Sasha Strauss

Managing Director

As the son of a military doctor, Sasha spent much of his youth with US Navy SEALS. The mix of international affairs and world travel stirred in him a sense of duty and adventure that carries him daily through his ceaseless travel as a global brand consultant.

In 2006, Sasha founded Innovation Protocol to consult using a specialized, rigorous, protocol-driven brand development practice for innovators. Innovation Protocol has grown into an international brand consulting powerhouse, serving marquee organizations across categories, from biotech to fintech, academia to athletics.

Sasha’s passion for brand strategy has also driven his practice as a celebrated speaker, authoring and presenting original thought leadership and keynote speeches for audiences worldwide. Presentations such as “Branding in the New Normal” and “Rise of the Herogen” have been delivered in a dozen countries and viewed on YouTube over 1M total times.

When not leading Innovation Protocol or speaking, Sasha teaches brand strategy to graduate students at the MBA programs at UCLA, USC, and UCI, where he remains one of the highest-rated faculty members.

A SCUBA diver, passenger-aviator, voracious music consumer, fruit/nut/veggie scavenger, and perpetual futurologist, Sasha is our founder, culture captain, and a senior client advisor.

Words are potent weapons for all causes, good or bad.

MANLY P. HALL

Jon Cohen

VP and General Manager

It’s hard being IP’s General Manager. Jon’s sharp business acumen was honed at some of the world’s most prestigious brands including Disney, Dole, and PIMCO. He’s been a senior consultant for KPMG and Siegel & Gale. He has a BS from UCI and an MBA from UCLA. There is little about business and brand Jon hasn’t had deep, hands on experience with, but running the business of IP, that may be one for the record books. Not only is Jon tasked with managing our finances, heading our HR, acting as our legal liaison, and running IT and infrastructure, he also has the back breaking task of overseeing all of IP’s talent, growing us, mentoring us, and being the one we turn to on our best day and most certainly our worst. This is to say nothing of his responsibilities and striking skill at leading many of our large scale brand strategy projects and heading our brand research department.

To say he’s a man of many talents is surely an understatement. But more impressive than his resume is his heart, which makes an already challenging job, also a selfless one.

Jody Menerey

Director, Client Partnerships

A passion for people that is evident at exposure 1.0, there’s no stopping the Jody train from sourcing everything that can help someone be their best. It’s why, family or client, you know when Jody’s on your track. From start-ups to internationals teams, she asks the right questions to tackle any organizational initiative. Whether it was helping tech startups grow business and talent from the ground up, or facilitating a South American government’s implementation of major strategic programs, now Jody uses her career and her kindness to help structure all of IP’s client partnerships.

Jody is a foody – the kind you love. Jody gives recommendations of places to go and cuisines that will bring revolutionary change to your food preferences, maybe it’s because she’s East, Mid, and West-coast cultured.  Originally from Connecticut of New York parents, seasoned/educated in Michigan, and “perfected” in Los Angeles, Jody received her BA from the University of Michigan, her MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management.

An idea whose time has come cannot be stopped.

VICTOR HUGO

McNeal Maddox

Director, Brand Development

A deep soul with many talents, McNeal illustrates, codes apps, writes comic books, rows boats, among many other skills. Heck, he’s even a professionally trained omelet chef! Such aptitudes augment his storied brand strategy career, making McNeal integral to our team.

10+ years of ‘Director’ in his title, there are few brand challenges McNeal hasn’t solved for. Moreover, he’s led the charge, guiding client teams through the rigor required to build defendable, authentic brands that stand the test of time.

Truly the salt of the Earth, McNeal grew up in Cleveland, OH. He earned his bachelors in graphic design from Carnegie Mellon, and his MBA from the USC Marshall School of Business.

Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work.

DANIEL HUDSON BURNHAM

Matthew Müller

Creative Director, Brand Design

Music and method move Matthew to make artwork that elevates design in business to new heights. Matthew’s work uses handmade creation interlaced with digital design to resolve seemingly contrasting classic and contemporary demands. How does he do it? Rituals of reflection help him reevaluate his approach to creative challenges regularly, ensuring he’s constantly recreating the creator.

At Innovation Protocol, Matthew leads our design talent through client programs running the gambit from hardware to software, retail products to professional services. His leadership is more coach than boss, and his imprint on our creative workforce is indelible. Matthew’s kind ways meet incisive critique, helping everyone on his team build brand answers that intrigue and endure.

