Instructor Bios

Ellen Burts-Cooper

Ellen Burts-Cooper, PhD

Dr. Ellen Burts-Cooper is the senior managing partner of Improve Consulting and Training Group, a firm that provides personal and professional development training, coaching and consultation. Improve has been featured in Time Magazine, Black Voices, Smart Business Magazine and Bloomberg Businessweek.

Dr. Burts-Cooper is an instructor at Case Western Reserve University in the Weatherhead Executive Education Program and The Institute for Management Studies (IMS). She is also the author of the book Canine Instinct: A Guide to Survival and Advancement in Corporate America.

She earned a BS in chemistry from Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, AL, her PhD in organic/polymer chemistry from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA, her MBA from the University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Business and her Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt certification from 3M Company.

You can listen to Ellen on her segment, "Improve Your Day with Dr. Ellen," aired on Wavelengths, The Wave 107.3 Community Affairs Show.

Elizabeth Pugel

Elizabeth Pugel, MA

Elizabeth Pugel is the Training and Development Manager at Improve Consulting and Training Group. Elizabeth Pugel has more than 15 years of experience as a Training & Development leader inspiring innovative change cultures through various Fortune 500 organizations. She is also Adjunct Faculty with the Speech Communication department at Cuyahoga Community College and Boler Business School at John Carroll University.

Elizabeth Pugel specializes in helping organizations achieve operational excellence through effective leadership development programs. She has extensive experience in adult blended learning programs which focus on professional effectiveness, communication skills, and leadership. Elizabeth applies her facilitation and management skills to develop, deliver, and implement successful business solutions. Her areas of expertise include team building, leadership development, public speaking, and soft skills.


Elizabeth Pugel has been engaged with hundreds of for-profit and non-profit clients and her facilitation experience includes topics on:

  • Public Speaking and Verbal Communication
  • Leadership Development
  • Team Building
  • Change Management
  • Time Management
  • Relationship Building
  • Career Development including Resume Writing and Interviewing


Throughout the last 15 years, Elizabeth has been engaged in hundreds of classroom and virtual training sessions on a variety of topics. Elizabeth Pugel was employed by MBNA and joined the Training & Development division during the company’s merger to Bank of America. She joined the Communication Department at Cuyahoga Community College as an Adjunct Instructor in 2010 and facilitates courses on Speech Communication, Interpersonal Communication, and Interviewing. She is also a Lecturer at John Carroll University where she teaches a Human Resources Management seminar for the MBA program. Her experience at Corporate College included courses on Professionalism, Embracing Change, Culinary Team Building, and Presentation skills. She joined the Improve Consulting team in February 2015 as the Training and Development Manager.


  • MA, John Carroll University
  • BA, University of Dayton
  • Authorized Wiley Partner for Everything DiSC
  • Six Sigma Yellow Belt, Case Western Reserve University Weatherhead School of Management
  • Cleveland Gestalt Institute