Finally Someone from Nxivm Makes Case [Other Than Bouchey] for Good in Nxivm – Meet Lisbeth Calandrino

Lisbeth Calandrino was one of the early coaches of Nxivm when it was known as Executive Success Programs.

She dropped out prior to 2011 when John Tighe published the Nxivm coaches list, for her name is not on that list. Neither is it on the 2017 coaches list. According to Tighe, Lisbeth was also Dawn Morrison’s business partner in KAR-MA.

So, here is a name totally unknown to most Nxivm watchers. Yet, at one time, she had risen high enough on the stripe path to be a coach possessing the Yellow sash with 4 stripes. The next step was proctor [orange].

Keith Raniere, Nancy Salzman and Toni Natalie at one of the early Nxivm classes [1998].
In those early days, people rose in rank a lot faster.

Toni Natalie, for example, rose within weeks to green sash. It was not for her mastery of the “tech” that allowed her to advance so quickly but rather her recruitment efforts. Of course, it didn’t hurt that she was part of Keith Raniere’s harem.

But it all fell apart. Raniere did not know at the time – that while Toni was sporting her green sash – she was cheating on him with other men. [She was, as so many have observed, the female Keith Raniere]. When Raniere found out Toni was cheating, this caused a lot of bad blood and she left [with allegedly some $50,000 that did not belong to her]. The two fought each other and lied about each other for almost 20 years. But that’s a story for another day.

Lisbeth seems to have had no part in the shady underbelly of Nxivm.

As she says in a letter to the editor of the Albany Times Union, she quit because of time demands Nxivm made on her.

Nxivm always wanted to “own” anyone with a rank higher than yellow. But Lisbeth owned seven flooring stores. If she had wanted to stay and advance beyond yellow 4 stripe into the next rank – which is the orange sash – she would have had to make a full-time commitment.

Nancy Salzman, with Mark Vicente [now out of NXIVM], Alex Betancourt, Karen Unterreiner, Clare Bronfman, Lauren Salzman, and Emiliano Salinas – each wearing their sashes indicating rank.  The ranks above yellow required members to be full-time Nxivm workers – which all of this group were.
Keith Raniere patented his colored sashes – and here is the illustration he used with the patent office. The sketch of the woman looks a little like Sara Bronfman, who rose astonishingly fast in the ranks to achieve the coveted green sash. [It cost her about $100 million to achieve this].
In any event, this is about Lisbeth, not Toni or Sara.  That Lisbeth is the first – out of some 16,000 Nxivm students – to publicly write “I got something good out of Nxivm.”

Granted, she was an early bird. She joined before Raniere became notorious. It does appear Lisbeth was not in his harem nor did she get any of the miracle secret sperm sex teachings that would have precluded her from ever touching a man for her entire life.

During the trial, and the lead up to it, I often called for any of the 16,000 students to come forward and defend Vanguard.  No one did. Not one person testified that Raniere helped him or her.

So this is a treat. Now, finally, someone, former coach Lisbeth has something good to say. She is literally one in 16,000.

Executive Failure Programs: Nicki Clyne and Allison Mack both gave up successful acting careers to become slaves for Keith Raniere. Allison is headed for prison and Nicki leads the slave operations still out of Brooklyn. She is also the manager of a small bar called Izzy Rose.

For my part, I never knew anybody to actually become successful because of Nxivm. There were successful people in Nxivm. Many of these lost all their money and their careers like Allison Mack and Nicki Clyne. And there were a number of trust fund babies and heiresses – who did not earn their money – but had enough to afford Nxivm. Most of them lost a lot of money with Nxivm.

I saw guys like Damon Brink and Jim Del Negro who were pretty successful before they joined Nxivm – only to leave their successful careers to be full-time Nxivm workers and wind up broke.

But Lisbeth seems to have been a business success prior to joining – and quit before Nxivm ruined her.  That is executive success.

According to her website, Lisbeth “created her own entrepreneurship with the development of seven carpet and furniture stores. Today, Lisbeth shares these life and business experiences through her speaking engagements and training sessions… an award-winning trainer, entrepreneur, and blogger [with] over twenty years developing custom tailored marketing and customer service programs for businesses.”

