ABOUT US

ABOUT US

Brain Cultured Builds Bridges Between Cultured, Empowering Global Success. 

Global teams struggling to connect? Brain Cultured (women-led!) bridges the gap! Fun, interactive training and  cultural assessments in various languages build cultural awareness & communication. Foster collaboration, and critical thinking, and watch your teams thrive. Free trial available!

Services offered in: English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese.

OUR MISSION

Brain Cultured empowers individuals and organizations to thrive in a globalized world by fostering:

  • Cultural Awareness (Foundation): groundwork fostering knowledge and understanding in diverse cultural context
  • Cognitive Agility (Building Blocks): focuses on mental flexibility to adapt thinking and approach to different cultural environments
  • Empathy and Relationship Building (Connecting Beams) focuses on building genuine connections with people from different backgrounds.
  • Cross-Cultural Collaboration (Bridge Construction): This pillar focuses on the practical skills needed to collaborate effectively in diverse teams
Woman having a video conference call with her diverse and multicultural team to address needs of their company

OUR TEAM

WEYU HODGE

Principal Consultant

Weyu Hodge - Brain Cultured Founder

Currently Based in: New York, NY

Languages: English, Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish, and Garifuna

Places around the world where she has lived, worked, or has expertise: Belize, Brazil, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Ghana, Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia, Honduras, and India.

Global Citizen, Culture Champion:

Weyu Hodge has over a decade of experience working with global organizations and companies to address inclusive hiring, build cohesive teams, and train leadership on inclusive approaches. Her love for interacting with people across borders led her to live and work in nine countries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Her career began in the international development field when she worked for a social enterprise in Brazil, taught English in Colombia, and managed medical missions for an International NGO.

From the Ground Up:

Her idea for Brain Cultured was first sparked while working with local international teams on the ground. She noticed there was a lack of training for Western employees and international volunteers on what it means to work in a different cultures. The lack of training created inequitable dynamics between the local team and the ex-pat program managers they worked with. Witnessing this on-the-ground, led her to a career path in organization development with a focus on training leaders on cultural awareness and building organizational systems to address inequities in the workplace. She previously was a Senior Learning and Development Program Manager and DEIAB facilitator for ReadySet, a corporate DEIAB firm. As a Senior Program Manager, she worked with various industries in tech, entertainment, consulting firms, and non-profits to conduct needs assessments, provide change management recommendations to leadership, and create a organizational development training strategy.

Beyond the Boardroom: A Champion for Global Understanding

When not leading Brain Cultured, Weyu is interviewing guest for her podcast Labyrinth of the First Gen or is practicing learning her mother’s native language Garifuna.

What Weyu Brings to the Table:

  • Over a decade of experience promoting cultural understanding and fostering inclusive workplaces.
  • Certified Cultural Intelligence (CQ) expert.
  • Extensive knowledge of diverse cultures and lived experience working internationally.
  • Founder of Brain Cultured, a company dedicated to building bridges between cultures

Imagine struggling to launch a new global marketing campaign because your international teams couldn’t quite grasp the cultural nuances of the messaging. That was the reality Catalina faced early in her career as a Strategy and Program Manager. Witnessing the frustration and missed opportunities sparked a passion in her to bridge these cultural divides.

Catalina’s diverse experience managing projects across various industries and countries fueled her understanding of the power of clear communication. Leading a digital transformation for a multinational company, she saw firsthand how cultural misunderstandings could derail progress. This ignited her commitment to creating seamless collaboration across borders.

Turning Challenges into Success Stories

Catalina thrives on turning complex challenges into success stories. She brings her strategic thinking and problem-solving skills to develop engaging training programs that cater to diverse learning styles and cultural backgrounds.

When not strategizing or fostering cross-cultural collaboration, you’ll find Catalina exploring new cultures firsthand. Her love for travel fuels her understanding of different perspectives and informs the design of Brain Cultured’s training programs.

Catalina’s Expertise at Brain Cultured:

  • Over 10 years of experience in strategy and program management.
  • Proven track record of leading successful cross-cultural projects.
  • Passionate about clear communication and bridging cultural divides.
  • Skilled in developing engaging and effective training programs.

