Switchgear Team

In 2004, when we started SwitchGear, we had some simple goals… make our work fun and inspiring for our clients, solve BIG change problems for them, and feel like part of their team. Over a decade later, we still think it’s the best way to run an exceptional Change Leadership practice: Deliver value well above our fees and go after 180° Results™! Woo Hoo!

  • Afshan Kinder
  • Winston Siegel
  • Bruce Simpson
  • Laura Soleto
  • Tricia Asuncion
  • Norman Hidalgo
  • Melinda Page

Afshan Kinder

SwitchGear Partner

Winston Siegel

SwitchGear Partner

Bruce Simpson

SwitchGear Partner

Laura Soleto

Senior Consultant

Tricia Asuncion

Senior Consultant

Norman Hidalgo

Senior Consultant

Melinda Page

Production Manager

Biography

Looking back at 20 years of running operations, it didn’t matter if it was travel, retail, telecommunications or financial services, there was always…

Biography

Winston gets jazzed up working with curious, ambitious young leaders — in a workshop or on the sales floor, who are looking to improve in…

Biography

Why does Bruce rise early early in the morning? Well, there are so many people to call, projects to arrange, friends to help…

Afshan Kinder

There is always this excitement to initiate change, innovate and build agile teams.

Mahatma Gandhi said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world“.  This resonates for me in the work I do and hopefully for the people I touch.  Looking back at 20 years of running operations, there was always this excitement to initiate change, create innovative strategies, and build agile teams who can execute.

What has me jump out of bed in the morning (somewhere in the world!) is working with fast paced companies with complex problems to solve. Proudest moments?  In the mid-1990’s, we were voted Canada’s #1 customer service centre at Sprint Canada at a time when we could barely catch our breath during double digit growth.  Then more fun at ING DIRECT hitting Top Box customer satisfaction 6 years in a row.  This Daniel Pink quote feels right on: “Greatness and nearsightedness are incompatible. Meaningful achievement depends on lifting one’s sights and pushing toward the horizon.”

In my spare time (term used very loosely) I try to give back… am / was on the board for Contact Centre Canada, Toronto Community Housing, and GTACC (Greater Toronto Area Contact Centre Association).

I live in Toronto, Canada with my husband, two children & two extremely bossy cats.  Put me in the outdoors – love hiking, tennis, & golf.

Looking back at 20 years of running operations, it didn’t matter if it was travel, retail, telecommunications or financial services, there was always…

Winston Siegel

Loves to see those sales results go up!

Winston gets jazzed up working with curious, ambitious young leaders — in a workshop or on the sales floor — who want to improve their coaching, sales results or change leadership.  …And the best part is?  Watching them have those ah-ha moments, reinventing themselves, and executing well.  Love to see those sales results go up!

I like leading a group through ‘the muddling phase’ of a problem which has a mountain of unclear information, lots of opinions, and too many choices and then come out the other side confident how to proceed.  Something about complex problems becoming a clear action plan that is really satisfying work.”

On the personal side, love to Lucia, my “always upbeat” wife of nearly 30 years, and to my terrific daughters, Angelica and Carmen. You make me proud! Fun is playing squash at The Cambridge Club, mentoring start-ups, sailing trips, being anywhere sunny doing anything that does not include cold weather, and always having one volunteer activity on the go.  Note that I golf but after 20 years it hasn’t yet made my fun list. Stay clear!

Winston gets jazzed up working with curious, ambitious young leaders — in a workshop or on the sales floor, who are looking to improve in…

Bruce Simpson

Bruce gets his boundless energy from helping people to Attack! Attack! Attack!

Why does Bruce rise early early in the morning? Well, there are so many people to call, projects to arrange, friends to help. It’s a frenetic life but he wouldn’t change it for anything. Bruce gets his boundless energy by making things happen and helping people attack the changes coming at them. It’s his DNA. “Complexity is up, all products look the same and how companies execute especially the (Customer Experience) is the ONLY sustainable competitive advantage. The operating model used by most Sales + Service organizations has remained almost unchanged since the 1990s – most being over-managed, under-led + under-coached. SwitchGear is on a mission to change that, to make stars out of leaders who are asked to improve performance, drive cultural change and do it with far less training than we give new reps.”

His 30+ year career in Call Centres and giant rolodex (yes, this is now a metaphor not a real thing) might qualify him for guru status except that descriptor will feel to Bruce, like, un-humble. “We’re just skilled co-pilots; providing leaders the navigation map, accelerating the performance engine, and ensuring the landing gear works every time … no tuck + roll required.”

