Avenir, founded in 2007, has a mission to bring you highly effective, science-based coaching and training programming. Our team of highly qualified professionals has experience in a wide range of disciplines and performance-enhancement approaches. Avenir’s mission is to scour the landscape for the best tools and information and bring them to you in a practical (and fun) way to enhance your brains, minds and bodies. Our uniquely crafted training and coaching programs enable you to be at your best in all that you do, or want to do. We provide strategic guidance and clarity to our clients and work closely with them from the planning stage through tactical execution, reporting, and success analysis.
We listen. We are highly dedicated professionals, working hard to be a part of our clients’ success stories. We understand that organizations have unique goals, challenges and resource constraints and listen closely to craft a program tailor made to fit their particular needs and situation.
We are great communicators. We constantly reach out to our clients throughout the progress to ensure the best possible outcomes. We take full ownership of our work and actions, and we appreciate constructive feedback -- it helps us solidify our relationship with our clients and produce better work.
We want you to succeed! Every team member at Avenir has held one or more positions in the past where they have interacted with different types of groups, companies and organizations. Our main goal is that you get the facilitated training and coaching that is necessary to grow and succeed. We’re small and flexible and wish to be known by our expertise coupled with our remarkable customer service. Our staff is cross-trained in all facets of services we offer and have a ‘can do’ attitude towards all projects and challenges.
We love what we do and, above all, we believe in our work!
Colleen Mizuki, Avenir Founder and Senior Trainer
Colleen Mizuki holds a B.A in French, Chinese and Economics, an M.A. in Counseling Psychology and is certified as a professional coach. She also holds certifications in Cultural Intelligence, Unconscious Bias, HeartMath®, Somatic Experiencing® and Mindfulness-based Mind Fitness Training (MMFT)®”. Her early career was in semiconductors and information technologies as a trainer and technology analyst. She is Founder of Avenir Coaching and Training and served as the Director of Training for the Mind Fitness Training Institute. Colleen has trained/coached individuals and groups from over 20 countries in a wide range of professional sectors. Currently, much of her work is focused on assisting military personnel and family members pre, during and post deployment to war zones, specializing in resilience, communication skills, and mind/brain/body fitness. She is a Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program Cadre Speaker and has presented at numerous conferences around the world. Colleen is a contributing author to Healing War Trauma: A Handbook of Creative Approaches, published by Routledge in 2013. She is fluent in French and conversational in Spanish and Mandarin Chinese. LinkedIn.
Kathleen Cutshall, Trainer
For over a decade, Kathleen has provided counseling for active duty service members and veterans, as well as their spouses and partners, to assist them navigate the impact of military life and the aftermath of repeated deployments. Kathleen has supported members from all 5 service branches in a wide range of combat and non-combat jobs, and completed multiple assignments at U.S. military installations and USMC Camps worldwide. Kathleen was a member of the Psychological Health Team for the Army Reserve 63d Regional Support Command and an instructor and Military Therapy K9 Handler for the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program. Additionally, she has been a supporting therapist for the Wounded Warrior Project/Project Odyssey. In her private practice, Kathleen sees military clients and their partners exclusively, and has placed increased focus on tailoring non-traditional counseling support for members of the Special Operations Community. She is currently working to integrate service dog handling with mindfulness-based training. Kathleen holds both a B.S and a M.S. in Kinesiology from California State University, Fullerton, a Master’s of Social Work from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, and is licensed to practice independently in California. She has completed the Mindfulness-Based Mind Fitness Trainer Certification Program and has been trained in, and practices, Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR). In addition, Kathleen completed the Service Dog Trainer Summer Session at Bergin University for Canine Studies (provider of Paws for Purple Hearts), with the specific intention of developing a therapeutic protocol for her military clients. Earlier in her work life, Kathleen managed an employee wellness program for Chevron Petroleum Technology Company and was a Hospice Social Worker for Kaiser Permanente.
