having been students of John Black and Chihiro Nakao of Shingijutsu, Japan. The principals at RCG bring leadership experience from Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, Park Nicollet Health Services in Minneapolis and Sutter Health in Northern California — early adopters in the country that have fully adopted and implemented the Toyota Management System. The RCG team also brings extensive knowledge in developing and advising on large-scale transformation programs for companies outside of healthcare, including Boeing, Ford and Toyota.


Grace Bourke MBA

Grace Bourke is an experienced healthcare professional with a 20-year track record of successfully using lean, six sigma, and TQM to develop teams to improve or design processes to improve quality, meet strategic goals, and reduce waste. Grace has experience coaching frontline staff and executives in standard work, kaizen, daily management, and PDSA with sustained results and continued improvement.

Brenda Peterson Bublitz BSN, MSN, NEA-BC

Brenda is a registered nurse with 30 years of experience and more than eleven years working with lean methodology. She is also a healthcare executive with 18 years of progressive and successful experience in complex, fast-moving and demanding environments. Brenda studied the Toyota Production System under Katsuya Koide of Shingijutsu Global. Recognized for building cross-functional partnerships to connect diverse groups to a common goal, she is a leader in planning and facilitating the execution of organizational strategy and operational performance to achieve results. Brenda achieved financial and operational results through interdepartmental collaboration and strong physician partnerships to deliver the highest quality patient care.

Shirl Diaz MA

Shirl is a certified lean leader with extensive knowledge gained from more than 30 years of operational experience in both specialty and primary care, as well as satellite facility operations. She drove process improvement work using lean principles in physician practices, establishing the framework for significantly improved patient outcomes at reduced cost. Projects included working with an insurance payer to redesign primary care delivery, doubling Virginia Mason Kirklandʼs profit margin over 5 years through elimination of waste and the implementation of flow production, and the design of new clinical facility and move of entire clinic into new facility over a weekend with only a half day of clinic closure.

Jon Felton MHA

Jonathan Felton is a lean certified healthcare executive with a consistent focus on leadership, team and cultural development. He knows well the challenges of leading deep cultural transformation in large, complex healthcare environments. Jonathan possesses significant experience in and a deep understanding of hospital and healthcare operations, physician services and program development, and strategic planning and deployment. Jonathan has a strong record of results and outcomes from leading lean implementation and has expertise in creating alignment through the use of leader standard work and daily management systems.

Beth Frisken


Heidi Gehris

Heidi is a certified lean leader with professional expertise in strategic marketing, communications, and branding across written, visual, and interactive platforms. She has directed marketing campaigns and strategies for healthcare-related organizations, including medical practices, academic institutions, consultancies, and pharmaceutical law firms. She has also directed the development of case study materials on lean application and results in healthcare. An innovative thinker and creative problem solver, Heidi is also trained in hoshin kanri. 

James Hanson MD FAAP

James is a respected physician executive who has held progressive management responsibility for quality and performance improvement, medical staff affairs, clinical education, electronic health records implementation, and medical group operations. He possesses a strong clinical background and an expertise in patient safety, Toyota Management (lean), telehealth, and clinical outcomes management. James has been a pediatric intensivist at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in the PICU since 1988. He is a collaborative team player who is able to make difficult decisions, create accountability and engage staff through increased communications and visibility.

Marnee Pierson Iseman MHA

Marnee served as Vice President at Virginia Mason Medical Center, Vice President of Physician Services at Providence Health and Services, and COO of Providence Medical Group. She provided leadership and direction for the development of EHR with Providence and its ambulatory partners. Marnee has expertise in the application of 3P for redesign of ambulatory facilities in primary and specialty care. She is the recipient of several healthcare awards and has presented to the healthcare community nationwide on topics including Lean and TPS as it applies to ambulatory care, process improvement, patient access, supply and demand, and quality. Marnee was on the faculty of IHI (Institute for Healthcare Improvement) and is a GPIN (Group Practice Improvement Network) member. 

Thomas L. Jackson JD MBA PhD

Tom has more than 21 years of experience in consulting for global companies in a very wide variety of manufacturing and service industries that implement the Toyota Management System. He designed major lean certification programs for Ford, Whirlpool, Emerson, adidas, Air Products and Chemicals, and The Ohio State University. Tom's book, Hoshin Kanri for the Lean Enterprise, was honored with a Shingo Prize for Excellence in Research. Tom is the Editor of the Lean Tools for Healthcare series from Productivity Press. 

Bonnie Jacobson LCSW

A licensed clinical social worker in the state of California since 2001, Bonnie started lean training in a kaizen workshop for the transplant service at California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) in the spring of 2010. Bonnie was selected for the inaugural class within the Quality Delivery Promotion Office (QDPO) at CPMC. Along with her administrative and clinical partners across the service line, Bonnie made tremendous strides in creating value for patient. She was later an administrative leader for the three adult emergency departments at CPMC. 

