Meet Our Team



M.E. Hart, JD brings a unique blend of training experiences – and expertise as an attorney, professional actor, and certified executive coach – to the design and delivery of highly effective learning solutions in the corporate, government and not-for-profit sectors. Hart balances “life experience” with cutting edge research to teach critical communications, management and leadership skills that are unmatched in the adult-learning field.

His career has taken him into Fortune 500 companies across the US, and to interesting parts of the world. Hart has helped bridge cultural differences in Moscow and Ukraine; worked with global industry leaders in Belgium; conducted “emergency interventions” for organizations in crisis; produced interactive satellite and videoconference training for members of the federal judiciary; produced award-winning educational broadcast television programming; provided one-on-one executive coaching in the technology, finance, energy, and telecommunications sectors; and led interactive learning events on diversity, feedback & coaching, conflict management and many other topics.

He is the author of Thriver’s Quest: healing life’s traumas to bring out your best, and a 2021 Telly Award-winning poet for the public service video Unbound We Vote. Hart spent six years as a professional actor at Arena Stage in Washington DC; he had a recurring role on In Our Lives, a weekly comedy-drama about high school students, for which he wrote an award-winning script. His recent theatrical work includes a one-man show, Risk the Dark – A Soul’s Journey, for Zeiders American Dream Theater in Virginia Beach.

Hart received his BA in Russian Language and Literature and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Kentucky. He also completed the Senior Executive Leadership Certificate Program at Georgetown University. Hart is certified in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the Emotional Competency Inventory and has consulted using many other organizational assessment tools. He is committed to working with organizations to create inclusive, creative and innovate cultures that empower people to accomplish their desired business goals while living their values.

Chief Creative Officer

MJ Vilardi is an Emmy winning video and film producer with a diverse background in broadcasting, multimedia, and professional development training. He is certified in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and enjoys sharing his passion for collaboration and creative team management.

MJ helps businesses communicate complex ideas in a clear and engaging way. He writes and directs “QuickVids” for global organizations that need concise, interesting content for online learning. View a sample here. A frequent contributor to medical and mental health media, he wrote and co-produced “Revolutionizing Life Long Learning,” for the American College of Cardiology; the piece won two first-place Telly Awards. He co-produced a film about the opioid addiction crisis on Cape Cod, and as producer/writer he just completed a retrospective documentary for DARPA to mark the Agency’s 60th anniversary: DARPA – 60 Years of Challenges and Breakthroughs. In May 2019 the film was awarded a first place Telly Award. He recently scripted 3 Billion Birds Lost for the American Bird Conservancy, which alerted the world to the alarming results of a scientific study of North American bird populations. His 2023 work includes writing and co-directing a sweeping documentary short, Providence – Dawn of the US Navy, and tribute video for the new Senator John W. Warner Maritime Heritage Center in Alexandria Virginia.

After studying Communications at Antioch College, Vilardi served as Design Director for WUSA-TV, the CBS affiliate in Washington DC. While Creative Director for a large post-production facility, he designed the animated open for the iconic McLaughlin Group, and worked with Discovery, Marriott, the CIA, and many Fortune 500 companies. As an independent writer/director, Vilardi produced dramatic short films, commercials, training programs, and issue-driven viral videos. Vilardi was Creative Director at Roku Technologies, and design consultant to Washington DC’s technology office and Metro Transit Authority. Awards for Vilardi’s work include an Emmy, a Cine Golden Eagle, an ITVA Peer Award, and numerous Addy and Telly Awards.


Shannon Polly, MAPP is a consultant, facilitator, speaker, and coach and works in two domain areas: executive presence and positive psychology. She is the founder of Shannon Polly & Associates, a leadership development company in Washington, D.C. that focuses on helping employees increase well-being and performance in the workplace.

Shannon is one of less than 300 people in the world who have received her Master in Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) degree from the University of Pennsylvania under Dr. Martin Seligman. She also holds a graduate degree from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art in classical acting and a B.A. with honors from Yale University.

Shannon has been an assistant instructor in the MAPP program at the University of Pennsylvania; and has lectured at Columbia Business School, Wharton Business School and West Point. She is a contributor to the book, Positive Psychology at Work; has conducted appreciative inquiry summits across the country and has been a facilitator for the Master Resiliency Training (MRT) program for the US Army. Shannon also co-founded the group Positive Business DC to inform and inspire leaders across the Metro DC region to increase well-being, productivity and profitability in the workplace. She blogs at

Guided Improv™ Facilitator

Giselle Gant is an accomplished actor with an MA from the Central School of Speech and Drama in London. She has attracted attention and critical acclaim for her acting and improvisation in performances on both sides of the Atlantic, and is a featured actor in the Emmy-winning drama “Anacostia.” She has also worked in corporate settings and international NGO’s, and brings a deep understanding of today’s diverse workforce to her facilitation.

Giselle creates vivid characters and situations that reflect real-world challenges; she uses Guided Improv™ to help our clients explore interpersonal choices and develop critical communication skills. Her quick wit and inventiveness make every seminar fun and productive.

Guided Improv™ Facilitator

Shaira Barton is an experienced business training facilitator and award-winning actor whose work is seen internationally in productions by Netflix, Amazon, Google Play, HBO, Warner Bros, Disney, FOX, NBC, UPN, CW, FPA; and Latin America’s Univision and Telemundo.

She was featured in the Netflix series House of Cards; her commercial work includes PSAs like Stop Violence Against Women for She was recently featured in the psychological drama What Death leaves Behind, which was honored with four first-place film festival awards.

Shaira brings insights from her real-world management experience in the financial sector to her live trainings; she appears in online multimedia programs and a wide variety of business education venues, from small team bootcamps to 1500-person multi-camera retreats.

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