She self-published a book, “Red Hot Customer Service, 35 Sizzling Ways to Heat up Your Business and Ignite Your Sales” that “defines the steps necessary to build a competitive advantage and turn great companies into unforgettable or red hot companies.”

Lisbeth also comes from a successful family. “Her Italian grandfather, who despite very little formal education and a limited English vocabulary, managed to became both successful and wealthy.”  Grandpa DiBiagio had a successful fruit stand.

And Lisbeth was managing partner and owner of 7 furniture and carpet stores for 14 years

And speaking of success, Lisbeth used alternative medicine to become a two-time cancer survivor. Good thing she did not follow Raniere’s treatments like the late Pam Cafrtiz and Barbara Jeske did.

And Lisbeth is a prominent person in the greater Albany area. She is a member of New York, Historic Albany Foundation, educational director of Business Referrals Networking Group, and a member of the board of directors of the Animal Protective Foundation of Scotia, New York.

She also publishes “Fabulous Floors Magazine,” and has a regular column in it, “The Savvy Shopper”. Click here to learn more.

She also authors blogs, manages social media sites and las authored several books. Lisbeth publishes a business blog, Lizbizbuzz.

Her main work it seems is to consult with business people. She says she has a “diverse client list [which] includes Fortune 500 companies to the retailer down the street.” She also makes YouTube videos – like this one:

You haven’t heard from me in a while… here’s why.

And she feels she has been helped by Nxivm. That’s fair enough. And I would ask readers to analyze Lisbeth’s point of view from a point of fairness. Let’s not rudely unload on her. Give her the benefit of the doubt. She believes she pulled something good out of Nxivm. Let’s assume she is at least sincere, and did not participate in any of its evil, then comment accordingly.

I will also assume she would have run fast and denounced Nxivm if she had seen the Raniere we have all come to know.

Image result for warning symbol


This photo of Keith Alan Raniere was used as a government  exhibit at his trial.  It no doubt had a pleasing effect on the jury.

In any event, Lisbeth wrote a letter to the editor in the Albany Times Union. I am republishing it in full [below] because it is a historical document and belongs in the public domain. She is the very first coach to write – after Raniere’s arrest – that she thinks Nxivm was good for people.

Of course, since his arrest, we have also had Barbara Bouchey defending Nxivm. She was one of the highest ranking Nxivm members [Green Sash].  Barb thinks Nxivm “tech” is good for people, but that Raniere, though at the time a wonderful boyfriend and a true genius, was at times not a very good person and perhaps insane.  A mad genius who perhaps went a little off kilter when he lost the love of Barbara Bouchey.

But Barb was not really a student or a coach. She was a high ranking head trainer and, more importantly,  she was in his harem. In fact she was, at one time, queen of his harem. Then she aged out.

I don’t know if she disclosed that she was in his harem or that he even had a harem when she recruited people into Nxivm.

She was also deeply involved in managing the assets of several high net worth Nxivm members such as Clare and Sara Bronfman and, I believe, Allison Mack, and possibly others.

I do not know if she disclosed to people she recruited into Nxivm that Raniere squandered her $1.6 million life savings by failed commodities investments and that he deceived her about the losses.

It has been argued that Barb got all of her lost money back and then some from clients she snagged through Nxivm – without telling them that Keith lost her money in commodities. I do not know if this is true (Although she has written a lot about her time in Nxivm,  she has never addressed this topic).

I do know that whatever she made from Nxivm clients, she lost after she left when Raniere sued her into bankruptcy.

Through it all, Barb maintains that Nxivm was a good program for people. Just the rascal was bad.

Image result for warning symbol


It has been said that several readers have left Frank Report because of the repeated publication of these hair-raising pictures. Our position at Frank Report is that if they were good enough for the jury, they are good enough for our readers.

But Lisbeth is different. From her videos, she appears to be a cultured lady. She did not evidently have the bad experience so many others had. But she did not likely sleep with Raniere. He did not strip her of her wealth or her clothing, as he did with Barb – whose nude photos were shown to the jury at the trial of Raniere, as she sat in the audience.

