Phil grew up in a rural farming community in Western Kentucky. His dad was a construction painter who never shied away from the tough jobs because they were challenging and offered better pay. He often kept his family traveling in search of better work, and Phil’s mom took it all in stride. She liked to see their frequent moves as a big adventure and used each new journey as an opportunity to foster Phil’s curiosity. They raised their son to value hard work, perseverance, and to understand that what you do reflects on your family and your community. You have a responsibility that is much greater than yourself.
After college, Phil brought this work ethic to corporate America. In his early years as an HR professional, he was struck by something he learned while watching a video on the Quality Management Movement. The message was simple but significant: “No matter how good your tools or processes are, they are only as good as the person leading the process.” It was then that Phil decided he wanted to be a leader, not simply a manager. After 10 years in corporate HR and earning what he calls a “master’s degree in ‘What the Worst Leaders do in Poorly Managed Companies,’” Phil was at a turning point. It was time to take the leadership truths he had learned and share them with companies who cared and were willing to listen. Van Hooser Associates, Inc. was born.
Phil has built an extremely successful career developing and marketing customized leadership keynotes, management training plans, books and videos on leadership. He has taught his proven leadership skills at companies of all sizes throughout the U.S. and around the globe. More than 900 companies have trusted Phil to help their organizations achieve new levels of success.
Most recently, Phil has been the mastermind behind a comprehensive leadership development program called “Leaders Ought to Know.” This leadership development plan incorporates in-depth leadership content, systematic delivery, consistent reinforcement and ongoing engagement and interaction to achieve each client’s leadership development goals.
Dave Gesler was born and raised in southern California. He earned his bachelor's degree in Rhetoric and Communication with a minor in Organizational Studies from the University of California, Davis in 1993.
After two years of substitute teaching, Dave married his college girlfriend (whom he met in the UC Davis training room, as she was a basketball player for UCD), and in 1996, moved to Murray, Kentucky.
While in Murray, Dave earned his Master's degree in Organizational Communication from Murray State University in 1998. During his tenure earning the Master’s degree, he taught undergraduate communication classes as a Graduate Teaching Assistant, culminating in being named “GTA of the year” for 1997. In the next year, the Organizational Communication Department hired Dave to teach upper level organizational communication courses as an adjunct professor, and Dave also worked as an interlibrary loan and reference librarian in Paducah, Kentucky. In 1999, Ashley, Dave’s wife, was accepted to the Master’s program at Vanderbilt University in Nursing, and the couple moved to Nashville, Tennessee.
While in Nashville, Dave hired on as a corporate trainer for a multi-national company called Franke Inc., manufacturer and distributor of commercial kitchen equipment, employing over 4500 employees world-wide. At Franke, Dave established a ground-up training package for Franke employees, developed various training and procedure manuals for the company, and also conducted various specialty training sessions on topics ranging from listening to conflict resolution and team building for assorted departments and for many of the U.S. Franke sites.
From the fall of 2000 to the fall of 2003, Dave earned his PhD in Communication Studies, with a secondary emphasis in Statistics from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. During this time, Dave was a Graduate Teaching Associate for the department, and was awarded the “GTA of the year” for 2003 for the College of Communication and Information. Dave’s dissertation research was an empirical study which revolved around the notion of ethical leadership and communication competence, and was recognized as “Top Paper” for the Applied Communication Division of the Southern States Communication Association in 2005.
From fall of 2003 through Spring of 2009, Dave has worked as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Organizational Communication at Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky, where he was responsible for educating, conducting original research, and providing service to the department, college, university, and community as a whole. In Spring of 2009, Dave was awarded tenure and promotion, and is now an Associate Professor with tenure. Since Summer of 2006, Dave has been the department of Organizational Communication’s graduate program director. Duties related to this position include advising all Org Com graduate students, creating and developing new classes and curriculum, and overseeing day to day operations of the graduate program. Additionally, Dave has been Murray State University’s NCAA Faculty Athletic Representative since the summer of 2010. These duties include being a liaison between academics and athletics at MSU.
Dave’s research interests include positive communication, communication and ethics, organizational communication, research and statistical methods, communication and leadership, and communication competence. Overall, Dave’s experience and education have allowed him to live a life whereby he is able to constantly improve himself both personally and professionally. This has allowed him the honor of helping others do the same, which is truly a blessing.
Outside of the profession, Dave enjoys spending time and having fun with his four children, working on cars, being involved in sports and playing the ukulele, guitar and drums.
Light bulbs are one of Kayla’s favorite things. More specifically, light bulbs coming on in people’s heads. Kayla is a thinker and practitioner in today’s marketplace. She dwells on ways to help others move to the next level in their professional and personal development. Her industry experience spans 20+ years in both the corporate sector and non-profit world where she has worn hats such as Director of Organizational Strategy, Director of Human Resources and Director of Staff Development.
Kayla’s experience allows her to walk alongside your team to identify your people development needs then helps you discover a hands-on approach that advances your organization’s vision. She is president of Organization Impact, LLC and a member of the Society of Human Resources Management, American Society of Training and Development, Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, and the Southeast Business Forum. She is a certified DiSC facilitator and the author of “Leadership Shorts: Practical Tips When You Are at Wit’s End”. Organization Impact is a member of the Better Business Bureau.