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About Us


At Narrative, our mission is to partner with clients to impact top and bottom line business performance by focusing on organizational transformation through people and culture.  To ensure we consistently deliver accessible, real-world solutions, we leverage and apply data from the best research-based tools available. 

We know that the Big Five is widely relied upon by psychologists and academics. Caryn Lee, Narrative’s founder and managing partner has over 15 years of experience with the Big Five and, while we also have experience with and deep knowledge of other personality assessments, such as type assessments; they are based on theories and oral history where the Big Five is based on empirical data.

As a starting point, prior to developing our proprietary Narrative Big Five Assessment, we evaluated and analyzed numerous existing assessments and found that, while some were very good, many were prohibitively expensive and would not allow us to provide an assessment tool that is accessible for our clients and certified professionals. We also found, through our evaluation process, that a significant number of existing Big Five assessments were missing key sub-traits that we value as important expressions of personality and, many of those assessments use biased language in their scoring and trait explanations.

At Narrative, we believe that all traits, sub-traits and scores are good. By understanding each trait, sub-trait and the supporting analysis, we help individuals learn how to leverage and apply their unique personality traits and strengths to grow as professionals, team members and leaders. With our mission in mind, and having exhausted the available market of existing Big Five assessment tools, we set out to create the Narrative Big Five Assessment.


To begin the process of developing Narrative’s proprietary Big Five Personality Assessment, we began by identifying the 4 to 5 sub-traits for each super-trait to include in the assessment.

Through an iterative process of question development, expert review, testing, analysis and refinement, the initial assessment was developed. This included administration to a control group, analyzing the results, further refining the questions and re-administering the assessment to the control group. This refinement process continued until 22 of the 23 sub-traits exhibited alphas above the accepted criterion of .7. With iteration and analysis complete, we then developed the formulas that underpin assessment scoring and concurrently developed Narrative’s online dashboard that assists clients in assessment ordering, test administration via email, scoring and reporting.


To provide our clients with the most robust and non-biased assessment tool on the market we engaged expert psychometrician Phillip Braddy, Ph.D. to analyze our statistical data and test results to identify the appropriate formulas for our super and sub-traits. In addition to performing the data analysis, Phillip also assisted in writing our technical manual which details the assessment’s content, the research behind the assessment, and the assessment’s psychometric properties (i.e. reliability and validity).

As an intelligent business tool, the Narrative Big Five Assessment evolves as more and more individuals complete the assessment. As such, we work with Dr. Braddy to continually calibrate the underlying formulas of the assessment which ensures the most accurate analysis based on continual data input.

Narrative also partners with Dr. Cris Wildermuth, associate professor at Drake University, and her husband Mel Wildermuth, to develop additional products and solutions that complement the Narrative Big Five Assessment. These products include Narrative’s Big Five Certification program as well as additional tools that help us apply data and information to real-world work-place issues and challenges.


Narrative’s proprietary Big Five Assessment is different from many other personality assessments in that it takes an unbiased approach to all personality traits. By limiting language that could infer a negative connotation the Narrative Big Five Assessment and supporting reporting and training, helps each individual learn how to leverage every trait and sub-trait for their growth and benefit. This unbiased approach ensures we’re able to develop powerful tools, resources and training that positively impact business transformation through a deep understanding of each individual’s contribution to the success of the organization.

Additionally, Narrative’s assessments, training, certification, ordering and reporting systems are available online and each tool is designed with fresh, modern simplicity to ensure accessibility and ease of use.


Our Team

Caryn Lee, founder of Narrative, is first and foremost a business strategist and growth leader. With more than 25 years of extensive consulting and organizational leadership expertise, Caryn has managed multi-million dollar budgets and led teams of hundreds of employees responsible for delivering global programs. During her 15 years as an associate partner at Accenture, Caryn spearheaded major strategic initiatives, re-engineering processes and programs, and technology implementations within complex, highly-matrixed organizations.

It was during her time at Accenture that she experienced, first-hand, the power that personality assessments can have on business transformation through a series of team-building workshops and exercises during a large bank merger. Armed with new insights and information, she and her colleagues learned to communicate more effectively and, together, ultimately accelerated and advanced the efficiency, productivity and business impact of the team. With front-row insights into the power of personality assessments to drive transformation, Caryn was hooked.

With this new passion and momentum driving her forward, Caryn joined the Center for Applied Cognitive Studies (CentACS) where she spent 10 years building and growing the organization. During her time at CentACS, Caryn directed operations, negotiated international partnership agreements, developed and implemented distribution channel agreements and consulted with organizations to facilitate Big Five assessment interpretation, team building sessions, and leadership development. In 2008, Caryn became a managing partner at CentACS, leading the company to profitability during her first year as partner and tripling earnings during her tenure.

In 2014, armed with deep, multi-faceted business experience, Caryn founded Narrative. Leveraging her business background, technology knowledge, and Big Five expertise, Caryn delivers real-world solutions that deliver measurable impact on employee satisfaction and retention, cultural transformation and top and bottom line business profitability.