Barbara Bouchey, with Keith Raniere, when she was the queen of his harem.


Horny dude, with among other [l] Dani ‘Spank Me” Padilla, Barbara Bouchey and above, next to the only other male in the pic, Monica Duran, a future “first line” DOS slave.
No, Lisbeth left peacefully. She had no trouble leaving Nxivm or Raniere. She decided not to make Nxivm her full-time life work and left.

To me, that is success.

She achieved a rank in Nxivm – higher, for example, than Kristin Kreuk, but lower than Allison Mack – and does not appear to be any the worse for it.

In fact, she thinks Nxivm helped her.

Here is her letter to the editor, as published originally in the Albany Times Union:

By Lisa Calindrino

I feel compelled to write this article.

Not to exonerate Keith Raniere, but to give credence to those who thrived and changed because of the NXIVM program. It was an important part of my personal growth and there were many others who said it transformed their lives.

I’m a lifetime learner and junkie for personal development. I started in the 1960s with T- GroupsOrganizational Development for businesses under professors from Pepperdine University.  I’m a devote of the Landmark Forum and a student of the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations taught at SUNY New Paltz graduate psychology program.

When it comes to personal growth programs, I considered myself ‘in the know.’

I know there are people who left the program and never looked back. Some just disappeared. I don’t know why they left, but on the other side, the success stories are too numerous to mention. The Raniere I read about is not the one I knew. I never knew the ‘dark side.’

It was because of Nancy Salzman that I decided to attend NXIVM. At the time I joined, it was called the Executive Success Program. Prior to joining, I took several of Nancy’s classes, including a year’s course in Neurolinguistic Programming.  When Nancy called me about the Executive Success Program, she told me about Raniere and his new technology. I remember her saying, “This is for you.” She was right; it was for me. In my opinion, Nancy always had good intentions, and I was glad to have the opportunity to be part of this program.

Keith was always an enigma.

The hours were long and the conversations intense. The learning was powerful, often difficult and not for the ‘faint of heart.’ Self-discovery often leads us to places we’re not prepared to go. There’s nothing more compelling than learning about yourself and removing roadblocks in life.

I recently ran into a young man, Dan, who I met 12 years ago. His dad was a customer of mine and asked me if the Executive Success Program could help his son get himself together!

At 18, Dan took residence on my couch for a month, and enrolled in the Executive Success Program. I watched him laugh, cry, and embark on his journey. He left quietly after completing the first ‘intensive’, we never spoke until 6 months ago. We embraced and he thanked me for helping him ‘grow up.’

I met bright, well-educated and successful people. I felt I could learn from them as well as the program, so I stayed.

I stayed at Executive Success Program/ NXIVM  for five years; it took me several years to advance until I became a higher-level coach. I am still proud of my yellow sash with the four red stripes indicating my level of learning. The time demands of continuing in the program made it impossible for me to stay. Had the demands not been so strict, I would have stayed longer.

I had several meetings with Keith; Keith was soft-spoken and somewhat mesmerizing. At our meetings, he asked me how I was progressing, and did I feel the learning was worth the effort.

Was I under Raniere’s spell?

The Raniere I knew was barely visible, unless he was introducing a new module for the program and wanted feedback. It was exciting when he held a ‘forum’ and discussed the latest modules. These forums were always stimulating, and I felt proud to be part of the community.

During my time at NXIVM, I got calls from people who wanted ‘the scoop’ on the ‘cult’. The word cult never entered my mind. The organization was powerful, but a cult?

So, how did I miss the latest revelations about Raniere?

The only pressure I felt at NXIVM was to stop making excuses for my ‘failed attempts at whatever’ and to take my life seriously. I was coached on accountability and follow-through and began to see another side of myself. Was I too involved in my own life to see what was going on at NXIVM?

My hunch is you’re thinking, if I was so smart, how did I miss all this craziness?

Was I brainwashed? Was I siding with my captor?

Was I under Raniere’s spell?