Raised just outside of Los Angeles, Matthew graduated from Otis College of Art and Design in Communication Design.

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

FERRIS BUELLER

Jeremy A. Tucker

Director, Brand Development

IP’s resident philosopher, Jeremy blends psychology and business, tirelessly pursuing an interplay of higher purpose and grounded pragmatism. The output: emotionally charged and thoughtfully bred brands rooted in business truths — making them equally actionable and tangible. This unique and gripping combination, coupled with Jeremy’s 8 years at Innovation Protocol, make him perfect to head up IP’s east coast operations.

Jeremy is a dedicated brand educator, teaching and developing university courses focused on brand, business, and marketing. As such, he’s a regular lecturer nationwide at schools, national conferences, and executive associations — all while contributing regularly to global brand publications and local niche blogs alike.

Originally from San Diego, Jeremy received a BA in Psychology and Biology from Sonoma State University and holds an MBA in Marketing and Brand Strategy from the UC Irvine School of Business.

Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists… it is real… it is possible… it’s yours.

ATLAS SHRUGGED

Jamie Sperling

Associate Director, Brand Development

Innovation Protocol’s most versatile strategist, Jamie has an acute design sensibility that permeates both her strategic thinking and her project management. Given so, there aren’t many brand initiatives Jamie hasn’t been to almost single-handedly tackle in her near decade at IP. She builds brands that are well positioned to deliver on business needs, while simultaneously striking a chord visually and verbally.

Originally from Portland, Oregon, Jamie lives in Los Angeles and studied sociology at Occidental College. She then received her Master’s in Communication Management from USC Annenberg where she focused on marketing communications, brand strategy, and the interplay between online communities and their benefit for brands.

You can’t be that kid standing at the top of the waterslide, overthinking it. You have to go down the chute.

TINA FEY

Alex Bornoff

Associate Director, Brand Development

In the early days of Innovation Protocol, there was a dream, and Alex. As our first fulltime ‘Brand Strategist’ more than a decade ago, Alex has seen our company birth and boom. She now manages IP’s operations in Northern California, where her grit, multi-tasking skills, thick skin, and ruthless work ethic drive some of our most technical clients. Her strength was born in the kitchens where she used to cook for 12 years as a professional chef, where after marcom leadership roles and graduate school, her brand savvy was born.

After running more than 50 brand programs across sectors, Alex’s deep thinking in B2B brand strategy, internal branding, enterprise software, and complex large scale re-brands is virtually unparalleled. Alex is both an inspiring businesswoman and a loving mother and wife.

Originally from Los Angeles, now residing in Oakland, CA, Alex studied liberal arts, communications and rhetorical theory at San Francisco State University, and received her Masters from USC’s Annenberg School of Communication in Organizational Corporate Communication.

Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc.

PRESIDENT BARTLET, (The amazing TV Show, Westwing)

Joseph Olender

Associate, Brand Development

Joseph brews against-the-grain, solution-based thinking, with boundless enthusiasm. An impatient optimist, he strives to leave a meaningful impact on those he works for and with every day. Why? – because “Joe” believes that individuals and organizations who communicate clearly can make our world a better place. That’s why it’s his life and his living. Whether band or brand, he’s in the weeds, analyzing and authoring answers that compel.

Born in Oakland, Los Angeles has been Joe’s home for decades. Ask him about music festivals, lectures and literature, or your next Netflix binge, but don’t get him started on his prized Lakers, Dodgers, and 49ers.

We have to rethink, re-inspire… wash the brain, don’t brainwash.

KANYE WEST

Stacey Derkatch

Associate Director, Brand Development

Taking brand building in an era of emotional intelligence to new heights, Stacey is IP’s most bi-coastal brand strategist. Despite all the altitude, she roots herself in non-profit work that traverses her personal and professional life. For example, as a leader at mentorship organizations like Spark and Step Up, Stacey has developed a commanding skill – leading strategy programs designed to create social impact, while equally solving for the complex business challenges brought on by new markets, products, acquisitions, leadership, and more.

Originally from New York, Stacey studied marketing, business communications and Spanish at The University of Southern California, in Los Angeles and Madrid, while remaining an active member of UNICEF.

If you don’t like the way the world is, you change it. You have an obligation to change it. You just do it one step at a time.

MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN