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Mary Lee teaches you how to shed the negative self-talk and become your own best friend.

Connie Cannon

Mary Lee Gannon has developed a well-earned reputation as an exceptional Servant Leader. Her vast (and highly successful) senior level experience, strong interpersonal skills, tireless work ethic and overall commitment to excellence have provided her with the skills to offer powerful, results-oriented coaching and consulting. Highly recommended!

Michael KumerPrincipal, Boards MTODuquesne UniversityFormer Executive Director, Nonprofit Leadership Institute

I have been a client of Mary Lee and found her coaching strategies invaluable. She provided me with the right tools and guidance to recognize my talents, values and ethics and the confidence to proceed in making dreams a reality. I recommend her to anyone who is in need of professional or life coaching.

Ann (Ciotoli) Soroka

If you would like to feel confident about negotiating – you will once you hear this lady speak!

Amy Chess

I appreciate the role you played in helping to make our retreat a success. Your presentation style and your prodding during the session helped to drive home the ideas that we felt were key to having a successful retreat. I feel that we are positioned to take a leap to the next level in our development as a board. As always, it is a pleasure to work with Mary Lee on any endeavor. I appreciate her professionalism and insight.

Richard J. Mahoney, CFREExecutive DirectorThe Washington Health System Foundation

I wish I had this insight a year ago. I wouldn’t have wasted all the time and energy I did.

Bill RoskoRolls-Royce

Mary Lee is smart and spunky. She reminded me to connect to my fire in my belly but at the same time embrace my vulnerability.

Anita Buzzy-PrentissPresidentBuzzy Image Solutions

Mary Lee has been an inspiration of mine for years – she is excellent!

Judy GriefTeletracking Technology

Mary Lee’s executive level experience helps to make you a more mindful person which helps your business.

Christina KnieriemPresidentKnieriem Designs

I only need two words – ‘Awesome’ and ‘Inspiring’.

Joanne Gerardi

Mary Lee proves it is possible to grow beyond the victim role. She is especially good at motivating us to be our best selves.

Judi VitaleJudiReadTheStars.com

The value of this presentation is a direct challenge to the deep root of low worth and fear. I really have the choice to overcome fear.

Lisa SeymourZoll

Mary Lee enabled me to name the ‘head trash’ and move it out on the ticket tape in my mind. I learned to listen more mindfully without interrupting.

Robin GuillardStar LeaderSilpada

Very insightful and compassionate about other’s dreams, needs, wants, and spirited to make me feel worthy of anything!

Mario Desch

Regarding the presentation Mary Lee did on ‘Effective Negotiating’ I was more enlightened in two hours that I was in eight years of training as a car saleswoman.

Tiffany NolanLiberty Mutual

It’s great to have a presenter who can relate to the audience on their level without talking above them.

Peggy Tschippert

She helped me to appreciate what I can and cannot control.

Jan GalbreathDirect Sales

Mary Lee allowed me to give myself permission to clear some negative head space. I could listen to her all day.

Lee DrozakLeeDrozak.com

You’ve been such a positive role model, not a “glass half full” person, but one whose sees the glass as overflowing. If I were to name what I think the single most influential factor that attributed to your turnaround would be, I would have to say your ability to put things into a positive perspective…you may have, at your low point, lost the game temporarily, but you didn’t lose the lesson it taught you, and you turned it around to your benefit.  I would say that’s one sign of a person who sees the glass as overflowing…adversity doesn’t stop you!

Diane BlazekInformation Technology

I want to say thank you for the RiseSmart webinar and the coaching session. I am reading your Starting Over book and it is so motivating, as are you! I just discovered another way to work towards my goal! Also, writing down my SMART goals helped me to accept an invitation to a book club. Hey, you never know who you will. I am feeling really motivated and excited about my job hunt. I was beginning to get a little unmotivated and bored but everything seemed to fall into place and I am energized and I have you to thank for that. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

Stacey Porcaro

I’ve known Mary Lee about two years. She has always been very professional, very friendly and genuinely interested in everyone she comes into contact with. Recently I had the opportunity to hear her in a panel discussion. I was immediately impressed by her powerful direct strategic response to the questions. She had such a commanding presence I consulted with her privately. I consider myself a strategic thinker also and within an hour Mary Lee was able to help me clarify and get laser focused with my vision and future plans which in turn helps with balancing business and personal goals. I am looking to future meetings with her. Even if you think you are on track, I know Mary Lee will challenge your thinking.”

Cindy RackOwner - Social Media Strategist & Public Speaker

Mary Lee not only gave me directive and doors to follow a variety of paths, but she allowed me to explore avenues that I would have never taken had those paths not been exposed to me. She had the ability to read between a lot of lines and not only green light many things but poke me to advance myself, perhaps when I may not have on my own. The entire session time has allowed me to explore many new things with a more grounded set of ideals and goals.