Was I being groomed to be part of a cult? If so, me and a lot of other intelligent people, looking for ways to improve themselves, and their lives, missed it.

That was a stretch; at least for me. I was there to learn, nothing else.

#NXIVM #KeithRaniere #NancySalzman #Landmarkforum #Tavistock #neurolinguisticprograming #executivesuccess #lisbethcalandrino

Lisbeth Calandrino is a business consultant and coach.

She can be reached at or her website,



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Frank Parlato


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  • I hardly call this letter to the editor a very substantive defense of the NXIVM curriculum. It’s a very brief set of remarks, structured around the claim that NXIVM’s courses helped improve her life. It would be rather sloppy logic indeed to accept Lisbeth’s claim merely because she has attained some degree of success.

    Judging the merits of her claim should be done based on evidence, which, in this case, would include an account of 1) her thinking and behavior before exposure to the “tech,” 2) what tech she cites as so instrumental in changing her ideas, and 3) how these ideas led to her own “improved” behavior, i.e. further success in business.

    She could hardly offer such an account with a mere letter to the editor.

    Fittingly, she relies almost entirely on skeletal characterizations and suggestions.

    So, ok, the curriculum was “intense.” What does that mean? What specific activities within the modules is she referring to?

    She says the conversations in the context of NXIVM courses weren’t “‘for the ‘faint of heart'”? Is this a reference to Keith’s ideas about the age of consent? If not, then what is she referring to? We can only imagine, because she hasn’t joined her punchy adjectives to discrete events or ideas. (Ideally, such events and ideas could be confirmed by referring to records and sources as well as corroborated by other witnesses.)

    These things we know– 1) Lisbeth was a person who took courses and then taught as a coach in NXIVM. 2) Lisbeth has achieved some degree of success in business.

    How the two are connected, is, for now, anyone’s guess.

    • Thanks for the logical analysis, that exposes this as a puff-piece.

      I suppose it could be seen as a testimonial – thus anecdotal, and fallacious – but it occurs to me that it may also be a bit of self-promotion on Calendrino’s part.

  • Calandrino may be an example showing that coaches knew little if anything about the inner workings and true nature of NXIVM. Did stripe rank necessarily indicate increased access to information, or just more courses taken and people recruited?

    She also probably got out before some of the more perverse modules were introduced. Do we have any timeline of when the ones about things like rape and underage sex started to be presented – and at what points as members advanced?

  • Thanks for the enlightening photo of Raniere lying on his back beaming with rapturous eagerness, while Jeffrey Epstein’s erect, egg-shaped pecker raises from the other side of the bed. What a ruckus this photo portrait keeps raising.

    When investigative journalist Frank Parlato decides to keep the reminding the world that he intends to keep exposing something, it is sure to become nuts.

    I sent this photo of Raniere and Epstein’s romantic interlude to the experts for further analysis, trying to see if anyone could explain where the rest of Epstein’s body was located. No one has gotten back to me yet. Only two of my sources have even acknowledged receiving my requests, but this IS a national holiday weekend.

    Dr. Michael Baden sort of responded. At 85, all that he could say is that he himself has very lovely eyes. I’m not sure yet where to go with that. He’s absolutely right to be fond of himself. The only other real source of great American research and journalism to acknowledge me at all so far is Mad Magazine. Their suggestion was that Epstein’s penis probably had its own helicopter.

    Mad’s knockout Nxivm satires have been put on hold until after Judge Garaufis delivers his six sentences. Mad is taking a common sense approach, mixing variety samples of reddish, engorged paint for the big, egg-shaped penis, while expressing concern that there should be no office suicides to ruin the mood. I don’t drink scotch but remembered the poetic name, Glenlivet. This is like living in suspended animation, vaguely exciting but one cannot recall why anymore.

    Clearly the big picture here has no relationship to Lisbeth Calandrino. You don’t need to feel floored about why. This was another distraction story by Frank Parlato, so that we all can come out and talk about Keith and Jeffrey’s obsessively demonic affair. No one wants to face it or to grasp it. Here the photo shows its head with grim erotic exposition, like a sex-trafficking rendition of Gone With the Wind.

