Forte Labs


Tiago Forte

Tiago Forte

Founder of Forte Labs

Tiago Forte is one of the world’s foremost experts on productivity. He has taught more than 20,000 people worldwide through his programs and writes and speaks on how technology can help knowledge workers revolutionize their personal effectiveness.

Tiago’s online course, Building a Second Brain, has been taken by more than 1,000 students from over 70 countries. The course draws on his experience in academic disciplines such as information science, practical fields such as user experience design, and his work with top organizations and leaders in Silicon Valley. Tiago believes idea management is one of the most impactful skills in the world today, and this course makes it accessible to individuals for the first time.

Previous clients include organizations including Toyota, Genentech, Nestle, and the Inter-American Development Bank, as well as startups, universities, and nonprofits around the world. His work has been featured in media outlets like The New York Times, Inc. Magazine, Lifehacker, The Atlantic, Thrive Global, and Quartz.

Tiago publishes in-depth articles on his blog, Praxis. In a previous life, he worked in microfinance in Latin America, served in the Peace Corps in Ukraine, and consulted for large companies on product development in San Francisco. He lives in Long Beach with his wife, son, and dog.

Lauren Valdez


Co-Founder of Forte Labs

Lauren leads Forte Labs’ training, coaching, and consulting services, using her extensive facilitation and events experience to create immersive learning experiences designed to inspire sustainable behavior change. Lauren has a nonprofit background in urban planning and public health. She believes that the world of entrepreneurship and business has a lot to learn from social justice, and vice versa, and is dedicated to bridging them.

She translates Forte Labs productivity methods for nonprofits, government agencies, social justice leaders, and young people.

Monica Rysavy

Monica Rysavy, Ph.D., Ed.D.

Director of Operations

Monica is the Director of Operations for Forte Academy. Monica’s expertise and research efforts are centered around the topics of teaching and learning with technology, with an emphasis on technology-supported knowledge management structures that lead to personal and professional achievement.

With 20 years of experience in academia (including a wide range of titles such as first grade teacher, stationery designer, assistant professor, photographer, and director of institutional research & training), Monica is passionate about personal and team productivity and systemization. Monica lives with her husband Peter in Wilmington, Delaware.

Betheny Swinehart


Operations Manager

Betheny is passionate about human-centered tech, supporting entrepreneurial teams, and organizing business operations systems.

She previously worked in administrative and recruiting roles in university and corporate settings. She brings enthusiasm for mapping and building systems, the ability to quickly adapt, and a personable customer service approach. Her scope of service includes project management, developing operating procedures, and research. 

Outside of work, Betheny enjoys testing plant-based recipes in the kitchen, organizing (and reorganizing) her home, and cultivating her green thumb. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband, daughter, and two dogs.

Marc Koenig


Director of Content

Marc is a writer, marketer, and startup executive in charge of executing Forte Labs’ content pipeline, digital strategy, and marketing.

Before joining Forte Labs, Marc created several [online courses](, built and sold an esports startup, and started [a YouTube channel]( His first childhood career role model was Shigeru Miyamoto, and he hopes to play proficient jazz piano one day.

Marc lives in Madison, Wisconsin, but often considers building a sprinter van with his wife, adopting a Corgi, and absconding on a quest to take digital notes in increasingly obscure areas of the countryside.

Julia Saxena

Marketing Manager

​​Julia’s mission is to reach more people worldwide with our message of personal productivity and knowledge management.

In her role, Julia draws from her extensive experience as a freelance copywriter and as a project manager in several multinational organizations. She has a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, a BBA, and an MBA degree.

Julia regularly publishes what she’s learning about launching, running, and scaling online courses on her website Course Creator Lab and in her weekly newsletter.

Originally from Germany, Julia loves to travel. She has visited over 45 countries and lived and worked in 8. Currently, she spends most of her time in Toronto, Canada.

Steven Zen


Course Director, Building a Second Brain

Steven is the Course Director for Forte Academy. He is a former startup founder with 8 years of experience building teams with a focus on strategic planning, operations, and data-driven decision making.

Abandoning a background in engineering, Steven ran startup operations in multiple industries before landing in online education. He is deeply interested in exploring new forms of learning & development that can be unlocked with technology. 

He lives in New York City with his dog.


Customer Service Representative

Jason helps the Forte Labs team connect with their students and customers. He works at night and is powered by coffee and pop music.

At home, he’s a husband, father to a lovely son, and a fur parent to 5 beautiful dogs. He loves to travel and discover new dishes along the way. He’s a gourmand and loves to learn new cooking techniques every now and then.

Got anything to ask about Fortelabs and Building A Second Brain? He’s just one email away. 


Personal Assistant

Victoria is a personal assistant for Lauren Valdez and Tiago Forte. She is passionate about understanding the intersections of peoples’ experiences and implementing creative plans to support their full potential.

She received an undergraduate degree from CSU Long Beach and a master’s degree from Azusa Pacific University. Throughout her education, she collaborated with children, their families, and interdisciplinary teams to implement interventions to help alleviate stress and promote development.

In her free time, Victoria loves anything involving food, art, her two dogs, and the outdoors. She lives in Los Angeles, California, but spends a lot of time in Tacoma, Washington where she plans to move someday soon. Now that she has completed her formal education, she is excited to start diving into activities like film photography, digital art, ceramics, and more.