Our Principals

Each of our principals possesses a thorough understanding of critical leadership issues. They bring deep business and organization knowledge as well as an executive presence and maturity. Each of them has a long history of utilizing assessments and instruments in our practice to enhance our effectiveness to our clients.

Their strong interpersonal skills – listening, confronting, challenging, straightforwardness and rapport – allow them to build a strong affiliation with clients. Their deep experience as family business consultants and coaches uniquely positions them to make a significant impact on the challenges of a client’s business.

Renée Montoya Lado M.S., N.C.C.

Principal, Founder

Renée founded Strategic Designs for Learning (SDL) in 1999. SDL specializes in working with family owned businesses, their families and their governance boards. Renée is an organizational development practitioner with thirty years of strategic leadership experience and consulting with small, mid-range and large companies in a broad range of fields, including the manufacturing, corporate real estate, hospitality, technology and insurance sectors.

Previously, Renée was Executive Vice President of Talent Development for an international firm that provided information technology and consulting services in the private and public sectors. In this position she was responsible for both line and staff operations internally as well as for external coaching with senior executives, senior officers and executive teams.

Renée holds advanced degrees in Behavioral Psychology, Policy Analysis and Pastoral Psychotherapy and is certified in the use of numerous assessments and instruments including the Caliper Profile™, HR Chally Instrument™, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator™, the Center for Creative Leadership’s Benchmarks™ Instrument and Corporate Development Group’s Culturetek™. She has developed a number of proprietary tools that can be used with family owned businesses including Executive Dimensions™, The Success Print™ and A Family Mosaic™. She is a Certified Wealth Advisor through the Institute for Preparing Heirs and is a member of the American Psychological Association, Association of Managers of Organizational Design, American Counseling Association and Organizational Development Network.

Christian Montoya 


Christian brings twenty years of information technology experience and ten years in family advising to the firm’s leadership. Prior to joining the firm in 2009, he was the technical lead of numerous design and implementation teams, specializing in information security and regulated environments. In his last technical assignment, he was responsible for all FDA-regulated information systems in a pharmaceutical firm during the years that it transitioned from a specialized subsidiary to the months preceding its IPO in 2009.

In addition to client services, Christian drives the firm’s Personality Analytics initiative. He specializes in assessment data analysis and is certified in the use of the Caliper Profile™, HR Chally Instrument™, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator™, EQ in Action Profile, and Hogan Judgement Assessment.

Francis X. Lado, B.S., LC


Frank is a family advisor to family business enterprises. In addition to being an advisor, Frank is an Educator and a Certified Life Coach. He earned a Family Advisor Certification from the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia Family Advisor Enterprise Program. Advising and making a difference in people’s lives has always been a focus in his life.

Frank has a history steeped in family business. He is presently an owner in his own family business and grew up in the international family business his Father founded. He utilizes mentoring, values assessment, behavior modification, behavior modeling, goal-setting among other techniques to effect change in his clients’ lives and businesses.

Frank has earned a BS in Education from Towson University and a Life Coaching certification from Coach Training Alliance, International Coach Federation. He is certified in the use of the Caliper Profile™, HR Chally Instrument™.