(916) 481-4488 heidi@kolbecompany.com
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Ester Mae Cox, MA, CTF, TMT


 Facilitation & training consultant with extensive experience in education, government, and non-profits. Creative and energetic facilitator and trainer in both virtual and F2F settings. Strengths include: enthusiasm, and innovative personality, and outstanding teacher of youth and adults. Innovator for training Virtual Facilitation Online, and also serve as a coach/mentor to ToP facilitators on virtual platforms and event delivery 

Employment History 

  • CEO – EMGA Enterprises 
  • Registrar & Licensed Trainer for ToP Courses – Institute of Cultural Affairs, ICA-USA
  • Co-Founder/Partner – Prairie River Partners Training Consortium
  • Manpower Services Contractor to Principal Financial Group, Des Moines IA (Facilitator/Trainer and Administrative Assistant)
  • Iowa State University Extension Service – 1965 to 2004 – Outreach education to youth and adults
  • Graduate Faculty, Briar Cliff University, Sioux City, IA – “Communication in Workplace”Free-lance Instructor for Iowa Western Community College, Council Bluffs, IA
  • Substitute teacher for area junior and senior high schools, Southwest Iowa
  • Substitute radio broadcasting KMA Radio, Shenandoah, IA
  • School Board Secretary, Sidney Community Schools, Sidney, IA 
  • Home Economics Faculty at Northwest Missouri State University, Maryville, MO 
  • Graduate teaching assistant, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 
  • Summer Program Assistant, National 4-H Center, Washington, D.C.


Competency Areas (examples given below) 

Virtual Facilitation

Leadership Development and Employee Relations – Administrator for education program staff and large volunteer organizations, supervised grants, chaired and worked on numerous teams, committees, coalitions, and collaborations during 50+ years of public service and volunteer work

Meeting Design and Facilitation – Professional and volunteer facilitation to groups of many sizes – diverse topics – government, non-profit, education, faith, business groups from design to reports – discerning group needs and best methods of meeting group outcomes – Set up meetings, conferences, events – large and small – team-building, planning retreats – Designs exploring outcomes with clients and building appropriate structures to achieve outcomes/goals/objectives

Organizational Strategy – Short and long-term planning, strategic planning, mission and vision and values clarification, organization change to diverse groups – public and private, large and small – help groups plan and strategize to create realistic & focused plans for change and change management

Training and Development; Training Delivery – Formal training in teacher education – a life-long learner and natural teacher/trainer – Outreach educator for 32 years of Iowa State University Extension – Informal educator since elementary school – education and training are a calling/passion – Train both face to face, and virtually – co-developed online course for training Virtual Facilitation Online – Technology coach with peers – Virtual facilitation trainer and innovator for public and in-house learning/experience

Project Management – Community development planning/organizer – Supervised, led, served as fiscal agent for large and small grant projects, including business and government/non-profits – planning, scoping, executing, monitoring, closing, celebrating milestones, debriefing, risk management, quality controls – keeping track of all the moving and changing parts

Stakeholder Engagement – Community outreach, public participation, policy development – relying on communication skills, managing risk, continuous check-in, compromises, consensus-building, facilitate to community groups and organizations to involve accountable individuals and groups


  • Master’s Degree in Human Ecology/Communication – Michigan State University 
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Home Economics Education – Iowa State University
  • Post graduate study – Iowa State University/Ames | University of Minnesota/Duluth | University of Nebraska/Lincoln | Des Moines Area Community College online courses
  • Institute of Cultural Affairs Courses: Mastering Technology of Participation, Group Facilitation Methods, Participatory Strategic Planning, Facilitating Conciliation: Beyond Conflict Resolution, Application Design Lab, Power of Image Shift, Virtual Facilitation Online
  • Extensive Extension human resources conferences and seminars: supervision, management, communication, group dynamics, mediation, computer applications, writing newsletters, computer graphics applications, budgeting, marketing, public relations, leadership styles, change management, motivation, employment law, organizational development, team building, group problem solving, community development
  • International Association of Facilitators conference classes: Tools for building sustainable agreements, Facilitating Your Life Through Improv Theater Techniques, Building High Performance Project Teams, Facilitative Leadership in Yourself and Others, Social process triangles, Communities of Practice, Facilitating Social & Organizational Change, Graphic presentations, Facilitating Community Building in the Virtual Environment, Tools for reaching closure, Advanced Facilitator Colloquium, experiential learning, Scenario planning, group dynamics, Six Thinking Hats, Ice breakers that promote teamwork, Seven Voices:  A Mindfulness-based Coaching Approach, The Sacred & Creative Work of the Facilitator, Think With Your Hands: Exploring LEGO SERIOUS PLAY


Professional Associations  

  • International Association of Facilitators (IAF) Lifetime Member         
  • National ToP Trainer’s Network
  • Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA)
  • Epsilon Sigma Phi (National Honorary Extension Fraternity) Lifetime Member
  • Iowa State University Alumni Association Lifetime Member
  • IFYE Association of the USA, Inc. Lifetime Member

    Professional Certification and Awards 

  • Mentor Trainer – National ToP Trainer’s Network
  • Certified ToP Facilitator –  Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA)

    Publications and Presentations 

  • Team Lead – ToP Facilitation Methods
  • Manual Update/RefreshTeam Lead – ToP Facilitation Methods Trainer Manual UpdateCo-Author – Virtual ToP Facilitation Online course manual
  • Author – Virtual ToP Facilitation Online Trainer Manual
  • Co-Author – ToP Virtual Facilitation Methods (Boot Camp) Participant Manual
  • Speaker – Tri-State Child Care Conferences (South Sioux City)Numerous presentations for Iowa State University Extension during 32-year educator career