Sales and Marketing Professional

Mary Lee’s coaching was a great benefit to me in my job search. Her probing enabled me to find personal strength and brought me to a point of self-awareness that has been beneficial to my personal and work life.  Mary Lee’s insights were very important as I prepared for interviews and ultimately accepted a position.  I highly recommend her coaching service to improve personal, family, and work life perceptions.

Vice President, Human Resources

Mary Lee is quite knowledgeable and articulates concepts well. ‘She can think and respond to any situation thrown her way and I will forever remember her contributions to my personal and professional life. I look forward to working with her again in the near future.

Real Estate Investor

Working with Mary Lee has been an awesome experience.  The exercises she recommended helped me to dig deep, and to look at my values and how they fit into my work and family life.  I also gained perspective on setting manageable goals, and understand that I don’t have to have all the answers today as my life is a work in progress.

Consultative Sales Manager

Coaching with Mary Lee has helped open a whole new approach and vision of how I see my career path moving forward. She has helped me see that there are different approaches in dealing with people in the professional world. Her discovery questions and technique aided me in thinking beyond my normal scope or “outside of the box” for a more holistic approach to my career path. I was pleasantly surprised at the new findings that were discovered such as how my values align with my “work” values and me considering management in my future career path.

Team Account Manager  

During every telephone coaching session, Mary Lee Gannon provided me with insights and guidance which simulated my thought processes, concerning my future, into some new directions that I had not previously considered.  I appreciate her clear, practical and yet creative approaches to helping me to help myself – by enabling me to pinpoint and overcome obstacles that I tend to build for myself.  Each of Mary Lee’s articles speaks to me in such a way that I want to put the concepts into practice in order to see the results for myself.


“I met Mary Lee when she was a guest lecturer in my Marketing class. I am a non-traditional student with a similar story.  I am in the process of launching two businesses and her newsletter has been helpful.

Jo Gapczynski

Mary Lee’s purposeful and fulfilling life of being a service leader encouraging and helping others to lead successful lives is fascinating to me because I value that kind of leadership commitment. By facing challenges, visualizing goals, planning strategies and staying focused success is achieved.  I also want to have my life’s achievements make a difference in other people’s lives. I can easily envision my success through these steps using my similar values of integrity and kindness.  I admire her courage and determination to make sound, honest choices and change what struggle life had interminably handed her.  She was not fated to accept her situation; she changed it and made her life a success.  I was honored to meet her as a mentor.

Ann Schmitz

Your article (from your e-newsletter): ‘Find Time to Cheat – On Your Job’ was timely and spot on for me. I had not known how much I had prioritized my job over my family until I was laid off from that  job. I’ve now found a new position and the number one priority in accepting it had everything to do with work\life balance. Your article helped seal the deal for me mentally because I have a workaholic personality, and believed that my work efforts and hours put in is supporting my family. However, when my work demanded more than 60 hours per week and some weeks upwards of 80 hours, and I had not realized how it affected those around me. This helped me understand…


Mary Lee – Thank you for writing such a precise book. It has been a long, long while since I could not put a book down till it was all done! My career was blossoming but at 42 years of age I decided I could not pursue Public Relations any further in the way I had in the past and quit. A series of personal set-backs followed and what I thought was deep dark hole now seems to be a journey filled with gems, knowledge, knocks and bruises and importantly, I think I may have learnt who my angels are. There is some more to go to reach my highest potential and I just wanted to say – sincerely, thanks for sharing your journey and importantly, learning, with precision and clarity. Found you book at a public library here in Singapore. Am still looking for mentor, but perhaps I have several and just don’t realize this unique configuration.

Sheila from Singapore

Mary Lee facilitated a strategic visioning session for our agency’s Board of Directors. This was one of the most engaging board meetings that I have had in my 25 years of nonprofit management experience. Mary Lee includes the many different perspectives of those attending the meeting and asks the clarifying questions to reach consensus and develop a plan for next steps. She is aware of the importance of communication at all levels of organizations and has expertise on nonprofit funding issues from the fundamental to the complex.

Linda DomanExecutive DirectorEastern Area Adult Services, Pittsburgh

Takeaways from an Executive Management Development Program at EXPEDIENT on “Mindful Communication and Conflict Resolution.”

