Lizard Brain Solutions

What are you all about?

  • We believe that smart people don't automatically make smart groups.

  • We believe that the knowledge is in the room, but only if you know how to use it.

  • We believe work should be fun. There. We said it.

  • Above all, we believe in holding the space for others to be successful.

What do you do?

Everything we do is visual. But we don't just draw. We facilitate groups of all kinds whenever they get together outside the scope of their usual roles. Our roots are in:

  • Change and project management

  • Communications and marketing

  • Design thinking and user experience

  • Conferences and expos

  • Adult and experiential learning

  • Group process and facilitation

  • Personal and group coaching

  • Leadership and team development

  • Strategic planning and management consulting

  • Organizational development

We just happen to do all this visually.

Why would you ever want to do that?  

 It's fun. We love to speak the language of visuals. We have an enduring enthusiasm to make our clients successful. 

We share the values of diversity, abundance, curiosity, appreciation, authenticity, inquiry, and listening. What we do touches all our values.

What's with the name?

Since you asked...

The lizard brain is a real thing. It's one of the most primitive, ancient parts of the brain: the amygdala. It sits at the back of the brain close to the brain stem, and is about as far removed from the neocortex and logical, rational thought as it gets. It's responsible for the lightning-fast fight-or-flight response that's triggered by sensory stimulus (which includes the visual cortex.) The lizard brain is what keeps our reflexes sharp when we have to react fast. It's ALSO responsible for that small surge you feel when someone sits across the table from you in a meeting and says something you don't like. We like to think we're logical creatures affected by emotion. We're not. We're emotional creatures affected by logic.

The lizard brain is a live wire. It's a raw nerve ending. Before you know it, ZAP. The lizard brain can't be turned off or contained, but it CAN be channeled. What if your reaction in the meeting wasn't directed towards the PERSON that said it, but rather towards an IMAGE of the idea that was captured in the neutral space of a blank sheet of paper on the wall? The response becomes more objective and less personal. The lizard brain can be channeled to react to the IDEA, not the ORIGIN of the idea. 

Who are you?

We are a network of world-class facilitators, consultants, coaches, and trainers. We use our experience to design rich, creative experiences for our clients. Our clients include federal and local government, nonprofits, philanthropic associations, professional associations, and commercial clients in the technology, medical, construction, business services, and financial sectors.

Here's a little more about us.

Brian Tarallo - Managing Director 

  • 15 years of experience in facilitation, strategic planning, leadership development and training, organizational development, team development, and visual consulting

  • MBA focusing in development and finance, Arizona State University

  • Certified Professional Facilitator (CPF), International Association of Facilitators (IAF)

  • MBTI® Master Practitioner, one of 160 globally

  • Certified to deliver the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), the FIRO-B Assessment and the Grove Team Performance Model (TPM)

  • Trainer and associate, the Grove Consultants International

  • Founder, OGSystems Visioneering Team

  • Founder, NOVA Scribes

  • Member and presenter, International Forum of Visual Practitioners (IFVP)

  • Member and presenter, Mid-Atlantic Facilitators' Network (MAFN)

  • Project Management Professional (PMP), Project Management Institute (PMI)

  • TEDx speaker, TEDxLizardCreek 2014

  • Experienced in delivering Red Team Facilitation, Blue Ocean Strategy, the Grove Consultants’ Strategic Visioning, Generative Scribing, Kinesthetic Modeling, Crucial Conversations, the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument, the Organizational Cultural Assessment Indicator, Social Styles, the Tuckman Model of Team Development, and Lencioni’s Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Brian Tarallo is the managing director of Lizard Brain Solutions. He is a facilitator who specializes in visual methods and virtual meetings. He facilitates clients through illustrating their visions, seeing their strategies, and mapping their futures. Brian brings facilitation to federal agencies, national associations, and companies in the healthcare, defense, engineering, and consulting industries.

His TEDx talk, “What’s Wrong with This Picture,” on the power of visual note taking in education, has over 16,000 combined views. He is a contributor to the soon-to-be released book, The Visual Facilitation Field Guide.

