Welcome to Athena Group INT'L

Our Members

Pam Pappas Stanoch

Ms. Pam Pappas Stanoch is the founder and CEO of the Athena Group Int’l, a strategic consulting group for businesses that wish to enter or expand in international markets. Ms. Pappas Stanoch has written many articles on global business relations. She also speaks regularly on these topics at business events around the world. She is an excellent resource for reporters and writers doing pieces on international business matters.

Pam Pappas Stanoch has extensive international business experience. As a specialist for over 25 years in the industry of cross-cultural communications and coaching, Ms. Pappas Stanoch has worked with Fortune 100 global corporations as a cross-culturist, international consultant and advisor, executive coach and keynote speaker on global issues. As a global strategist, Pappas Stanoch continues to provide coaching and training for corporations expanding their global operations.

She has served as a contributing editor for “Put Your Best Foot Forward: USA”, a quick reference guide that assists foreign business travelers when conducting business in the United States. She is a member of the Society for Intercultural Education Training and Research (SIETAR) and a regular presenter for professional associations focused on improving international business relations. In addition, she has been a featured columnist for the Wall Street Journal’s National Employment Business Weekly, the Business Journal of the Twin Cities, and a featured year-long columnist for Northwest Airlines’ World Traveler Magazine.

Prior to establishing her first company, Window on the World, Inc., Ms. Pappas Stanoch was a translator/interpreter in Rwanda, East Africa, and the Director of the US operations for VISTAS, a French-based firm. Ms. Pappas Stanoch has a B.A. in French and in Foreign Language Education, a B.S. in International Relations and a Master’s Degree in Cross-Cultural Communications from the University of Minnesota and the Universite Catholique de L’Ouest, Angers, France. She is currently working on an easy reference guide on global communication effectiveness.

Kim Cermak

President, Athena Group International

Kim Cermak currently serves as the President of Athena Group International. In this role, she works with organizations to strengthen their ability to lead, manage and build multicultural teams and create meaningful connections with their employees, partners and clients.

Kim has over 25 years of intercultural and leadership experience helping firms craft cross-cultural solutions for their workforces at home and around the world. Her experience includes time spent studying, living, and working abroad in both France and Luxembourg. During her career, she has dedicated her efforts to inculcating attitudes that encourage inclusive spaces where people of all backgrounds can thrive.

In 1996 Kim began her career in the intercultural field working for Window on the World in Minneapolis, MN as the director of marketing and then national director of business development for FGI, Global Services. As part of a team of multilingual cross-culturalists who lived, studied or worked internationally, she was constantly learning and expanding her mindset.

From 2006-2009 she worked in the nonprofit sector. As chief administrative officer for Nonviolent Peaceforce she supported their mission of reimagining security and civilian protection in areas most impacted by conflict around the world to interrupt and prevent violence. As a microenterprise consultant at WomenVenture, she advised women and other marginalized and disadvantaged populations starting new businesses.

In 2019, Kim became a mindfulness coach. In this capacity she has more tools that further an individual or team’s capacity to get comfortable with ideas, concepts and ways of being that are new or different. Creating space for a more insightful and expansive response to both internal and external events can replace habitual or culturally influenced and reinforced reactions, with those that are more useful and helpful to address the most complex issues of our time.

Kim holds her Master of Liberal Studies: Focus: Impact of Cultural Values on Religion from The University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN and her Bachelor of Science in International Business from The University of Colorado, Boulder, CO. She completed her studies to become a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction practitioner from the Myrna Brind Center for Mindfulness Marcus Institute of Integrative Health at Jefferson, Philadelphia, PA. She serves as an emeritus board member for Open Field, a nonprofit organization improving the lives and futures of youth from West Africa and immigrant and refugee communities in the United States, through soccer.

Kim currently resides in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania where she enjoys hiking, yoga and spending time with family and friends.

Elizabeth Topp

Elizabeth is a Psychologist and has worked in Leadership and Organizational Development for over 30 years specializing in cross-cultural training, executive coaching, meaningful organizational design, and wellness. Elizabeth is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of MōD, Meaningful Organizational Design Inc., a consulting firm in Los Angeles, CA, offering services in mindfulness-based leadership and social impact strategy. Elizabeth researched and designed the Presence Coaching executive coaching model, an evidence-based 4-step process, STOP – OBSERVE – ALIGN – ALLOW, used to guide entrepreneurs and teams to build more effective and sustainable leadership skills. Elizabeth has a Ph.D. in Psychology and Holistic Human Development and works in private practice as a trauma-informed Psychologist in Los Angeles, CA, specializing in executive and expatriate mental health.

