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, June 8, 2011

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!

1 comment:

Nancy Margulies said...

I like the idea of giving participants a handout to use as the basis for their conversation.