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Who I Am

My expertise as a coach comes from having experienced the same frustrations and disappointments as well as the satisfactions my clients face. I’ve created new positions, built new services, and restructured departments and organizations. I know what they’re going through so I can help them build on their experiences, find what excites them about their work, and enjoy the sense of achievement that comes with success.

Based on this experience, I help clients sharpen their communications, conflict resolution, and relationship building skills to demonstrate their leadership potential.

Maria Simpson Ph.D.

I’d love to work with you to support your success. Besides my own expertise, experience, and insights, here are three other good reasons for us to work together.

First, as your coach, my goal really is your success.

Having faced many of the issues you face, I can help you understand the underlying dynamic of what is happening and why, but I don’t impose my solutions. I help you find your own.

It doesn’t matter where you are in your career—starting out or established—for coaching to be effective. I started my career with all of three months experience in my first job when I was assigned to lead a new typing pool and 35 new staff members without having any real business experience of my own, let along management responsibility. I built that typing pool into a full-service publications department. I would really have benefitted from having a coach.

The key to my feeling successful in several different jobs was having an idea for something new that added value to the organization and allowed me to be creative. The clients and projects described on the service pages illustrate the coaching challenges, and the testimonials from clients demonstrate the value and impact of the work.

We can work together to find that same satisfaction for you as well.

Second, I know how groups and teams work and how to establish yourself in them

Just as you have I, too, have been part of work groups from committees to departments and divisions, to boards of Directors, and as both leader and follower. The jobs I held gave me group experience as an insider.

Director of the International Conference Program at the New York Academy of Science. I worked with an advisory committee that included Nobel laureates in biology and neuroscience to present conferences on cutting edge scientific issues. To ensure a consistent conference calendar, I created a conference acquisitions program that secured the schedule 18 months in advance (instead of six), and won a rare six-year re-certification for medical CEUs. 

Academic Director of the graduate program in Media Studies at the New School. I managed all academic issues including supervising a faculty of 35 business leaders and a student body of 350, and writing the first faculty handbook. 

Conference designer at The Conference Board. I focused on designing conferences on business and communications issues for an international audience with and for C-suite leaders, and edited a best-selling publication on corporate identity programs, topics that hadn’t been addressed before.

Consulting gave me the opportunity to be the outsider, to see the situation from another perspective and bring that insight to the group. Among others, I have consulted with:

A uniformed service of a city government on evaluating its leadership on claims of harassment and hostile work environment.

A division of a large government agency by designing a sensitivity training that became a development program to bring a polarized department together and improve its leadership.

The leadership team of a regional nonprofit that had become so dysfunctional that there was no conversation at leadership team meetings.


The CEO of a residential health care provider on growing into his new position and facilitating the organization’s annual retreat.

I have also served on several boards of directors and understand their unique nature and leadership needs, giving me another perspective to bring to coaching.

Kids Managing Conflict board president. Rebuilt the Foundation from inactive to supporting Peer Mediation Programs in Los Angeles middle and high-schools. 

Empathia Pacific, California subsidiary of national provider of employee assistance programs and behavioral counseling. 

Southern CA Mediation Association, board secretary, conference speaker, program developer.


Staten Island Dance Theatre, Founding board Chair.          

Third, you can count on my commitment to education and development.

Mediation training in Los Angeles was a transformative experience that drives me to help you find the same skills in conflict resolution and relationship-building that I found.

I have long experience teaching these skills, and I know what works best in the workplace.

Management communications, leadership development, and conflict resolution in the graduate management program at Antioch University/Santa Barbara

Mediation and conflict resolution in the graduate program on Negotiation, Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding at CA State University Dominguez Hills

Director of the Business in Society program for the Constitutional Rights Foundation in Los Angeles, working with an advisory committee of business leaders and mediators to bring lessons and conferences on business and Constitutional issues to high school students, each of which contained conflict resolution training.

And that’s why we should work together.

I know organizations. I bring a broad range of experience you can draw on and a commitment to contribute to your success.

I understand management and leadership positions in the context of organizational cultures.

I know what changes need to be made to go from management to leadership, and especially what it takes to manage others, whether that's a department, a team, a board of directors — or even your boss.

I can help because I learned lessons that I wish I had known earlier in my career and I want to pass along that learning as early as possible in yours.

Other things you might like to know about me

I speak and write often.

I have been honored to receive: 

I’ve written over 200 Two Minute Training columns on management communications and conflict resolution, two books on leadership communications and two more in the works, and a planner to ensure your meetings are successful, not frustrating. The books and planner are on, and the TMT Library is on Send an email to me at if you’d like to receive the Two Minute Trainings.

I’ve spoken at national conferences for the Association for Conflict Resolution, the Southern California Mediation Association, the National Association for Community Mediation, and the American Bar Association Dispute Resolution Section in addition to the presentations I’ve made for specific organizations at their retreats or conferences.

  • The Conversity award in Educational Leadership from the Asian Pacific American Dispute Resolution Center for “Exemplifying Conversity Through Her Work to Achieve Positive Human Relations.”

  • President's Award from the Southern California Mediation Association for “Exceptional Service to the Organization,” by leading its Foundation as President of the Board of Directors to become Kids Managing Conflict, supporting peer mediation programs to middle and high schools in the LA area. 

  • President's Award from the Southern California Mediation Association, "In recognition and appreciation for extraordinary service and unfaltering dedication" as a member of the SCMA Board of Directors.

My formal credentials include:

  • Ph.D. Media Ecology, New York University

  • M.A. Cinema Studies, New York University

  • B.A., William Smith College

  • Certificate of Completion of Mediation Training, Los Angeles County Bar, 1999

And I’m a strong supporter of the arts. I was a dancer as an undergraduate, I dabble in silk screen and block printing (from my days in the print shop), take the occasional interesting photo, and work with textiles, mostly embroidery and needlepoint. At one point I wanted to be a baker. My Christmas shortbread cookies are a hit.

I look forward to hearing from you. Send me an email so we can explore working together.

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