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!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Live mapping: A leadership journey

This map was created while a small leadership team responded to the question, "What if the last three days could unleash the potential of 50,000 people and their families?".  Each executive in the room responded to the question while I captured their words and added related images. The acorn in the center of the map was a metaphor used through out the three days to help participants imagine what their work could become in the future.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Samuel Merritt University: World Cafe mapping

These maps were created during a World Cafe dialog among staff and faculty members of Samuel Merritt University. I helped to develop the questions used in the Cafe, and was happy to listen to the lively discussions and capture the output from the three rounds of conversation. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Driving Towards Solutions: Louisiana Department of Education

Here's a map I created in partnership with the Louisiana Department of Education and their Non-Tested Grades and Subjects (NTGS) group. The image portrays the NTGS journey towards developing ways to track student and teacher success in subjects that don't use traditional metrics such as Career and Technical Education. Members of the various NTGS Workgroups signed the road map to show their support of this vision of student achievement.


Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sustainably Harvesting Questions

Here's a way to visually record the questions that emerge after a World Cafe dialog.
CLICK on the map to see a larger version.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Episode 1: How to Build a Business Case for Social Customer Service

I'm very proud to share this series of videos I co-created with!These three videos are aimed at helping businesses and organizations utilize Social Media as a tool for their Customer Service departments; customers are communicating using Social Media everyday - so companies need to be using those tools as well!

After a series of meetings, I created small storyboard images based on each script. Then we shot for two full days at Pixel Corp studios in San Francisco; I created 55 large scale drawings on camera...all in pencil outlines for me! Once we shot the videos, the amazing Jennifer Stern took over and worked on editing.

I hear from a little Twitter bird that the videos are getting a good reception; I hope they will serve to help people communicate more effectively.

Episode 2: How to Calculate the ROI of Social Customer Service

Episode 3: How Social Customer Service Benefits the Entire Company

Here's the final installment in the three whiteboard animations I created with Salesforce.

Breakout Session at Craigslist Bootcamp!

A wonderful breakout session occurred at Craigslist Bootcamp 2011 where over 70 people engaged in the practice of Conversational Leadership. It began as participants were welcomed into an intentionally designed room with small tables set for four; each table was adorned with unique centerpieces (shells, rocks, figurines, small baskets) to be used as 'talking sticks'.

Also on each table was a handout that listed the gifts and practices of Conversational leaders. Once in the room, people were asked to place their bags, purses and cell phones away so they could move freely and focus on the conversation. After these items were safely stowed away, they sat at tables with people they didn't know. They were encouraged to introduce themselves to one another in a brief way - welcoming one another into the room.

After a brief hello and a quick after lunch stretch break - co-host Deborah Goldblatt and I introduced one another. Deborah is a dear friend who is the Director of Resource Development for The World Cafe. She is also a long time volunteer, and all out dynamic champion for Multi-Generational Collaboration. After introductions, Deborah and I shared the design of the day: using The World Cafe process, and Conversational Leadership as a model to encourage participants to engage in conversation with one another. We wanted to make space for authentic sharing and deep listening around questions that we felt would matter to attendees.

Deborah and I were delighted to watch as Bootcamp participants fully engaged in all three rounds of conversation: the room was buzzing with good talk and listening, people were focused on the speakers at their tables and when it was time to stop each round of conversation people didn't feel ready - all good signs!

Participants also experienced two wonderful 'Harvests' of their conversations: the whole group explored what was emerging in their respective conversations - looking in particular for themes and places of commonality. We saw a lot of heads nodding in appreciation as each person spoke. The second and final round of Harvest was a rich time of reflection where participants expressed their gratitude for the safe space we created. They found that many people in the room have a deep desire for authentic conversation at a time when technology is so ever-present.

We ended in the session in gratitude for their fully engaged conversation throughout the hour - and we recognized them for their practicing of conversational leadership. It was an honor to co-host the experience and I so look forward to the next round of conversation!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Visuals with Audio = Interactive Maps!

Interactive Maps are another way to engage your audience with visuals. After you've found a fantastic Visual Facilitator to co-create an image with you, we collaborate with a web designer who adds hotspots to our digital image.

The Interactive Maps below were created in collaboration with the stellar Shilpa Jain and sponsored by Global Collaborative. Shilpa and I dreamed up a way to highlight the work of young women whose efforts are going to make the world a better place. We decided to use Interactive Maps to tell their stories.

Click here to read more about the project and each woman. DOUBLE CLICK ON EACH WOMAN'S NAME to listen to the audio embedded in each Interactive Map. Roll over various images and listen to segments of their interview.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Oldies But Goodies

Check out these very simple but effective maps. You can use them as handout templates or create large versions that groups add to with 'Post-It-Notes' or write on directly. Nothing wrong with simple, clear mind maps! They're a great way for groups to see timelines, action steps, or reflect on a recent event or project.

Synthesis Mapping

An assortment of maps created using a new synthesis process I developed. Once a meeting is underway, I work with facilitators and conveners to distill the key ideas and insights that we feel will be most helpful for participants to remember. Then we choose a visual metaphor and away I go, creating a synthesis map while the meeting continues on around me. My clients and I have found this process to be very effective as a way to ensure that the most important ideas and actions are captured.