Mary is a proven leader with more than 40 years of professional experience in health care, nonprofit organizations and higher education.  She worked as a Vice President of Strategic Operations and Performance Excellence for a well-respected health care system, and prior to that served as Vice President of Leadership and Organizational Development.  Some of Mary’s wins: 

  • Facilitated system-wide strategy development and implementation for this $2.6B system. 
  • Collaborated with executive sponsors on large-scale projects designed to reduce expenses and optimize operations. 
  • Led the transition from a decentralized model to a centralized model for leadership development and staff development impacting 1,100 leaders, 650 physicians and 16,000 frontline staff.   
  • Created and led service excellence initiatives at the health care system level, partnering with leaders to improve the patient experience in 32 hospitals and 200 clinics.  
  • Served as the founding Chair of the Physical Therapy Department at the University of South Dakota.  
  • Designed and developed the first and only graduate level physical therapy program in the state of South Dakota.  
  • Taught graduate courses on management and communication.  

During her career Mary has served in a variety of leadership roles with the common denominator being ‘start ups’.  With the exception of her first professional job after college, every position she’s held has been to create a program and/or service that didn’t previously exist.  That’s where she excels!


Doctor of Philosophy in Interpersonal Communication in Health Care

The Union Institute – Cincinnati, Ohio

Research: An Educational Approach to Facilitate Health Care Practitioners’ Learning and Application of Knowledge of “Encoding Nonverbal Communication Cues (Eye Behavior, Facial Expression, Gestures, Touch, Posture and Proxemics) by Health Care Practitioners During Interactions with Patients and the Impact of Those Cues on the Affective Component of Health Care Practitioner and Patient Interaction”

Master of Public Administration (Emphasis in Health Services)

University of Missouri-Kansas City – Kansas City, Missouri

Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy

University of Nebraska Medical Center – Omaha, Nebraska

General Studies

University of South Dakota – Vermillion, South Dakota

And on a Personal Note

A great day for Mary begins with a cup of Earl Grey tea and a scone.  That great day will only get better if the tea and scone are enjoyed while engaged in conversation with a colleague who wants to ‘what if’ with her.  Generating ideas about how to solve problems, finding a new way to engage with a team, or brainstorming ideas for a presentation will keep her talking through a second cup of tea.  

Or that tea and scone might be enjoyed while engaged in a mentoring or coaching  conversation.  Mary’s approach to mentoring is more about asking questions than giving advice.  She’s had the privilege and pleasure of mentoring many colleagues and has found a special connection to professional women seeking to find their leadership voice.  

On the weekends that tea and scone is best shared in conversation with her husband and daughter at a local breakfast spot.  This conversation will be filled with laughter and storytelling.  If dogs are allowed, Carl the Golden Doodle will join the family and will claim his place sprawled out on someone’s feet.