C-BEN Solutions Consultants

Dr. Charla Long



Charla is the founding president and leader for the Competency-Based Education Network. With over 25 years of experience in education and innovation, she is the leading expert in competency-based education and has led international and multi-state efforts to integrate competency-based solutions. In 2016, Long was recognized by The Chronicle of Higher Education as one of the Top 10 Most Influential People in Higher Education for her work in competency-based education. Long is co-author of The Leader’s Guide to Competency-Based Education (2018).

Prior to joining C-BEN, Charla’s career spanned law, hospitality management, and event planning. She leads the annual international and U.S-based CBExchange that brings together innovative leaders across education and workforce.

Dr. Lisa McIntyre-Hite

Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, C-BEN Solutions


Lisa leads C-BEN Solutions and is responsible for the oversight and execution of C-BEN’s consulting engagements. She brings over 21 years of experience spanning leadership roles across K-12, higher education, educational technology, educational product development, workforce education, and strategy consulting. She is a leading expert in designing and launching competency-based solutions across K-12, higher education, non-traditional learning providers and workforce in order to meet the needs of all learners while addressing the most pressing talent shortages.

Prior to joining C-BEN, Lisa was Vice President of Learning Innovation at Guild where she led strategy and operations to ensure that high-quality workplace learning counts toward a degree and provides a pathway to mobility. She also served as Senior Advisor at Entangled Solutions and was Vice President of Partner Strategy and Innovation at Pathstream, a non-traditional learning provider embedding industry certificates into academic and workplace pathways. Lisa started her CBE journey as Executive Director of Learning Innovation at Laureate Education and was Walden University’s founding Dean of Competency-Based Education where she developed the university’s direct-assessment offering, seeing it through from pilot-to-scale. She also served on C-BEN’s board of directors. Her research in CBE and learning innovation has been published by the Clayton Christensen Institute and is featured in several peer-reviewed journals.

Dr. Amber Garrison Duncan

Executive Vice President, C-BEN


Amber services as the Executive Vice President of the Competency-Based Education Network. Over her career, Amber has led work in competency-based education, learning frameworks, assessment, credential recognition, digital learner records and open data standards, as well as quality assurance. She is a proven catalyst with over 20 years of progressive leadership to scale student learning and success policies and practices, particularly competency-based learning that serves minoritized communities.

Prior to joining C-BEN, Amber spent 8 years as a strategy director at Lumina Foundation where she led portfolios designed to serve adult learners through new learning infrastructure and student success at community colleges. Key leadership and investments included Learning and Employment Records, T3 Innovation Network, National Institute of Learning Outcomes Assessment, Degree Qualifications Profile, Connecting Credentials Framework, Competency-Based Education Network, AAC&U Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education, ACE Credit, National Skills Coalition Non-Degree Credential Criteria, REACH Collaborative, and All Learning Counts Policy Toolkit. Prior to Lumina, Amber served as Director of Student Affairs Assessment and Research at the University of Oregon, allowing her to lead the division in designing learning and assessment without courses or credits. Amber has researched and written on general education, integrative learning, assessment, Latina’s in higher education and women in leadership, including serving as co-editor of Leading Assessment for Student Success. Dr. Garrison Duncan’s early career included roles in student affairs at Florida State University, University of Michigan, Hope College and Texas A&M University.

Dr. Laurie Dodge

Vice President of Quality Assurance and Accreditation


Laurie leads C-BEN’s Quality Assurance and Accreditation work and serves as a consultant working hand-in-hand with C-BEN’s clients as they navigate designing and launching a CBE program. Laurie is a leader in CBE, serving as the inaugural Chair of the C-BEN Board of Directors. She is also a member of the NC-SARA Board of Directors, WASC Senior College Commission Substantive Change Committee, and Higher Learning Commission Credential Lab Quality Assurance Design team.

Before joining C-BEN, Dr. Dodge served as provost at the University of Massachusetts Global. Laurie also held the positions of psychology professor and vice provost. Laurie served as the university’s accreditation liaison officer and was a team member on national and international accreditation site visits. Laurie’s proudest accomplishment was leading the creation and implementation of six direct assessment CBE programs. She was named one of the “Most Innovative People in Higher Education” by Washington Monthly (2016). She is a co-author of the book “A Leader’s Guide to Competency-Based Education: From Inception to Implementation”.

