WHAT I DO
Labs, incubators, and accelerators
Initiatives to create new pathways
My goal is to work with the brightest emerging enterprises to awaken innovation across developing regions and around the world. In partnership with local organizations and companies, I create programs around particular issues, sectors, and regions to foster experimentation and rapid growth across all stages of the business life cycle -- from idea to scale.
I take a human-centered design approach, drawing on deep insight and empathy for and with the end beneficiary in every stage of development. Yet, I also believe that innovation is not a silver bullet, but should be a part of a holistic strategy that builds in evidence-based approaches and community-driven advocacy.
In emerging markets
Our world is changing fast. How might large organizations think more like startups, becoming more agile to get ahead of the "disruption" of industries? How might startups tap into the resources of more established companies and NGOs to reach scale?
The work I do answers these questions. I create strategy, teams, partnerships, and programming to implement large-scale innovation and impact initiatives.
From getting life-enhancing products (like mobile apps, solar lights, and sanitary pads) to the last mile, to developing open innovation models (i.e. sourcing external ideas and technologies) for multinational corporations, I work across a range of sectors and industries to unleash new solutions quickly and sustainably.
For maximum impact
I build creative, strategic, and often unlikely partnerships to enable greater impact and scale than any one partner, industry, or sector could do alone. People call me a super-connector. It's innate in me to build authentic relationships and connect the dots across issues that matter.
Workshops + experiences
To solve social challenges
I activate a diverse network of experts to support individuals and teams with strategic thinking, mindfulness, playful collaboration, and access to transformative resources to foster creativity and solve really hard problems.
Turning ideas into action
Many celebrities, influencers, and powerful brands want to activate their massive networks to do good. I create strategies and partnerships that help them do this -- beyond surface-level "liking" on social media, and into meaningful action.
WHAT PEOPLE SAY
"Mara's passion and dedication to solving critical problems facing people and the planet is transformative.
From inspiring youth in New Orleans to tackle environmental problems, to empowering women in the developing world to transform their communities, I have seen and felt the power of her work."
EMMY-NOMINATED TV HOST, AUTHOR, SPEAKER, ENTREPRENEUR
"Mara is one of those rare people who can have a big vision AND can craft the perfect plan to implement.
She is the ultimate connector. She is deeply passionate about the change she makes, and she always makes it fun."
PHILANTHROPIST, INVESTOR, ENTREPRENEUR
"Not only did Mara recognize the opportunity, but she was also very quickly able to conceptualize a program"
"Mara traveled with me to Cuba in June 2015. It was one of the first U.S. entrepreneurship and investment groups to explore the island in decades. Not only did Mara recognize an opportunity, but she was also very quickly able to conceptualize a program, put a team together to implement, and a mere three months later, launched the first-ever design thinking workshop with U.S. and Cuban entrepreneurs in Havana, in a difficult diplomatic environment where skepticism and mistrust ruled for decades."
ED, ASPEN INSTITUTE, GLOBAL ALLIANCES PROGRAM
VP, RICHARDSON CENTER FOR GLOBAL ENGAGEMENT
FOUNDER, FRINGE DIPLOMACY
"She is an inspired leader driven by an endless capacity for creativity and problem solving"
No matter what Mara undertakes, one can rest assured she will skillfully tap her broad experience to combine top notch strategy with a proactive and watchful eye on the myriad details of project execution. "
PRESIDENT, WORKING NATION
PHILANTHROPIST AND ENTERTAINMENT EXECUTIVE
"I've been places I've never dreamed of...all because of the curating power of Mara"
"Over the many years of knowing and working with Mara, one thing is for sure. If she emails, calls, or texts it's bound to be about an amazing opportunity. I can honestly say that Mara is one of those people who has made me a better person."
ARTIST, FILMMAKER, ACTIVIST