He has served as a business process improvement manager for a federal agency, an operations manager and later a senior consultant for a Washington, DC-based consulting firm, an associate and later an associate partner for a Washington, DC-based engineering firm, a project manager and an operations manager for a national development firm, and a development volunteer for the U.S. Peace Corps.

Lauren being Lauren. Photo credit: Steve Weinstock

Lauren being Lauren. Photo credit: Steve Weinstock

Lauren Green - Partner

  • M.S. Organization Development and Knowledge Management (George Mason University)

  • Trained and experienced in facilitating using organization development, change management, and design thinking techniques (Appreciative Inquiry, Open Space Technology, Lean-Startup, LUMA Institute)

  • Trained and experienced in using graphic recording and facilitation tools in strategic planning and visioning sessions

  • Certified in the Grove Team Performance Model

  • Trained and experienced in individual and group coaching (Coaches Training Institute)

  • 5 years of experience working with non-profit groups and organizations

  • 8 years of experience in digital and strategic communications design and delivery

 Lauren Green is a graphic facilitator, graphic recorder, and coach with specialties in organization development, strategic communications, and performing arts. Lauren specializes in coaching and facilitating with visual templates. She draws from best practices in adult learning that encourage inclusive and engaging group processes. Lauren holds a master’s in Organization Development and Knowledge Management from George Mason University (2016). Her graduate work includes special concentrations in group dynamics; collaborative technology; knowledge management; self-leadership; diversity and inclusion; and Appreciative Inquiry. Lauren is also a CTI-trained coach and is currently working towards her ICF certification.

Lauren does graphic recording (large-scale visual note-taking) for conferences, meetings, workshops, and other events. She aims to create visual knowledge artifacts that increase audience engagement and retention of information shared.

In previous work experiences, Lauren has managed online communities for several organizations that span the performing arts, animal welfare, education, and hospitality fields. Lauren enjoys applying performance metaphors and mind-body techniques to her current work. She aims to create an engaging and energized experience for every group that she facilitates.


Erin Gordon blends fine art and business savvy with her graphic facilitation.

Erin Gordon blends fine art and business savvy with her graphic facilitation.

Erin Gordon

Erin is a strategy consultant and visual practitioner with experience across a broad range of topics such as supply chain, systems integration, data analytics, communications, change management, leadership and organizational development. She holds an MBA and MS in Strategic Management from the Kelley School of Business, Indiana University, and BS in Commerce and Spanish with minor in Studio Art from the University of Virginia. She is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and Yoga Instructor (RYT-200).

As a former muralist, Erin's work in strategic visualization combines her passion for art with background in business. Since 2012, Erin has explored integrating visual practices into her consulting work to include graphic facilitation, recording, virtual visualization, collaboration and experience design. In her spare time, you'll find Erin out on the trails or her yoga mat if not co-creating over a glass of wine!

Wade Forbes blends art and illustration with the best facilitation school in the U.S. Army.

Wade Forbes blends art and illustration with the best facilitation school in the U.S. Army.

Wade Forbes

Wade has always enjoyed using art (painting, portraits, murals, illustration, graphic recording, sketchnoting) to create better experiences for everyone around him. After a 15-year hiatus into the cyber security realm, Wade is finally using his artistic ability full-time to help groups generate better conversations, find new understanding, and be a part of the creative process. By tapping into his teaching, theater, consulting, intelligence analysis, and design thinking backgrounds, he can use both sides of his brain with art to accomplish things he sincerely loves. When he’s not drawing, he’s enjoying doing something outdoors or eating something delicious with his wife and kids.

Rachel Thompson brings design thinking expertise to her graphic facilitation practice.

Rachel Thompson brings design thinking expertise to her graphic facilitation practice.

Rachel Thompson

Rachel Thompson works at the intersection of strategy and design using human-centered and visual methods. Rachel has over a decade of professional experience with human-centered design and design thinking, strategic facilitation, graphic recording and graphic facilitation, experiential learning and teaching, and coaching. Rachel uses her range of experience to help people integrate sustainable changes into their work and life.

