What Clients Say
Being a CEO is a solitary role but I have come to know that Mary is always available to listen and help me process challenges and opportunities. And Mary is also a mentor and fountain of wisdom on all things related to governance. Mary draws on her interpersonal skills and her own nonprofit CEO experience, offering support and guidance for both the executive and the human being. She guides expertly through all the difficulties a CEO encounters and challenges thinking constructively. As a result, decisions and leadership are more effective.
Mary has helped me as a first-time executive director step into my new role with a confidence and focus I would not have had otherwise. Her extensive experience has saved me time and provided perspectives that have allowed me to be more efficient—developing specific goals and timelines for meeting objectives. My working relationship with Mary is an
ongoing too I will continue to use to grow professionally. I highly recommend her coaching services to anyone who is looking for ways to both grow professionally and to tackle challenges. On a scale of one to five, Mary is a ten!
I am co-founder of a very small nonprofit. When I first reached out to Mary I was feeling incredibly overwhelmed by my lack of knowledge and experience. She was extremely supportive, responsive, and an objective sounding board encouraging mission-driven clarity and focus. Mary shared tried and true tools, resources, and guidance in many areas relevant to an executive director. Mary’s outstanding experience and expertise, and her direct, professional approach, have helped me increase my understanding, knowledge, and most importantly my confidence as a leader.
It was a pleasure to work with Mary. She was attentive to my needs and she delivered.
I’m new to the nonprofit world and have felt extremely challenged in my position of leadership in an organization I established. My understanding of nonprofits and my confidence has been significantly boosted by working with Mary. I now have clarity on the many aspects of running a nonprofit, such as raising funds, engaging the board, writing a strategic plan, and the priorities of a nonprofit leader. Mary helped me shift my attention to thing things that matter and get more grounded as the CEO. Thank you so much, Mary, for your diligence, expertise, and skilled support.
Her coaching has helped me make better decisions day in and day out.
Mary brought experience and wisdom, meeting us where we were, resulting in building trust and confidence as we navigated our important work. She was especially adept at presenting options and steering us to make decisions based on asking the right questions. Her thoughtful, candid and “keep it simple” approach and her consistent asking: “Toward what end?” have been extremely helpful to me as Executive Director. Given all the hats I have to wear, Mary’s coaching has helped me make better decisions day in and day out. I highly recommend her to others.
I gained valuable support for my leadership of a growing and evolving organization.
Mary has been my coach for over 16 years, providing valuable support for my leadership of a growing and evolving organization. She has helped me clarify and navigate many important issues during times of change. Her tools and resources on nonprofit leadership and governance are extremely valuable. She has been an effective facilitator of a number of staff, senior leadership, and board sessions. Mary is a pleasure to work with!
The board became more aware of its roles … we have a better defined strategic focus.
My board and I were struggling to clearly define appropriate board and staff roles and responsibilities. We also needed help with our strategic planning. Working with Mary resulted in the board becoming more aware of its roles and responsibilities and we have a better defined strategic focus for the next three years. I liked feeling coached by Mary in the process and how she “read” the room and framed things for the board. Mary has a way of asking questions that caused us all to dig deep, reflect, and grow. I loved her focus on developing leadership for everyone at all levels. I definitely saw positive changes from working with her for myself and our nonprofit
We were a team working together to make my life as .an ED better!
My board and I were struggling to clearly define appropriate board and staff roles. Working with Mary changed that and resulted in the board becoming more aware of its roles and responsibilities. I liked being coached by Mary in the process and how she framed things for the board. Mary has a way of asking questions that caused us all to dig deep, reflect, and grow. I loved her focus on developing leadership for everyone at all levels. I definitely saw positive changes from working with her for myself and our nonprofit.
I recommend Mary to any executive director who wants a strong partnership with the board.
My Board and I sought out Mary for her expertise and understanding of nonprofit governance during a time when we needed to strengthen the relationship between the board and me. Mary’s communication skills and deep understanding of the board/executive relationship helped us bridge our communication gap and define boundaries and expectations. As a result of our work with Mary, I feel very supported by the board and we have a good process for negotiating and reviewing performance goals together. Mary’s work with us was excellent, valuable, and impactful. I recommend Mary to any executive director who wants a strong partnership with the board.
Mary’s expertise allowed me to move forward from a crossroad that made me feel utterly lost and confused to clarity.
I founded an educational services for-profit company but was unclear about how to consider if it would be better as a nonprofit. I asked Mary to help me analyze if that move was right for me and, in one session, she delivered and then some! What I liked best about working with Mary was not only how knowledgeable she is and how easily she was able to answer my questions, but the enormous amount of resources that she shared with me. I cannot express how much I appreciated knowing that not only could Mary support me, but so could her large network! Mary’s expertise allowed me to move forward from a crossroad that made me feel utterly lost and confused to clarity. I would absolutely recommend Mary to any person with a business, organization, or group who has a mission to give back to the community.
Dr. Hiland brought years of real-world experience and research-backed knowledge to our strategic planning retreat.
She was able to productively guide us during brainstorming, collaboration, and goal-setting.
In a very short period of time, Mary got us organized, aligned, and in action.
She really listened to us and let us drive the process. Our engagement was productive, focused, and ultimately got us where we wanted to go. Her experience in the industry with multiple types of organizations helped present multiple options and methods for resolving our issues. By asking key questions, Mary really helped us think through the issues to answer our questions without telling us what to do. Mary helped us complete our strategic plan and set us up for success with our Board. Mary’s training created clarity about board member roles and responsibilities, governance, and optimal engagement.
