Mara’s career as an educator, consultant, facilitator, and executive coach is inextricably linked to early experiences of theater as a powerful tool for human development. From that experiential perspective, she has been coaching leaders across a wide spectrum of ages, cultures, and industries for two decades. Mara is passionate about helping executives integrate their whole selves at work to maximize their communication and leadership potential. She seeks to building bridges between humans across perceived differences to create more empathetic, productive, and successful work environments, and is deeply curious about the ways culture impacts those environments. She often coaches fellow introverts in navigating the nuances of relationship building in our increasingly virtual and global society.
As someone who thrives in high-stakes leadership positions, often wearing multiple (metaphorical) hats simultaneously, Mara integrates decades of her own learning in her coaching practice. She excels in helping clients develop high-performing teams, manage competing priorities from across their organizations, utilize strategic “big picture” thinking, and grow from manager to mentor.
Mara’s list of clients is extensive, including Fortune 1000 companies and top Executive Education programs around the globe. She works frequently with financial services, management and economic consulting, pharma, and biotech. Some of her clients include American Express, Bayer Pharmaceuticals, Biogen, Capital One, Citi, Cox Enterprises, Duke Corporate Education, Fidelity, Harvard Executive Education, Northrop Grumman, Novartis, Procter & Gamble, Prudential, and Time Warner.
Business and Leadership Experience
Mara worked internally at Ariel for several years in the role of Design Manager, partnering directly with clients to assess needs and design custom solutions while also supporting internal R&D for product development. In her non-Ariel life, Mara started her coaching career in television as the talent coach for several Emmy-award winning television shows. She continues to coach clients specifically on camera skills through her own company, whether for video production, online meetings, or in-person studio events. Mara was the Artistic Director of Applied Theatre Practice at Harvard University’s Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, where she supported faculty on integrating arts-based approaches in the classroom and created experiential communication training programs for faculty and graduate students. She served as the Managing Director (senior C-suite equivalent) of Actors’ Shakespeare Project, an award-winning professional theatre company in Boston, where she managed the Finance, Marketing, Development, Education, and Operations departments while overseeing strategy development and implementation for the company. Mara is currently on the Faculty at Northeastern University’s College of Arts, Media, and Design, where she teaches communication and theatre courses and leads the Arts Administration and Cultural Entrepreneurship graduate program.
- Managing Director of Actor’s Shakespeare Project— an award-winning, nationally recognized professional theater company
- Resident acting company member, Actor’s Shakespeare Project — performed as Hermione in The Winter’s Tale, Celia in As You Like It, Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, and Olivia in Twelfth Night, among others.
- Frequent performer on Boston area professional stages, as well as regional theatre in the New England area and beyond.
Education and Credentials
- Bachelor of Science (BS) in Education from Gordon College
- M.A. of Fine Arts (MFA) in Acting from the Moscow Art Theatre School/American Repertory Theatre’s Advanced Institute for Actor Training in residence at Harvard University
Sample Coaching Assignments
- Designed and facilitated a 2-Day Off Site for Senior Partners of a Management Consulting Firm. Coached CEO and their team in addressing team dynamics, both 1-1 and in a large group setting.
- Coached Senior Vice President / Head of Global Marketing Team in major Pharmaceutical Company to develop presence and leadership skills.
- Coached Investment Analyst at Financial Services Firm in becoming more assertive with investment pitches, developing relationship building skills with portfolio managers, and addressing cultural barriers.
- Coached Vice President at Financial Consulting Firm to address unresolved feedback in areas of communication, presence, and relationship building while seeking promotion. Partner promotion was achieved.
- Coached Vice President of leading brand at a Pharmaceutical Company to build self-awareness, adjusting leadership style and moving their team from high performing to high functioning.
- Coached Partner of a Management Consulting Firm for LinkedIn Learning series, including script development.