1. I will show appreciation more – be consistent with it.
2. Not avoid conflict anymore but validate my employees and define what they want.
3. I will use empathetic listening.
4. Listen and give my full attention.
5. I used to hear excuses (from my employees). Now I will pause and listen more.
6. I’m not going to immediately interject with solutions – just listen and ask questions that help them think of solutions themselves.
7. In difficult conversations I will stop using “you” and only use “I” statements.
8. Negative behavior is a reaction to fear.
9. I used to be matter of fact. I will be more empathetic and validate that they are worthy and belong.
10. I will build in more feedback loops and use “I” over “you.”
11. Listen and not make assumptions.
12. “Go there” in difficult situations and not miss an opportunity to resolve and build.
13. Seek input from those outside my scope.
14. Negotiate by seeking to understand – not win.


Our Board and staff are looking forward to achieving the goals laid out at the recent Board Retreat that was led by Mary Lee. I can’t underestimate the role she played in making this happen. Her preparation for the retreat and prodding during our planning calls positioned us to have a clear idea of where we wanted to be at the end of the day.  In addition, her ability to implement those plans, interact with the Board and guide them in addressing our issues was excellent. It enabled us to receive valuable input from almost everyone in attendance, including some who I didn’t think would be proactive in discussions. I am looking forward to the new direction laid out by the Board.

Richard J. Mahoney, CFREExecutive DirectorThe Washington Health System Foundation

Mary Lee provided me with applicable methods to deal with the daily challenges that occur in life. People are doing the best they can. I am able to just listen and do not need to talk.

June ThompsonProgram ManagerUPMC

I learned to become more mindful at work and at home, to be an active listener and that people’s perceptions are based 93% on non-verbal communication.

Shannon WilliamsSenior Manager, Talent AcquisitionUPMC

Mary Lee gives real-life advice that can be used in all areas of life. The ‘Aha’ moment for me was learning to use the ‘Pause Café’ strategy.

Danielle FoorExecutive DirectorIntegraCareColonial Courtyard at Bedford

Inspirational! From the “Negotiating Toll Kit” to Mary Lee’s personal story, this presentation was illuminating and informative – a must for every business woman!


Megan TurakMilitary Family Network

Mary Lee Gannon inspired our board to look at our services in very different ways than we were used to. She guided us through challenging exercises to help us understand what the outside view of our organization was (what the general community may think we do) and how to begin the necessary steps to either confirm that image or to change the views not in line with our goals, vision and Mission. Mary Lee left us with challenging homework, a defined plan stating who is responsible for each area or goal and an excitement to go beyond our current boundaries – real or imagined.

Paul LukachExecutive DirectorCrime Victim Center of Erie County, Pennsylvania

An idea-generator, an expert in fund-raising and a true leader in the non-profit arena all describe Mary Lee Gannon. I have had the great pleasure of working with Mary Lee as a fellow board member and a Past-President of the Pittsburgh Society of Association Executives and as a voluntary co-chair of Hospital Council’s Fund Development Committee. Mary Lee brings her passion, enthusiasm, expertise and experience to every endeavor she undertakes. It is truly a privilege to know and work with Mary Lee.

Pat RaffaeleVice President, Advocacy and CommunicationsHospital Council of Western PA

The session made me think of those who have helped me develop and made me want to pass that on. It gave me strategy  to specifically engage the introverts and not overlook them.

Nikki KeisterSenior Supply Chain AnalystREI

Our board retreat was excellent. The board was definitely energized and ready to move forward. I thought Mary Lee hit on many things we needed to hear in order to help the agency. There is also a new energy with our new executive director. I felt she kept everyone’s attention to the very end, helped us to get a strategic plan and also helped us to hear and understand and how certain things need to change to keep us on the cutting edge as far as raising monies to sustain us especially as a non-profit. I also liked that she was able to hit on how we need to utilize and hit on the nerve of what we do for our community and especially on using the stories of those we have helped in order to raise awareness in our town.  It was a PLEASURE meeting Mary Lee and we look forward to working with her in the future.

Patti StarvaggiBoard ChairpersonCrime Victim Center of Erie County, Pennsylvania

Mary Lee is an extremely thoughtful professional. She is able to go 30 thousand feet in the air and look down at a situation to correctly and properly ascertain what is really going on and make the most thorough and thoughtful recommendation(s) for her clients. She comes to her professional world as an accomplished author with not only real world experience, but a network of powerful relationships that can move the client to the next level. Mary Lee is very practical, but possesses a wealth of Emotional Intelligence she brings to her peers, subordinates and superiors. As a leader; she is a natural teacher living by example what she wishes to impart to others. Mary Lee is creative, conscientious and has a high work ethic. I would highly recommend Mary Lee in any professional capacity. She is an asset and strength to any team or individuals who may hire her.

Yvonne DavisPresident and CEODAVIS Communications, Windsor, Connecticut

Mindfulness and spirituality connection, Very inspiring. Now I want to jump out of my comfort zone and wave to fear as I go by.

Candic KomarEsquirePollock Begg Komar Glasser and Vertz

Mary Lee made it real and accessible. She gives excellent mindful habits to put into use now. This is relevant in all aspects of our lives.

