Board of Directors

The primary work of the Board is to guide the ICSA strategically so as to advance the ICSA Mission.  The Board consists of two groups: the Executive Committee and the Directors.  In accordance with the ICSA Bylaws, the Board is made up of individuals from both the practitioner side and the supplier side of the customer service industry.  We are working now to fill the final Board position and will add that individual in the very near future. We are thrilled to have these individuals who have volunteered their service to the ICSA.




President – Bill Gessert

Bill Gessert has served as President of the ICSA and has for the past seven years.   Professionally, Bill spent 17 years as Senior Partner with TeleSolutions Consultants, a firm that provided training and consulting to the Customer Service Industry. The vast majority of his working career has been focused in and around the customer experience side of business.

Bill is now Director of Business Development for Fernley & Fernley Inc.   Based in Philadelphia, Fernley & Fernley provides professional management services to non-profit trade associations and professional societies.  In his role, Bill is responsible for new business growth in each of the three core business units of Fernley & Fernley.

Personally, Bill and his wife Lisa live in Staten Island and have four adult children, three grandsons and a four legged family member named Sunny.


Vice-President – Don Yager

Don Yager is the Director of Learning & Development, Small Business Care, for Intuit, Inc., and is located in Tucson, AZ. In his role Don is responsible for worldwide learning and development for all Intuit small business products. Previously, Don was the Executive Director, Enterprise Performance Development for Afni, Inc., located in Bloomington, IL, where he was responsible for Global Executive/Leadership Development, Training, Curriculum Development, Quality & Performance Improvement, and Professional Services. Don has over 30 years of experience in training, development, quality improvement, leadership, and project management with multiple industries including Software Development, Contact Center Operations, Computer Manufacturing, and Avionics Defense Contracting.

Don is a co-architect of Workforce Development Software, published author, frequent speaker addressing performance improvement through training and quality practices.  Don was also a performance consultant for multiple wireless providers, an executive training/quality leader with multiple contact center companies, and got his start in learning and development as an US Air Force Instructor, where he served his country for eight years.

 Deana Picture.jpgTreasurer – Deana Leda

Deana has been in the customer service and contact center industry nearly all of her professional career.  She held leadership positions in many industry associations including the American TeleServices Association and the TeleServices Council of the Direct Marketing Association.  She has served as Co-Chair of the ICSA Annual Conference since 2010 and along with Donna Pokora, is a partner in D&D Associates, providing assessment and improvement consulting to the contact center industry.

Donna Picture.jpg Secretary – Donna Pokora

Donna is a true leader within the contact center and customer service industry.  Through her partnership in D&D and Associates, she has worked with countess customer care centers helping them improve their operations and results.  Donna has been a vital aspect of the ICSA leadership for the past several years including organizing the educational sessions for the ICSA Annual Conferences.


GeorgeGeorge Larribas – Director

George Larribas is an executive vice president and head of Wells Fargo Treasury Management Client Delivery (TMCD). Based in Los Angeles, he oversees more than 800 team members based primarily in seven service centers nationwide. His group includes education, production support, business process, technical support, and customer service teams. TMCD’s award-winning customer service and technical support teams offer a consultative support model for customers using Treasury Management products and services through Wells Fargo’s Commercial Electronic Office® (CEO®) portal. With more than 30 years in banking, Larribas began his career with Wells Fargo in 1990, managing an operations group before moving to Treasury Management. He previously managed the Cash Vault services and Electronic Payments group. Prior to joining Wells Fargo, Larribas managed the Electronic Banking division for First National Bank of Albuquerque, overseeing internal operations for ATM network settlement/disputes and a group responsible for selling/installing ATMs to correspondent banks.