    This is directly because Harry and Meghan need all of us to concentrate upon a tour western Canada, until the Duke of York finds an 18 year-old to marry. The Duke is being problematic because, while he’s not objecting to remarriage, he will ONLY consider young candidates who look like his idealized erotic fantasy, Greta Thunberg. All that the Duke will say to anyone is “fuck you.”

    The unaccompanied Epstein red egg-shaped penis lurks over a mass of hair and fat on a bed, and lo! It is the blissful Keith Raniere, again without his spectacles.

    The Raniere bedroom photo still proves something. Keith and Jeffrey’s penis were not really running a worldwide enterprise since, as we can clearly see, they’re the only 2 in the bedroom.

    Here is what analysis leads to speculation about so far, in trying to look for Epstein’s body and also for Keith Raniere’s eyeglasses. At least I have found some of the passionate letters written by Raniere to Epstein. These transcend Executive Success and will come to be seen as Raniere’s major teaching by Reverend Nancy Salzman.

    Now for the exclusive details. Try not to think of Kristin Keefe. Remain unprepossessed.

    1. Pedophiles who keep sex-trafficked slaves love to sip juice together and to compare their battle stories. Never has Raniere looked more euphoric than in this very portrait of himself with Jeffrey Epstein’s red Fabergé egg-shaped penis. No one can deny that their love was blind, but this was no 28 year infatuation.

    2. Here is all the evidence anyone needs that Raniere wasn’t wearing his eyeglasses and that Epstein’s penis traveled independently for decades. This photo shows the palpable engrossment that the two pedophiles had together, during their long and passionate romance.

    3. Number two was a hard choice to make. As those with a handle on this matter know, no research speculation wants to arouse a sudden outburst of harikiri rituals, from coast to coast and down Mexico way. On-site therapists are asked to meet with the Reverend Nancy Salzman, who will lead the Cunnilingus Reorientation Awareness Project. Now thousands of women know that Flabturd never gave a rat’s ass about a single one of them, and all must be reconditioned, even Jim Del Negro.

    4. The Cunnilingus Reorientation Awareness Project is more of a mouthful than Jeffrey’s red appendage. Reverend Nancy Salzman intends to minimize, for disintegrated female sex slaves of Keith’s, the impact of his ultimate betrayal. CRAP is already in the pocket, to be offered three times a year as a course, 18 days at $19,999. Lauren Salzman will bring the red penis g-spot eggs for everyone who is ready to reawaken. Hermaphrodites need to at least feel disappointed with Keith Raniere to qualify for attendance.

    5. Frank Parlato has new photos coming up soon, more zapping and riveting than a seizure! Save the best til last. Oh God, here we go again.

    It’s earnestly hoped that Frank Parlato includes no more closeups of any kind, featuring Nina Cowell. She deflates all purpose.

    Imagine you’ve gotten some fine Gainesville mushrooms, you’ve sat back and phoned a call girl service, feeling rosy. The doorbell rings, and Nina Cowell is fixedly glowering at your front door.

    Please, Mr. Parlato, no more. This is flu season. Fevers are running so high. Now all can see how come Judge Garaufis keeps delaying info about all of the Nxivm/DOS sentencing dates, and the real reason is the Frank Report.

  • I remember Liz. My recollection was she worked in her family flooring business. Sounds like her resume has been embellished quite a bit.
    Yes, she had a sense of humor and I remember her telling me that she preferred Landmark Forum because she liked the people there.
    I thought at the time that she was looking for a social club, friendships or just someplace to belong!

    I have a hard time justifying anything Keith and Nancy did when I think of all the innocent children they sexually abused!
    Sorry Liz, sounds like you are still on the kool-aid.

  • I’ve said this many times on this website – Those who had some direct involvement received benefits from NXIVM, but if they got into the deep water, it was a very different story, as this website describes.

  • I knew Liz, we took our first intensive together. She was a very funny lady and traveled a lot to do workshops for flooring sale people.

    Liz said Nancy Salzman was one of the meanest women she had ever met. That was shocking to me while we were hanging out on a break at the intensive.

