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Organizational Coach | Speaker

Meet Mary Kay

Organizational Alignment Coach | Speaker

Organizational Alignment Coach | Speaker

Mary Kay has only one rule when she works with organizations,

Don’t let your first thought be your last.

This simple, yet profound statement challenges perspectives and the status quo so organizations can avoid being hostages of their own thinking.

For 25 years, Mary Kay has been helping individuals and organizations navigate complex systems. Her experience spans social services, county and state government, higher education, K-12 education, nonprofits, associations, agriculture, and community engagement.

Organizations with the desire to evolve, grow & take risks, view me as an asset.

Whether during strategic planning, weekly team meetings, board meetings or other discussions, I noticed a pattern in the majority of organizations. The conversation was rarely honest and often shut down under the guise that we didn't have time.  Leaders clung to surface and safety -- often shutting down discussions despite their people pushing for meaningful and open exchanges. As a natural activator and disruptor, I distinctly felt this because I was the one who was asking the hard questions. Every time I was shut down, I lost a little motivation and became a little less engaged in the process. Additionally, my colleagues frequently pulled me aside after meetings and thanked me for saying what everyone else was thinking.  I noticed over time, the only way to preserve my self-respect, was to move on. These experiences affected my trust for leadership and made it difficult to invest my energy on an organization, I had no chance of positively impacting. 

These experiences drive my passion for creating healthy workplace cultures so organizations can prosper, and employees can live their best lives

My sweet spot—nonprofits, associations, and small businesses

Mary Kay uses humor, vulnerability and a little dose of reality to help others see things through a new lens. She serves on several boards, is an avid bicycler, sings the National Anthem at sporting events, loves adventure, stream fishing, hockey and has two sons; Ben, 19, and Lucas, 17.



Masters of Liberal Studies, University of Minnesota; College of Professional Learning | Emphasis in leadership, psychology and spirituality

Certified Professional Coach, Learning Journeys Center for Coaching

B.S. in Social Work, University of North Dakota

MN State Board Certified Licensed Social Worker (LSW)

B.A. in Public Relations, University of North Dakota

Minnesota Agriculture and Rural Leaders (MARL) Class IX, alumnus

University Leadership Academy, University of Minnesota Extension


Leadership Positions

  • Fridley Independent School District # 14; Board of Directors, 2018 Chair

  • Intermediate School District 916, Board of Directors

  • International Coaching Federation, MN Chapter, Board of Directors (Professional Development Chair)

  • Association of Metropolitan School Districts AMSD

  • Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation Board (MAITC)

During my 24-year tenure in higher education, I have served on both for-profit and nonprofit boards and many committees. The meeting Mary Kay organized and led was without a doubt the most efficient and productive meeting I have ever been a part of. Her dedication to preparation was evident throughout the meeting and we were able to accomplish more in 2 days than our board had in the last 18 months.
— Chuck Holloway | Sheridan College