Engaging. Focused. Reflective. Passionate. Collaborative. Honest. Accountable.


A Lifelong Love for Learning & Leading

In the final months of closing off my career, it was a regular occurrence to hear how excited I should be about retirement. I didn’t buy it!

For 35 years, I was an educator, consultant, and leader. I loved my work! From my earliest days in the classroom, where I discovered a passion for guiding students in maximizing their potential, to the excitement of initiating the first co-principalship in Alberta and further, the invaluable, but never easy lessons I learned as a Principal and an Assistant Superintendent about supporting and empowering people and their organizations. I cherished my work and all of the successes, challenges, conflicts, milestones, and achievements that came with it. When I made the decision to  retire, I knew I was not at the end of my  journey as a learning leader.

Maria M Consulting resulted in this realization and is the adventure I have chosen to embark on for the next stage of my career. Through this redirection, I will utilize all of my experiences, connections, and lessons to support others in their leadership journey. My time as a principal may have officially ended, but with Maria M Consulting my lifelong love for learning and leading will continue alongside you, your teams, and your organizations.

Maybe retirement can be exciting after all!

I have known Mary for over 20 years. I do not know of a person who is more dedicated to her craft, her family and her friends. Integrity, leadership and healthy living are the obvious cornerstones of her life.
— Bob Zechel, Entrepreneur and Lawyer

My Approach. Our Approach.

At the heart of my services are four fundamental values: collaboration, engagement, accountability, and integrity. My unique Take Back/Bring Back approach captures these values and ensures they are central to the process of your leadership development and learning.

Regardless of your needs — be it one-on-one coaching, team sessions, keynote presentations, or workshops — be prepared to Take Back essential learnings and best practices into your lives and workplaces and Bring Back feedback, new questions and ideas for continuing your learning and growth in the future.

The learning you will acquire with me will allow for transformation to take place in you and your organization.

Mary Headshots 31 copy.jpg

Leadership Development


The framework for Learning Leaders involves active participation through my Take Back/Bring Back approach.

This year-long training series will focus on transforming and growing your team leadership, emphasizing that anyone can be a leaders regardless of their position. 

With Learning Leaders, your team can expect an engaging and collaborative process that utilizes facilitated group conversations, essential questions, and sharing of best practices. In supporting instructional leadership, your essential questions may sound like:

  • How will you reinforce a positive learning environment?

  • How will you provide on-going feedback and support to your colleagues?

  • What strategies will you employ to become a more effective Learning Leader?

  • How you currently handling difficult conversations with confidence and skill?

  • How do you take risks in your organization and model them with your colleagues?

Together, we will develop the leadership tools and skills needed to move your team and organization forward.



I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to work with Mary for the last three years developing and facilitating a leadership program for a group of 70 aspiring leaders. The philosophy of the work is based on a transformative leadership model which is about “presence not position.” Mary’s strengths include: the quality and depth of her presentations, mastery in leading others, expertise and knowledge about current leadership trends, ability to inspire and motivate participants to be their best, and a “take back/bring back” model that creates high levels of accountability. Mary is a consummate professional.
— Shelley Fenton, Principal

Being part of Learning Leaders has been and continues to be a significant and very influential part of my leadership journey. Through Mary’s high quality presentations and session topics, Mary engages all participants in a variety of high level activities including communication, coaching, leadership enhancement strategies as well as relationship building and networking, among others. I would highly recommend Mary to anyone looking to further build their leadership capacity and I am thankful to be a part of
this learning community.
— Lana Lastiwka, Assistant Principal


These one-on-one sessions are designed to develop and strengthen your abilities as a Learning Leader. My interactive Take Back/Bring Back approach focuses on collaborative conversations utilizing your input to create a learning package tailored to your unique needs.

As your coach and mentor, I will engage you with questioning techniques, in-depth conversations, and reflective practices, with a customized needs analysis to help you identify strengths, opportunities, and leadership blind spots.

Other activities which support coaching and mentoring may include:

  • Organic and on-going feedback throughout our partnership,

  • Regular follow-up meetings via face-to-face, email, or video/phone conversations,

  • Development of accountability processes,

  • Self-evaluation of your leadership development, and 

  • Celebration of growth and successes.



Mary was my mentor as the new Superintendent of Schools at Kivalliq School Operations, Department of Education with the Government of Nunavut. The transformative mentoring exercise was done through emails and weekly telephone calls over a period of six months.

Mary’s high-level questioning skills helped to develop my metacognitive skills, a key attribute in being an effective educational leader. The trust and deep connection experienced with Mary helped me courageously identify things in my own practice that needed change. She provided genuine suggestions that made me think about my leadership at a deeper level.

She provided a safe space to share my own challenges as a leader, in a non-judgmental way, and support in how to have difficult conversations in moving the organization forward. The excitement that ensued our conversations, motivated me, provided clarity and guided the successes of my work each week.
— Sonia Osbourne, Superintendent of Schools, Kivalliq School Operations

Mary is a natural teacher, a courageous leader, and deeply authentic coach. She cares deeply about people; her standards are high, and she expects results. She has an innate ability to pull the knowledge, motivation, and application of learning out of those who are ready to be coached. You will feel supported and experience the joy of growth in the process. She has ferocious curiosity and a passion for life, learning and living. I often find myself thinking: “What would Mary do?”, and I find that extra nudge to push it over the top! What a gift!
— Marie Soprovich, CEO President of Aquarian Construction


Interested in increasing your potential of being successful in an interview? Additional coaching and mentorship opportunities are available for those looking to land that exciting new position or are hoping to make that crucial first impression in a new job. With interview preparation and new hire coaching, I will take you through a number of processes to support your readiness, such as critical questioning, resume analysis, and interview tips and practice. 



