Our Team


Dr. Sivasailam “Thiagi” Thiagarajan is the founder and Resident Mad Scientist at The Thiagi Group, an organization with the mission of helping people improve their performance effectively and enjoyably.

Thiagi served as the editor of ISPI's Performance & Instruction for more than 10 years. He has written a monthly GameLetter for 15 years; it currently appears as the GameBlog on this website.

Thiagi has twice been elected the president of the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI), 27 years apart (in 1979 and 2006). He has also been the five-time president of the North American Simulation and Gaming Association (NASAGA).

As a global nomad, Thiagi has lived in three different countries and has conducted training workshops in 21 others. Earlier in his life, he has been a high-school science teacher, street corner magician, researcher, editor of a professional journal, keynote speaker, college professor, USAID project director, and writer.


Matthew Richter

Matthew Richter is the President for The Thiagi Group. He is a facilitator, game designer, instructional designer, and management consultant. Matthew has consulted with organizations that include Redwood Trust, CenturyLink, EA, Microsoft, Carolina Power and Light, IGT, Cadence Design Systems, and Sony. He is an expert in the areas of management, leadership, and performance technology. He specializes in employee motivation. Matthew mixes corporate, not-for-profit, academic, and independent experience, enabling him to adapt and best serve his clients.

His book, The Leadership Story: A New Model for Leadership was published in 2016. Matthew is the co-creator (with Scott Rigby of Immersyve, Inc. and Richard M. Ryan of the University of Rochester) of MAPS (Motivation, Assessment, and Performance System), an innovative performance management system that breaks all of the traditional paradoxes of management.

He is a sought-after public speaker and has delivered keynotes and conference presentations for such organizations as the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI), American Society of Training and Development (ASTD), Training Magazine, the International Alliance for Learning (IAL), North American Simulation and Gaming Association (NASAGA), Influent, and the National Society for Black Engineers. He was the 2006 ISPI National Conference Chair, and was an encore presenter for five years for his presentation Creating a Motivating Environment.

Matthew is a featured author in the 2001, 2002, and 2003 Training and Performance and/or Team and Organization Development Sourcebook, published by McGraw-Hill. His articles on learner motivation were published in Pfeiffer's 2008 book The Trainers' Portable Mentor. He has also written several articles on leadership, motivation, instructional design, storytelling, and organizational development.


Mark Ma (Yan Ma)


Mark Ma (Yan Ma) has 20 years of experience in the fields of training, human performance management, and project management. Working for DDI and ESI in recent years, he has conducted a lot of training sessions for manager-level and executive-level development. He has provided training services for a variety of clients including ABB, AECOM, Alcatel-Lucent, Bayer, BMW, Danone, Dow Chemical, EBay, Fuji Xerox, Mitsubishi, Mars, Philips, Qualcomm, and Whirlpool. Mark views his Thiagi certification as a milestone that indicates his commitment to experiential, activity-based facilitation. He recently co-facilitated workshops with Thiagi in China. You may reach Mark at markmayan@gmail.com.

Raja Thiagarajan 


Raja Thiagarajan is the Resident Computer Whiz at The Thiagi Group. He has developed and designed many of our computer game shells and software such as Zingo, PuzzleMaker, and the Thiagi Timers. His technical expertise and innovative mind have added immense value to such clients as Agilent, Cadence Design Systems, and Pfizer. He is an expert game designer and facilitator who has co-delivered programs all over the world for such organizations as ASTD, ISPI, and NASAGA. Raja has also served on the Board of Directors for NASAGA.

Raja is a frequent contributing author. Not only has he co-authored a myriad of books with his father, Thiagi, but he has also co-written dozens of articles for books, periodicals, and magazines. His work has been seen in the likes of Performance Intervention Maps, a collection of articles co-published by ISPI and ASTD, and the Training Sourcebook, edited by Mel Silberman and published by ASTD.

Raja is an amateur astrophysicist and a minor expert in science fiction.

Tracy Tagliati

Tracy Tagliati, CPLP, knows how to engage the learner. As the training manager at Move, Inc. and a long-term associate at the Thiagi Group, Tracy’s specialty is activities-based training in both instructor-led and web-based environments. She has co-authored three books with Thiagi: Jolts, More Jolts, and Interactive Techniques for Instructor-Led Training. She has also co-facilitated workshops on interactive training strategies with Thiagi in Paris, Singapore, and other locations.  Her chapter on designing effective games, simulations, and activities is featured in the 2014 ASTD Handbook. Tracy  has her master’s degree in training and performance improvement, and she has presented at numerous international conferences, including Training Magazine, ATD,  ISPI and NASAGA. Her mission is to help people improve their performance effectively and enjoyably.

Thomas F. Pray, Ph.D.

Thomas F. Pray, Ph.D.  works with the Thiagi Group as a business consultant and facilitator of his DECIDE Simulation. Tom is Professor Emeritus of Decision Sciences at the Saunder's College of Business at Rochester Institute of Technology and the past chairman of the Department of Decision Sciences and MIS. He is also the former head of RIT’s Executive MBA program.

Tom is co-developer and primary facilitator for the award-winning business simulation DECIDE. The simulation teaches participants cross-functional decision making as they virtually manage their own company, in a competitive environment, for a simulated period of two years. It covers such areas as strategic planning, finance, quality, managing operations, and leadership. It puts over 25 different managerial variables into practical, transferable context so learners can immediately draw connections to challenges they face daily. Tom has delivered programs incorporating DECIDE worldwide – in China, England, Scotland, India, Australia, Dominican Republic, UAE-Dubai, and Czech Republic. Clients include Xerox Corporation, Harris Corporation, Constellation Brands, PAXAR, Cigna, and Taconic Farms. Programs with the Thiagi Group include sessions for SanDisk, Cadence Design Systems, Redwood Trust, and CenturyTel.

Tom has a doctorate in managerial economics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a master's degree in industrial management from Clarkson University. Tom continues to be active in writing, simulation development, and consulting with companies.

Marion Ferlin

Marion is a consultant and facilitator in France. She specializes in delivering a myriad of management skill topics using interactive strategies. She is currently the manager of d’Acteurs & Cie-Business Theatre which uses games and theater as a way of teaching communication skills. Marion conducts strategic planning sessions, provides HR and training services, and consults with organizations on their marketing strategies.

She is the creator of "Think Differently, Do Things Differently:" A creativity program for small and mid-size companies. Marion brings a wealth of experience to the HR arena, having been the Development and Diversity Director for RRH, a subsidiary of Engie Group. Her team served over 4000 people.

Marion has the French equivalent of an MBA and is certified to design and deliver Thiagi trainings. As a French native, Marion is also fluent in English.