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Scott is an internationally recognized crisis negotiator, advisor, trainer and keynote speaker. He is known and respected for his experience negotiating in highly charged situations, with high stakes and when the situation requires sensitivity to the human element. Clients, audiences and students alike, find Scott’s teachings, insightful, inspiring and pragmatic.   


Scott worked as a hostage/crisis negotiator with one of the largest regional SWAT teams in the United States for many years before moving into the role of a negotiations speaker and trainer. He has over 20 years of law enforcement experience and retired from a Chicago area police department in 2023 at the rank of Lieutenant. He was trained by in negotiation by the FBI and has studied at the Harvard University Program on Negotiation, at IMD Business School, and he continues to receive training from the world’s top negotiators.  

Scott is a prolific trainer within the negotiation field and travels the country and around the world speaking to a wide variety of audiences. He has taught negotiations at Harvard University, for the FBI, and has keynoted for companies such as Microsoft and Bosch.  In 2016, he was invited to give a TEDx talk titled “The Secrets of Hostage Negotiators”, which has received over 1 million views.  His visibility as a speaker and educator through TEDx and other venues has reached global status.  

Scott currently resides in the Chicago area and is a Partner and co-founder with the Negotiations Collective.  

Joanna has over 18 years of negotiations experience in the natural resource, utilities, infrastructure, health care and education sectors. During that time, she has led over $2B worth of acquisitions, divestments, and contract negotiations. She has project managed and negotiated agreements linked to over $1B in capital projects in both Canada and the United States and held senior leadership roles in commercial negotiations, project management, resource development and organizational restructuring.  


Joanna has served as both director and president of volunteer and professional organizations across Canada, whereby her primary objective has been to lobby provincial governments on issues relating to the members she represented, in addition to developing and delivering education and social programs.  Joanna has a BCOM from St. Francis Xavier University, is a graduate of British Petroleum's intensive in-house Conflict and Negotiations training course, holds a Graduate Certificate in Project Leadership from Cornell University, and a Graduate Certificate in Negotiations Mastery from the Harvard School of Business.


Joanna is the CEO and Co-Founder of the Negotiations Collective.

Melissa Fortunato is a retired FBI Special Agent. She retired in June 2022 with over 23 years as a federal law enforcement officer.  During her career, Melissa was assigned to the New York City and Cleveland field offices. 


Melissa was a certified FBI Crisis Negotiator and Undercover Agent. She spent her last 15 years as an FBI Crisis Negotiator; leading FBI Cleveland’s Crisis Negotiation Team for 10 of those years.  In this capacity, she successfully resolved domestic and international kidnappings, barricaded subjects, and other crisis events.  Melissa planned and executed formal crisis negotiation training for hundreds of law enforcement officers. Moreover, she worked as an assessor and coach for the FBI’s National Crisis Negotiation Course. In 2020, Melissa was selected by the FBI to instruct at the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Budapest, Hungary, where she taught crisis negotiation strategies to international law enforcement officers. In addition to her FBI training, Melissa represented the FBI in 2019 as a student at the Metropolitan Police (Scotland Yard) Hostage Negotiation Course in London, England.  


As an FBI undercover agent, Melissa operated both domestically and internationally.  Her undercover portfolio included transnational organized crime, public corruption, drug trafficking and counterintelligence matters. One of the cases in which she was directly involved as an undercover agent was briefed to the President of the United States and won the FBI Director’s Award.   


Melissa is a Senior Associate with the Negotiations Collective. She is married with two daughters. Her husband is an Assistant Special Agent in Charge of FBI Cleveland, where he leads its National Security branch

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Managing Director

BA, Psychology


Chief Executive Officer 

BCOM, CSC, Graduate Certificate: Negotiations, Project Leadership 

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Managing Director




MA, Psychology; BS, Behavioral Science

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Managing Director

Leighton is an Associate Professor (Teaching) at the Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary where he focuses on translating current research into effective negotiation training programs. He has over ten years of experience designing and teaching negotiation courses within Executive MBA, MBA, and undergraduate programs. Leighton’s is a passionate educator; in 2019 he was inducted into the University of Calgary Students' Union Teaching Excellence Hall of Fame and also received a Calgary Award for Community Achievement in Education. Leighton has a significant consulting background in diverse areas including negotiations, strategic planning, and cross-cultural management. 