    Just because water is healthy for you doesn’t mean shit if it contains small amounts of rat poison, Liz. Drink enough of it, it kills you.

    The classes themselves might have had some value and people took away some good tools. What Raniere, Salzman and their band of criminals did to those that stuck around long enough was damaging.

    So good for you, you came out the other end unharmed as some others also did. That doesn’t mean those that walked the same minefield aren’t missing some limbs and will never be the same. They didn’t get the same map through the minefield as you did.

  • Common folk call personal development, personal discovery and whatever else it is characterized as, common sense, personal responsibility etc.

    Notice too that such people have taken this course and that class and it’s difficult and it’s tough and not for everyone. Blah blah, blah. Yeah, like Tom Cruise talking to Matt Lauer saying how he’s done the research and nobody needs psych meds.
    Oh that’s right, Tom is into Scientology. Another enlightened soul.

    • There are many things, that a lot of people indeed need to taught. That’s why, for instance, the military has leadership courses – and in various ways teaches other things like motivation and organization.

  • Raniere & his idiot followers were not succesful. None of them could teach “success”. People wanted to be a part of something. With all the bad publicity out there, anyone who stayed was an idiot. How much are “self help” books?

    • Which “self help” book is good and which is bad? Would you rather go by a recommendation from someone or just pick one up and start reading it? So it is with MLM scams, very few people just join one – instead they are approached by someone, probably someone they know, to join one.

      • Spending under twenty bucks for a shitty book written by a greasy little worm might be a con, but it is cheaper then wasting big bucks on a cult like NXIVM. Also, you can read review online, including bad reviews.

  • Frank, I love your humor. Ha, ha… I loved the photos of Raniere and then the comments of Barbara. You make the news very entertaining.
    As for this coach. It’s a shame she now not more informed. It can also be criminal. She should educate herself and learn, and read what Nancy and Raniere were up to. Who would want to hire such a naive individual??? No idea what she is thinking or what she gains from this. Maybe they paid her. I sure hope it was a lot. Her reputation is on the hanger.

  • She’s known as a joke and a wacko in the Albany biz community.

    Her clients tend to be low-level nobodies: real estate agent types.

    So don’t get too carried away with her BS claims here.

    • Thanks for that bit of information, it gives us some interesting perspective.

      It seems that many of these sorts of people, have grossly inflated biographies.

      A bit of fact-checking on her website shows that the client testimonials are indeed mostly from people in the floor covering business, or sales and marketing (including real estate) – no sign of the “Fortune 500 companies” claimed (and no actual client list), though it would be typical that somewhere along the way she’s had a few individual clients who worked for such companies.

      Perhaps it’s just more evidence that most of those who got very involved were NXIVM, were self-promoters lacking in honesty and integrity, if not even having sociopathic tendencies.

  • Lisbeth is attempting a WHITEWASH here, trying to whitewash her own history and behavior.

    Lisbeth claims that she never knew the dark side of Keith?

    Well, what about his pyramid scam called Consumers Buyline that was shut down under pressure from the NY Attorney General for SCAMMING people in the 1990’s?

    It was public knowledge and if Lisbeth truly didn’t know Keith’s history of scamming victims, she’s not the intelligent and “in the know” person she purports to be.

    Most likely, Lisbeth knew about Consumers Buyline but simply didn’t care that Keith had scammed so many victims years earlier, since many cult members don’t apply basic ‘moral standards’ to their CULT LEADERS.

    What else?

    Lisbeth also claims that she didn’t see any cult-like activity while teaching at NXIVM, LOL, but I have proof that she did…

    Just look at the SILLY CHANTING required of every student and teacher before and after every class.

    Every first time student, as well as NXIVM veterans and teachers, are obliged to CHANT OUT LOUD various CULT SLOGANS about promising to recruit every person they possibly can to join NXIVM (akin to children being asked to sing a silly song in the 2nd grade, except these CHANTS are about honoring their precious Vanguard and Prefect).

    Catherine Oxenberg confirmed this, as have many other people.