Caryn holds a B.S. in Math from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a graduate of the Innovation Institute at the McColl Center for Visual Arts. Caryn is a partner with Social Venture Partners, a non-profit venture philanthropy organization in Charlotte, North Carolina. She is also currently on the Board of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO, Charlotte) and has traveled and worked abroad extensively in Europe, Brazil, Singapore, Australia and India.

Phillip Braddy, Ph.D.

Phillip Braddy, Ph.D. provides the psychometric analysis behind Narrative’s Big Five Assessment. Phillip’s primary expertise is in creating and validating leadership assessments and conducting scholarly research on leadership. His research expertise spans across many topics in leadership including 360-Degree Feedback, political skill, work/life balance, leadership identification, women’s leadership, and statistical analysis and measurement.

Phillip has written 28 publications and 41 conference presentations, as well as numerous awards and honors.

Phillip holds a Ph.D. in Industrial-Organizational (I-O) Psychology from North Carolina State University, a M.A. in Psychology from East Carolina University and a B.A. in Psychology from East Carolina University.

Phillip is a member of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology and serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Business and Psychology, Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, and The Leadership Quarterly.

Marcia L. Jackson

Marcia L. Jackson is owner and president of Training Resources, a management consulting firm that, for over 25 years, enhances the business performance and working relationships of both large and small service organizations. Her focus is on a business’ greatest asset – people. She is a certified trainer and facilitator with special training in the 5 Factor Model of Personality; Accelerated and Adult Learning; and Generational Issues. Her clients invite her back again and again because she wows them with her energy, excitement, and insights while solving their business problems.

Ms. Jackson has served on the boards of the Charlotte Area Chapter of the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) for 5 years, the Board of Women Business Owners for 4 years (NAWBO), Board of the National Speakers Association/Carolinas for 3 years, the Jefferson Park Neighborhood Association Board and is a founding member and past board member of the Charlotte Organizational Development Network (CODNET). Marcia is a facilitator for National ATD’s Training Certificate Program (formerly ASTD).

She has a B.A. in Sociology from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and holds certifications in Training & Development, Organizational Development, and Accelerated Learning.

Mia-Riitta Niemi

Mia-Riitta Niemi has over 20 years of experience in management consulting, executive coaching, leadership and leadership team assessment and development. She has been teaching Leadership and Assessments for 13 years at Aalto University School of Business, Finland’s leading business school.  Mia-Riitta holds a Master of Science in Economics and Business Administration and is currently a Doctoral student at Aalto University.

She is currently founder and CEO of Claro Leaders Oy ( Mia-Riitta previously worked as the CEO of MPS Finland Consulting Ltd, CEO of HR Partners Ltd, as a Senior Partner at Talent Partners, and as a researcher and teacher at Aalto University. She has also been a board member of MPS Finland, HR Partners, Boardman 2020, GAIA Networks and LJK. 

Mia-Riitta is a Narrative Big Five Certified Master and certifies professionals in the use of the Narrative Big Five assessment.  Mia-Riitta has certified professionals and used Big Five assessments in programs with clients for over 9 years.

Dr. Cris Wildermuth

Dr. Cris Wildermuth is an experienced organizational development consultant and is an Associate Professor at Drake University, where she coordinates the Master of Science in Leadership Development and teaches courses in global leadership, change leadership, ethics, instructional design, and human resource development.

Dr. Wildermuth is the author of “Diversity Training,” published by the national American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), has had articles published by various peer reviewed journals, and frequently speaks at national and international conferences. She has a strong expertise on the topics of employee engagement, cultural diversity, the Five Factor Model (or Big Five) of personality, ethics, and building leadership capacity.

Cris has worked with the Big Five and with Caryn Lee, of Narrative, for over 13 years. She is a Narrative Big Five Certification Master and certifies professionals in the use of Big Five assessments.

Mel Wildermuth

Mel Wildermuth is a dynamic speaker and a highly creative instructional designer with over 15 years of experience as a teacher and college instructor before turning his talents to adult learning. He obtained a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Bowling Green State University and conducted research on the multiple perceptions of the importance of education.

Along with his partner, Dr. Cris Wildermuth, Mel has written several published articles including “The 10 M’s of Employee Engagement” (T&D Magazine) and “Decoding Leadership Ethics” (Journal of Industrial and Commercial Training).

Mel is a Narrative Big Five Certification Master and has certified professionals and used Big Five assessments in programs with clients for over 8 years. His current writing and research interests include the impact of the brain on diversity relations.

J. Bert Freeman

J. Bert Freeman is a Positive Direction Expert, Speaker, and Author. For over 30 years, he has been facilitating, coaching, lecturing and instructing organizations and individuals in different areas of organization development, personal performance, leadership consistency and diversity.  Consistent Positive Direction is described as speaking, writing, learning and impacting reality in the direction of the outcomes or successes that are required or desired.

J. Bert Freeman is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy with a B.S. in Engineering and Golden Gate University with an M.S. in Human Relations. In 1972 he was a U.S. National Fencing Champion and a member the U.S. Olympic Fencing Team.  He is the author of two books, Taking Charge of Your Positive Direction and Your Positive Direction Now.

Bert is a Certified Professional in the Narrative Big Five Assessment and he has worked with Caryn to ensure the text in the Narrative Big Five Report adheres to his Verbal Positive Approach guiding principles.