Ricardo Núñez

Ricardo Núñez is a dynamic, energetic and thought-provoking facilitator with over 20 years of experience working closely with leading companies in North America, Latin America, Europe and APAC region. In his corporate career, Ricardo has led teams in operations, sales, public relations, L&D, business development, and customer service in Mexico, USA, and India.

Ricardo’s programs have covered a wide range of subjects including Global Leadership Development, Organizational and Talent Development, Cross-Cultural and Cross-functional Business and Social Practices, Working Effectively with Diversity and Inclusion, Intercultural Communication Challenges and Strategies, Effective Global Team Building, Leading Change, Conflict Management, and Successful Cross-Cultural Communication Skills to name a few.

Ricardo’s experience dealing with global markets includes collaborating as both a business and intercultural liaison with organizations in public and private sectors dealing with multinational markets. In addition, he has participated in multiple research projects focusing on understanding and raising awareness of the values, needs and opportunities, as well as the impact of globalization on Latin American communities in the U.S. Ricardo has also developed and conducted extensive training programs for global audiences, promoting a better understanding of the Latin American culture, markets, and business practices.

Anne-Hélène Guitierres

Anne-Hélène is fluent in French, English and have a high proficiency of Spanish. Experienced Cross-Cultural Trainer comfortable working in international work environments. Specializes in raising cultural awareness and building cross-cultural skills to meet globalisation objectives. Proven ability to conduct pre-departure, re-entry cultural orientations as well as multinational team building and coaching sessions.

Between 1995 and 2001, she conducted training for Window on the World, a cross-cultural training firm based in Minneapolis, Minnesota (USA). As a trainer, Anne-Hélène specialized in European trainings and worked with diverse corporate audiences. She facilitated pre-departure training for expatriate families moving all over the world and group sessions for employees of Fortune 500 companies. As a Director of Curriculum, she oversaw all the training and development programs that were offered for the global training workforce.
Now based in Paris, owning her own business. Her activity includes: Cross Cultural competency assessment, coaching sessions, pre-departure, post-arrival and re-entry programs for groups, individuals and families (including kids’ programs). She also conducted sessions on negotiation techniques and tactics for the European Commission (Brussels) with a focus on conflict management.

She holds a B.A and an M.A in Speech Communication from the University of Minnesota, as well as an Associate Degree in Marketing from the Institut Européen de Communication et de Publicité in Paris.

Anne-Hélène was a Board Member of SIETAR France (Society for Intercultural Education Training and Research). She was part of the organizing committee for conferences in Budapest (2003) and France (2005).

Anne-Hélène is certified with the IDI (Intercultural Development Inventory), the ICS (Intercultural Conflict Style Inventory).

Hobbies: Anne-Hélène graduated from the theatre school “Le Cours Florent” in Paris (2009).

Jamie Müller

Jamie Müller combines 25 years of experience in personal, organizational and leadership development with a strong focus on managing intercultural relations. She is the founder and owner of Caterpillar Spirit as well as The Healthy Expat.Her background includes program administration and planning for the University of Minnesota, USA, consulting and advising for the US Foreign Commercial Service in Germany, as well as global leadership development and delivery for Fortune 100 & 500 companies, governments, non-profit organizations and universities around the world.

In addition, she has extensive experience in account management and business development working with organizational development departments in developing programs and policies appropriate for their global workforce. Jamie has broad knowledge, expertise and experience in intercultural issues relating to global teams, expatriates and their families. She is an Adjunct Professor in Intercultural Communication at the University of Tübingen, Germany and was an Adjunct Professor at the University of Cooperative Education, DHBW, in Stuttgart, Germany. Jamie received her degree in German and International Relations from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and the University of Hamburg, Germany. She has completed MBA graduate and Intercultural Communication coursework at the University of St. Thomas.

She is an ICF, International Coaching Federation, Associate Certified Coach (ACC). Jamie also holds a certificate from the Steinbeis Hochschule-Berlin as Systemic Business Coach. She has a certificate in Adult Education from the University of Educational Sciences, Ludwigsburg, Germany. In addition, Jamie is a certified COM / COI practitioner and a certified Natural Juice Therapist from the CMA. She is the Secretary of the German-American Business Club in Stuttgart. She has active membership in SIETAR & Young SIETAR, the International Women’s Club, Stuttgart and serves as Ask the Expert for Expatica. Jamie currently lives in Neckargemünd, Germany, close to Heidelberg. Prior to this, she lived in the United States, Italy and Hungary and has traveled and worked throughout the United States and Eastern and Western Europe. She is fluent and works in English and German and has basic knowledge of Spanish.