LAURA CATALINA PEÑA

International Advisor, Consultant

Currently Based in: Ghent, Belguim

Languages: Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, English, and Dutch

Place around the world where she has lived, worked, or has expertise: Colombia, Italy, Brazil, Paraguay, Chile and Belgium

KYRA BROWN

International Advisor, Consultant

Currently Based in: Baltimore, MD

Languages: English and French

Places around the world where she has lived, worked, or has expertise: Cameroon, Ethiopia, Dominican Republic, China, Guinea, Ghana (Peace Corps), and Mauritania 

Kyra’s journey to becoming a cultural bridge builder began with a life-changing experience in the Peace Corps of northern Ghana. Witnessing the complexities of cultural dynamics firsthand ignited a passion for creating positive change on a deeper level.

For nearly a decade, Kyra has dedicated her career to international non-profit program management, focusing on democracy and governance, public health, and conflict resolution in the Sahel region of Africa. As the Sahel Program Manager, she works across Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and neighboring Littoral States.

Kyra’s work centers on building strong, sustainable democracies, equipping communities with conflict resolution skills to address inequalities, and fostering resilience against violent extremism. She is a strong advocate for deconstructing white saviorism in international aid, promoting inclusive and dynamic solutions that empower local communities.

Building Bridges for a Brighter Future:

Kyra brings her extensive experience, cultural sensitivity, and unwavering dedication to Brain Cultured. Together, we can build bridges between cultures, empowering communities to thrive in a more equitable world.

What Kyra Brings to Brain Cultured:

  • Nearly a decade of experience in international non-profit program management.
  • Extensive knowledge of the Sahel region and its cultural dynamics.
  • Expertise in conflict resolution, good governance practices, and community resilience.
  • Passionate advocate for decolonizing aid practices and fostering inclusive solutions.

Rokhaya Ndiaye is a visionary leader and organizational development consultant who empowers leaders and teams in global projects and organizations. A true mompreneur, her multifaceted approach combines business strategy, podcast coaching, voice-over artistry, and even healing practices.

Rokhaya’s multicultural background, shaped by her experiences growing up in Senegal, immigrating to Canada, and later relocating to Jamaica, equips her with a deep understanding of diverse cultures and perspectives.

Intercultural Advocacy Across Sectors:

Drawing inspiration from her own journey, Rokhaya champions cultural celebration in the workplace. She advocates for acknowledging, respecting, and valuing the unique contributions of every individual. Her global mindset, empathy, and ability to bridge cultural gaps make her a key asset in fostering inclusive and effective work environments.

Rokhaya’s expertise extends far beyond marketing, podcasting, and voice coaching. Reflecting her commitment to personal and professional growth, she offers intercultural training programs, coaching, and workshops designed to enhance collaboration and performance within organizations.

What Rokhaya Brings to Brain Cultured:

  • A decade of experience in business strategy and marketing
  • Expertise in creating initiatives to celebrate and prioritize diverse cultures in the workplace
  • Extensive knowledge on cross-cultural training and inclusive practices
  • Passionate speakers and an advocate for working mothers

 

ROKHAYA NDIAYE

International Advisor, Consultant

Currently Based in:Vancouver, Canada & Lucea, Hanover Jamaica

Languages:English, French, Wolof, Patois

Place around the world where she has lived, worked, or has expertise: Senegal, Canada, Jamaica

MALIKA HODGE

International Advisor, Consultant

Malika Hodge

Currently Based in: New York, NY

Languages: English and Spanish

Places around the world where she has lived, worked, or has expertise: Haiti, Dominican Republic (Peace Corps), and Guatemala

Malika is a humanization strategist, philosopher, and DEIA (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility) thought leader. With a Master’s in Public Health and a background in organizational development, coaching, and facilitation, she empowers organizations to create safe, trusting, and motivating work environments for all.

Public Health Lens in Fostering Equitable Workplace Dynamics:

Driven by a desire to dismantle systemic inequities, Malika champions human-centered approaches in the workplace. Witnessing the toll on her parents and countless others, she recognizes the multi-generational impact of toxic work cultures. Malika passionately advocates for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) well-being, viewing workplace inclusion as a critical public health and human rights issue.

Bridging the gap between cross-cultural initiatives, learning & development, and organizational development, Malika helps organizations build a more just and equitable future for all.

