Meet the Team

Michelle Aikman
Michelle AikmanDirector of Adventure Learning
“When we understand our amazing potential and figure out how to keep bounding towards it, we are unstoppable! I can’t imagine anything more fulfilling than helping people make those discoveries and generate that momentum.”
Michelle Aikman, Co-Founder of Cerno, is a recognized thought leader in the field of career management. As a military spouse, Michelle spent over 10 years transitioning between careers as she moved around the country with her husband, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force, and their family. Michelle has since leveraged this firsthand experience to help employees navigate change and find success in the face of challenge through proactive career management techniques.

Michelle’s efforts in this arena earned her national recognition when she was named the 2016 Air Force Spouse of the Year by Armed Forces Insurance and Military Spouse magazine. Michelle is also a professional speaker and an outspoken advocate for military families. Most recently, she was the keynote speaker for the 2016 Congressional Military Family Summit.

As a career management specialist, Michelle brings a progressive, innovative, and strategic approach to helping individuals understand how to drive meaningful business results. She knows what works and what doesn’t and applies her extensive experience working with high performers to create stimulating challenges that lead to exploration and often result in individuals pushing limits to elevate their level of performance in the workplace.

Michelle speaks nationwide about attracting, retaining and engaging top talent and a diversified workforce. Through her work, Michelle drives progress in the following areas: advanced résumé writing strategies, proactive career management, learning through adventure, and STEM. Michelle has been featured in a variety of news outlets, including: CNN, ABC News, US News & World Report, as well as being published in Military Spouse and Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) magazines.

A Colorado native, Michelle has adventure running through her veins and burns off stress through kickboxing and running. Michelle believes that pushing herself physically has also propelled her professional life forward and helped her handle the stress of military family life. Her adrenaline is contagious and spreads quickly through the Cerno classroom, bringing our programs to life.
Michelle is a certified fitness professional and one of a select few Nationally Certified Resume Writers (NCRW). Michelle has a BS in Chemical Engineering, minor in Public Affairs for Engineers, and an MS in Engineering and Technology Management.

Steve Bouchard
Steve BouchardClient Relationship Manager

“Our mission is to bring together high performers. To get these awesome, amazing, creative people in the same room and watch the sparks fly. Watch, as we like to say, amazing things happen.”

Steve Bouchard, Co-Founder of Cerno, is a certified Career Coach and has been recognized for innovation and creativity for his work with Emerging Professionals in the workplace. The diversity of Steve’s professional experience is what allows him to develop unique and creative solutions to solve the challenges of employee engagement and retention among high performers in today’s competitive business environment. With over a decade of experience working in Sales, Product Management and Operations, for both private and multibillion-dollar publicly-held organizations, Steve brings perspective from many different functional angles and understands what makes high performers “tick”. Steve has traveled extensively throughout Asia and the Pacific, conducting business in over 15 countries. Having stamped too many passport pages to count, Steve has developed a cultural awareness and global context which translates to a competitive advantage in the increasingly global business landscape.

Steve speaks for universities and professional groups and has served in leadership positions and on the Board of Directors for several not-for-profit associations. Steve has been recognized for his contributions with the “President’s Award” and being named “Board of Directors Distinguished Member of the Year”.  Steve also received international recognition from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) at their 2014 annual conference in Las Vegas, receiving the “Person of the Year Award” for Innovation and Creativity.

Steve’s experience in business, coaching and public speaking is extensive and when combined with what other Cerno team members bring to the table, is what creates the genius of Cerno programs. With Cerno, it’s about leveraging the intersection of passion and energy, to create a culture of high performance.

Cubicles and fluorescent lighting aren’t for Steve.