Ryan Joyner MPH PhD

Ryan Joyner combines his advanced problem solving experience with a passion for patient care to drive quality improvement in healthcare.  While completing his PhD in Molecular and Cell Biology at Berkeley, Ryan began his journey in healthcare through volunteer work at a local diabetes center where he leveraged his proficiency with data analytics to help improve patient engagement and operations.  He then went on to complete an MPH at Berkeley where he focused his studies on health care operations and the application of health information technology to improve patient care.  Since joining RCG, Ryan has developed innovative tools to model healthcare operations and capture the value of improvement work, while also facilitating improvement events and strategy sessions (hoshin kanri).  Ryan has a PhD and MPH from UC Berkeley and an undergraduate degree in genetics from the University of Georgia.

Ann Kernan RTRMCT

Ann is an accomplished lean leader with a proven track record for implementation and change management. She is a courageous manager who is able to not only view a situation as a whole, but also is able to break it down into sub-parts for closer inspection - ultimately determining manageable steps that make progress towards final goal. Ann is a skilled facilitator, able to organize and coordinate disparate and cross-functional teams. She is recognized for follow-through, integrity and the commitment to excellence.

Shaunté Kinch ME

Shaunté started her career as a mechanical engineer with previous work experience at Boeing and Northrop Grumman, where she was Shingijutsu trained in lean as well as Six Sigma, respectively. As a senior specialist in UCLA Health System’s Performance Excellence department, she led significant improvements in patient satisfaction, call bell response, missing and incorrect orders, discharge times, patient and staff communications, scheduling and charges. Prior to joining RCG, Shaunté worked on the Performance Excellence team at Stanford Hospitals and Clinics as KPO Manager of the Cancer and Cardiovascular service lines.

Miwa Kudo MSW MHA

A native Japanese speaker, Miwa worked closely with Shingijutsu sensi’s for over six years. Her expertise in applying the Toyota Management System concepts to the healthcare setting is unmatched. As a kaizen leader, Miwa has a passion for servant leadership and strongly believes in respecting people by empowering them to make improvements that will impact the quality of their daily work. She has experience in leading kaizen events of all levels and in a wide variety of healthcare settings.

Erica Lorie PT MS

Erica is a physical therapist and former assistant clinical professor. She is a lean transformation leader and executive coach passionate about developing problem solving and leadership capabilities to catalyze organizational improvement. Erica is an energetic and strategic thinker with over 20 years in healthcare consistently delivering results to achieve exceptional patient experience through collaboration, facilitation and strategic planning.

Dahlia Mak MHA

Dahlia is an accomplished healthcare management leader with over ten years of experience in operations, quality improvement and project management. As a certified lean leader, Dahlia has a proven ability to consult and manage interdisciplinary teams in the design and implementation of change initiatives. Dahlia’s expertise is in process improvement, change management, team development and coaching, patient safety and quality improvement, program and project leadership, and strategic planning and implementation.

Steve Mattson MBA

Steve is a proven lean practitioner with a track record of quality improvement, process/facility design and change management. As Senior Director of Quality Improvement and Care Innovation at Park Nicollet Health Services, he was involved in one of the early implementations of the Toyota Production System in healthcare. Steve studied under Katsuya Koide and Takeshi Iwata of Shingijutsu Global and has experience leading and guiding kaizen and 3P (production preparation process) teams in both hospital and clinic settings. His prior work in finance helps him connect quality and cost and guide others in the never-ending pursuit of high value healthcare.

Maura May

Maura has extensive experience directing strategy and operations in both small and large companies, leading work groups using a team-based, knowledge-driven approach. As publisher at Quality Resources and Productivity Press, she published and distributed seminal works on quality management and Toyota management and production methods, including many Shingo Prize-winning publications. She collaborated extensively with Japanese organizations to translate, edit, publish, adapt, and distribute books by influential authors and Deming Prize recipients, including Kaoru Ishikawa, Hitoshi Kume, Yoji Akao, Genichi Taguchi, Taiichi Ohno, Shigeo Shingo, Hiroyuki Hirano, and Ryuji Fukuda. Maura has also edited and published important works by many prominent U.S. authors and lean practitioners in the U.S., including Jeffrey Liker, Thomas Jackson, and David Mann. 