Currently based in Washington, DC, Rachel has a B.A. in Anthropology and French from Kansas State University. She is Design Thinking Facilitator at the Academy of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland and an Adjunct Instructor for the Design Leadership MA/MBA program at the Maryland Institute College of Art.

She has been a part of the leadership team of the Service Design DC Meetup, NOVA Scribes, the DC Graphic Facilitation Meetup, the Design Thinking: DC Meetup, and the DC Service Jam. She is a member of the International Forum of Visual Practitioners (IFVP) and Mid-Atlantic Facilitators' Network (MAFN).

Trent Wakenight taking large scale visual notes at the annual International Forum of Visual Practitioners conference. Photo credit: Steve Weinstock

Trent Wakenight taking large scale visual notes at the annual International Forum of Visual Practitioners conference. Photo credit: Steve Weinstock

Trent Wakenight

Trent Wakenight uses visual meetings to help organizations with change management and strategic communication, turning cool concepts into even cooler pictures. Trent is an outcome-oriented strategic communication and strategy development professional. He has extensive experience in strategic visualization, graphic facilitation, project management, organizational change, and program assessment.  He supports officials in government and academia with accomplishments in the intelligence community, defense, homeland security, STEM, online education, and public health.

Trent has been a practicing graphic facilitator and graphic recorder since 2011, with experience in the graphic recording field since 2002. He conducts graphic facilitation and graphic recording to support change management and strategic communication activities for U.S. government agencies. His work products include concept visuals, storyboards and video development, sketchnotes, corporate visions maps and strategic plans, and integrated marketing and communication plans. Trent is the founder of Marker Ninja, providing visualization support to think tanks, non-profit entities, government agencies, and the private sector in areas such as science and technology, government policy and national security, public health and safety, human rights and empowerment. Trent is also a professional writer and note taker. He is a former English teacher and aspires to be a race car driver.

Hannah Sanford blends fine art and analytic thinking in her graphic facilitation.

Hannah Sanford blends fine art and analytic thinking in her graphic facilitation.

Hannah Sanford

Hannah Sanford is a Visual Process Professional who specializes in providing Graphic Recording (on-site, live capture of a speaker's key content in words and pictures), Graphic Facilitation (on-site facilitation of groups through any process using visual templates), and Studio Murals (in-studio, one-page summary murals of a speaker’s key content for reports and proposals) to clients in a variety of corporate, academic and government settings. 

Her recent clients include Georgetown University, Otsuka America Pharmaceutical Inc., American Industrial Hygiene Association, Stokes Evans, US Coast Guard, Evans Incorporated, Stewards of Change Institute, US Army, State of Illinois, Pet Supplies Plus, and Mattress Firm.

Prior to founding Hannah Sanford Studios, Hannah spent 13 years as a microbiologist at Harvard Medical School, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Emergent BioSolutions Inc., where her research efforts in public health were focused on vaccine development for HIV/AIDS, emerging viral pathogens and anthrax, respectively. 

Hannah’s years in the laboratory provide an unparalleled capacity to listen deeply and focus on the nitty-gritty details, while also drawing out the bigger picture purpose and vision in a narrative style. She brings a unique blend of structured, logical, organized scientist and open, free-flowing, creative artist that together provides you with the best of both worlds.

Hannah lives in the Washington DC metro-area, and loves painting, yoga and a little adventure every day.

Dean Meyers is our guru. He has been practicing graphic facilitation for nearly thirty years.

Dean Meyers is our guru. He has been practicing graphic facilitation for nearly thirty years.

Dean Meyers

Dean Meyers is a Visual Problem-Solver and the publisher of who uses graphic recording, graphic facilitation and other forms of visual communication to help people apply visual thinking in their work, learning, and personal improvement. He aims to create the space for individuals to find their AHA! moments and improve the quality of their life, creative passions, and work. He enjoys no boundaries between this work and his life.

