- 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 Founding 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 Founding 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 Partner and VP of Everything Else
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.
Claudia Parker Culture Operations Specialist, Sr. HR Business Partner
A collaborative, driven and results oriented professional, Claudia Parker has over 20 impactful years in business relationship management, operations, business consulting, human resources, and helping launch start-ups.
Her versatile experience helping business leaders be successful stems from her innate curiosity, getting things done work ethic, and passion for developing and executing internal and external client-centric strategies that tie back to company goals. Claudia is passionate about keeping a pulse on a company’s strategic direction, having an awareness of how every decision impacts the business downstream and removing barriers that get in the way.
Claudia spent the last 13 years with a publicly traded business management consulting firm in various capacities including human resources, business partner, operations and business relationship management. Prior to this role, Claudia was Director of Human Resources and Risk Management for The Westwind Group, a multi-state Burger King Franchise operator managing up to 130 restaurants at a time.
Claudia holds a BBA in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing and Advertising from the University of San Diego, a SPHR® certification, and various Workers Compensation and Risk Management certifications.
On weekends and holidays, Claudia enjoys spending with family and friends, and hosting dinners. Claudia and her husband George live in Torrey Highlands and enjoy taking trips abroad that combine cycling, cooking classes and photography.
Kimberly Clay Culture Operations Specialist, HR Business Partner
An enthusiastic, positive, and solution oriented human resources professional, Kimberly Clay has been developing her HR career over the past 10 years in San Diego working in the life sciences and workers’ compensation insurance industries.
She has worked with clients ranging in size from 100 to 1,000 employees. Her career started in recruiting and evolved into a Generalist/Business Partner role. Kimberly’s strengths and passions in HR are talent development, training, employee relations, employee engagement, performance management, and recruitment.
Kimberly would describe her human resources style as collaborative, supportive and solution oriented. She believes that every situation is different and takes the time to listen to all related parties in order to provide a balanced and effective solution. She enjoys partnering with organizations to improve both the talent landscape and culture of the organization.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from California Lutheran University. During her degree program, she had the opportunity to study abroad at Richmond University in London, England. Kimberley also holds a PHR certification and received her master’s degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. While working on her Master’s degree she completed an applied research project focused on 360 degree feedback. Most recently she has become certified in the TotalSDI and StrengthsFinder assessment tools and enjoys using these tools for team and leadership development.
On her down time she likes to spend time with her local family and friends. A former Charger fan, she has recently joined her husband’s love for the Chicago Bears. Kimberly enjoys going on new adventures, improving her culinary skills, going to the beach, hiking, and appreciating a nice glass of wine.
Jennifer Horner Culture Operations Specialist, HR Generalist
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.
Brian LaTour Culture Operations Specialist, Talent Scout
An ambitious, creative, and engaging team-oriented professional, Brian spent his early career working in the retail sector developing teams, managing stores, and creating & implementing training programs.
Brian first uncovered his passion for Human Resources in 2000 while serving as an Operations Manager at CompUSA. In that role, he oversaw the hiring, onboarding, training & development, and talent acquisition for not only the front end, but also the warehouse and training center. Brian started to hone his skills around building better onboarding experiences and creating more effective training programs that lead to increases in team engagement as well as improved employee retention.
Prior to joining Equal Parts, Brian further refined his Human Resources skill set while serving as a Regional Employee Development Manager for the Tervis Tumbler Company, a pioneer in the insulated tumbler industry founded in 1946. In this capacity, he provided direct HR support for over 20 retails stores, created a system wide new hire coaching program focused on helping veterans, designed new onboarding programs that were adopted company-wide, and provided talent acquisition guidance across the organization.
Brian holds an Associate’s degree in Business Management from Western International University, a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Human Resource Management from Capella University and is currently completing course work towards a Master of Science degree in Human Resources Management, also from Capella University.
In his free time Brian likes hiking, going to the beach and spending time outdoors with his dog, Maverick. Brian is also an avid member of a local recreational kickball league.