Chris Dixon, Trainer
Chris retired honorably after 20 years in the United States Marine Corps and is a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. He served with 1st Force Reconnaissance Company and 1st Reconnaissance Battalion. Chris deployed to Iraq three times and once to Afghanistan. Chris is a military diver and Airborne/Freefall parachutist. He instructed at the Military Freefall School in Yuma, Arizona and holds Instructor #588. After retiring from the Marine Corps, he returned to school full time, majoring in psychology. He is co-authoring a book on his experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan that he hopes will be a resource for civilians wishing to better understand the ins and outs of the military experience and overall culture. Chris currently works as a firearms instructor at a local range in Orange County, California.
Christine is an LCSW as well as certified by the Academy of Cognitive Therapy, and by the Behavioral Therapy Training Institute, and has been trained by The Mind Fitness Institute in Mindfulness- based Mind Fitness. In the past 30+ years in the health and mental health field, Christine has held senior positions in both inpatient and outpatient mental health clinics, hospitals, employee assistance programs, as a clinician, supervisor, and consultant. Since 1995, she has been in private practice, offering mindfulness-based cognitive behavioral therapy to individuals, couples and families, as well as teaching, supervising interns and medical residents, and mentoring therapists in the integration of psychotherapy, mindfulness, and body-based practices for increasing resilience. As part of the Mind Fitness Training team, she offered training in stress resilience and performance enhancement. Christine has a passionate interest in the intersection between the science of the mind and nervous system and the art of facilitating change.
Solwazi Johnson, Senior Trainer and Coach
Solwazi has over 25 years of experience as a public educator and trainer in the field of public health communicable disease control, mindfulness and as a certified Mindfulness-Based Mind Fitness (MMFT) senior trainer. During his tenure with the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC), he provided technical assistance, training, program evaluation, and one-on-one capacity building services to a variety of community-based, governmental, and private providers of disease-prevention services and training across the nation to public health physicians, nurses, epidemiologists, and disease intervention specialists. As a mindfulness teacher and MMFT trainer, Solwazi has worked with populations as varied as the military, corporate professionals, lawyers, and the incarcerated. Solwazi has degrees in Preventive Medicine Technology and Political Science from Merritt College and San Jose State University respectively. He is also a graduate of The Rolf Institute of Structural Integration in Boulder, Colorado, the Thai School of Complementary Health in Chaing Mai, Thailand, and the Academy for Guided Imagery, Inc. Solwazi received an honorable discharge from the U.S. Navy, where he worked as a Hospital Corpsman, providing a broad range of medical services to active duty service members, military dependents, and civilian contractors.
Jared Smyser, Trainer and Coach
Jared Smyser served in the United States Marine Corps for 9 years, deploying to Iraq and Central and South America. He held numerous jobs in the Marine Corps, including Artillery Section Chief, Martial Arts Instructor, Aviation Supply Clerk, and Vehicle Commander, running convoy-security missions throughout Iraq in 2005. After returning home and experiencing symptoms of post-traumatic stress, Jared became passionate about alternative healing modalities, such as mindfulness, yoga, nutrition, and exercise. He began practicing and making changes in his life and saw many benefits, which inspired him to pursue a career through which he could share what he found with others. In 2012, he was honorably discharged and began working with the Mind Fitness Training Institute, training Mindfulness-based resilience skills to military and civilian populations. Jared has a bachelor’s degree in Digital Cinematography from Full Sail University and founded Still and Motion Art, a photography and videography company. Jared is certified as a wellness coach through the Spencer Institute, coaching groups and individuals to be healthier and happier.
Shawn Van Bockel, Trainer
Shawn received her BS in Psychology from Yale University and Medical Degree from University of California, San Francisco. She trained in the Radiology residency at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center followed by Fellowship at Stanford University. She worked many years as a physician in the private sector before returning to VMC as an Attending Radiologist responsible for direct interpretation of patient studies, teaching In-house and Stanford residents, mentoring research in Body Imaging, and serving as Chief of GU Radiology.