- Purposeful Kindness. We believe kindness can be served in many ways. For us, it’s unconsciously real and unmistakable.
- Selfless Growth. We cultivate an environment that ignites a passion for learning, a commitment to dealing with the uncomfortable, and a mindset that failures and faults can only make us better.
- Courageous Integrity. You have to be wired to do the right thing and brave enough to see it through, because it doesn’t always come easy.
- Endless Evolution. We tenaciously pursue transformative results that impact happiness and business.
- Gritty Collaboration. Our DNA is built on perseverance, teamwork, and fun — and if you’re not having fun, what’s the point? We believe creating clarity, alignment, and accountability without bruising your ego is a must in order to get sh*t done.
Having worked together for almost five years, it became clear that our work chemistry was super productive and really rare. We shared a passion for making an impact, for collaborating with clients, and for creating a positive company culture. The idea of working for a large corporation no longer felt appealing and, while we each had thoughts about working for ourselves, we couldn’t imagine not working together. From that point forward, we were dead set on making it happen—together.
We started with the “why” and quickly progressed to the “how”—which is when we created our partnership vows. Having polar opposite personality traits, we knew that our skills would complement each other, not compete. Together, we leverage each other’s strengths, help each other through our weaknesses, and work collaboratively to identify opportunities and create impactful results. We not only want to do this for each other, but we want to do this for our clients, too.
How we develop our organizational culture is projected externally. To that end, we lead by example. We value community; we treat our employees, partners, and clients with respect and care; we are committed to a growth mindset; we are authentic and approachable; and we are responsive and adaptable.
Kristi Pastore Partner
A dedicated, decisive, and energetic leadership development professional, Kristi Pastore has more than 20 years of experience positively impacting organizational culture and growth. Prior to being a founding partner of Equal Parts, Kristi spent nearly a decade as both a business partner and an area manager for a national business solutions and management consulting firm.
As area manager for a top-tier location, Kristi led a team of 30 through consecutive years of growth, drove channel development, and managed a P/L with more than $300m in revenue. Kristi also played a crucial role in the company’s national Organizational Development Task Force—leading internal initiatives to drive change management and structural alignment. Prior to this role, Kristi was the operations and human resources manager for Master Management Group, an outsourced consulting firm specializing in finance, human resources, and operations management.
Kristi’s areas of expertise and passion are deeply interconnected. Her drive to understand what makes an organization’s culture tick is a direct reflection of an insatiable curiosity, tireless focus on people and processes, and innate ability to coach and lead. Kristi combines executive-level aptitude and a commonsense approach.
Kristi holds a Master of Science in human resources with an emphasis in organizational leadership and development from Chapman University, a Bachelor of Arts in communications from California State University San Marcos, and a PHR® certification. Kristi is also an emotional intelligence certified trainer through TalentSmart.
Over the years, Kristi has devoted time and energy to several nonprofits servicing at-risk youth and the aging population of California. Kristi resides in Carlsbad with her husband Scott, their son Preston, and their dogs Popper and Dixie.
Michael Valenzano Partner
A creative, concise, and thoughtful communicator, Michael Valenzano has spent the last 15 years refining a unique and fresh approach toward helping organizations solve cultural and operational pain points. Prior to being a founding partner of Equal Parts, Michael spent four years as both a human resources consultant and a business partner for a publicly traded business solutions and management consulting firm.
During Michael’s tenure, his primary objective was to collaborate and partner with small businesses to positively influence client-company profitability. His ability to build sustainable and trusting relationships with multiple stakeholders led him to become a role subject matter expert and relied upon by the broader organization for peer mentoring and development. Michael also worked for Costco for more than a decade and held a variety of positions ranging from human resources manager to an analyst focusing on financial forecasting and process efficiency.
Michael is driven by a never-ending pursuit for clarity. He’s most at home when nurturing strategy from concept to creation, developing a means to distill essentialness, and communicating net results to an audience with deliberate intent.
Michael holds a Master of Professional Studies in human resources and employment relations with an emphasis in employment and labor law from Pennsylvania State University. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from the University of North Florida and he is PHR® certified.
A native Floridian, Michael spent years entrenched in the North Florida artistic community as a working artist and believer in the power of local economy. Michael also donated time and energy to several nonprofits servicing the homeless population. Michael resides in Carlsbad with his wife Emily, their daughter Winter, and their dog Maurice.
