Meet the Paladin Team

Phil Lower, MAOM, CPC

Founder/CEO: Speaker, Trainer and Certified Professional Coach

With over twenty years of practical experience in coaching and learning, Phil Lower has partnered with individuals & organizations, from over 30 countries, to help them accomplish their dreams, visions and goals. He realized, that from the shop floor to the boardroom people intuitively know what soft skills are, but are lacking the practical techniques to use them effectively.


Learn more about Phil Lower

“It just doesn’t make any sense to teach something, or coach someone in a way, that’s not going to impact their personal and professional lives, to better the organization they work in, and improve society.” ~ Phil Lower

As a serial entrepreneur, his first venture was a paper route that he owned while working at the corner store. Over time, he started numerous ventures & projects with the common theme of helping people achieve success. The result is Paladin.

Phil’s great passion is to use his uniquely creative and analytical perspectives to help organizations develop effective training and coaching via concepts, courses, and programs that impact culture and drive ROI through customer-centric outcomes.

Phil is a Certified Professional Coach (CPC). He holds a Master’s degree in Organizational Management (MAOM) from Spring Arbor University and a BA in Political Science (Honors Program) from The University of Toledo. He has also studied at La Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City, Mexico and El Centro de Estudios Internacionales in Toledo, Spain. He served as a college faculty member and Liberal Arts Dept. Chair. He is a Senior Vice President providing Business Coaching, Consulting, and Training with The Evans Group, LLC.

Sandy Chernoff, RDH, BSc

Co-Founder: Senior Content Developer, Speaker, Trainer, Coach and Author

Sandy Chernoff has over 20 years of soft-skills training, 30 years of didactic and clinical teaching in study clubs and continuing dental education, as well as, her people experiences from over 40 years of Dental Hygiene practice. 


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She is also the author of, 5 Secrets to Effective Communication, where she has demonstrated her ability to demystify the complexities of communication and provide her broad variety of clients with strategies and tools "to make them really good at their jobs while having fun!"

Her energetic and humorous presentation style has entertained and informed audiences from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada to New York City, USA. Her clients include a wide variety of businesses, law firms, teaching institutions, professional organizations & conferences.

She has a BS in Health Education with advanced studies in Instructional Design and Communications.

Brian Kennedy, MEd - Counseling

Performance Coach and Business Solutions

Brian Kennedy, a proven, goal oriented leader is an innovative, strategic, and entrepreneurial business coach with diverse management experiences. Following a corporate career of twenty years with American Greetings Corporation he has had a variety of industry exposures.


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Brian’s experience includes distribution, consumer goods, in-store sales support management, consumer services, social expression products, staff selection and development, and peak performance. He has worked in all levels of business from entry to COO, and owns his own company. Brian also has small business turnaround experience where he developed his skills for work with small business owners.

Brian is a sought after speaker, conducting a number of workshops, in particular, Winning Is for a Lifetime Dreams and Goals workshops. He also provides small business consultation, developing BNI chapters to help small business owners do more business, and speaks on the topics of leadership, peak performance, exceptional staff selection, customer service, and identity theft risk management. He believes in personal development and spends much time reading. His primary pastime is collecting and learning from people.

Brian holds both a BA in history and an MEd in counseling from The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina. He completed the Sales Force Development certificate program at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School, and is a Certified Sales Executive. Brian and his wife Shirley spend their time in Jacksonville, NC, Dallas, TX, and San Diego, CA where they enjoy their children and grandchildren.

Mari Peterson, BBA

Project Manager

Mari Peterson, Project Manager, has over 15 years managing complex projects for a diverse group of nonprofits and professional services firms.  She has been a project leader for both national and regional nonprofits, including managing educational and fundraising events, conferences and workshops.


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Mari understands what it means to be productive, profitable and efficient. Most of all, she understands the importance of effective project management and bringing projects to completion – within budget and on time.

Mari earned a Bachelors in Business Administration from Montreat College.

Leenghoi Lower, MS

Non-Profit Project Manager

Leenghoi Lower is our Non-Profit Project Manager.  In this role, she also functions as our Training Grant Coordinator working with both international and domestic Non-Profit / NGO organizations. 


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Lei has extensive experience working with non-profit organizations in operations, project coordination, and program implementation. She excels at analyzing operational inefficiencies and proposing cost-effective and transformational changes.

Lei earned her MS in Health Science at Minnesota State University - Mankato. She also has her BS in Biochemistry from the University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana. A native English speaker, Lei also speaks Ga, Twi and Fante.

Eddie Velez, BSB-M

Marketing Director

Eddie Vélez has over 20-years experience in formulating marketing strategies and tactics for a synergistic plan.  He's a graduate of The School of Art and Design, in New York City, with a major in advertising, and has a Business degree. Eddie was apprenticed by Neal Martineau of Ogilvy and Mather—a three-time winner of the Ogilvy Award for Advertising Excellence.

Learn More About Eddie Velez

Eddie has designed and implemented marketing and training programs for companies big and small, to include Care Entrée, a medical savings/insurance company. His efforts helped lower attrition and produced a 1,000% growth in an 18-month period, which led to the company being ranked 12th on the NASDAQ’s Top 50, for the year 2001—among others.

Hillary Hardin: Certified Trainer

Hillary Hardin, Founder & CEO of Whose Heart Mourns Me Foundation, has partnered with Paladin Coaching to provide training, education, and promote awareness surrounding suicide prevention, anti-bullying and work place abuse and violence. She is a graduate of Trevecca Nazarene University with a multi-discipline degree composed of Psychology, Behavioral Science, and Music. She is a Certified Trainer through the American Association of Suicidiology and FEMA/EMI (Emergency Management Institute) in Suicide Awareness and Prevention, Workplace Violence Awareness, Diversity Awareness, Leadership and Influence, Ethics, Decision Making and Problem Solving.
Learn More About Hillary Hardin

As a dynamic and engaging speaker and trainer, Hillary has worked with Fortune 1000 companies, colleges, universities, regional medical systems, foster care homes, and nursing homes. She has also worked closely with city councils, mayors, and other political individuals to address community, work force and other governmental challenges.