Who We Are

Meet the DEF team, including board, staff, and advisory council members.

Our founders include professional educators, decision professionals, successful business leaders, and parents with a passion for educating youth. All have a belief in the power of an individual’s decisions to positively shape their own life and consequently improve the lives of other individuals and of society.

Board of Directors

Ron Howard

DEF Board Member and Founder

Ronald A. Howard is Professor Emeritus in the  Department of Management Science and Engineering in the School of Engineering of Stanford University 1965 - 2018. Professor Howard is one of the founders of the decision analysis discipline. His books on probabilistic modeling, decision analysis, dynamic programming, Markov processes, and ethics serve as major references for courses and research in these fields.

Carl Spetzler

DEF Board Member and Founder

Dr. Carl Spetzler co-founded Strategic Decisions Group in 1981 and currently serves as chairman and CEO. He is a leader in strategy and innovation processes, helping corporate leaders cope with the lack of explicit strategic alternatives, deal with the complexities of uncertainty and risk over long time horizons, and achieve lasting change. Over the past three decades, he has worked with top management and boards of directors to improve the quality of decisions and decision-making processes in many diverse organizations, such as capital-intensive companies, financial institutions, high-technology manufacturers, and systems businesses. His guidance has led to innovative results such as developing revolutionary new products, redirecting and restructuring major corporations, and creating strategic alliances.

David Heckerman

DEF Board Member

Dr. David Heckerman was Chief Data Scientist at Human Longevity, Inc. He is known for his work in showing the importance of probability theory in Artificial Intelligence, for developing methods to learn graphical models from data, for designing a vaccine for HIV, and for developing machine learning and statistical approaches for genomics including GWAS. He has developed numerous applications including machine-learning tools in SQL Server and Commerce Server, the junk-mail filters in Outlook, Exchange, and Hotmail, the
troubleshooters in Windows, and the Answer Wizard in Office. Dr. Heckerman received his Ph.D. (1990) and M.D. (1992) from Stanford University, and is an ACM and AAAI Fellow.

Jeff DeFranco

DEF Board Member

Jeff DeFranco began serving as
the CEO of the LTCC organization in January 2017 after serving as Vice President of Administrative Services for 5 years. Before joining LTCC in 2012, Jeff worked for Springfield School District in Oregon for 9 years as a senior level district administrator. His roles have included leadership and oversight of fiscal, facility, technology, bonds, grants, development, government affairs, and public relations functions for educational organizations.
Since 2002, Jeff has also operated as the owner and lead consultant for an organizational development firm, True North Consulting. His work includes collaborating with non-profit, local government, and private sector businesses, on topics ranging from change leadership to strategic planning to group development.

Jeff has received a professional certificate in Strategic Decision-making from
Stanford University among his BA, MA, and forthcoming PhD.

Tom Keelin

DEF Board Member

Dr. Tom Keelin serves as Managing Partner at Keelin Reeds Partners, LLC. Dr. Keelin has supervised portfolio management, asset strategy and valuation, or deal terms assessment and negotiations projects for more than 30 emerging growth life sciences companies. He serves as Chairman and Director of Strategic Decisions Group (SDG). Dr. Keelin serves as Member of
Board of Advisors of Grow Talent Company Ltd. To support emerging-biotech decisions about when to partner and under what terms, he supervised a joint effort between KR and the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) to develop, benchmark, and validate a way to estimate asset-specific deal terms based on the asset-specific economic characteristics and relative strength of negotiating position of the parties


Chris Spetzler

DEF Executive Director

Chris is passionate about bringing decision skills to young people. In addition to teaching  and developing  decision skills programs, Chris supports educators and organizations in realizing and evaluating the benefits of decision education. Chris completed a Masters at the Stanford Graduate School of Education and an MBA at Thunderbird.

Dana Luco

DEF Program Development and Operations Manager

Dana is delighted to drive decision skills into the hands of youth. Dana has redirected her focus from a long training development career in the silicon valley software realm to her original passion, children's education. Bringing practical skills and comfort-zone-expanding experiences to kids is her way of giving back.

Stefanie McLaney

Research Associate

Stefanie is a local DEF representative in Eugene, Oregon with experience in education, research, and teaching. She studied legal psychology (the intersection of cognitive, experimental, and applied psychology) at Florida International University. Some findings from her works show how improving conditions for children are best if supported in the family, school, and community setting. Her interest in decision education for youth has led to collaborations with DEF and potential future research endeavors. Her experience as an educator, art teacher at a children’s museum, college instructor, and kids yoga instructor, have all shaped her perspective on how to teach others, focusing on meeting the students where they are and making information accessible. 

Liz Thompson

Junction City High School Teacher and DEF Trainer

Liz is excited to be bringing DEF curriculum to students at the ground level. A teacher for the past ten years, Liz loves finding new ways to incorporate the teaching of effective decision skills into every aspect of high school learning. Liz works with DEF to further develop the StrongStart and Steps to Success programs, as well as other curriculum, and offer training to educators. Liz earned a Bachelors of Arts from Whittier College and a Masters of Education from Western Oregon University. 

Hannah Wing

Research Associate

Hannah is enthusiastic about making decision skills accessible to every student. She studies Economics and Sustainability at the University of Florida and is the founder of a tutoring business, Tutoring with Hannah. Her interests lie in sustainability, social impact, and decision education.

Shivani Mudhol

Shivani Mudhol is a senior at Fremont High School in the Bay Area, California. She is passionate about helping students learn about Decision Quality and giving them the tools to optimize their decision-making process. She is interested in pursuing cognitive science and data science research in the future.

Shir Toledo

Shir is a current student at Haverford College and is studying Neuroscience and Psychology. She is interested in human behavior and Decision Quality and believes everyone can make better decisions with practice and the right tools!

Tony Pray

Volunteer Coordinator

Retired project manager, husband, grandpa, Aikido teacher, guitarist, and jack of all trades. Tony Pray chose Decision Education as his second act. A committed lifelong learner with a wide range of skills doing what he loves and making a difference... That's heaven.