Jim McGowan Vice President, Operations
A witty, well-rounded, and consummate business professional, James McGowan’s career has been defined by helping businesses of all shapes and sizes launch, stabilize, and scale. Prior to joining Equal Parts as Vice President of Operations, he advocated for small business owners as both a Business Development Manager and Business Partner at a national business management consulting firm. Previously, Jim served as Director for Client Engagement at Intersection, Inc. the latest start-up design firm founded by the world-renowned designer Chuck Pelly. Additionally, Jim has held various senior leadership positions for Videx/CyberLock, BridgeWave Communications, a Silicon Valley based pioneer in high performance wireless technologies and LightPointe Communications, a San Diego based early developer in Free Space Optics.
Jim’s expertise includes launching new companies and divisions, marketing, operations, and corporate development. Jim began his career in high-tech after a two-year stint teaching English in Japan when he joined Panasonic as the head of vendor localization programs in the Maquiladora free trade zone on the California/Mexico border.
Jim holds a Bachelor of Arts in international studies from St. Edward's University, and a Master of Arts in international relations from the U.S. International University in San Diego, California.
A passion for helping the world have fun is evident in all that he does. A family man at heart, Jim’s two children Zoë and Keegan are the centerpiece of his life with his wife Amy. Peter and Willy, the family dogs and spiritual leaders, are a close second.
Tawnya Arteaga Director, Client Services
An innovative, influential, and driven business professional, Tawnya Arteaga has built her over 20-year career around a dedication to finding the perfect solution to any organizational hurdle. A well-rounded human resources professional, Tawnya’s areas of expertise include training and development, performance management, and operational efficiency improvement. A diverse and eclectic work history has provided meaningful experience in a variety of industries to include: outsourced business solutions, software, financial services, and construction.
A passion and knack for connecting dots between cause and effect combined with a drive for uncovering root cause of issues have grown her to be an effective leader, coach, and results-oriented professional. Equally important is Tawnya’s commitment to educating, teaching, training, and developing talent to promote business goals.
Tawnya holds a Bachelor of Science in business management from Bellevue University and a Professional Certificate in Human Resource Management from UCSD. A proud veteran, she devoted her early career to the United States Navy.
A perpetual believer in good-will, Tawnya volunteers for The Boys and Girls Club of San Dieguito’s community outreach programs. She resides in Encinitas with her husband Oraldo, three kids Lexi, CJ, and Lucas, and two dogs Charlie and Stella.
Jennifer Horner Culture Operations Specialist - HR
A competent, curious, and results-oriented human resources professional, Jennifer Horner has spent her career working collaboratively with small business owners to proactively implement solutions designed to optimize employee productivity and engagement. Jennifer spent 11-years working for an outsourced business solutions firm as a human resources consultant and payroll specialist. Additionally, Jennifer worked for a national healthcare workforce solutions company as a corporate trainer responsible for the professional development of all payroll processors.
Jennifer’s area of expertise center around identifying opportunities for engagement, refining human resource best-practices, and developing a clear and easy path for implementation. She’s partnered with companies on training and development, on-boarding strategies, employee relations, policy development, and the construction and management of employee benefits.
In addition to over a decade of highly focused and relevant work experience, Jennifer is PHR® certified through the HR Certification Institute and SHRM-CP® certified through the Society for Human Resource Management.
When not engaged with clients, Jennifer participates as a volunteer for local and community-centered youth sports leagues and loves to spend all her free time her son, Brody.
Kaitlin Lively Culture Operations Specialist - Risk Management
An approachable, adaptable, and collaborative risk management professional, Kaitlin Lively has spent the last decade working to ensure businesses of all sizes and shapes have an established culture of safety. Most recently, Kaitlin has been the Corporate Safety Coordinator for a large California-based environmental engineering firm. Here, she worked to ensure the firm successfully operated within a heavily regulated industry by making certain safety was the highest priority. Kaitlin also spent 7-years working for a large workers’ compensation, commercial property, and casualty insurance firm as a Risk Management Consultant. Her number one goal was to establish trusting relationships, understand specific business objectives, and provide recommendations and risk management strategies to solve identified needs.
Kaitlin holds an ARM 54 and ARM 55 risk management designation as well as an OSHA 10 and OSHA 30 certification. In addition, Kaitlin is a Certified First Aid and CPR Instructor through the National Safety Council.
In her free-time, Kaitlin enjoys volunteering in art classes at her daughter’s school. A proud Navy wife and mom, Kaitlin resides in Escondido with her husband, two daughters, Great Dane, and three tortoises.