Before launching Marz Consulting in 2003, I was an Executive Director of a national non-profit.

For more than a dozen years, I worked under the broad umbrella of violence prevention. For me, that included serving runaway and troubled youth and survivors of domestic violence.

I went “into the trenches” right out of college. You name it, I did it. Answering crisis hotlines. Running survivor circles for battered women. Teaching wilderness survival and rock climbing to troubled youth. Training police, clergy, and health care providers on how to respond to domestic violence. Developing dating violence prevention curriculum for public schools.

I worked on legislation. I published white papers. I spoke at national conferences. And the “content” of the work… the issue of violence… was near and dear to my heart.

I was good at what I did. And I loved the work. But in the 12 years I invested in the issues I cared most about, there was one thing that kept getting between me and the work I wanted to do.

The Ecosystem
Now, before I tell you what that was, here’s a side note: my university studies were in the field of ecology. I was fascinated by how things were interconnected, by the “web” of life.

When you have that kind of training, you can’t help but observe the work environment around you as an ecosystem—a “web” of relationships.

And what I saw was deep dysfunction. Organizations that had admirable missions… and workplace cultures that were barely hospitable to human beings.

So, take-charge gal that I am, I decided to do something about it. I worked my way up through the ranks and at age 30, I became an Executive Director. As an Executive Director, I could shape the work culture in a way no other staff member could.

The Shift
And for four years, I set about not only fulfilling my organization’s mission… I cultivated a different sort of workplace culture, too. Collaborative. Creative. Caring. And, yes, hospitable to human beings.

We invested in our employees. Our pay was competitive. Our benefit packages were generous. We set up Simple IRAs and made employer contributions. Employees were rewarded with autonomy and encouraged to be innovative. And, perhaps most importantly, our employees were mentored and cultivated as leaders. People loved working there.

Mission Accomplished?
Eventually, when I decided to start my own consulting firm, the Board of Directors chose to assess where the organization was on the path to fulfilling its mission.

A little context is helpful here. Our founders set out to shift the orientation of physicians from treating domestic violence as a social pathology to treating domestic violence as a public health issue. In 1993 when the organization began, it was largely viewed as a criminal issue. But by the early 2000s, the tides of public opinion had turned.

With that realization, the Board did something unprecedented. They voted to phase out the organization and shepherd the relationships and resources we had cultivated over to our sister organizations.

I oversaw this transition from start to finish. And it remains one of the proudest moments of my professional career to have facilitated the thoughtful transition out of business. Mission accomplished. Quite literally.

One to Many
And from that vantage point, the most compelling venue I saw wasn’t in a single organization. It was serving multiple organizations that address a diverse range of issues for the public good. Climate change. Social Justice. Conservation. Art. Mental Health. LBGTQ Rights. Reproductive Choice. There are no shortage of worthwhile missions to champion.

So now, that’s my livelihood. I champion worthwhile missions.

And I work with coalitions, organizations, groups and leaders who want to evolve the way they work.

You keep your eyes on the content, the mission—the WHAT.

And my team and I make sure the process, the course of action—the HOW—is fully aligned to meet your ideals and goals.

It’s a powerful combo that moves you from good to great—or better yet—BEYOND what anyone thinks possible.

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