Meet our Scholars
Laura Ryan, BSME, MS
Laura holds a Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Boston University and a Masters of Science from the International Center for Studies in Creativity (ICSC) at Buffalo State College. She is interested in the applications of Creative Problem Solving to facilitate challenges within organizations and training on the topic of deliberate creativity.
Laura began her career as an engineer with United Technologies, working domestically and in Europe. She has an entrepreneurial spirit that has led her to start several companies. She is the president of LAMA Innovation (www.lamainnovation.com). Clients include Unifrax, Ashton Potter, Western New York Regional Economic Development, Hasek's Heroes, Jiffy-Tite, and several others. In 2012, Laura was one of the lead facilitators for the Regional Economic Development council and was involved in the development of the Strategic plan for Western New York which was awarded $100.3 million by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Having worked extensively in Asia and Europe, Laura serves as the Director of Creativity-International, at ICSC, Buffalo State University. In 2012, she launched the Creativity-International (creativity-international.com) program endorsed by the ICSC serving organizations and teams from around the world who want to learn a common language and process for deliberate and sustainable innovation.
Laura is the mother of two children. In her spare time, she enjoys sailing, waterskiing, snow skiing, cooking, and international travel.
Gerard works as a trainer, facilitator and consultant in the area of creative thinking, creative problem solving, facilitation and leadership. He is also the Director at the International Center for Studies in Creativity at SUNY Buffalo. In addition to his teaching, some of the organizations to benefit from his training and facilitation include: American Axle & Manufacturing, the Atomic Energy Authority (UK), AT&T, Bull, Dunlop, General Motors, Nabisco, Procter & Gamble, Wilson Greatbatch, and numerous colleges and school districts. Gerard is the author of FourSight: The Breakthrough Thinking Profile and co-author of Creative Leadership: Skills that Drive Change.
He has written numerous articles, chapters, and books, and been published in publications such as the British Journal of Educational Psychology, the Journal of Creative Behavior, Psychological Reports, Creativity Research Journal, and the Creativity and Innovation Yearbook.
John F. Cabra, Ph.D
John is an Associate Professor at the International Center for Studies in Creativity, Buffalo State and a Visiting Professor at the International Business School in the Universidad de La Sabana, Colombia. He was a former operations manager for American Airlines in Buffalo, New York. He has also held internal consulting positions for American Airlines in the fields of training and development, employee relations, and organizational development for its Miami, Caribbean, and Latin America division. Before joining American, John was a bilingual training and organizational development specialist for Fisher-Price Toys. As an external consultant, some of his clients include IBM, Cadbury Schweppes, Intel, Kraft Foods, Transitions Optical, Taca Airlines, ConAgra Foods, Boehringer Maanheim, and Quaker Oats. John has presented his work in 22 countries.
John’s research interests are organizational creativity, perceptions of creativity across cultures and the efficacy of 3D virtual platforms in the classroom. He has published articles in U.S. and Latin American business journals. He serves as an editorial board member of Creatividad y Sociedad, a creativity journal published at the University of Barcelona, Spain. In recognition for his outstanding work as an expert in the field of organizational creativity, John was recently accepted into the Fulbright Senior Specialist Program in Business.
John holds a Ph.D. in organizational psychology from the University of Manchester, England.
Roger Firestien, Ph.D
Dr. Roger L. Firestien is committed to making creativity simple, making it practical and helping people apply their creativity to produce results. Roger’s keynote presentations and training programs are dynamic, interactive, great fun and provide methods that participants can use immediately to create innovative results.
In 1984, Roger joined the faculty of the International Center for Studies in Creativity at the Buffalo State - State University of New York. He is the author of over 80 articles, books, and audio and video programs. His research focuses on how to help groups develop creative solutions more productively.
Called “The Gold Standard” and the “Classic Cola” of creativity training by his clients, some of the organizations to benefit from his keynote presentations, training and facilitation include: AT&T, Disney, Los Angeles Times, Farmers Insurance, GE, General Mills, Merck, UBS, the American Hospital Association, Young Presidents Organization and the University of Illinois, as well as government groups from the Federal Executive Institute, the US Air Force, US Agency for International Development, NOAA, Department of the Treasury and NASA.
Roger focuses his work on how to be personally creative and how to lead a team to produce creative results. His clients regularly report dramatic improvements in their innovation effectiveness and enhanced quality of work life. His books, “Leading on the Creative Edge” and his creative thinking fable, “Why Didn’t I Think of That?” are essential reading that leaders regularly order for their teams to kick-start innovation. He is also a co-author of “Creativity Unbound: An introduction to creative process” and Facilitation: A door to creative leadership.”
Roger holds a Ph.D. in Communication and a M.S. in Creativity and Innovation, from the State University of New York. When he’s not traveling, he lives in Buffalo, NY, and regularly drives a tractor, although not too well, on the family farm near Greeley, CO.