While collaboration is essential for realizing ambitious goals, big ideas & best intentions fizzle without proper support & know-how. That’s where we come in.  Whether you are launching a new collaboration or trying to get a struggling one back on track, we shepherd your ideas from vision to reality.


strategic planning and facilitation

Elevating insights and recommendations regarding the possibilities and perils of your collaborative undertaking, identifying viable pathways, and building consensus. We conduct tailored discovery interviews and facilitate summits that allow stakeholders to connect, reflect, and get some actionable thinking done together.

sample past engagements:

  • The entire leadership team of an elite liberal arts school navigated a lot in 2020, including COVID, a long-overdue national reckoning with racial injustice, a natural disaster that overtook their region, and an incredibly polarized national election. The college's president asked Myco to design a retreat for the Cabinet that would at once honor the team's steady leadership and successes, and direct energy to future visioning, imagining what and how the college could be in a post-COVID world. [Read More]

  • Entrenched faculty factions within a large interdisciplinary department created significant barriers to meaningful change that would better serve the diverse interests of their students. The department chair and dean sought to address head-on the turfiness and in-fighting about perceived workload inequities and decision-making practices. Their goal: create a viable pathway for needed department-level change. [Read more]

  • Facilitated a 9-month interdisciplinary research network of scholars interested in the development of intellectual humility from childhood through adolescents. This project was funded by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation awarded to Duke University. [Read more]

  • In close partnership with the President and the Director of Institutional Philanthropy, we facilitated the creation of key visioning documents to bring coherence and clarity to a proposed multimillion-dollar initiative involving every sector of the campus and a multitude of national partners.

“Debra Mashek would be my absolute first choice for any complex project involving collaboration or facilitation. One of the smartest and most thoughtful people out there!”

- Alison Taylor, Executive Director of Ethical Systems


“I honestly could not imagine working with a more skilled retreat facilitator. Throughout the process, I felt as if she was a member of our department for years; that is how well she understood our history and needs.”

- Department Chair

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"Myco listened intently to our needs, then crafted an engaging, constructive retreat that enabled us to have the conversations we needed most, advancing our goals further than I thought possible in a half-day retreat."

- College President


project stewardship

Moving complex projects and initiatives forward by leveraging strategic, programmatic, and operational talents, enabling people, resources, and processes to work better together -- across individuals, departments, institutions, and sectors.

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sample past engagements:

  • The Academic Deans of the five Claremont Colleges asked Myco principal Deb Mashek, who was then an Associate Professor at Harvey Mudd College, to identify and activate a suite of sustainable strategies to improve curricular coherence and innovation among the colleges. Mashek successfully advanced over a dozen deliverables focused on coordinating, supporting, and assessing inter-institutional curricular collaboration among the Colleges by engaging consistently and meaningfully with presidents; deans; registrars; faculty; and staff from communications, information technology, and institutional research. Ultimately, her work became institutionalized in the launch of the Office of Consortial Academic Collaboration, which exists to “develop and maintain effective, efficient, sustainable, and enduring cross-campus academic collaborations among the Claremont Colleges.” [Read more]

  • To address across-the-board demand for data science programs at the Claremont Colleges, Myco principal Deb Mashek helped the institutions explore and vision a coherent cross-campus curriculum that would draw on and build up intercollegiate, interdisciplinary course offerings related to data science theories, methods and applications. 

“Her presence at the table was incredibly positive and warm and clearly saved us many heartaches and headaches, time, and money. I will not take on new collaborations without advice from Deb.” - Joshua Aronson, NYU

“For decades, curricular and research collaboration among the faculty of the five colleges limped along on goodwill and massive human investment, through setbacks and detours, often leading to discouragement and suboptimal results. Deb Mashek near single-handedly transformed that. She helped the deans of the five colleges understand the levers of change, the way new initiatives could be kindled and sustained in a coordinated, efficient manner.”

