SparkWorks Talent Strategies®
Leadership Development & Human Capital Strategies

About (Archived)

Talent visionaries on a mission.


With a primary office in the heart of downtown Chicago, we serve as the right hand to CEOs and their executive team as they navigate their organization’s growth or transformation. We started in 2014 on a mission to create & catalyze small and medium sized businesses to be more human, fully leveraging their team’s promise to be their competitive advantage. 

We guide companies to build and deploy strong organizational values to lead and guide your business strategy, so your people will understand what direction the company is going in, how you’re going to get there and where they fit in.  

The SparkWorks team comes with decades of leadership and executive experience, from a broad spectrum of industries, geographies and company sizes.  We’ve served in various HR exec roles, or have been on the other side of the table, as an executive and HR stakeholder.  We pride ourselves on quickly capturing a company’s DNA-- what makes them tick and what fuels their success-- and what may be getting in their way.  

We consider the entire people strategy of a company- what’s working, missing or simply missing the mark.  We then develop novel and innovative prioritized solutions, unique to your situation, to accelerate your growth and build organizational health.


Our Values

  1. Innovate tailored and imaginative solutions
  2. Solve for the root cause
  3. Laugh
  4. Be passionate about client success
  5. Challenge the status quo

The Team

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Founder & CEO

Catherine Cummings

Catherine focuses on small and medium sized businesses in the throes of a corporate restructure, transformation or a period of rapid growth.  Her creative energy along with her ability to uncover root causes and detect unforeseen talent issues deliver quick results.  Prior to founding SparkWorks, Catherine spent 20 years in executive-level roles in HR, corporate strategy and internal communications for companies large and small.



Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University

Loyola University Chicago
M.S. in Human Resources

University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana




Executive ADVISER

Fran Thompson

The face of pathfinder Asia, Fran has over 20 years' regional experience across virtually all segments of the financial services industry.  An executive MBA graduate from Kellogg HKUST, Fran is adept at identifying and implementing successful market strategies for specific client segments and territories.  She is passionate about getting the chemistry right between companies and candidates and is a firm believer that trusted talent solutions are critical to making good companies great.



Kellogg - HKUST Excecutive MBA
EMBA, Business

University of Wales
B.S. in Economics, French and Spanish



Senior leadership development architect

Lourdes Gonzalez

Lourdes is a multicultural human capital leader with proven expertise in all facets of human resources translating global entrepreneurial business strategy into innovative talent programs.  She has a knack for finding solutions that impact leadership development and employee engagement aligned with high-performing cultures.  

Through the years, her distinguished background at BP, fintech, and premier hospitality industries have built a deep understanding of leadership transformation and strategic change management.  While she calls the midwest home via Mexico City, Lourdes has lived in sunny San Diego, cosmopolitan Manhattan, and beer town Milwaukee. 



University of Chicago
Certificate - Several Courses, Strategic Talent Management and Organizational Design

Quinlan School of Business, Loyola Uniersity Chicago
MSHR, Human Resources

Universidad Iberoamericana, Ciudad de Mexico
B.S. in Industrial Relations



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Senior culture consultant

Elizabeth Samuels

Elizabeth Samuels is an accomplished Human Resource professional specializing in small and medium sized businesses, educational institutions, professional service firms, start-ups, non-profits, and foundations.  With more than 20 years of human resources experience, Elizabeth has a proven track record in reducing employee turnover and increasing employee retention in a cost efficient manner.  She has successfully guided organizations through reviews of existing HR systems, policies and procedures and has developed had implemented a wide variety of HR programs and systems.  Elizabeth has served in full-time, parti-time and interim HR management roles and has provided project management services for distinct HR initiatives.



American University
M.A. in International Affairs

Maxwell School of Citizenship at Syracuse University
B.A. in History



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Culture consultant

MaryBeth Zacharias

MaryBeth Zacharias is an organizational development consultant and project manager who thrives in the space where the organization and its people intersect.  She believes when individuals know and use their strengths, harness their creativity, and connect with one another and the business, they excel as professionals and lead the growth of organizations.

Throughout her careers, MaryBeth has worked with non-profit, small business, academic, and global professional services organizations.  She has been recognized for her ability to bridge the gap between vision and implementation, make sense of chaos, and tailor programs, models, and frameworks to meet the specific needs of organizations.



International Center for Studies in Creativity
MSc, Creativity

University of Michigan



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Inside Sales & Marketing Associate

Misa Cameron Myong

Misa's passions beyond the realm of business have led her to an extensive involvement in environmental issues as well as a well versed background in music.  It has thus provided a platform in which Misa can apply a broadened perspective through creative applications to problem solving.  

Her time at Patagonia and CareerBuilder have allowed for the development of extensive data analytic and consulting skills.  At SparkWorks, Misa is now expanding the application of her analytic skills by developing a digital marketing platform that will stimulate brand awareness and corporate growth.



Indiana University, Kelley School of Business
B.S. in Economics