About Us

Who is Oyster OD?

Oyster OD exists for one reason: to make enterprises of all sizes more profitable and successful by aligning people and strategy to drive results. Why? Because aligned organizations outperform those who aren’t. And, outperforming organizations are intentional, not accidental. They succeed by design.

We partner with C-level leaders to deepen the people, strategy, and results connection in organizations. We help clients design and stand-up successful organizations.

Offices in Washington, DC & San Francisco, CA
Serving clients around the world

Our Mission

Helping organizations and individuals be wildly successful

Our Leadership

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Julie Nielsen
President

Julie Nielsen is a native of the Washington, DC area and has held senior leadership positions in public, private, and not-for-profit organizations. She has managed change in settings that can be challenging – including international, government contracting, and the association world – and has implemented programs at organizations with 90 to 3,000 employees. While she has managed talent with people scattered around the globe and with them all in one building, the core challenges and desired outcomes were the same: 1) create alignment using shared strategies, vision, goals, and tactics; 2) create effective and fluid organizational structures; 3) acquire and retain the right talent; develop employees, managers, and leaders; and 4) engage the entire team. Julie has partnered with C-level leaders to redesign and rethink organizations, created corporate universities that provide blended learning opportunities for all employees, and has led major efforts around engagement, culture, change management, and strategic human resources.

Julie’s key competencies include organizational development & effectiveness * coaching * talent acquisition & development * employee engagement * change management & culture establishment * crisis planning & business continuity * business development * international operations * performance management * budgeting/forecasting * communication & public speaking * incentive-based compensation & benefit management w/ payroll * union negotiations * HRMS.

Julie spent more than 14 years on the senior leadership team of the Association for Talent Development. She also served at The Institute for Humane Studies, Resource Consultants, Inc., CTA Space Systems, Dewberry & Davis, and Wolters Kluwer. She received a BS in Business Administration from Auburn University and an MA in Human Resources from Marymount University.

Gina Urgena of Oyster Organizational Development

Gina Urgena
Vice President

Gina Urgena graduated Harvard University with an innate curiosity about how people succeed and what practices lead to organizational effectiveness and success. She also had an early passion for developing others. She has designed professional development programs, created and planned annual conferences, strategized around workforce development efforts, and supported leadership and employee development programs. She developed a particular talent that is a game changer for Oyster clients: delighting customers to increase success organically, crafting a unique customer experience that defines organizations and lays the groundwork for the other components of organizational development.

Gina’s key competencies include organizational development & effectiveness * knowledge management * project and program management * customer service and call center effectiveness * coaching * talent acquisition & development * employee and customer engagement * change management & culture establishment * business development * budgeting/forecasting.

Gina has worked with association chapter leaders to align strategically with national organizations. She served on the senior leadership team of a $40MM+ industry-leading association, engaging board directors and working with volunteers around the United States to provide strategic direction for more than 100 chapters. She has spearheaded organizational change initiatives in preparation for rebranding and other cultural and operational shifts. Gina received a BA in English and American Literature and Language from Harvard (cum laude), and an MS in Organization Development and Knowledge Management from George Mason University.

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Virginia Bianco-Mathis
Senior Consultant

Virginia Bianco-Mathis, a Strategic Performance Group (SPG) partner and senior consultant for Oyster, has more than 25 years of experience and a doctorate in human resource and organization development. Given the unique capabilities of her and the SPG team, working in partnership with Oyster creates a powerful synergy for meeting client needs.

Bianco-Mathis is considered a leader in her field. Her background includes a core set of industry positions, extensive consulting with corporate and agency executives, and publications/presentations in the areas of organizational change, leadership development, executive team-building, coaching (certified leadership coach), performance management, and strategic planning.

Bianco-Mathis has held positions in human resources, strategy and organization development at C&P Telephone, AT&T, Lockheed Martin and the Artery Organization. Currently, she is a professor in the School of Business, chair of the Department of Management, at Marymount University. She teaches courses in organization development, team and group dynamics, leadership and strategy. As a consultant, she has worked in both the private and public sector, including Goodwill International, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of State, FDIC, Haystax Technology, Next Century Computing, Phillips Corporation, AOL, Association of Clinical Oncology, and the Cancer Institute.

Bianco-Mathis has given major presentations at several international conferences and written numerous books and articles on topics including the following: Change in Organizations: Best Practices , U.S. Department of Agriculture; “Cross-Functional Teams at AOL," OD Practitioner; Leading From The Inside Out: A Coaching Model, Sage Publications; Organizational Coaching: Building Relationships and Programs That Drive Results, ATD Press; and Everyday Coaching, ATD Press (2018).

Senior Associates

Jennifer Naughton of Oyster Organizational Development

Jennifer Naughton
Chief Learning Officer

Jennifer Naughton, MA Ed, SPHR, serves as the Chief Learning Officer at Oyster OD and is an experienced leader in the human resource development and credentialing fields. During the course of her career, she has consulted with 100+ Fortune 500, not for profit, and government organizations to help solve their biggest human capital and training challenges and is a sought-after industry keynote and conference presenter.

Prior to Oyster, Jennifer spent over a dozen years as the senior director of competencies and credentialing at the Association for Talent Development (ATD) where she drove a nearly $2M certification and certification prep business. She also implemented a competency-based credentialing system that organized hundreds of training and certification offerings into cohesive career pathways for talent development professionals with the goal of building their skills and capabilities. Prior to that, as an associate at Booz Allen Hamilton and behavioral scientist at HumRRO (Human Resources Research Organization), Jennifer managed organizational assessment, performance management, and modernization projects for large federal agencies and nonprofit clients. One of Jennifer’s proudest achievements during this time was earning the distinguished Hammer Award for her role in modernizing the personnel selection system at the Internal Revenue Service, which resulted in faster tax return processing (from months to weeks) and improved customer service levels.

Jennifer has been a volunteer expert on several different global training and credentialing projects including those with the Gates Foundation, the International Standards Organization (ISO), the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE), among others. She holds an MA in Education (Human Resource Development) from The George Washington University and is SPHR and Product Manager certified.

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Laura Bell
Customer Experience Strategist

Laura Bell serves as Oyster’s Customer Experience Strategist. A recent MS graduate from Cornell University’s Design and Environmental Analysis program, Laura is deeply curious about the relationship between work, behavior and the built environment. As a social scientist trained in user-centered research and design methods, she takes an evidence-based systems approach to understanding both customer and employee experiences in organizational development.

Laura has taught workshops about design thinking for organizational change at Cornell University, worked with interdisciplinary design teams to improve customer usability, and conducted numerous user-research studies. With training in planning and managing the workplace, design thinking for innovation, complex systems analysis and design, she brings an interdisciplinary research perspective to Oyster OD.

Laura’s competencies include user-experience research * evaluating how the built environment supports or hinders key employee tasks and the customer experience * user and workflow analysis * usability studies * design thinking for innovation * systems thinking for organizational change * workplace sustainability.