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].
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.
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.
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:
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.
WARNING HAIR PICTURE OF RANIERE AHEAD
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.
WARNING HAIR PICTURE OF RANIERE AHEAD
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.
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- Groups, Organizational 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 Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com or her website, Lisbethcalandrino.com.