About The Company
We believe education is key but unfortunately our traditional education systems have evolved in such a way that leaves little room for divergent thinking. Kolena is positioned to disrupt education for the lifelong learner across industry. As we focus on this, our additional commitment is to make those transitions in our lives transparent. Our research shows creativity programs allow our brain to stave off disease, explore new and exciting solutions, and maintain a healthier life overall.
Improving our future of work through an entrepreneurial mindset education and employability skills development.
Providing a community-based digital learning ecosystem for entrepreneurs, creative content providers, investors, corporations, and educators, so ideas flourish and innovation happens…
Please join us in this journey. We believe in:
- Mutual respect and trust and long-term partnerships
- Partnering with those who have like vision, mission, and values
- Building a strong community-based entrepreneurial ecosystem on one platform
- Helping advance the student, startup, or employee who wants to upskill themselves for the future of work
- Equity, diversity, and inclusion in all of our offerings and trainings
- Sustaining the future of work via employability training
- Creative thinking
Our core values come from the collective lifelong experiences with our families, friends as well as extensive careers in education and technology.
At Kolena, we all have a passion for learning and making a difference; a passion to see creativity as the common fabric of our decision making process each and every day.
We are Tracy Tanner, Jean-Pierre Fallou, Bill Kilcullen, and Dr. Deborah Brazeal who are individuals with a passion for entrepreneurship, educational service, and creativity in education. Creativity makes us happy! As team members, we truly believe there is a better way to bring creativity back to the life-long learner. We’re obsessively passionate about it and want to help people express their creativity through simple exercises we make available.
Bill, Jean-Pierre, and Tracy are three former Microsoft colleagues who have come together to change the education industry for the lifelong learner. John and Bill have known each other since 18 years of age when they both enlisted in the Army. Then in 1991, Bill already at Microsoft, called his buddy and told him about the opportunities at Microsoft encouraging him to apply. Earlier that same year, Tracy had begun her role as a marketing representative in the Orange County office with then each of them growing in other roles and eventually moving into other industry positions.
Fast forward to 2017, John and Bill decided to start a company focused on the education industry. At the same time, Tracy was engaging in the educational community and it was about a year later in 2018 when John and Tracy reconnected and started talking about how they may be able to collaborate. Tracy explained, “John asked me to join Bill and him on this journey. I couldn’t be more honored to work with them”. Then we met Deborah who was an educator and researcher practicing the art and science of creativity before it was considered relevant and fashionable. It was the dream team coming together. We all have education and creativity as our passion. The rest is history.
Kolena was soon established as the company name for this endeavor. John had previously started a Kona coffee business with dear friends in Hawaii on the leeward side of the big island. When John was asked what Kolena meant, he said, “I don’t think it has a meaning, I made it up.” John soon learned, it actual does have a meaning. Its meaning is both Greek and English with a reference to pure. It also is further defined on sheknows.com:
People with this name tend to be a powerful force to all whose lives they touch. They are capable, charismatic leaders who often undertake large endeavors with great success. They value truth, justice, and discipline, and may be quick-tempered with those who do not. If they fail to develop their potential, they may become impractical and rigid.
People with this name have a deep inner desire to create and express themselves, often in public speaking, acting, writing or singing. They also yearn to have beauty around them in their home and work environment.
“We are going to do everything in our power to live up to this name. It was chosen for us and this venture”, said John. None of us grew up with technology but were exposed to it as young adults. We’ve experienced a time without it and with it. “Although we each are tech nerds at heart, we see the world changing rapidly and statistics show the use of technology, social media, robotics and the like will only increase exponentially”, said Bill.
“With all of this directing our lives, we have put less importance on human interaction, engagement, and creativity”, said Deborah. There are obviously pockets of inspiration happening everywhere but, unfortunately, not widespread enough. CEO’s are recognizing the need for skills in communication, innovation, and thinking on your feet. Schools continue to cut their Arts programs putting the onus on unequipped teachers to engage students. Teacher and trainers are looking for new and exciting ways to bring creativity to their classroom. Somewhere a caregiver sits beside a senior citizen without proper tools to allow them to be their best self.
The team at Kolena is positioned to bring creative content to the education industry for the lifelong learner.
Please join us as advocates for change in education by having conversations about the value of creativity and creative thinking to improve not only brain health but just plain living.
Meet the Team
Kolena / CEO
Growing up in a family-owned business etched a sense of ownership and responsibility in Tracy Tanner’s core being. It also explains why when you read through her bio, you’ll discover such varied experience, “We truly wore all hats”. Like in her upbringing, Tracy started her career with the conscious decision to experience all sides of the technology supply chain. Beginning in retail, she jumped at the chance to go through a rigorous training that exposed her to every aspect of the business. “I felt right at home at Micro Center.” Tracy stayed with this philosophy of absorbing what she could when transitioning to other companies.
Kolena / President
Jean-Pierre (John) Fallou is a Business Executive with more than 30+ years of Business Development, HealthCare, IT Consulting, and Alliance Management experience with demonstrated success cultivating new business and markets, developing strategic relationships, and the delivery of high impact projects. A “Go-to” executive that formulates strategies that strengthen competitive position by conceptualizing and launching new services and solution offerings and by managing direct to enterprise, indirect global partner, and channel sales deals.
Dr. Deborah Brazeal
Kolena / CCO
Dr. Brazeal’s area of expertise is entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation. She is a noted author, speaker and consultant on how companies develop and use a self-sustaining corporate culture to support a continuous stream of radical innovations.
She has published over 50 articles in proceedings of national and international conferences, book chapters and journal articles in top entrepreneurship journals such as Journal of Business Venturing, Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice and Journal of Business Research.