What's with the name?

There were three reasons for choosing the name Lizard Brain Solutions:

Long answer: 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 (including the visual cortex.) The lizard brain is what keeps our reflexes sharp when we're driving at sixty miles per hour and a two-by-four flips off the back of a pickup truck ahead of us. It's ALSO responsible for that rush of adrenaline you feel when someone sitting across the table from you in a meeting 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.

I was first introduced to the concept of the lizard brain by the book "Crucial Conversations." Seth Godin also wrote about the lizard brain in his book "Poke The Box." Quoting Steven Pressfield, Godin calls the lizard brain "the resistance," which urges you to compromise, sabotages your best opportunities, and ruins your best chance to do great work.

The lizard brain is a live wire. It's a raw nerve ending. Before you know it, ZAP. I believe that 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 on a neutral 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. 

Short answer: It's part and parcel among visual practitioners to choose offbeat company names. The Grove Consultants. Alphachimp. Discovery Doodles. Ink Factory. ImageThink. Corporate Graffiti Artist. Marker Ninja. Dancing with Markers.

Really short answer: My name's Brian. My wife's name is Liz. Lizard Brain. Get it? 


Brian Tarallo - Managing Director


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

  • MBA focusing in Development and Finance

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

  • Certified to deliver the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

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

  • TEDx speaker (TEDxLizardCreek 2014)

  • Trained and experienced in delivering the Grove Consultants’ Strategic Visioning, Kinesthetic Modeling, Lego® Serious Play®, Crucial Conversations, the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument, the Organizational Cultural Assessment Indicator, Social Styles, the Tuckman Model of Team Development, the Drexler-Sibbet Team Performance Model, and Lencioni’s Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Heather Lynn Osborn - Studio Manager

Heather Lynn spent 13 years as a jewelry designer in Seattle before moving to Virginia. She is a visual practitioner specializing in coaching and graphic facilitation and stand up poet with and Associates in Studio Art and a Bachelors in Multimedia and Visual Communication.

In her spare time, she enjoys crafting, writing, and volunteering.


Sandy Jolles - Studio Manager

Sandy graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree from James Madison University in Media, Arts and Design with a concentration in Journalism and print communication design.  

While at JMU, Sandy wrote for the collegiate newspaper, The Breeze, for two years, and interned for WMRA, the NPR radio station of Harrisonburg. In her previous roles after college, Sandy worked for AOL providing support in the Managed and Financial Services Department. Additionally, Sandy has worked for Verizon Digital Media Services, and helped to provide performance-focused video and content acceleration services for ESPN.

In her spare time, Sandy enjoys playing the piano, writing, Zumba, and reading Philippa Gregory novels.

Lizard Brain Solutions' Associate Network

Heather Martinez - Associate

Heather specializes in meeting approach design and graphic recording. She aims to be a valued co-creator by finding the shared vision and providing flexible support in execution. She enjoys street typing and communing with nature in her spare time.

  • 20+ years experience in graphic design and marketing
  • 5 years of experience in graphic recording and visual consulting
  • Developer of Art Career Theorem, a career planning tool for artists

Heather Martinez bridges generation and industry gaps between letterheads by studying with master calligraphers and sign painters. She translates techniques used in their fields (broad stroke and brush tip) into practical applications for visual practitioners. Heather practices across the spectrum of visuals: graphic recording, approach design, graphic facilitation, and visual consulting to meet her clients’ needs while enjoying the benefits of being on an awesome team.

With  a love for type and public venues, she is also a street typist and legal graffiti artist. To learn more, visit: www.HeatherMartinez.com where you can download Appreciative Inquiry templates, a Panarchy exercise, fonts, and lettering conversation maps for use in your practice. Email your snail mail address to her at heather@heathermartinez.com and she will send you stickers and other fun goodies for inspiration. You can also follow her on Twitter and Instagram @corpgraffitiart.

Dean Meyers - Associate

Dean Meyers is a Visual Problem-Solver and the publisher of VizWorld.com 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.

Ben Tinker - Associate

Ben is a graphic facilitator specializing in human centered design. He aims to create a safe space for the customer's voice and the designer's vision. When he is not spending time with his five-month-old-son, he is sleeping…Ben Tinker brings together graphic facilitation, design thinking, and management consulting expertise to provide high impact client experiences and services. Ben is the founder of Common Clarity, a strategic visualization consultancy based in Washington D.C.

Ben’s clients are private and public, small and large – and they all seem to have something in common. They face opportunities for growth and transformation. Ben helps organizations make the most of these opportunities using innovative techniques and lean practices. His services include strategic visualization, strategic planning, change management, team and meeting facilitation, and training design and delivery.  His clients include US federal government agencies, business start-ups, consulting firms, educators, and non-profits. He is an active member of the International Forum of Visual Practitioners.

Trent Wakenight - Associate

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.

Lauren Green - Associate

Lauren Green is practicing graphic facilitator with a dual background in organization development and communications. Lauren specializes in designing and facilitating with visual templates and creating strategic communications plans. Lauren graduated with a master’s in Organization Development and Knowledge Management from George Mason University in 2016. Her graduate work included special concentrations collaborative technologies; knowledge management practices; self-leadership; and Appreciative Inquiry. In addition to her organization development work in the defense contracting industry, Lauren managed online communities for several organizations that span the performing arts, animal welfare, education, and hospitality fields. Lauren did her undergraduate degree in dance and enjoys applying performance metaphors and mind-body techniques to her current work. She aspires to coach transitioning professional dancers.   

Lauren specializes in graphic facilitation, organization development, and communication. She aims to create an engaging and energized experience for every group that she facilitates and enjoys line dancing and wine-tasting in her spare time.

Elise Yanker - Associate

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.

Erin Gordon llowk.jpg

Erin Gordon -Associate

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!