    That’s a CULT TRAIT —- since it’s not ‘normal’ for beginners/students to be forced to pledge their undying loyalty to an organization by promising to recruit as many people as possible. That’s cult indoctrination.

    What else?

    NXIVM students were required to verbally CHANT a ‘thank you’ to PREFECT and VANGUARD, which was not only SILLY SOUNDING but downright cult-like.

    NXIVM likes to compare the act of respecting Vanguard to the act of bowing to your karate teacher at the beginning of class. However, if you attend a karate class where you briefly bow to your teacher to start the class (normal behavior), you are NOT required to CHANT a bunch of weird ‘prayers’ promising to recruit everybody you know into the class. Likewise, in a karate class you’re not required to verbally CHANT a bunch of thank-yous to your karate teacher while praising him as though he is god on Earth, LOL.

    That silly behavior is NOT equivalent to simply bowing to a karate teacher.

    That’s CULT indoctrination behavior and Lisbeth was a TEACHER in that CULT environment for YEARS.

    Lisbeth participated in all of that CULT LIKE BEHAVIOR yet she claims she saw nothing ‘cult-like’?

    Yeah, sure.

    Frank, I challenge you to explain this to us.

    As for Lisbeth’s lack of harem status, that’s not surprising since she was clearly “aged out” even before she started NXIVM —– since Keith doesn’t like middle aged women or granny aged women.

  • The only thing you can learn from NXIVM is how to spot hucksters, humbugs, swindlers and con artists.

    What else can one expect from an organization packed with sociopaths and psychopaths?

      • “Lisbeth said she received actual benefits, although very expensive ones.” Yes, Scott! This is key since it makes so little sense to most people that people taking Raniere/Salzman classes would spend so much money for something they could get elsewhere for so much less. This organization preyed on people who wanted to appear to be more and have more than others. Their egos were stroked and then they were broken down. Oftentimes people who spend a lot of money on something would never say it was a waste of that money. No, these people would go forth and spread the word about the organization and talk about all they’ve learned. It doesn’t matter if it’s true or not. They had a need to believe they were part of something big.

  • She is a nice lady. She wasted years of her life when she left ESP. She should have stayed with it. She can come back though; we are having new intensives with a lot of new tech. We don’t call it Nxivm anymore. We call it “The Tech”.

  • I’d guess a good percentage of the 16,000 people who took NXIVM/ESP courses would have a similar opinion to Lisbeth Calandrino.

    Below, Jarhead made this comment “So what unique, legitimate ideas did Raniere actually give?” While Jarhead’s point is well taken, there is another side to this question – Raniere stole some personal development tools from other sources and taught this information as if it was his own. Many of the tools he stole are valuable to your life, if implemented. For example, what if you “quit making excuses” in your life. What if instead of getting overwhelmed in a situation, you paused and asked yourself “What IS really going on here?”

    Yes, these are simple things that are not Raniere’s original ideas. BUT, these ideas were packaged with nice bows and the Guinness Book of World Records gave a powerful testimonial. As a result, some people “stopped making excuses in their life” and became more productive.

    So, here’s my unpopular take: If there wasn’t value in the courses, the front of having a “personal development company” wouldn’t have worked.

    • Your last take is an excellent one, and I think quite a few people here know to appreciate it.

      The important nuance to add to that – and a compromise with the complete skeptics – is that such groups are at least effective in leaving people thinking or believing that they have gotten value from the courses, whether or not they actually have, and also possibly to a greater extent than they have. In doing so they exploit several related cognitive biases or errors of attribution, that can lead people to falsely identify the cause of something; for instance, such groups often recruit people at a point in life when they’re early in their careers and ambitious to succeed, and then every promotion or new job gets attributed to the group’s courses and techniques, when the reality is that at such a stage they would have been advancing in their work regardless.

    • Nutjob, I agree with your last paragraph. As in all cults, the product they are selling can be beneficial, whether it is a self-help program, a spiritual practice or even a martial arts technique. It almost doesn’t matter what they are selling, as long as it confers some (usually) short-term benefit. because the product is just a prop on which to hang a control agenda.