Roland Müller

Roland is a Senior Partner for Caterpillar Spirit. A native of Germany, Roland has been working with and for various multinational organizations for over 25 years. He has continuously held progressing positions providing global support and product training. He has also held positions as a Senior Learning Expert as well as Training & Support Manager - EMEA.

Roland spent three years of his professional career providing training to Honeywell employees and customers in North America and was based out of Minneapolis, MN, USA. He provides training and consulting services to expatriates as well as to global managers and team members to increase and build their intercultural intelligence and leadership competence. As such, he has worked with participants from more than 30 nations around the globe.Roland holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering and Supply Engineering from the University of Applied Science in Offenburg, Germany as well as a certificate in Adult Education from the University of Educational Science, Ludwigsburg, Germany. Roland also holds a certificate from the Steinbeis Hochschule-Berlin as a Systemic Business Coach.

He is a NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programing) Practitioner and Master, DVNLP Certified. In addition, he earned his master's degree in Educational Leadership at the University of Educational Science-Ludwigsburg with a focus on Cultural Due Diligence in International Mergers & Acquisitions. Roland also works as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Educational Science, Ludwigsburg, Germany as well as at the Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany in the field of Organizational Development, Human Resource Development, Educational Leadership and Intercultural Communication. Roland speaks his native language, German, and is also fluent in English and has a basic knowledge of French.

Beata Marciniak

Beata has dedicated nearly three decades to the field of training, providing expertise in soft skills, stress and emotion management, and intercultural coaching for individuals, teams, and organizations in the education, medical, corporate, and public sectors.

In 2016, she moved from Poland to the USA, where she began also working as a "local intercultural expert" for expatriates and their families arriving in the country. In her role, she assists them in building relationships and adapting to change in a new culture or foreign country, with a focus on mental health, emotional resilience, and intercultural communication. With her guidance, clients can develop responses and find solutions based on their own values, perspectives, norms, and customs, aspects she particularly emphasizes in intercultural processes.

As the owner and founder of Peaceful Mind Academy, she delivers solutions in stress and emotion management for individuals and corporate clients. She has served as a Project Manager and Director for an international French company.

Beata is a certified Master Trainer Coach with international accreditation from ICI®, cross-cultural coach, busines coach, clean coaching facilitator, and access bars® facilitator.

She has a Master of French language and culture. She studied and trained in three cultural areas: Polish, English, and French (Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Warsaw School of Economics, Institute of Management in Paris Fonction 2, San Diego, and the University of Michigan). She speeks 3 languages: polish, english and french.

She has a deep passion for traveling and enjoys walking the Camino de Santiago. Her life values include family, independence, success, and authenticity.

Brian Szepkouski

Brian Szepkouski specializes in cross-cultural communications, international executive development and strategic planning for global business expansion. He serves as an adviser to corporations and law firms on issues pertaining to intercultural management, international human resource practices and internal training curricula.

Mr. Szepkouski has published articles in both English and Japanese about managing cultural differences and speaks on emerging trends in Asia. His book, entitled Business Passport to Japan, is a business traveler’s guide for succeeding in 21st Century Japan.

Mr. Szepkouski holds an M.A. in International Education and Human Resource Development from George Washington University and a B.A. in Foreign Languages from the University of Redlands, Calif. He is certified in Social Styles by Tracom; Certified Coach, by CTAA. He is fluent in Japanese.

Diana Costa

Cross-cultural trainer for Romania, Athena Group International

Diana Costa currently serves as a cross-cultural trainer, global leadership facilitator, and translator for Athena Group International. She is responsible for providing an accurate vision about the multicultural environment in a changing economy and helping teams work more effectively both at home and across international borders.

In 2019 she started her career as a Key Account Manager for a business intelligence company. She owns an important portfolio of clients from local and multinational companies in the construction, real state and manufacturing industries. Diana provides solutions for increasing sales, marketing support, and business planning.

In 2017 and 2019, as part of a multicultural exchange program, Diana worked in the United States, further mastering her level of English and developing important customer service skills.

Diana holds her master’s degree in Regional Development and Institutional Communication from The University of Oradea, Romania and her bachelor’s degree in International Relations and European Studies from the same university. She speaks Romanian, English and is proficient in French. Spanish is also accessible for her in terms of understanding.

Diana resides now in Oradea, Romania where she enjoys traveling, discovering new in everything, and being surrounded by family.

Mary Beth Lamb

Athena Group International

Speaker, Facilitator, Author, University Faculty Member

Global Leadership, Virtual Team Acumen, Cultural Comptency, and International Communication Skills

Mary Beth Lamb has helped business people in more than 20 industries on five continents achieve peak performance and maximize return on worldwide business investment by developing cultural competency, virtual team acumen, and effective global communication skills.