In January 2015, George was the recipient of the Customer Service Executive of the Year award and his team won Best of the Best in the company awards category of the International Service Excellence Awards from the Customer Service Institute of America (CSIA). TMCD also won gold Stevie® team and individual awards at the 9th Annual Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service in February. In 2014, Larribas and his team received the gold Stevie® award for Best Customer Service Department of the Year for the second consecutive year and TMCD won the Professional Association for Customer Engagement (PACE) award for Employee Appreciation Strategy. In 2013, Larribas received a silver award for Customer Service Executive of the Year and a bronze award for Best Customer Service Training Team of the Year at the American Business Awards, and his team won the Best Large Contact Center award from the International Customer Management Institute (ICMI). Larribas received the gold Stevie® award for Customer Service Executive of the Year at the 2012 American Business Awards. He was nominated for this same award in 2010 and 2009 while his team was named finalists for the Customer Service Team of the Year in 2009.
Under Larribas’ leadership, Wells Fargo bank has received an A+ for excellent service the past two years in the Phoenix-Hecht Large Corporate Quality Index survey of Treasury Management customers.

Ted Head Shot small.jpgTed Nardin – Director

Ted Nardin is president of Ideal Dialogue Company, a human-to-human customer experience strategy firm. His team’s work has resulted in large scale changes to employee engagement, customer satisfaction, and brand improvement in corporations around the world. He is a frequent guest-speaker and co-author of a patent-pending process to assess social competence. Mostly, Ted enjoys unleashing his inner communication science geek in venues large and small.

Dr. James Keaten – Director

Prof. James A. Keaten earned his Ph.D. in Speech Communication and Statistics from Penn State. He was awarded a post-doctoral fellowship from Harvard University where he studied world religions. Prof. Keaten teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses at the University of Northern Colorado including intercultural communication, quantitative research methodology, leadership, and organizational communication.

James has earned numerous research and teaching awards, including Distinguished Scholar, Professor of the Year, and College Scholar of Humanities and Social Sciences. His research has been published in numerous scholarly journals, including Journal of International and Intercultural Communication, International Journal of Intercultural Relations, and Japanese Psychological Research. He serves on the editorial boards of four national/international scholarly journals.

James also serves as Chief Science Officer for the Ideal Dialogue Company. In this position, he has served as international consultant for the customer support industries globally, including India, Japan, Korea, Central America, and the Philippines. He has a successful history in business consulting, covering such topics as instrument development, intercultural training, psychometric analysis, leadership development, and strategic planning.

Sarah Powell

Sarah is extremely passionate about customer experience and has been involved with the industry for many years. She became interested in customer service years ago after being asked to run the call center at Country Financial Insurance Company, located in Bloomington, IL. At the time of being asked, Sarah had spent 10 years as a senior attorney at Country Financial and was managing all company litigation files for 5 states. Prior to that she was a trial attorney for a large law firm for several years. Transitioning over to the world of call centers and customer service was a career-changing opportunity and a wonderful experience.

Subsequent to her time at Country Financial, Sarah continued on in the customer experience space. She was asked to build out the customer experience practice at Afni, Inc., a call center outsourcing company in Bloomington, and to be their Director of Sales. It was in that job that Sarah first had the opportunity to meet amazing CX leaders from all over the country and to have insightful conversations on customer service best practices, needs and challenges. Sarah was then recruited to be the lead customer experience sales executive at Hewlett Packard, where she was responsible for selling CX technology, consulting and outsourcing. She then transitioned to a role at State Farm insurance where she was Senior Manager of Customer Experience Insights and had responsibility for overseeing all customer research for the company and for consulting the different areas of the company on customer experience best practices.

Sarah recently started a new job as VP of Sales for a technology company in Chicago (Advantage Optics) and is being trained on being the next successor to the CEO at that company. In her new role, Sarah is responsible for revenue growth, but also for ensuring a great customer experience for all customers of the company.

In her spare time, Sarah loves to travel and to volunteer in the community. She is President of the local Community College Foundation Board and helps out with the Boys and Girls Club. Sarah’s husband owns a law firm in Bloomington (Bartell, Powell LLC). Sarah loves to hike and do anything outdoors. She loves reading non-fiction books, playing board games (trivial pursuit is her favorite) and eating spicy food.


LisaLisa Gessert – ICSA Administrative Coordinator

Lisa is bringing considerable skills and enthusiasm to the ICSA in her role as the ICSA’s Membership Coordinator.  Lisa manages the ICSA database and oversees all member communications.  Additionally, Lisa manages the membership application and renewal processes as well as all of the logistics of the ICSA Annual Conference.  Lisa is the founder and President of, an organization committed to helping businesses with time and space management needs.