Kay ReynoldsDirector - Bedford CountyCommunity Foundation of the Alleghenies

I worked with Mary Lee on the board of directors of the Pittsburgh Society of Association Executives. She is a tireless worker who brings insight, drive and good business judgment to her work. She has successfully used her life experiences to become a very respected business professional.

Jack TraceyExecutive DirectorNational Automotive Finance Association, Washington, DC

I thoroughly enjoyed the board retreat. Mary Lee’s directions and insights into the nuts & bolts of both the operation and fund raising functions of a non-profit were perceptive and illuminating to everyone who attended. We all arrived at the retreat with some degree of uncertainty and trepidation regarding our organization’s future and our ability to raise funds. It was exciting to see those feelings fade away as her message started to sink in. The new energy and awareness she created will help us all be better and more effective board members and be a positive driving force behind the attainment of the goals we established at the retreat.

William T. MortonEsquire

Mary Lee has a way about her that is real and professional. She helps you to dig deep enough to affect real and lasting change.

Cindy RackKeller Williams

Mary Lee’s expertise is so inspirational and profound.

Deborah TurekBPU Investment Management

Her presentation challenges my thinking and how I view myself. Great example of steps to take to chang

Darah RichardOmni Health and Wellness

Mary Lee is a consummate professional. She is smart, business savvy and a role model to women at all stages of life.

Wendy MalettaPresident, Ahhluminating MarketingFounding Executive Director, Dress for Success - Pittsburgh

learned real world, everyday applications for negotiations, conversations and interactions. The “Aha” moment was to be curious and compassionate and to write in my journal, ‘I am grateful for…’ and ‘I acknowledge that I…

Arwen Lavengood DavisHuman Services Center Corporation

Mary Lee made me aware of my blindspots and gave me strategy to use instead. Believable and provocative!

Jamie PhillipsRed Cross

I really enjoyed how she incorporated mindfulness into the presentation. It is an important component of effective negotiations.

Meghan O'MahoneyHighmark Caring Place

Mary Lee’s presentation provides practical application of negotiation skills and she models dialogue and real life scenarios to drive home the actual how-to.

Sally PowerTreasure House Fashions

Great explanation of business and dining etiquette. A very applicable presentation explaining key details that can be the difference between sophistication and embarrassment.

Michael BarrettXero Media

She reminded me of the importance of quiet time for myself – not to multitask all the time.

Michele SchultheisLife Control/Asea

She motivated me to get organized and off the hamster wheel!!

Britney RyanPartyLite

She is inspiring and goal oriented.

Kim CelentoPerfection Services

I met Mary Lee Gannon several years ago when I began chairing large events for a major organization. Mary Lee was an executive board member and immediately struck me as a competent, confident, caring woman who was above all of the drama. If ever an issue would arise everyone would naturally look to Mary Lee for her opinion.  She could immediately command the attention of the room, encourage the women to think clearly about the issues, and work towards an intelligent solution. She continues to be highly respected by everyone in the organization.

In 2013 Mary Lee was one of the most effective presidents the organization ever had.  She began her year by hosting a Board Retreat so that we knew the qualities of an effective Board and the significance of our role within the organization. She brought us out of the stone ages with regard to technology and she coordinated a complete upgrade of the website. If ever a hostile discussion would arise, I would watch in awe as she would allow for all sides of an argument to be heard, defuse the conflict, and then focus on assessing the pros and cons of the situation to make an educated decision. Her calming voice and respect for all opinions made everyone feel as if they had been heard.

I later found out about Mary Lee’s past as a stay at home mom with 4 children who went through a divorce and ended up on public assistance. She had to re-invent herself to support her family. I heard about her struggle to climb the ladder of success to become the president of St. Margaret Foundation – a $24 million organization – as well as launching StartingOverNow.com to pass along her knowledge to help people trust their abilities and exceed their own expectations. It is her mission to help people thrive. The fact that she overcame such hardship, and the fact that she is now helping others, caused me to respect her even more.

In 2015 when I was president of this organization I could not have made it through the tough year if it were not for Mary Lee. I felt a sense of security having her as my coach – my sounding board for problems and to gently nudge me in the right direction. She taught me how to let go of my anger at those who were working against me and to move on in a productive manner to be an effective leader.  She taught me to let go of the bad things, to establish and work towards my goals, and to have some fun in the process. I found her humor to be the highlight of every bad day.

I consider myself to be very lucky to have had Mary Lee as my personal coach – on my side at this very hard time. If I had Mary Lee Gannon as my life coach every day of my life I could probably be president of the United States.

Roseanne R. Wholey President Roseanne R. Wholey and Associates Physician Coding/Billing/Collection