Laura C. Cook
Chief Executive Officer

Laura Cook, Chief Executive Officer Laura initially began facilitating team building initiatives both at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., and for a private outdoor adventure company in Virginia. Traveling the world, she attended graduate school in Ireland and provided team building programs in Russia. Experiencing life and culture across Europe enriched Laura's 15 years of experience in the field of experiential education, which included team building activities, caving, rock climbing, ropes course facilitation, and outdoor expeditions. Prior to co-founding Team Builders 8, Laura was director of an outdoor recreation program, a paralegal with a global law firm, an economics professor, a director of a professional development department at a university, and a business consultant.

Lisa Swanson – MA, LMHC, NCC
Director of Adventure Therapy Programs

Lisa Gomme - MA, LMHC, NCC, Chief  of Operations Lisa began her experiential education facilitation in 2001 as a volunteer with the Personal Discovery Program while she was a student at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. She received both her bachelor's degree in leadership and programming and her master's degree in school counseling with a certificate in cultural diversity and human services from Gallaudet. Lisa's passion about people, their personal growth, and the outdoors played a crucial role leading to 10 years of experience with experiential education, including ropes course facilitation, rock climbing, hiking, and group facilitation. A co-founder of Team Builders 8, Lisa is excited to be working in a field that reflects her passion. She can be found providing workshops nationally and internationally (in Russia, the Philippines, and Costa Rica). She hails from New Mexico and lives in Albuquerque with her two dogs.

Nick Bannon
Director of Educational Programs

Nick Bannon,Director of Program Development Nick first began work as a team building educator in 1987 as a staff member of the Personal Discovery Program at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. He graduated from Gallaudet with a bachelor's degree in secondary education/physical education. Nick also holds a master's degree in physical education and deaf education and an Ed.S. in organizational change leadership/education administration. Over the years, Nick has provided team building workshops to children, teenagers, and adults throughout the United States and in Russia at schools, organizations, businesses, and various health care centers and hospitals.
Since graduating from college, Nick has been pursuing his interest in triathlons, competing in all-distance triathlons, including the Half and Full Ironman. To give back to the sport and to share his passion, Nick has created an annual kids and parents triathlon as well as a monthly 5K run/walk in Austin, Texas. His wife, Sarah, son Josh (age 10), and daughter Mia (age 8) are also triathletes. Nick continues to balance his time between family, work, team building, and triathlons.

As a co-founder of Team Builders 8, Nick is primarily responsible for the programming of workshop content (i.e., team building in organizations and in schools).

Gary Tublin
Senior Consultant

Gary has been fortunate to enjoy a diverse and unique career that has spanned the breadth of environmental education, experiential learning, adventure education, team and leadership development, and organizational change and development. Gary spent much of his youth and early adult life at Camp Airy in Thurmont, MD. The camp environment inspired Gary to develop both an appreciation of the outdoors and the opportunities it offers individuals and teams allowing learning and growth to occur through adventure and challenge. It was here that set the stage for Gary to commit to working with people, helping them realize their truest potentials as individuals and becoming stewards of the environment.
After college at Frostburg State University, Gary worked for an adventure education firm, regularly teaching courses in rock-climbing, canoeing, kayaking, as well as designing and organizing multi-day wilderness experiences for youth and adults. While enjoying working with individuals and teams in the outdoors, this stint of time also brought Gary face to face with many talented Organizational Development and management consultants where he began to form partnerships and engage with them on long term client projects focusing on organizational change and development. These partnerships still continue where Gary brings distinctive components to these projects.

Gary eventually studied and earned a graduate certificate degree in Organization Development from Georgetown University where he joined a unique cohort in exploring the phases that made for successful change management projects. Gary applies these learned skills and techniques when working with clients to assess, design and facilitate experiential programs. Gary also is qualified to administer the Myers Briggs Type Indicator used to type personality preferences. He qualified for this in 2004 from Otto Kroger Associates.

Gary has spent time a lot of time in the Challenge Course industry as a builder, facilitator and trainer, training hundreds of challenge course facilitators over his career in both the human and technical sides of the business. Gary continues to facilitate challenge course experiences for corporations, top management teams, government and non-government groups

Gary has travelled extensively over the US and the world, both for work and play. He has worked with executive teams in Canada, Caribbean and Europe. Gary's other travels include Central and South America, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Africa, the UK and Canada. These travels have enabled him insights into working with diverse teams addressing areas of cultural differences.