On the personal side, Bruce has figured out how to lead SG while dropping off kids, building cool stuff in his tool-cave, and winning gardening awards. Click here to see Bruce’s garden.

Why does Bruce rise early early in the morning? Well, there are so many people to call, projects to arrange, friends to help…

Laura Soleto

A real fan favourite running coaching workshops!

Laura brings clients her terrific energy and fun and a skilful concoction of experience in Inside Sales, Training Design, Project Management, and Call centre operations.

Laura is SwitchGear’s Instructional Designer and a real fan favourite running coaching workshops. “We’re all a work in progress. I was a front-line leader not that long ago and I struggled to feel I was making a difference for people that I led and coached. Managers everywhere have the exact same need!  So, it’s great to help them make a difference for their teams every day. Three things help them most: 1) Shrinking our judgment muscle 2) Not needing to be right all the time 3) Understanding that we shouldn’t confuse facts (few) from opinions (many).” An avowed junkie of designer accessories and BIG cruise ships, she prefers shopping to sleeping, and fancies herself an interior designer, dotes on husband Lou and adores her delicious little guy Marco.

Laura is the one we call on to design client-specific customized workshops in our core programs of Coaching, Solution Selling, and Leadership Development. “I want my legacy to be that the leaders I help will feel confident about the important work they do and, at parties, will proudly boast about their impact with other people.”

Laura brings clients her terrific energy and fun and a skilful concoction of experience in Inside Sales, Training Design, Project Management, and Call Centre operations.

Tricia Asuncion

Nothing is better than the high you get collaborating and making it happen!

Trish has grown up in contact centres and attributes some of her greatest learnings – in business and in life — to intense time on the production floor working with people, putting out fires, fixing processes, coaching and selling. “I’m a big extrovert and addicted to the hustle! Not to mention meeting really awesome people, so many of who are still trusted friends and advisors today.”

Trish has really enjoyed leading teams in telecommunications, consumer electronics, transport, and financial services.  She picked up a lot of sales and service strategies from her most-excellent adventures in Retail, Sales, and Customer Care. “I love team environments. Nothing better than the high you get achieving, collaborating, brainstorming, making it happen!  Totally agree with MC Hammer — Too legit. Too legit to quit.”  (Winston is more senior and not sure what that means).

When Trish isn’t managing her hustle addiction, you can find her at a Spin, Zumba or Yoga class. “But I’m not a fitness nut. I have cookies for dinner far too often to fall in that category!”

Trish has grown up in contact centres and attributes some of her greatest learnings – in business and in life…

Norman Hidalgo

Enjoys taking the reins of a project that simply cannot fail!

Norman joined Switchgear in 2014 as our modest renaissance man – besides his tough “Get It Done!” approach to projects with no margin for error and his savvy Process Improvement background, he also knows how to coach (business and hockey).   He was a young coaching pioneer in the old North Direct Response days and loves to work with clients that need results now. Although he still has his youthful looks he has two plus decades of experience working with companies like CIBC, RBC, Progressive Insurance, St. Elizabeth Health Care, Telus, Kodak, Proctor and Gamble along with 10 years of software development management experience at Siemens. No one is better at taking the reins of a messy, urgent, complex project that simply cannot fail!

In his spare time he gladly volunteers as a Head Coach for the Markham Minor Hockey Association, has a passion for Photography (going beyond cell phone selfies), and when prodded by his two amazing children, plays a few tunes on the Piano and Alto Sax. See – Renaissance Man.

Norman joined Switchgear in 2014 as our modest renaissance man…

Melinda Page

Loves the creative work but it is only half of the fun!

You might describe Melinda as “quiet but mighty”, as she’s SwitchGear’s not-so-secret, behind the scenes project lead on logistics, the website, media production, art direction, and constant “brand cop”. Being naturally detail-oriented and “hardwired to help” makes Melinda a perfect fit to run production for a “reinvention” team that never stops creating new solutions for client challenges.

Melinda has been the Art Director in manufacturing, a product designer creating “signature lines” – including one client’s biggest seller of all time — and a freelance illustrator.  “I love the creative work but it is only half of the fun for me!  I also love the left-brain stuff of management. It’s exciting to build a gifted team and engineer complex operations from darkroom to digital production.”

With James and the crazy cat in tow, Melinda is happiest retreating to the forest with her oil paints & canvas – and proudly has no gym membership. (So there, Trish!)

You might describe Melinda as “quiet but mighty”, as she’s SwitchGear’s not-so-secret, behind the scenes project lead…