      Some people stay in a cult for years chasing that first “high.”

    • Nutjob-
      “So, here’s my unpopular take: If there wasn’t value in the courses, the front of having a “personal development company” wouldn’t have worked.”

      Where is the empirical or measurable “value” of NXIVM courses? There is none.

      Nxivm is no different than religion. Your perspective is no different than the perspective of a religious adherent. No meaning full scientific measurement can be made. There is no tangible benefit.

      • Sorry, but there’s not a single person who exists that doesn’t have a religion, whether it can be classified as organized or not, because a religion is effectively just a normative way of life rooted in a metaphysical belief system.

        Science attempts to quantify empirical causality of Natural laws that govern unconscious entities which it presupposes as ontological. They are different categories.

        • Sorry, but, “No meaningful scientific measurement can be made. There is no tangible benefit.”

          Different categories? Like what? Magic? The Supernatural? Harry Potter? Pseudo-science? The Star Wars Force?

      • There’s been no research done – but that doesn’t mean that research similar to what has been done in the cases of other groups, and religious adherence in general, might not be found if it were performed. I suspect it would be marginal if any, and in many ways cancelled out by cases like that of Kristin Snyder where some participants actually got significantly worse; her case in fact suggests that what NXIVM did, could have some effect on people.

        “Many studies have found that religion has beneficial effects on various facets of mental well-being (Ellison and Henderson 2011; Witter et al. 1985; Yeary et al. 2012). Research has, for instance, shown that depression (McCullough and Smith 2003), perceived quality of life (Ferriss 2002), and life satisfaction (Lim and Putnam 2010; Willits and Crider 1988) are positively related to measures of religiosity. ”

        • “Many studies have found that religion has beneficial effects on various facets of mental well-being”.

          It’s perception based on social belonging to a group and “higher being” (comfort blanket). I am not anti-religion.

  • The accountability that she spoke about can be gleaned from dozens of leadership development books and forums. Quit making excuses? That’s just a common motivational approach to success. So what unique, legitimate ideas did raniere actually give?

    • Exactly – but the people drawn in to groups like NXIVM typically aren’t well-enough read to know about ideas the that are already in circulation, aren’t aware of organizations like Dale Carnegie and Toastmasters, and so on.

      Typically, the claim is that the group and leader have some new, more powerful synthesis of what has gone before. It would at least be interesting to see a case like that made for NXIVM, but it doesn’t seem that the sort of people who were involved are capable of the type of rigorous reflection that would be required to really articulate such an argument.

      What does seem to be somewhat unique about these groups, are the particular control mechanisms that they develop or refine. Raniere in part used some of the relatively new techniques of NLP to create a sort of harem of surprising size, and its adjunct DOS that managed to turn a number of women into virtual sex slaves.

      • True, Anony. Relative to the Bronfman and Salinas fortunes in Keith & Nancy’s control, however, the size of the harem was pathetically small.

      • AnonyMaker thank you for mentioning Dale Carnegie and Toastmasters. So True.
        Nutjob, Mitch Garrity and JarHead are also correct in their writing in my view. People have so sort of disconnect and forget that we can’t always be right. This can be read throughout the ages. We do have to take responsibility and we do have to think outside of our box. But a group with a coffee machine down at the local Barnes/Noble, high school or library can be just as good for this. I don’t understand why people feel inclined to spend so much money on self help and success. Is it some sort of need to feel like they are part of something? If I look back and think about my parents in the 70’s and 80s (in San Diego) I believe that’s exactly what it was about – the need to feel spiritual and gain some personal growth with like minded people. Personally I think hard work, pulling up your sleeves and giving your time to a food bank or Habitat is just as rewarding spiritually and emotionally.

About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg, “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson, “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” Parlato was also credited in the Starz docuseries "Seduced" for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Additionally, Parlato’s coverage of the group OneTaste, starting in 2018, helped spark an FBI investigation, which led to indictments of two of its leaders in 2023.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premiered on May 22, 2022. Most recently, he consulted and appeared on Tubi's "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM," which aired January, 2023.

IMDb — Frank Parlato

Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083