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Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Michael is a 43—year veteran of the advertising and marketing industry guiding strategic brand development for some of the most iconic brands in the country by offering a panoramic, values-driven view to create distinct, meaningful voices in the marketplace.

In 2009, fueled by the financial and moral collapse of Wall Street, Michael Co-founded The Values Institute, a strategic think tank exploring the value of values in personal and professional life and most recently, TVI consulting, to equip organizations to thrive through living out their values. More than a vocational pursuit, Michael views his work as a calling.


Chief Operating Officer
Michael has earned a 37-year career as a team-oriented leader as the CEO of four organizations.  His skill set includes board governance, strategic analysis and implementation, with a leadership style that clarifies purpose, aligns systems and unleashes talent that inspire trust.

He has the ability to accurately discern and assess situations and provide solutions.  He operates from reason and cognitive thinking to learn who people really are and what they need.

At The Values Institute he gets to live out daily his moral compass of trusting people with the truth, animated by his values, thus enlisting people in noble purposes.

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Managing Director, TVI Consulting
Mark has made a career of asking “why?”  That’s because his expertise in uncovering consumer insights has been the genesis of his 35-year career in marketing and research.  Mark has led strategic planning teams at multi-national advertising agencies that have shaped the brands of global automotive, technology, apparel, food and healthcare companies.

At TVI Consulting, Mark has studied the impact of human values on the relationships consumers have with brands…and employees have with their employers.  He has helped companies uncover their core values and reap the benefits of effectively communicating them.  He believes that if you communicate your values to your employees and customers, you will earn their trust.  And with trust earned, you have just increased the value of your company.

Len Hightower, Ph.d.

Managing Director, The Values Institute
Len joined the organization in August of 2018. He brought with him a wide range of connections to the k-12 world and decades of experience in higher education, coupled with strategic organizational change efforts. Len’s extensive academic and program development experience in human and moral development opened the doors to bring values-driven curriculum and mentorship. 

Prior to joining The Values Institute Len served a faculty member in the Ed.D. program in Organizational Leadership at Brandman University. Before that he gained 25 years of experience serving in senior leadership positions at institutions of higher education and consulting, leading numerous institutions through comprehensive transformational change processes.  He has earned degrees at Bachelor, Master’s and Doctoral level.  While working on the doctorate at Claremont Graduate University he had the opportunity to study under Peter Drucker, one of the leaders in the formation of modern management.



Johanna Curgus

Communications Director
Johanna has been working in marketing for over 30 years. She knew her first semester of college that she wanted to work in marketing and keeps a copy of her Marketing 101 textbook in her office as a reminder of the professor who inspired and challenged her to become a successful, well-rounded marketer. She is especially interested in working with brands that share her values, and sits on the board for two non-profits: Faces of Santa Ana and Save our Youth.


Research Manager
Samantha searches for opportunities to share impactful stories with people who want to listen.  With experience in content strategy, social media management, and analytics, she uses social media platforms to communicate inspirational stories.

She started off studying both marketing and social behavior, which set a foundation in place that eventually fueled her pursuit to engage with others and build meaningful relationships.  She is driven to do what she does every day because she sees it as an opportunity to contribute to something deeper, something greater than herself.

She is captivated by The Values Institute’s purpose, and looks forward to the impact it will make to the communities it touches. 

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