Who We Are

Affective Software, Inc is a software company with patented technology founded by Dr. John Gottman, Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman, Microsoft veteran and technology executive Rafael Lisitsa, CEO, and former Chief Scientist of Webtrends Dr. Vladimir Brayman, CTO. Affective Software combines the Gottmans' science with cutting edge expertise in software, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning to deliver proven relationship couples' assessment methods and intervention exercises оn smartphones, tablets, and computers.

On February 14, 2023, Affective Software announced acquisition of The Gottman Institute. The two companies will now join and be known as Gottman Inc. - see Press Release

About The Gottman Institute. Drs. John and Julie Gottman have revolutionized the study of marriage. For nearly four decades they have conducted research on all facets of relationships. At the Institute, they developed an approach that not only supports and repairs troubled marriages and committed relationships, but strengthens happy ones. The Gottman Institute provides live workshops and take-home training materials for couples. The Institute is committed to an ongoing program of research that increases the understanding of relationships and adds to the development of interventions that have been carefully evaluated.

To realize the Gottman Inc. mission, it is imperative to leverage technology to make the service accessible to people no matter their race, religion, sexual orientation, and ethnicity and drastically decrease the financial barriers for couples and therapists.


Rafael Lisitsa
Co-founder, President & CEO
Technology Executive and innovator, worked with the world's leading engineers and business leaders on the foundational versions of Microsoft Windows NT Operating System, multimedia streaming and real-time communications. Extensive experience as a CEO, CTO, Corporate Director, Engineering Manager focused on strategic multibillion-dollar businesses. Strong expertise in real-time mission critical control systems, Machine Learning, AI, Applied Mathematics, Affective Computing, Audio / Video and Digital Signal Processing. Author of 17 patents.
Dr. John Gottman
Co-founder, Chief Scientist
World renowned for his research on marital stability, divorce prediction and parenting. Named one of the Top 10 Most Influential Therapists of the past quarter-century by the Psychotherapy Networker. The recipient of numerous major awards. The author of over 200 published academic articles and more than 45 books. Co-Creator of Gottman Method. TV appearances include Good Morning America, Today, CBS Morning News, Anderson Cooper, and Oprah. Author of 2 patents.
Dr. Julie Gottman
Co-founder, Chief Psychologist
World renowned relationship psychologist. Co-founder of The Gottman Institute. Named Washington State Psychologist of the Year. The co-creator of the Gottman Sound Relationship House Theory, Gottman Method Couples Therapy and "The Art and Science of Love" workshops for couples. Bestselling author, speaker. Media appearances include 20/20, Good Morning America, CBS Morning News, Today, and many international network TV news programs.
Dr. Vladimir Brayman
Co-founder & CTO
Entrepreneur, Executive, Scientist, Engineer. Worked as the VP of Research at Clearsight Systems and the Chief Scientist at Widemile, built pioneering Marketing Optimization Platform. Worked as the Chief Scientist at Webtrends after its acquisition of Widemile. Served as an Affiliate Associate Professor at the University of Washington. Deep expertise in Machine Learning, AI, Dynamical and Control Systems, Electronic Engineering, Digital Signal Processing. Author of several patents.
Mark Sestak
Chief Business Dev. Officer
Entrepreneur. Business and technology leader. Established and managed world-wide teams to manage partnerships and engagements with mobile operators for Microsoft's Windows Mobile devices. Managed program management teams responsible for many components of the Windows networking stack. Frequently managed executive engagements. C-suite and director roles in several startups. Guest speaker at industry events, including keynotes. Led Engineering at Mitel.
Michael Novasio
Chief AI Trust Officer
Global Technology Leader with 30 years of experience innovating finance, engineering, and business ecosystems to ensure Trust, Safety and Security. General Manager Partner at Microsoft, led AI-driven Microsoft Enterprise Compliance and Content Moderation Platforms to protect the most vulnerable from harm and exploitation. Led global organizations to scale impact across products, channels, and geographies. Specific expertise leveraging advanced Data Science, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and emerging LLMs.
Cloe Zeng
Chief Revenue Officer
Global Business Leader with 20 years of experience in the Consumer & Commercial businesses and Tech industry (Microsoft). Significantly contributed to driving innovation and growth across a diverse portfolio, including Consumer, Commercial, Hardware, Modern Life, Gaming, Mixed Reality, Search Advertising News, and other cutting-edge technologies such as AI. Known for her customer-centric approach, played a pivotal role in achieving business growth through innovations, incubation, and scaling multibillion-dollar businesses from the ground up.
Jane Boulware
Acting CMO
C-Level marketing, sales and business leader known for turning around and leading three businesses to over $1 Billion. Awarded Marketer of the Year by the AMA and earned two New Product of the Year recognitions. Corporate VP for Microsoft Online, Windows and Surface. Chief Marketing Officer of Kimberly Clark. Proven expertise in marketing, sales strategy and GTM in tech, consumer, enterprise and new business start-ups.
Edward Sargent
Chief Education Officer
A visionary leader with over 25 years of experience in the online learning industry and a passion for leveraging technology to revolutionize education. A native New Yorker, Ed is a life-long advocate for education, diversity and accessibility with a proven track record of success at the Gates Foundation, higher education, and in media production. As the CEO of The Gottman Institute, Ed built and grew the online learning platform to a multi-million dollar world-wide business.
Frank Paganelli
General Counsel
Strategy-oriented entrepreneur, attorney, and operator. A veteran of the Seattle startups scene, served in senior executive roles for diverse companies such as Melodeo (sold to HP), Propel Biofuels, Full Circle (sold to Capay Organics) TransWest and Salish Bioscience. Former Shareholder and Chair of the Startups and Emerging Companies Practice at Lane Powell, PC., representing early-stage companies and investors across all stages of company development from launch to acquisition.
Mark Walsh
Executive Creative Director
Executive Creative Director at Calm, Meta, Pixar. CEO of Motional.ai, working on Personal Virtual Assistants. Was an animator and director at Pixar Animation Studios, working on "A Bug's Life", "Toy Story 2", "Monsters, Inc." Was the directing animator of "Finding Nemo", "The Incredibles" and "Ratatouille". Worked on "Up" and "Toy Story 3", and directed Tom Hanks in "Toy Story Toons". Worked closely with Tim Allen, Wallace Shawn, Don Rickles, Joan Cusack, Tony Cox, Timothy Dalton, and Kristen Schaal.