Leadership Team

How can we ease your way?

The Grip-Birkman Leadership team is comprised of volunteers from around the globe who are committed to supporting Christian leaders in discovering God’s unique design for them, their teams, and their ministries.  Whether for understanding your report, or for discussing how the Grip-Birkman can be powerful implemented in your ministry, our team is committed to easing your way.

Our Vision

Model and catalyze Christian community for the world.

Our Team Members

John Blake – Leadership Team Leader

John has been a part of the Grip-Birkman community since 2007.  He serves as Team Coordinator, connecting team members with their best-fit roles to support Coaches and Trainers. He has a Master’s of Adult Education in Human Resource & Organizational Development from the University of Georgia.  He is married to Jayme, and they have a son and a daughter. Currently they live in Vancouver, Washington.

Favorite Grip-Birkman Moment – “Taking 35 college athletes and coaches through a teambuild, giving the coaches new perspectives on unity and best coaching opportunities.  It was a unique challenge, and yet the impact of the assessment was visible, giving common language to dig deeply into their dynamics.”

Larry Gay – Training Coordinator

Larry serves as a personnel development and team leadership consultant and coach in the USA and cross-cultural settings. He has worked with cross-cultural teams since 1977. Larry has been a GB trainer since 2005 and serves as a co-trainer of GB trainers as they complete Birkman® Signature certification, helping new trainers gain a better understanding of both the Birkman® and  Grip instruments.  Larry has the Doctor of Educational Ministry degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary with a focus on strategic planning and leadership. He is married to Susan and has three grown sons, two daughters by marriage, and three grandchildren. He and Susan now live in Montgomery, AL.

Favorite Grip-Birkman Moment – “Leading a multi-cultural team through the GB in a week-long setting combined with an equine learning experience on a working ranch. Seeing the team come together to make practical applications of the lessons in team-building and communication to accomplish a common task with the horses made this a unique and unforgettable experience.”

Susan Gay – Training Coordinator

Susan serves as consultant, counselor and coach for non-profit organizations working with expatriate teams in cross-cultural settings. She has over 35 years of experience in cross-cultural work. Susan has been a GB trainer since 2005 and serves as a co-trainer of GB trainers as they complete Birkman SIgnature certification to become Birkman Certified Professionals. She has the Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Counseling degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. She has three adult sons, two daughters by marriage and three grandchildren. She currently lives in Montgomery, AL with her husband, Larry.

Favorite Grip-Birkman Moment – “Working with a cross-cultural team, it became evident how one team member’s strength had been totally misunderstood by the rest of the team until a GB exercise revealed that he had this strength that no one else on the team had. It was amazing to see how the team dynamics changed when they realized how much they needed him and how much he needed them to understand him.”

Ken DeMaere – Support Coordinator

Ken has been a part of the Grip-Birkman community since 2012. As a part of the Leadership Team for a Denominational District Office, he was part of a group tasked with finding a better tool for working with pastors and leaders in the District he served. They went about searching and taking almost every profile and inventory they could find. They evaluated each on several key criteria. First, was the tool able to accurately identify the person taking it. Second, was the tool ‘fudgable’ in the sense that the person could easily skew the results to fit what they thought that the person or group seeing this might want. Third, did it take into account the spiritual side of the people we were dealing with as Church leaders. Early on the group found Birkman ®, and while it met the first two of the three requirements with excellence, it did not address the third non-negotiable requirement. When we expressed our concern about this third requirement, we were directed to Grip-Birkman. And the rest, as they say, is history. I was asked by our team to champion this tool to our district and it has become a standard part of the leadership and training path for all licenced workers and even lay-leadership teams. Ken was asked to join the Grip-Birkman Inc. leadership team in 2017 and took over the Grip-Birkman Support process – overseeing and streamlining the ordering and distribution process for Grip-Birkman.

Favorite Grip-Birkman Moment – “While there are many both wonderful and “Ah-Ha” moments in working with people as they see the insights of the Grip-Birkman Profile, lately some of the team building tools that focus on Spiritual Gifts (Grip) and how they impact the wider team have been incredible. Watching people be affirmed in how God has gifted them to serve the Body of Christ and seeing teams of leaders suddenly understand why they are excelling or not excelling in certain areas of their church’s or team’s ministry is simply an amazing process. Every time I have an opportunity to do this, I walk away simply amazed at the way God works in and Gifts people for the service of the Kingdom. Then, when you add the personality side of the equation to the mix (Birkman®), a whole new world of understanding opens up.”

Matthew Blake – Connect Coordinator

Matt has been a part of the Grip-Birkman community since 2009.  He serves as leader for the Connect Team, whose goal is to engage influencers on the pathway to interdependence.  He has a Master’s of Divinity degree from Portland Seminary.  He has been serving the church in Europe since he and his family moved to the Czech Republic in 2003.  He has a daughter and son at home and another son at university.

Favorite Grip-Birkman Moment – The chance to do a team build with a multi-national ministry leadership group – 7 people, 6 nationalities – and to see both the way that the tool can be used internationally and the deeper insights and understanding that came from them sharing and listening with new eyes and ears.  The challenges are real when working with people from various cultures, but the beauty of God bringing the team closer together was fun to watch.

Steve Potter – Finances and Administration

DeeDee Warren – Finance and Coordinator

DeeDee was trained as a Grip-Birkman Coach in 2012. She joined the Leadership Team in the fall of 2017.  She serves the community as the financial support, our annual event coordinator, and is helping launch the social media connection.

DeeDee has been in Ministry as a Pastor’s wife for 42 years and has been involved in Women’s Ministry for over 20 years.   She has attended Levell College with her focus being in the field of Women’s Ministry. She is married to Dr. Hal Warren and has three adult children, two sons-in-law and seven grandchildren.  They live in Calera, Alabama.

© Copyright 2022 - GRIP-Birkman - a product of I to We, Inc