Malie Maysilles ME MPT

Malie is a certified lean leader with more than 10 years of experience in quality improvement in both the healthcare and consumer products industries. She started her healthcare career as a Physical Therapist at Emory University Hospital, where she was recognized for providing high quality patient and family centered care, and where she was selected to participate in Emory’s Quality Academy. Prior to joining RCG, Malie worked as a senior lean specialist at Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation in San Francisco, managing the Revenue Cycle and Primary Care service lines. She is a skilled educator and trainer who has a passion for serving and empowering others.   

Joanna Omi MPH

Joanna held senior roles in the public hospital system and the Mayor’s Office in New York City, as well as in community-based organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area. As an SVP and AVP at New York City Health+Hospitals, Joanna led efforts to implement a Lean Operating System, redesign and rebuild multiple campuses, improve access to ambulatory care and secure funding for new programs. A superb collaborator, Joanna has built consensus among diverse internal and external stakeholders, developing training programs and encouraging innovative approaches to emerging health care needs related to primary care, the emergency department, HIV/AIDS and managed care.  Joanna was an editor and contributing writer to Lean in Behavioral Health (2014).  

Kim Pittenger MD

Kim has firsthand experience implementing kaizen in his prior role as director of quality and innovation for primary care at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle. As a result of his work, the medical center experienced quantitative results including positive primary care financial margins, disease management and screening attainments exceeding national averages, and a consistently favorable patient satisfaction rating. Additionally, Kim implemented flow production of indirect care using Toyota Management System principles, contributing to provider satisfaction and sustainability rates that are atypical in today’s primary care practices. He also developed a best practices tactical force which sought to align clinical practice patterns with operational practice patterns to support evidence-based care.

Erin Ressler

Erin is a goal-oriented individual with eight years of extensive kaizen training with Shingijutsu sensei’s including Chihiro Nakao. Erin translated original Toyota Production System teaching material from its manufacturing-based context to healthcare and has created curricula and materials, trained and certified numerous leaders in kaizen tools and methods, and has extensive experience in leading kaizen teams including five-day kaizen workshops and two-day kaizen events. 

J. Michael Rona MHA

Mike is recognized internationally as a leading expert on the application of the Toyota Production System to healthcare. He has designed and led groundbreaking applications of the Toyota Production System to operations in the ER, OR, lab, clinics, and inpatient flow of a major medical center, which greatly improved patient safety and reduced lead times and associated costs. Mike is a student of Chihiro Nakao of Shingijutsu Japan and former President of Virginia Mason Medical Center.

Ritsuko Sumii Travis

Ritsuko began her work as an interpreter/facilitator along side Shingijutsu consultants from Japan — including Chihiro Nakao, Senji Niwa and Katsuya Koide — teaching Kaizen to U.S. businesses. She spent extensive time with the Boeing Corporation, and worked with Shingijutsu consultants in Charleston, South Carolina, to improve the quality and efficiency on their Boeing 787 production lines. Ritsuko and Shigijutsu consultants took their teachings to healthcare. Her passion for bridging cultures, strong desire to learn, and problem-solving mindset, earned her the reputation “most trusted kaizen interpreter.” 

Richard Summers MBA

Rick Summers is a proven senior operations leader in manufacturing, supply chain, engineering, QA, distribution/logistics, finance, IT, facilities and human resources/labor relations. He has had success in both turnarounds and rapid scaling environments leading teams of 100 to 1,500. Rick is recognized for improving tactics and strategies designed to build cohesive high-performing work teams, improving systems and efficiencies, reaching best-in-class quality, on-time delivery and collaborative customer/vendor relationships. He has led successful transformations using lean production and Six Sigma process improvement implementation within nine different organizations.

Jessica Turner PhD

Jessica is an experienced project manager with expertise in education development for healthcare professionals that blends knowledge and skills gained from eleven years of biological research. She is a skilled educator and trainer, having delivered both lean and technical instruction to diverse audiences across the healthcare spectrum. Her ability to see the big picture while also distilling down a process to the smallest of details provides a holistic viewpoint to all of her work.

Craig Vercruysse MBA

Craig is a 20+ year leader across multiple industries and functional areas including operations, information technology, and sales and marketing. He served as a regional healthcare system executive for Sutter Health in COO and CIO roles, contributing to several awards and consistently high dashboard performance. Craig also served as chief process officer (CPO), pioneering in Sutter Health the development of a lean management system. He has deep knowledge of IT/electronic health record systems integration in conjunction with a lean management system. Craig’s educational background focused on systems theory grounded in organizational and interpersonal communication, capped with an MBA. 

Pamela Westerlin

Pamela is a quality-driven professional with more than fifteen years of experience working with the highest levels of leadership and board executives. She has a proven track record for making sense of complex projects and innovating new ways to execute and streamline them. Pamela exhibits outstanding organizational and interpersonal skills with the ability to thrive under pressure. And she has experience supporting more than fifteen community boards in multiple states as a program manager.