Chris Voss is a former FBI hostage negotiator, best-selling author, and CEO of the Black Swan Group, a consulting firm that provides training and advises on negotiation, business communication, and conflict resolution. Voss has over 20 years of experience in high-stakes negotiations, including kidnappings, terrorism cases, and hostage situations, and is recognized as one of the leading experts in the field. He has written two books, "Never Split the Difference" and "The Full Fee Agent," which have received critical acclaim and are widely regarded as must-reads for anyone looking to improve their negotiation skills.
Steve's background as an NFL player instilled a strong work ethic, which carried over into his professional career. After working in institutional fixed-income sales on Wall Street, he transitioned to residential real estate sales in Fullerton, CA, where he quickly found success. In 1993, Steve founded a coaching program that marked the beginning of his career as a real estate coach. He later became a founding partner of Teles Properties in 2007, helping the company open four offices before leaving in 2012.
Derek Gaunt is a former law enforcement professional, best-selling author, and negotiation expert with 29 years of experience. As a commander of hostage negotiations teams in the Washington, DC area, Derek has a wealth of knowledge on incident command and interpersonal communication. He is frequently invited to speak at conferences and seminars on negotiation and SWAT operations. His engaging presentations are filled with practical techniques to understand human behavior and navigate difficult conversations. Derek is also a Expert Negotiation Coach The Black Swan Group, where he teaches organizations how to apply negotiation principles to their business and improve their communication.
Troy Smith is a Negotiation Instructor and Coach at The Black Swan Group who joined the team in July 2020. Troy is a retired San Antonio Police Department officer who spent 23 years with the department, including 22 years in specialized units—such as the SWAT/Crisis Negotiators team and the U.S. Marshals’ Fugitive Task Force. During his career, Troy was involved in more than 300 hostage negotiations, including 270 as a lead negotiator. He never lost any of them.
Marcella Oakley is a seasoned instructor and coach, with experience in both law enforcement and real estate. She worked as a detective and a member of the hostage negotiations team in the Washington DC area, specializing in investigating crimes against children. Marcella's transition to real estate in 2013 was seamless, thanks to her strong consulting and negotiation skills, which have helped her team become one of the top producers in the Northern Virginia/DMV area.