Leighton holds an MBA (thesis-based) and a BA in Psychology from the University of Calgary. His MBA thesis looked at cultural differences in the use of ethically questionable negotiation behaviors. 

Inés Piccinino retired from the British Columbia government in 2023, after more than 25 years as senior executive in both South and North America.   Having worked in energy, environment, climate change, economics and regulatory, Inés developed strategic public policy requiring deep and complex engagement and negotiations with communities, industries, stakeholders, other governments, and international and indigenous partners.


Inés was a professor of Economics at the University of Buenos Aires (Argentina), Camosun College, and the University of Victoria’s Masters of Public Administration (British Columbia, Canada).


With a degree in Economics from the University of Buenos Aires, Inés has consulted for the World Bank, the United Nations Development Program and the Inter American Development Bank and provided advice to the private, public and non-governmental sectors in her 30+ year professional career.

Inés started her own consulting company, Aldea Global Insights, in June 2023, and joined the Negotiations Collective in August 2023, offering seminars in both English and Spanish.

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Managing Director

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Scheduling and Operations Lead

Gary Luefschuetz is an Attorney, Certified Public Accountant, and Negotiation and Dispute Resolution Specialist with 30 years of general management, operations, pricing, sales capture, negotiation, contract management, quality assurance, and risk management experience in the software and professional services industries at Accenture, Booz Allen Hamilton, Unisys, and PeopleSoft.

Gary is an accomplished commercial negotiator with a proven track record—more than $6.5 billion in contracted sales—of serving as the lead negotiator for and executing large, complex, highly-competitive, and strategic consulting, systems integration, and outsourcing agreements within the public and private sector. In addition, Gary has successfully remediated problem projects and client disputes that resulted in the avoidance of $300 million in write-downs.


Prior to leading the Negotiations Collective, Gary served as the lead of the Accenture Negotiations Center of Excellence, a global team responsible for developing and executing interest-based negotiation strategies across all commercial industries and the public sector, advising account teams on negotiation strategy, facilitating the resolution of client disputes, developing thought leadership, and delivering negotiation training to Accenture’s 700,000 personnel.

Gary received a Bachelor of Science in Management degree from Tulane University, a Master of Business Administration degree from The American University Kogod College of Business and is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of The American University Washington College of Law. He is admitted to the Bar in Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Samantha Sperle is a creative and enthusiastic administrator with a passion for achieving efficiency and business success through streamlined logistics and processes. Samantha is a recent graduate from the Bisset School of Business at Mount Royal University with a specialization in Logistics and International Business.


As a young adult, Samantha excelled in the Royal Canadian Air Cadet Program. She utilized her leadership and conflict management skills to develop a team of young leaders to ensure the goals of the Squadron were effectively met. She quickly rose through the ranks, and was awarded the position of Warrant Officer 1st Class where she was responsible for up to 200 cadets. 


In her free time, Samantha is very active and participates in sports, outdoor activities, and gold prospecting. She trained and competed with Netball Canada, which gave her the opportunity to take her love for the sport abroad. This experience provided exposure to international cultures. She would later take courses in international marketing, cross cultural negotiations, and international trade while she studied abroad in Switzerland. She also participated in an International Business conference, hosted by X-Culture. 


Since graduating, Samantha has developed her administrative skills in multiple industries including: staffing, restaurant management, and skilled trades. She brings a fine attention to detail and a dynamic organizational style in order to support the growth and development of the Negotiations Collective.

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