She consults, speaks, and facilitates worldwide on building peak performing global leaders and virtual teams, cross-border organizational effectiveness, global mergers and acquisitions, worldwide knowledge transfer, and international presentation skills.

Ms. Lamb has lived, worked and studied on five continents where she learned German, Spanish, and Portuguese. She built and sold two consulting businesses in Europe and the United States, and spent almost eight years working across Europe and North Africa for global television networks and communications companies.

Lamb pursued graduate studies in the U.S. and Germany, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Wisconsin –Madison with a self-designed, cross-disciplinary degree in international communications.



Lamb is a professor of practice at three U.S. graduate schools. Since 1999 Lamb has taught at the University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Business.  She has also been an adjunct faculty member in the graduate school of St. Catherine University since 2006. In 2013, Lamb began teaching at Wake Forest University’s Business School and in the Master’s in Leadership program.

In 2009 Lamb was chosen as a Minnesota Women of Influence, because of her commitment to making a difference in the global community.  She co-authored an acclaimed business book, “Do’s and Taboos Around the World for Women in Business” (John Wiley & Sons), 1998; it was reissued in China in 2008. She also contributed to “Women as Global Healers” (2010) and frequently writes and is interviewed for national media about building successful global organizations, leaders, and teams.

Lamb is a member/speaker for the Society for Intercultural Training and Research (SIETAR) and the Intercultural Communications Institute (ICI). She volunteers for several Twin Cities-based multicultural, non-profit organizations.


Area of Expertise:

  • Cultural Competency
  • Global Leadership
  • Global Communication Skills
  • High-Performing Virtual Teams
  • Global Diversity and Inclusion
  • Muticultural Sales Effectiveness
  • Knowledge Transfer Across Cultures
  • Cross-cultural Mergers and Acquisitions


Partial List of Clients:

Airlines (U.S. Air, American, Delta, Korean Airlines)

Chemicals (BASF, Ecolab, Henkel, Lubrizol, Wacker Chemical)

Financial (American Express, American Family Insurance, Ameriprise Financial,   Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Moneygram, XL Insurance, Zurich Insurance)

High Tech (Avnet, Cree, Genentech, Hewlett Packard, Intel, Microsoft, Thermo-Fischer Scientific, Waters)

Medical Devices (Becton Dickinson, Boston Scientific, Medtronic, St. Jude Medical, Zeiss)

Professional Services (Accenture, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Thomson-Reuters, multiple global law and design firms)

Transportation (Boeing, Goodrich,  Harley Davidson, Ingersoll Rand, Thales

Automotive (Chrysler, Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Fiat, Toyota)

Consumer Products (Cargill, Colgate-Palmolive, Disney, General Mills, Grainger, Kimberly-Clark, Lands End, Polaris, Sears, Steelcase)

Healthcare (Aetna, Medica, United Health Group)

Industrial Products (Caterpillar, Donaldsons, General Electric, International Paper, nVent, Pentair, Rexam, Sany, Sumitomo, 3M)

Pharmaceuticals (Aventis, Baxter, MGI Pharma, Novartis, Pfizer, Roche)

Telecom (AT&T, Alcatel-Lucent, British Telecom, Siemens, Xerox)


Zenan Vera Song

Zenan Vera Song is an experienced former IB/Chinese immersion educator skilled in cross-cultural communication. With over 10 years of teaching experience, she has successfully coached fellow educators and led nationwide conferences. Known for her passion for inquiry-based learning and visible thinking, she engages her audience with captivating learning experiences. Apart from her teaching career, Vera is a talented chef. She is also a self-taught data analyst, actively contributing her skills to other industries. Her enthusiasm for sharing stories and experiences with others fuels her desire to support and inspire growth in those around her. Exciting times lay ahead as she continues on her journey of personal and professional development.

Our Clients

Novartis, General Mills, Medtronic, Honeywell, Donaldson Companies, Vanguard, Stryker, Yoplait, CPW, Tokyo Electron, Mitsubishi, Otsuka Pharmaceuticals, Amway (corporate – Asian Beauty Center). Johnson & Johnson, Merck-Banyu, Schering Plough, John Deere Company, Molex, Federal Express, Michelin, Total, Schneider, Caterpilar, Renault, Requenne: Business Objects, European Commission, Sweet Briar, 3M, Alcatel, Rexam, American Express, XL Insurance, Pentair, PPG, Trinseo, West Pharmaceuticals, CSI and Upsher-Smith Sawai.

Skip to content