Mariah's Biography

Mariah works as a meeting designer, teacher, and visual thinking specialist. She helps clients like non-profit organizations, corporations, and community groups to translate their visions, processes, plans – anything! – into engaging images. Whether she’s listening to a keynote at a large conference or sitting at the table during a small meeting, Mariah captures her clients’ key messages and themes in Visual Records – metaphors, images, and words that she draws in real time. She also loves designing meetings that tap into the wisdom of groups and their ability to think together. Mariah teaches the practice of visual thinking in public and private workshops, building on participants’ innate creativity and desire to communicate effectively. She lives in beautiful Oakland, CA, with her husband and lots of art supplies.

Please contact her at to find out how to bring visuals into your work.

Her clients include: Genentech,, PepsiCo, Nike, The United Way, GlaxoSmithKlein, AAA, Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), The Veteran’s Association, and many more!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Here's a template I created that provides a space for
people to write in their visionary ideas and thoughts.
Instead of providing a linear document with
blank _____ spaces for clients to fill in, why not use a
template where they can write and draw in a drawing?

Monday, November 17, 2008


For many years now I've enjoyed drawing mandalas, as they portray relationships in a unique way; all the symbols, curves and lines are interconnected just as humans connected to one another and to nature. Creating mandalas is an organic process that develops as the conversation or my own thoughts emerge, most often using symbols and shapes instead of written words. I begin by making a small dot near the center of page, then I slowly draw other dots in a circular pattern that relates to the first dot. I continute to draw without a design in mind or the aid of a ruler. This drawing style came to me early one morning when I was visiting the holy city of Safed, Israel. While wandering around with my sketch book, I noticed a unusually artistic light fixture. I did my best to copy the fixture's intricate design and next thing I knew, a mandala took shape. I haven't been able to stop creating mandalas since that day, almost sixteen years ago. On several occasions I've drawn mandalas for corporate and non-profit organizations as way to represent their conversations, but most of the time, the mandalas live in my sketch books. Feel free to leave me a comment about what you see in the images or tell me how they speak to you.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Tailor-Made Visual Recording Workshops

A Google employee prepares a map for a World Cafe harvest.

Visual Recording workshops help you develop a new creative skill to use at work and home:
  • You can offer a Visual Recording workshop that is designed just for your organization:
    • I offer a one or two day workshop that teaches the basic skills of Visual Recording that can be directly applied to your work: everyone can learn to take notes in Visual Record form, and we can even teach you to Record the ideas and conversations of others.
    • A Visual Recording workshop will highlight the creativity and ingenuity of your co-workers as they learn to Visually Record your next meeting or conversation.
    • Bringing Visual Recording skills into your workplace supports the many different learning styles in your company; over %65 percent of people are visual learners, so make sure you're reaching your whole audience at work.
    • At the end of the day, each person will have created posters, Visual Records, and icons that can be used right away at work or home.
    • After a Visual Recording workshop, you'll think even better as a team, because now you can see your collective ideas all in the same place.
    • A Visual Record you created on your office wall is a great way to keep inspired and engaged.
    • Create a personalized Visual Record during a workshop that you can give as a individual gift or seasons greetings card.

Students at SCAD University in a Visual Recording workshop.

Employees at Google learning to Visually Record a live conversation.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Latino Roundtable, Chicago IL

A poster I created for a presentation on "Forging the Tools for Unity: A Report on Metro Chicago’s Mayor’s Roundtables on Latino Integration."

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Systems Challenge Mural: NCDD '08

The first of many images to come from our work at the National Conference on Dialog and Deliberation in Austin Texas. This mural is a compilation of comments left by participants over the three day gathering. 5 challenge areas related to D&D were chosen as themes of the conference and I mapped the issue concerning integrating D&D into our systems.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A recent Visual Record I created for a consumer products company
during a retreat facilitated by Dawna Markova and her team of
Professional Thinking Partners.

