You know the old saying, “Two heads are better than one.” Well, Orlando resident Marifrances “Gert” Garman’s passion is to put a lot of heads together.
Garman, whose father gave her the nickname Gert, is a facilitator. Certified in creative problem solving and a variety of other facilitation processes, Garman is a networker who is always looking for ways to help.
“I’m a collector and a connector,” she says. “I collect ideas and connect people to each other.”
Originally from Lake Placid, Florida, Garman came to Orlando to go to the University of Central Florida. She received her bachelor’s degree in journalism with a specialization in advertising and public relations.
Kathy DeVault, the director of strategic partnerships for the City of Orlando, says along with Garman’s proven record of achieving results, her professionalism and well-respected standing in the community have driven so many organizations to call upon her talents.
Garman’s resume reads like a who’s who of Central Florida. She has worked for the UCF Athletics department, UCF Alumni Association, Disney’s Innovation Toy Box and Valencia College. But that’s not all. She has given her time to nonprofit organizations such as Foundation for Foster Children, the City of Orlando’s Nightclubs Task Force and Heart of Florida United Way. For the last several years she has also been heading her own facilitation company called Broad Perspective.
The term “creative problem solving” can be a bit of a head scratcher for many. Garman explains, “I’m a teacher, I’m a communicator, I’m a thinker, I’m a networker. I’m a little bit of a lot of things. But really, I just like to wake people up and help them see things differently.”
Garman is always on the lookout for new ways to wake people up. She does games and team-building activities, but she also does something very simple. She talks to people and engages them.
Her work requires travel, and Garman often carries a book with her to strike up conversations. She shares that she has sat next to two strangers only to have them connect with each other and decide to collaborate on a project by the time the plane lands.
In the 10 years that DeVault has known Garman, she says she always excited to see her in action. “She helps everyone, from globally recognized companies to large government agencies and even individuals, think differently,” DeVault says.
One of Garman’s tips for individuals who want to find new ideas is to start by shaking themselves up a bit.
“I tell people to try listening to different music, reading different books or watching different movies to help start the process,” she says. “You would be surprised by what comes up when you just step outside your comfort zone.”