He prefers heading outside for a good dose of vitamin D and searching for adventure. Steve is trained in wilderness survival, backcountry first aid and outdoor leadership. What does a good adventure look like? For starters, Steve has biked to the top of Mount Evans in Colorado, which at 14,130 ft. elevation is the highest paved auto road in North America. Since he’s a fan of pushing his limits, Steve went on to hike to the summit four more 14’ers the very next day! Originally from the northeast, Steve has spent countless days in the mountains of New England and the Appalachians along the east coast. Steve believes that a thirst for adventure can be used to drive one’s pursuit of professional success by exploring new challenges that fuel personal growth and development. Steve holds a BSE in Electrical Engineering, along with an MBA.

Get to know Steve

  • Coffee or Tea?   “Espresso!”
  • Most amazing place you’ve been?  “Moonlight Taj Mahal”
  • Morning or night person?  “Morning, wake-up at 5:05am”
Anna Bracco
Anna BraccoProgram Development Manager

“Anytime you get outside and are doing something adventurous, you’re learning a lot about yourself, and those lessons are very applicable across different areas of life.”

Anna Bracco, the head of Program Development at Cerno, has spent 10 years as a talent management consultant, helping to select, assess, and develop executives in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. Anna’s depth of experience creating talent engagement programs both stateside and abroad add a unique element to the programs she develops for Cerno. She has developed tools for assessing and coaching high performance teams, soliciting 360º feedback, and high performer identification. She is experienced in identifying high potential employees, and teaching managers to provide and gracefully receive feedback. Anna’s work in the corporate sector includes evaluating first line supervisors to corporate Board performance.  Anna is uniquely skilled to give insight into the minds, habits, and needs of top performers and how to garner their loyalty.

Anna has taught as an adjunct professor in International Business, obtained her certification as a Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR), and is actively involved in several professional organizations such as the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Society for Industrial Organizational Psychologists (SIOP). She is also very active in her community, volunteering for many local organizations and serves on the board of a local nonprofit.

Anna’s unique mix of experience working with C-Suite executives and in outdoor experiential education gives her vision from both sides of the aisle, which helps create exceptional programs that are equally beneficial for the employees and employers.

Anna’s adventurous spirit and willingness to take risks is easily seen in her love of travel and anything outdoors.  As a trip leader for the Nantahala Outdoor Center and Davidson Outdoors, she has been trained as a certified raft guide, in whitewater rescue, in wilderness first aid, and wilderness survival. Anna has climbed the face of Mount St. Victoire in Aix-en-Provence, France, and is constantly on the lookout for new peaks to summit, new trails to explore, and new ways to get out into the world to challenge herself physically and mentally.
After living in France for four years, Anna has recently returned to North Carolina to pursue her passion for outdoor experiential learning in the corporate environment and with high achieving teams. Anna has a Master of Science in Personnel and Human Resource Development from Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, IL and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Davidson College, Davidson, NC.

Maggie Guidry, PhD
Maggie Guidry, PhDMember, Cerno Board of Advisors
Human Performance Expert
Lori Johnson-Vegas, SPHR
Lori Johnson-Vegas, SPHRMember, Cerno Board of Advisors
Human Resources Organizational Development Expert
Marc Cochran
Marc CochranMember, Cerno Board of Advisors
Talent Acquisition and Staffing Expert


Members of our team bring experience from their work with high performers at …

  • Activision
  • Amcor
  • ATK
  • BCBS
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Broadwind Energy
  • Brunswick
  • Cargill
  • Coca-Cola Enterprises
  • Conoco
  • Cliffs
  • Convergys
  • Department of Defense
  • Dwyer Instruments
  • Exelon
  • Federal Reserve Bank System
  • Follett Corporation
  • General Electric
  • Indiana Wesleyan University
  • Infogix
  • Lake Forest Graduate School of Management
  • Make a Wish Foundation
  • Merisant
  • PSEG
  • Rasmussen
  • Research International
  • Schlumberger
  • Shure
  • Sigma-Aldrich
  • SunGard
  • Swedish Health System
  • Techstar
  • UGN
  • Vega
  • Westbend
  • Whirlpool
  • Wounded Warrior Project

Find out how you can solve the talent challenge

Download our white paper, The Talent Challenge: How Leading Companies Attract, Retain, and Engage Top Talent