Since 2000, Gary has a long history of working with Outward Bound and other organizations utilizing action learning and experiential methods to promote team development and leadership skills to corporate, government and non-profit organizations. Utilizing proven learning models and mental modes, Gary designs and administers unique developmental programs to global and small business, utilizing a philosophy of adventure and challenge, learning by doing and social and environmental responsibility and character. A partial list of clients that Gary has worked with include the World Bank, IFC, Clark Construction, CIA, JP Morgan, Merrill Lynch, Marriott Learning Services, Marriott EDP, TerpSys, Job Corps and International Paper.

He is an avid fly-fisherman and also enjoys spending his free time traveling, boating, hiking and biking. When not on the road or in the trees, he enjoys time at home with his wife Dian and seven-year old daughter Emmy in Herndon, Virginia.

Jean S. Berube
Senior Advisor and Facilitator

Jean S. Berube Senior Advisor and Facilitator Jean brings 32 years of experience in outdoor adventure education and 47 years of teaching physical education and health to Team Builders 8. At Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., Jean coached co-ed gymnastics for 45 years and women's field hockey for 9 years. She founded the Personal Discovery Program and ropes course there in 1979, and was the program's director from 1979-2010. Jean has shared the Discovery Program through workshops, seminars, and conferences in many states. She has traveled with staff to Japan (1995), India (1998), South Africa (1999), Mexico (1999), Romania (2000), the Philippines (2003), Russia (1993-2011), China (2010) and Taiwan (2010).

Over the years, Jean has developed 11 different outdoor adventure education classes for credit at Gallaudet and founded two Discovery programs in Russia (Moscow and St. Petersburg). She has also been involved in three international peace programs with Julia Shevelova, who is director of the Basement Theatre in Moscow as well as director of the Russian Personal Discovery program.

A co-founder of Team Builders 8, Jean brings a wealth of experiences to the program. She is currently an active member of the International Association for Experiential Education. She received her bachelor's degree and her master's degree from the University of Maryland and her graduate certificate in natural history from the United States Department of Agriculture Graduate School. She has taken numerous trainings from Project Adventure, Outward Bound, and Inner Quest. Jean is a certified instructor in WSI, CPR/AED for the Professional Rescuer, flat water canoeing, and Project Wild. She teaches camping, canoeing, caving, rock climbing, and environmental studies. She has worked with deaf, blind, deaf-blind, hard of hearing, and hearing students, adults, and families. She has worked with people in prison, orphanages, and rehabilitation centers. She has also worked with church groups and people in hospitals. Jean is the recipient of the Michael Stratton Practitioner Award (AEE).

Tupper Dunbar
ASL Interpreting Coordinator, Native American Consultant

Catherine Valcourt-Pearce
Web Editor

Catherine Valcourt-Pearce, Web Editor Cat brings to Team Builders 8 not only editing skills but also in-depth knowledge and experience in teaching team building workshops both nationally and internationally (in Russia). Currently the coordinator of publications and marketing for Gallaudet University's Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center, in Washington, D.C., Cat received both her bachelor's degree in English and communication arts and her master's degree in administration from Gallaudet. While a student in 1991, she became a staff member with Gallaudet's Personal Discovery Program, going on to teach workshops to participants of all ages from diverse backgrounds with a range of needs and abilities for more than 17 years.

Passionate about the Phelan-McDermid Syndrome Foundation, Cat participates as a volunteer editor for various materials, as a member of the conference planning committee, and as a parent of a child with this rare syndrome. She was the advisor for four children's books related to sign language and Deaf culture. Cat resides in Maryland with her husband and two young sons.

Sarah Burton-Doleac
Gallaudet University Personal Discovery Program Liaison

Sarah Burton-Doleac, Gallaudet University Personal Discovery Program Liaison Sarah is currently director of Gallaudet University's Personal Discovery Program and a long-time physical education teacher. She first experienced the Discovery Program in 1980 as an undergraduate student and became a staff member in 1981. After receiving both her bachelor's degree in physical education and her master's degree in deaf education from Gallaudet, she began teaching at the school and has continued to do so for more than 27 years. Sarah also devoted 25 years to softball coaching at Gallaudet. Her journey to share the Discovery program has led her to participate in programs in Russia as well as lead numerous workshops in outdoor adventure education and team building at nation-wide and international conferences for the Association of Experiential Education and the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.