Malika’s Expertise at Brain Cultured:

  • Expertise with Integrating a public health lens in leadership programs
  • Passion for her combining her  philosophical background with expertise in organizational development
  • Translates cross-cultural principles into actionable strategies

 

 

Karina Eileraas Karakus is a professor and published author with over a decade of experience in academia including UCLA, USC, UC Berkeley, and Pomona College. Her teaching, research, and writing address sexual and gender-based violence, transnational trauma, global reproductive health and politics, diaspora, sexuality, nationalism, revolution, film, fashion, visual culture, music and performance studies, social media, digital citizenship, and bodily protest, centering especially on the Middle East & North Africa.

Bridging Narratives Through Writing & Equity in Global Communities: 

Eileraas Karakus is the author of Between Image and identity: Transnational Fantasy, Symbolic Violence, and Feminist Misrecognition.  She has also published and presented research on Turkish modest fashion influencers, nude protest and digital citizenship in the MENA region, gendered Islamophobia, 1990s girl bandsMarilyn Monroe and celebrity culture.

Beyond academia, Karina consults on global gender equity and social inclusion, global organizational development strategy, ESG, social impact and community engagement, sexual and gender-based violence, mental health, gender and cultural inclusivity, free speech and inclusive content curation on digital media platforms. She has also worked as a global consultant with Ernst & Young, Accenture, and Sidley & Austin. 

What Karina Brings to Brain Cultured:

  • Expertise on sexual and gender-based violence, mental health, and cultural inclusivity
  • Curates inclusive content for digital media platforms
  • Consults on global gender equity and social inclusion
  • Advises on Global cross-cultural strategy, ESG, and social impact

KARINA EILERAAS KARAKUS

International Advisor, Consultant

Currently Based in: Istanbul, Turkey

Languages: English and French

Place around the world where she has lived, worked, or areas of expertise: Algeria, France, Norway, Turkey, and Iran

MARIA MERCÊDES

International Advisor, Consultant

Currently Based in:  São Paulo (SP), Brazil

Languages: English and Brazilian Portuguese

Places around the world where she has lived, worked, or has expertise:  Brazil, Chile, and Japan

Economics scholar by day, creative powerhouse by night, Maria Mercêdes is a woman of many talents. She is a singer, writer, artistic manager, and professional life coach who empowers individuals to embrace their authentic selves and build fulfilling lives.

Born in Rio de Janeiro, Mercêdes’ journey has taken her across Brazil, from Brasília and Bahia to her current home in São Paulo. Her diverse experiences – from acting to working at Brazil’s largest bank – have fueled her passion for helping others.

Bridging the Gap Between You and Your Goals: 

As a life coach, Mercêdes bridges the gap between personal and professional aspirations. She draws on her experience working with people from all walks of life to craft strategies for success, fostering a healthy and supportive environment for both individuals and organizations.

When she’s not inspiring others, Mercêdes stays active with boxing, pilates, bodybuilding, and even hip hop! She is a lifelong learner who embraces new cultures and adventures, bringing that same enthusiasm to her work as a coach.

Mercêdes Expertise at Brain Cultured

  • Guides individuals and organizations in achieving their professional and personal goals.
  • Strategies to build supportive environments where both people and businesses can thrive.
  • Passion for discovery and growth when coaching others to reach their goals

 

With over 11 years of hospitality experience, Andrea brings a wealth of expertise in customer service, team management, and program development to Brain Cultured. Her strong work ethic and cultural sensitivity allow her to build rapport and navigate diverse environments with ease. This foundation translates seamlessly into fostering positive interactions and building collaborative teams within Brain Cultured.

Building Connections & Impact:

Andrea’s passion for global collaboration extends beyond hospitality. Her experience managing medical programs in Honduras saw her lead volunteer recruitment, source medical supplies, and manage logistics for international medical teams. Her focus on creating a supportive environment fostered a sense of community among volunteers, ensuring a positive and impactful experience for everyone involved. Andrea thrives in challenging settings, where her superpower lies in managing diverse teams and achieving impactful results.

Outside of work, Andrea prioritizes family time and enjoys capturing cherished moments with her beloved dog.

What Andrea Brings to Brain Cultured:

  • Pioneer of creating positive interactions and fosters a welcoming environment.
  • Develops and implements successful team-based programs.
  • Excels in challenging situations and delivers impactful outcomes.

Andrea Montenegro

International Advisor, Consultant

Currently Based in: Tegucigalpa, Honduras

Languages: Spanish and English

Place around the world where she has lived, worked, or areas of expertise: Germany, Bolivia, Honduras.