Dean spent many years working in technology, marketing, and advertising graphics and video, notably working for Apple when the Macintosh computer was originally introduced in 1984 (the first personal computer with a graphical user interface). He has blended graphics and design with technology in a multifaceted career ever since. Following a second career as an opera singer, he brought the dynamics of kinesthetics, theater and storytelling to his work. Adding user experience design to his skills, and substituting what became graphic facilitation for user research, strategic planning, and design thinking-based development, he shifted more deeply into being a dedicated visual practitioner by 2008, co-founding the New York Chapter of VizThink. This transformation became complete in 2012, the year he joined the IFVP’s board of directors, and has grown deeper through his work for clients including the Lean Enterprise Institute, Business Innovation Factory, NYU Stern School of Business, Columbia University, and on staff at OGSystems.

Through his involvement and membership with VizThink, the IFVP, and the IAF (International Association of Facilitators) and one-to-one work with fellow visual practitioners, he has always sought to share his knowledge, skills and enthusiasm for applied visual thinking to improve both the quality of people’s work and their personal lives.

Elise Yanker is a world-class coach and facilitator.

Elise Yanker is a world-class coach and facilitator.

Elise Yanker

Elise Yanker has over 20 years experience in hospitality, service, telecommunications, technology, banking, government, military and intelligence communities. She holds a master's degree in Organization Development from the American University and National Training Laboratories program in Washington, D.C.

Elise organizes and implements individual and organizational coaching, team building, off-site retreats, and large-scale organizational change. Effers custom designed programs with a high degree of integrity, exceptional follow-through, and sustained results. Her consulting is grounded in core behavioral studies or work, etc conducted by psychologists such as Kurt Lewin, Karen Horney, Will Schutz and Carl Jung. Elise's Master's degree in Organization Development was obtained at the highly regarded partnership program between American University and National Training Laboratories. Elise maintains membership in NTL and also facilitates a core component of the AU/NTL Masters Program.

Lisa Nelson helps clients see the big picture through graphic recording and graphic facilitation.

Lisa Nelson helps clients see the big picture through graphic recording and graphic facilitation.

Lisa Nelson

Lisa Nelson loves combining art with life.  By using the power of visuals, Lisa helps to bring key points and ideas to the surface.  Her visual summaries cover topics ranging from business and leadership to community and faith.  Her work has been featured in Entrepreneur with over 3500 social media shares.  Lisa has helped a variety of organizations use the power of visuals including Dell, Ogilvy, AARP, and GE.  In addition to graphic recording, Lisa enjoys presenting fun and engaging workshops like Sketchnotes for Beginners.  

You can sign up for free visual notetaking tips, drawing lessons, and fill in the blank templates at

Lisa is a native New Yorker and a graduate of Howard University.  She is a member of the International Forum of Visual Practitioners and is also a certified Project Management Professional (PMP).

Her favorite quote is:

It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.

-Henry David Thoreau.  

Lisa is also active on social media, to find out what she's up to, follow @seeincolors

Caryn Ginsberg applies her background in strategy to visual thinking to help clients envision success.

Caryn Ginsberg applies her background in strategy to visual thinking to help clients envision success.

Caryn Ginsberg

For more than 20 years, Caryn has combined strategic thinking, quantitative methods and visual representation to help organizations improve their results. She brings a deep understanding of business and nonprofit strategy and marketing to her graphic recording & facilitation, graphic training and infographic design. Her background makes her especially effective for complex issues and data-driven communications. 

Clients have long remarked on Caryn’s ability to draw out key themes from a discussion. Her graphic recording work spans conferences, presentations, client advisory panel meetings, focus groups, planning sessions and fundraising events.

Caryn enjoys teaching client team members to use simple graphic techniques to enhance their productivity. Drawing on experience teaching in the MBA program at Johns Hopkins, for Humane Society University and for the Bank Marketing Association, she offers dynamic instruction that engages participants and quickly gives them valuable skills.

Prior to founding her consulting firm, Priority Ventures Group, Caryn held positions in financial services, including as Senior Vice President, Retail Marketing for an 11 billion dollar bank. She holds an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business and an A.B. in economics and math from Dartmouth College as well as an advanced certificate in graphic design from Sessions College for Professional Design. She is also an animal protection advocate, eight-time marathoner and old school R&B fan.

Oh hey, we’re pretty green, too. Here’s a little on our sustainability program.