- Peter Uvin, Professor of Government, Claremont McKenna College & initial Lead Dean on the Office of Consortial Academic Collaboration

professional development

Designing and facilitating professional development for all involved.  Even for those individuals who are well-practiced at collaborative work or who have an internal impulse toward creating mutually empowering relationships, opportunities to hone or refresh skills can be critical to a project’s success.

sample past engagements:

  • The incomplete alignment of stakeholders in this multi-campus blended learning consortium resulted in operational drag and missed opportunities to deliver on the promise and potential of the shared endeavor. We huddled with liaisons from five universities to (1) define their roles and responsibilities vis a vis organizing collaborative language curricula, (2) formalize a cross-campus committee charge, and (3) improve cross-campus and cross-functional information flow and workflow. [Read more]

  • As the Associate Dean for Faculty Development at Harvey Mudd College, Deb Mashek designed and led New Faculty Orientation, Junior Faculty Development, Mid-Career Faculty Development, and Retirement Transition Planning programs for approximately 40 faculty.


“I learned a lot by...working with you and learning from you how to organize people and processes. It has been a great experience for me and I am very grateful for it.” - Collaborator

“Deb’s deep familiarity with the nuances of the academy and the challenges of inter-institutional collaboration enabled her to quickly and accurately diagnose our needs, build rapport with stakeholders, and offer concrete solutions that supported our mission.”

- Consortium Director

“You are positive, clear, engaging, and the group projects/discussions were meaningful. You also have a deep sense of confidence and humility -- a paradox of character that is not always apparent in many academics. Thanks for your example to all of us."

- Workshop Participant


workshops include:

Defining vision, Realizing goals

“What could we do?” vs. “What should we do?”

“Learning to say no” vs. “Knowing when to say yes”

Collaboration: It’s not what you think

Project management for academics

Constituting and charging cross-functional, inter-campus committees

executive advising

Providing a confidential sounding board for, and just-in-time expertise to, higher ed leaders, helping them underscore shared vision, ensure the availability of skills and resources, enact the plan, and garner needed sponsorship.

sample past engagements:

  • Seeking to disrupt entrenched faculty factions, which were expressed as both curricular "turfiness" and in-fighting about perceived workload inequities, the incoming department chair of a large department at a private university sought Myco’s counsel.

  • An academic who was feeling overwhelmed and without confidence as she faced a huge undertaking, sought coaching to clarify pathways for moving forward.

  • Provided tailored "just in time" support and professional development to the new board chair of longstanding, well-regarded nonprofit

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"I now have a way to reframe my anxiety about moving forward that will help me overcome my slog. After just one session, I feel motivated and excited to get to work on my big undertaking. I certainly have not felt that way about this work in a very long time. Thank you so, so much!" 

- Coaching Client

"...Deb is the person every senior leader wants to have on their team and in their corner. She has been extremely successful in faculty and administrative positions, which enables her to deliver incredible results for the institutions she works with. Deb not only takes time to understand each groups' goals but really synthesizes the information in order to forge new pathways that move the needle and accomplish audacious objectives."

- Kristina Powers, Institute for Effectiveness in Higher Education

“I was feeling stuck. You have this ability to clear things up for me when we talk. You are really good at narrowing down the issue in a logical, thoughtful way, yet with empathy.”

- Coaching Client



Ensuring joint efforts serve the needs and interests of all partners through persistent, transparent, and inclusive evaluation that provide timely, actionable insights.

sample past engagements:

  • Conducted collaboration readiness assessment to evaluate existing vision, incentives, skills, resources, and plans [Read more]

  • Assessed current and desired position of a shared endeavor on the Collaboration Continuum, as well as the availability of capacities and resources to move from Point A to Point B [Read more]

  • With an eye toward creating data-informed programs to advance organizational goals, Deb Mashek partnered with a diverse range of stakeholders to develop Heterodox Academy’s theory of change, strategy map, and associated logic models.

Taking Notes

"Deb brings a wealth of practical experience to the challenge of assessing opportunities and obstacles to strategic planning, organizational development, and collaborative change management. She is acutely perceptive and outcomes oriented. Deb's pragmatic processes help organizations and institutions catalyze nascent opportunities into actionable outcomes."

- Michael Nanfito,

Nanfito & Associates