Our Team





VALERIE GERMAIN

From an early age, my parents pushed me to understand people – their dreams, motivations, and road blocks. My dad was an English Professor and his intuition and ability to pull the best out of his students and help shape who they would become, was inspirational and ultimately led me to study psychology – adolescent and organizational.  

I didn’t want to be a teacher, nor a ‘psychologist’, but I was motivated to make a difference, in even just one person’s life. Later in my 20’s, when the opportunity to join a boutique executive search firm came up, I jumped at it. The platform provided insight into organizations and individuals, and taught me the importance of “fit” and culture, and the impact that outstanding leadership can make on the world around them.

While my ‘day job’ was focused on helping organizations put in place the right talent, my passion and curiosity has been on the “puzzle” of how organizations and people succeed at the very top of their capabilities. Over the years, I have been honored to be an advisor and confidant to individuals during periods of reflection. Too often “lonely at the top” or “if I had just had that insight” has impacted decisions that people have made.  

The mission of the entire Banff Advisors team fulfills that early push from my childhood to work with extraordinary individuals who can benefit from insights, connections, support, and ‘a friend’, as they traverse those important decisions. Additionally, our ability to bring those insights to a broader community is exciting and makes me jump out of bed every morning.

Intertwined with work is a passion for riding and competing horses. I started riding when I was seven and it is one of the few sports where one can get better with age! I particularly love working with young horses and helping them develop to their full potential, a theme that seems to resonate in all parts of my life.

As an only child, I have worked since I was 16 – teaching riding to emotionally and physically challenged adolescents, running special events for an Arts Council that my mom ran, and as head chef in a seafood restaurant at 19. When I graduated from college, I was lucky to join Cambridge Technology Group, today what we would think of as a ‘Tech startup’. We were at the forefront of changes in technology and as a young person just starting my professional career, the opportunity was broad. During seven years at CTG, I led special events, the Office of the CEO, PR, HR and ultimately the executive education business. Many of the experiences I had at CTG were foundation building and still influence me today.

The opportunity to re-join David and pick up on themes that we have worked on over the years is exciting. The quality of the entire Banff Advisors team is inspirational. Most importantly, our mission to make a difference in people’s lives, however large or small, is humbling and something I am committed to ensuring we deliver as a team.




DAVID BOEHMER

I’m fascinated by the path people’s lives take; but the chance involved and missed opportunities along the way has always driven me nuts. 

I was born in Germany and raised in Canada… I guess that makes me someone who is direct, on time, and knows a Caesar is a drink not a salad. It also meant I was the strange “foreign kid” who played soccer instead of hockey in our small-town. I was raised by my mom and cheered on by my little sister, who always encouraged me to “follow what makes your heart sing”. I am inspired by my amazing wife and two boys who are my everything. 

Chance encounters shaped my life. There are those I know of, and many others I am sure I walked by without even realizing their impact. For the first chapter of my career working in executive search, I got to be an insider and see firsthand how careers are shaped and leadership decisions made. And I saw firsthand how much influence chance and ‘playing the game’ had.

Now with our amazing Banff Advisors team and the clients we serve, we are driven to build a business and ecosystem that is based on honesty and generosity. We want to help everyone be better at what they do, who they are, and who they want to be. At its core is our belief that sometimes all people need is someone to be on their side.

I would love to tell you there was a grand plan, but the truth is, I needed a work visa. It was 2001, everyone was getting laid off, and I thought if I could get to NYC (with said work visa), anything was possible. Clearly I had watched “Secret to My Success” too often. I landed a research role hidden in the back of a midtown office of a global search firm… and off I went.

I founded Banff Advisors as I wanted to make a difference, even a small ripple, in the fulfillment of people’s ambitions. I believe in owning your future, in being purposeful in what you want your impact to be, and that we can’t go at it alone.




LAKIN ROLAND

Lakin is pronounced like “bacon”. I have introduced myself this way since my freshman year of college. I like it for three reasons: 1) it is informal, which I feel is a perfect introduction to me as a human; 2) it normally makes people laugh; and 3) they will definitely remember it. 

I am an only child raised by a single parent, so all I wanted to do as a kid was play team sports. My first love was basketball and it took me all the way to Dartmouth College where I immersed myself in group culture as a sociology major by day and college athlete by night. After graduation, I took a leap to business school in England, focusing on Human Resource Management and Employee Relations. I followed my biggest mentor to coach Division I Women’s Basketball for two years and then to a non-profit where I worked to create a curriculum for coaches based on character-driven leadership principles. An educator at heart, I take great pride in developing holistic people and have a soft spot for the underdog.  

I am a total geek for anything that has to do with team building, brainstorming, or culture creating. When I’m not “working”, I like to run, cook, read, write, and go out of my way to spend time with my people. I love every dog I’ve ever pet, coffee, playing all the sports, and am learning my way around a chess board.

Technically my first job title was professional athlete, which is the coolest first job I could have picked for myself. It is still mind blowing that someone (multiple people!) paid me to play basketball for a living. I spent a year in France mastering my craft and took advantage of being an expat with tons of free time. Living outside of the United States, I learned to work with so many different people, which helped to expand my lens and develop my personal beliefs based on those experiences.

I realized early on that the people make the place. It is the reason I chose Dartmouth and the reason I went back to coach there. The Banff Advisors team sealed the deal for me during our very first conversation. I remember ending the call and thinking to myself “wow, it would be an amazing opportunity to work with them.” Not only am I completely captivated by the mission but the people I get to work with each day are unmatched in their authenticity and passion for what we do together. As a leader I am also completely jazzed by the idea of impacting an organization as it grows with a dynamic “roadmap” of how to do it. My role at Banff Advisors is the perfect combination of learning, creating, and connecting – a dream job!




ASTRI SORENSON

It’s no surprise to the uncles I bossed around when they babysat, nor to my three younger siblings, that I’m the go-to-person for everything related to operations at Banff Advisors. Across industries, and throughout my life, I have focused on optimizing organizational and operational processes, systems, and strategies. A family vacation, a newly expanded board, a novel program – I can’t think of anything more fun than organizing chaos, strategically, diplomatically, and patiently. 

As a Washington, DC native, I gravitated towards public service and the intersection of markets and policy in the first chapter of my career. I studied history and political science at St. Olaf College, did stints in Morocco, Ouagadougou, and London, and got my Masters at Sciences Po before focusing on economic development, strategy, and governance at large foundations and McKinsey.

Leadership has always intrigued me – what makes strong leaders tick, how leaders shape the trajectory of a business, why (and how) good leaders can influence the world’s most pressing problems. To support the Banff Advisors team in working with some of the most curious, generous, and sharp leaders I’ve ever met is a privilege.

In my free time, I hit the pavement in DC, escape to the Eastern Shore to spend time on the water, and cruise through as many books as I can in a year – preferably with a frothy latte at my side. 

All of them. From global politics to economic theory, a two-year college course covering the Western canon to statistics, I loved it all.

The course that stands out most: a chocolate unit in fifth grade. An entire month to study the cocoa supply chain, international trade, the business and marketing fundamentals of multinational chocolate companies and artisanal firms, and nutrition. My sweet tooth was happy and I was hooked – on agriculture, global economics, and business.

I follow good people, and David Boehmer is great people. How could you not jump at the opportunity to join a kind and creative founder in partnering with inspiring and impactful executive leaders? And with each stellar addition to the Banff Advisors team and network, people continue to reinforce that the decision to join was a no-brainer.