Grace Fowler

Senior Director of Client Success


Grace is responsible for designing and delivering collaborative, high-impact engagements for C-BEN clients. Grace brings a decade of experience supporting the learn work ecosystem in meeting the needs of underrepresented learners and working adults. As a strategy and innovation consultant, she has particular expertise supporting learning providers, state-systems, and organizations through change management initiatives, outcomes improvement, learner experience design, new opportunity exploration and validation, and innovation enablement. Prior to joining C-BEN, Grace was the director of the Learning Center of Excellence at Guild Education, driving strategy related to short-form, skills-based programs and aligning learning to organizational needs and career pathways.

Dr. Ryan Specht-Boardman



Ryan partners with and advises colleges and universities across the country to build scalable and sustainable competency-based academic programs. He brings nearly a decade of experience in postsecondary competency-based education. Ryan co-edited the book, New Models of Higher Education: Unbundled, Rebundled, Customized, & DIY, which won the 2023 Phillip E. Frandson Award for Literature, the top national literature award in the field of continuing, online, and professional education. An adept project manager, adviser, and facilitator, Ryan’s skillset and deep knowledge of the nuts-and-bolts of CBE pedagogy and operations uniquely position him to help colleges and universities as they discover, build, and scale CBE programs.

Prior to joining C-BEN, Ryan managed the University of Wisconsin Flexible Option, one of the nation’s vanguard portfolios of competency-based academic programs. In addition to his work in CBE, Ryan has led projects in a range of postsecondary educational innovations, such as online IT boot camps and workforce-partnered microcredentials.

Natalia Mejia

Senior Learning Experience Designer


Natalia leads C-BEN’s instructional approach and is responsible for ensuring a high-quality learning experience. She leads all functions related to high quality instructional design, from conceptualization, design, build, maintenance, and oversight of online programs. Consistent with C-BEN’s Quality Framework, design is done with special attention to learning science principles and educational frameworks.

Prior to joining C-BEN, Natalia has developed a variety of skills-based, workforce-relevant programs during her time at Southern New Hampshire University and has first-hand experience teaching adult learners.

Yedid Minjares-Montoya

Director of Consulting Business Operations


Yedid is responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of C-BEN Solutions. Yedid has supported C-BEN for nearly a decade and she leverages that experience and expertise to guide our work. Prior to joining C-BEN, Yedid was the Office and Budget Manager for Lipscomb University, a founding C-BEN member.

Lacey McCann

Product Manager & Consultant


Lacey McCann is a product leader with 12+ years of experience in the education space, specializing in visioning and operationalizing learning solutions that drive outcomes for working adults. Lacey’s background spans leading end-to-end product experience and operational design, from awareness to completion, for competency-based education learning programs; to strategizing, designing and building front-end and backend solutions that connect adult frontline workers to educational opportunities.

Prior to joining C-BEN, Lacey was Director of Product Management, Student Experience at Guild, where she led the product team responsible for transforming the CRM systems and communication channels used to serve learners. At Strada Education Network, Lacey served as Director of Product Management and Strategy, defining the product and service portfolio and providing strategic consultation to Strada affiliates such as CAEL, InsideTrack, Education at Work, and Roadtrip Nation. As Director of Product Management, Tempo Learning at Walden University, Lacey led the end-to-end customer journey design and launch of one of the early entry CBE programs in the U.S., including messaging, enrollment/onboarding, portal and learning management system, and coaching/support model. Partnering in lockstep with academic leaders and university operational teams to innovate the operational processes, technical frameworks and UX necessary to scale direct-assessment programs, Lacey helped to lay the foundation to support thousands of adult students.

Angie Walker



Angie supports C-BEN’s higher education clients and partners in designing and launching CBE programs. She brings over fifteen years of experience in CBE. Her work has spanned both two-year and four-year institutions of various sizes, including Western Governors University, Salt Lake Community College, University of Utah, and Southern New Hampshire University. She has extensive experience in both CBE pedagogy and in the strategic operations of creating and supporting diverse CBE models.