We’ve worked with Mary on several occasions over the years on Board development and more.
Each time it proved to be a game-changer for our nonprofit. Good things happened that changed the way we do business and treat each other. We hope to partner with Mary again soon!
Helped Trustees develop their own solutions and keep us all on track
“We asked Mary to help us improve board effectiveness, particularly how our committees function. Mary was just the experienced, resourceful, non-nonsense facilitator we needed for our retreat. She helped us identify clear goals and set accountability. She commanded respect but did not lecture; she helped trustees develop their own solutions and offered guidance as needed to keep us all on track. I am already seeing change.”
We gained greater clarity of our board’s governance role.
Mary was a wonderful facilitator and presenter in a way in which she made complex ideas of board work and governance easy to understand. Through our work with her we have gained greater clarity of our board’s governance role and a more focused investment in community advocacy and leadership.
We were able to make an informed decision.
We were unsure of whether our non-profit needed board insurance. Mary provided clarity and also shared statistics on why board insurance is necessary if a board feels it may have exposure to risks related to employees. Mary referred us to resources we explored. We were able to make an informed decision and will have some insurance in place by January 2016. Mary’s professionalism, experience, and obvious expertise in board matters really came through.
We added, oriented, and trained 5 new board members in six months. We also approved a 3-year strategic plan.
We needed to build the board, adopt a strategic plan, and clarify the role and responsibilities of the executive director—all as essential groundwork for transition to a new executive director. We achieved all we set out to do. We added, oriented, and trained 5 new board members in six months. We also approved a 3-year strategic plan, and, now that we were ready, launched our search for our new executive. Mary kept us on track and her expertise and experience were invaluable. And, she was a great sounding board for me! Mary’s a pro and delight to work with.
We created our strategic plan and added three new board members.
We needed help with strategic planning and board development. With Mary’s help we created our strategic plan and added three new board members—all of whom met our strategic criteria. Mary and I worked as a team with YSI’s success as our common goal. Mary was very knowledgeable, responsive, accessible, and easy to work with. She is a true expert and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her.
I have much more confidence and am inspired to grow as a board director.
I was new to a nonprofit board that was struggling badly. Mary helped me learn how to ask questions and be more confident so I could fully step into my leadership role. Working with Mary was incredibly transformative and valuable. She offered practical, actionable guidance delivered with great compassion and insight. As a result of our work together, I have much more confidence and I’m inspired to continue to grow as a board director.
Mary is one of the best facilitators I have worked with.
We worked with Mary to address three challenges: strengthening the board, establishing our committee structure and commitments, and agreeing on board member expectations. Mary has years of nonprofit experience and, working with her, we were able to set and accomplish our goals in our three challenge areas. She was very helpful in pre-planning, very organized, and flexible. Working with her, we were able to set and accomplish our goals in 3 challenging areas. She kept everyone engaged and we accomplished what we set out to do.
She supported us in implementing a board development strategy that got real results.
“We contacted Mary because after years of service, some of our board members were burning out and our long-term executive director had retired. Mary helped us engage in a strategic discussion, resulting in a clear focus and action plan. She educated and supported us in implementing a board development strategy that got real results. We added four new board members and re-energized the board! Mary’s approach is straight forward and efficient. She has practical skills, knowledge and abundant resources to share. She is warm, personable, and knows when to listen and when to guide, bringing every board member into the process. I highly recommend Mary.”
We put together a rock-solid plan working together.
Mary’s enthusiasm, experience, and objectivity were powerful forces that guided us through our first strategic planning process. We were able to put together a rock-solid plan working together with Dr. Hiland’s outstanding mentorship and coaching.
We achieved real progress with your help.
Dr. Hiland’s nonprofit expertise far exceeds that of any of the other consultants the board has used. We achieved real progress with your help: 1) The board worked as a team! 2) There was real partnership and dialogue between myself and the board. And 3) The board made really good decisions.
I was a new CEO and was not having success finding my rhythm with the board.
You provided a reality check about appropriate board and CEO expectations and interactions; your coaching skills were very effective. I appreciated your depth of experience and research—you as an outside expert speaking to the board was invaluable.
Your presentation was very impactful.
Mary — thank you so much for your presentation last night. It was very impactful. For a board that usually bolts when the meeting is adjourned, everyone stayed well past that to discuss some of the thought provoking points you made. I am very pleased with the results!
We gained the clarity we needed.
Our organization was flailing. You were recommended as someone who could produce results and lead a group of diverse individuals to develop a common goal. You were personable, thoughtful, knowledgeable, straightforward, and a good listener. We gained the clarity we needed. Your help was invaluable.
We now have a relevant and inspiring Strategic Plan that we will actually use!
I asked Mary to work with the board and me to develop our Strategic Plan. Her skilled facilitation inspired us to dream big while helping us focus pragmatically on implementation. Mary’s depth of experience working with boards and executives on strategic thinking was immensely helpful. She is professional, focused, kind, smart, strategic and calm. I learned from and enjoyed watching her make sure everyone had a chance to participate. As a result of working with Mary we have a relevant and inspiring Strategic Plan that we will actually use!
Mary worked with our board and senior staff to reassess the strategic vision.
The result raised the board’s focus above the day-to-day activities to our long term goals and objectives. The process invigorated both the board and staff to work together to strengthen long term stability.