Mary allowed me to walk into my teaching interview with the confidence that only comes through preparation. Preparing for an interview can be both overwhelming and stressful, which was how I felt until I walked out of my meeting with Mary. She was able to provide me with reflective questions that inspired me to define my commitment to the profession.

As a result, I am currently a full-time teacher who is in love with his career. Everything begins with that initial interview, and going into it so prepared was a blessing that will not soon be forgotten.
— Paul Rousseau, 1st year teacher

Organizational Change


These professional development sessions are focused on helping your organization create sustainable and powerful transformation. My Take Back/Bring Back approach emphasizes stakeholder consultation and your active participation as a critical component of accomplishing this.

With Change Management, I will support you in assessing and developing the quality of your organization’s leadership — the source of guidance and direction for any change. I will also provide frameworks, essential questions and collaborative practices to be used in the development of other areas critical to transformational change, such as:

  • Communication practices

  • Vision and goal setting (including organizational beliefs and values)

  • Stakeholder assessment and collaboration

  • Positive accountability

Together we will work towards developing processes and solutions that will assist your organization in making impactful and lasting transformational change.



Mary has a deep passion, commitment and a collaborative approach in all her endeavours. As Chair and Founding member of the Zebra Child Protection Centre, Mary demonstrated an ability to lead a diverse group through organizational change and accomplished many great outcomes for some of the most vulnerable members of our community.
— Paul Lane, Vice President, Air Spray Airtankers
Thank you for everything and for creating an intentional space in which to discuss some challenges I have been feeling and experiencing. I definitely am leaving with some ideas to think about and strategies to put in place that are manageable and quite simple to start. I feel like I can now move beyond setting short-term goals to more medium and long term goals in which I can develop with my team.
— Participant, Live Well - Lead Well Leadership Conference


These organizational development sessions are a means for you and your team to look at your organization from a broader perspective. Using my Take Back/Bring Back approach we will create the foundations of trust, collaboration, and openness necessary to generate open and sincere conversations about your organization’s culture and identity.

Through thought-provoking questions like: Who are you as an organization? What do you collectively represent and value? How do you individually contribute to the culture? What day-to-day activities align with, and differ from, your organization’s stated mission and values? I will guide your team towards an understanding of what makes your organization flow and explore how each individual plays a fundamental role in determining your culture and identity.

With Culture & Identity Consulting, I will support you and your teams through a process of organizational self-reflection by displaying the power of  listening, providing on-going feedback and facilitating collaborative conversations.



Mary has always impressed by her energy, her ability to connect with others, her wealth of knowledge and her organizational capabilities. Most recently, she led our school staff through our inaugural professional development meeting where we began to form our vision and mission statements. Mary prepared a number of engaging activities and continually sought feedback to track and responded to the needs of the group. Many staff members commented that it was the best professional development they had participated in and proclaimed: “we can’t wait to work with Mary again!”
— Jan Sawyer M.Ed., Principal
Mary Headshots 36 copy.jpg

Facilitation & Conferences


These public speaking and group engagements are designed to bring my expertise and enthusiasm for leadership and learning to your workplace and teams in a highly dynamic, inspirational and engaging way. Regardless of size, my Take Back/Bring Back approach ensures your team is actively engaged as learning leaders.

Drawing on 25 years’ experience presenting to small and large audiences locally, nationally and internationally, I offer immaculately prepared sessions that are customized through consultation to meet your team’s unique needs. In my presentations you can expect both theoretical information and practical application, stories and examples from my diverse experiences in both schools and community organizations.

Sample presentation topics include:

  • Essential Questions that Move Organizations Forward

  • Transforming Organizational Cultures

  • Balancing Transformational &Transactional Leadership

  • New and Innovative Ways of Leading

  • Healthy Work Environments; How Do We Get There?

Past Presentation Partners and Notable Conferences

  • Edmonton Public Schools

  • Elk Island Public Schools

  • Alberta Education

  • Alberta Assessment Consortia Conferences

  • Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development Conferences (San Francisco, Boston, Chicago and Dallas,
    New Orleans)

  • Government of Nunavut

  • ATA Teacher’s Convention    

  • Zebra Child Protection Services




Mary is a versatile, collaborative and creative individual with a deep passion for developing others. Mary’s retreats, workshops and presentations are marked by her strongly reflective nature, a knowledge-base that is both wide and deep, and a presentation style that is holistic, highly engaging, positive and solution focused. Among Mary’s many, many strengths is her ability to personalize learning and help stretch people’s thinking so they can know more, do more and be more. I always walk away from one of her sessions feeling both
challenged and inspired.
— Marni Pearce, Ph.D., Director

Mary is a dynamic, engaging speaker who combines humor, real-life examples and ‘takeaways’ in highly focused presentations. She is masterful at combining her body of expertise with the immediate needs of the audience. She is a true change agent that will promote positive turbulence within your organization. We have been colleagues for 25 years and I have observed Mary conduct numerous presentations throughout North America, whether it be for one hour, one day or year-long mentoring.

Simply put, Mary is of the highest caliber!
— Larry Payne Ph.D., Prinicipal
Family Photo 1 copy.jpg