Friday, September 26, 2008

A live Visual Record created from a key note speech by
Jack Zenger at SCAD University in Savannah Georgia.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

This beautiful picture is of the inter-generational group of designers who came together last weekend to create the Youth Dialogue Project Sessions that will take place at the National Coalition for Dialog and Deliberation conference in October. The 3 sessions (mentioned in an earlier post) will focus on trans-generational leadership in the Dialog and Deliberation community and beyond. There will be concurrent sessions held at the NCDD conference, one designed specifically for folks under 30 and another for a group of over 30 participants, respectively titled "Including Our Voices: Young Adult Leadership in the D&D community" and "Creating Room at the Head of Our Tables: Exploring New Mentoring Roles as Young Leaders Emerge. The third session is a trans-generational gathering welcoming all ages into
a World Cafe conversation and exploration. The designers and Woody the dog, spent two days in Berkeley getting to know one another, sharing stories, participating in a World Cafe conversations, and developing the content of the sessions. I am honored to be part of this group and want to express my gratitude for their welcoming of both my Visual Recording as well as my ideas and experiences.

Getting the mapping started for our first session.

The World Cafe format being used to support conversation
between Vergers and mentors in trans-generational dialog.

The whole group of amazing folks from left to right, front row to back row: Estuko, Abigail, Deborah, Jonna, Alissa, Nick, Mariah and in the back row Milton, Mitch and Ken. Damn, we look good.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Thought Leader Gathering: Harvest

Thought Leader Gathering: Structure of Belonging

The most recent Thought Leader Gathering hosted by Heartland Circle inspired these maps. The first map contains questions shared by participants at the opening circle, and the other maps came from conversations about community and leadership. This TLG focused on the work of Peter Block and his most recent book The Structure of Belonging. To see a larger version of any mpa, click on the image.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Visual Recording: Texas and beyond

Here I am mapping a synopsis of what took place during the Youth Dialog Project Conversations for Change gatherings in 2007. Young leaders from 8 countries were studying and discussing conflict resolution as part of Facing Violence: Justice, Religion and Conflict Resolution World Forum 2007, sponsored by The Rockrose Institute. Click on Youth Dialog Project to see a nice documentary about the YDP gathering and hear the wonderful Deborah Goldblatt narrating along.

I'm happy and honored to be working once again with Deborah as part of another inter-generational community she has helped to create. This time, there's a team of mentors, dialog hosts, teachers and youth leaders from On The Move, called together host a series of 3 workshops at this years NCDD conference in Austin. The sessions will be designed this weekend and will explore the relationship between trans-generational leadership and the dialog and deliberation community. I'm elated to participate in the design of these sessions at NCDD and Visually Record them too.

I'll share here what Visuals emerge from the conversations in Austin, from the inter-generational perspective, as and well as from my work as part of the
Graphics Team for NCDD. I'm glad to have been asked to be part of the team that's recording this years conference; it's a privilege to work with such skilled mappers and have the chance to try some new ways of recording as the role of graphics at this year's NCDD event promises to be unique and very interactive.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Here's a template I created for a teacher who wants to help her students find a creative way to express their acting skills. For the actor, each performance tells a story and to personalize that story they use their emotions, technique, and imagery to bring to their words to life. Templates are wonderful teaching tools as they make space for people to write in their own ideas and images as well add some more life and color to the content.

Since January

Here's a quick update on my recent projects:
Mapping World 1: I've been working with several great companies making maps and templates for their clientele. The map above was created for Creative Health Care Management, a company that takes a very holistic look at all the roles required of people in their field. I've been truly enjoying creating these maps in black and white then coloring them in Photoshop.

Mapping World 2: Tipping Point: I'm co-hosting another dilogue among Visual Recording professionals with my friend and fellow mapper Julie Gieske. We're bringing people together to explore how Graphic Facilitation can become a house hold, school wide, every day phenomena. We have our 2nd gathering next month and I'll happily share the maps that are created from those conversations.

Mapping World 3: Heading out this week to work at a Climate Change Cafe for the people at Nike. Should be a good conversation and chance to listen to and support their commitment to sustainability.

Mapping World 4: Moving to San Francisco! Closer in to the action of city life and artistic opportunities in the Bay Area. I'll be curious how my Visual Recording career will shift as a result of this change in environment. More maps to come...

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Tis the season for Visual Greetings!

I created this image for the holidays in an small attempt to visually represent how we are all pulled together during this bizarre season. Ultimately, we are a menorah of humanity that directly experiences the social and filial frenzy that is whipped into a froth from Thanksgiving through to New Years Eve.

That being said:
Happy Hanukkah
Green Friendly Greetings
Generic Holiday Card Greetings
Merry Christmas
Happy New Year
Itabari Gani
Eid Mubarak