Cultivating the collaborative capacity of individuals, teams, and organizations in order to help higher ed and nonprofit leaders address challenges and realize possibilities


Teams and organizations fall short of their potential because siloed thinking and entrenched practices prevent us from seeing and embracing the best ideas, perspectives, and insights of others.

workshop and retreat design

Designing and facilitating workshops and retreats that provide teams with protected time to connect, reflect, and get some actionable thinking done together

sample past engagements:

  • Based on intensive one-on-one interviews with all members of an entrenched department, designed and facilitated a two-day retreat focused on (1) engaging in honest, productive, and safe dialogue about departmental challenges; (2) departmental decision-making practices and expectations; and (3) establishing accountability practices and expectations.

  • Huddled with liaisons from four southern 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.

“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

“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


sample workshops & presentations:

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

special project stewardship

Moving complex projects and initiatives forward by building collaborative structures that enable people, resources, and processes to work better together--across individuals, departments, institutions, and sectors

"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." - Collaborator

“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

sample past engagements:

  • In order to develop and maintain effective, efficient, sustainable, and enduring cross-campus academic collaborations among The Claremont Colleges, I (1) conducted archival research and word-of-mouth outreach to catalog all existing curricular collaborations, (2) conducted semi-structured group discussions with approximately 120 faculty and staff members involved in 31 distinct cross-campus curricular collaborations to understand the collaborations in terms of what they do and how they do it, as well as their strengths and needs, (3) synthesized key themes and offered recommendations in a formal report, and (4) served as the founding director of the Office of Consortial Academic Collaboration.

  • With an eye toward creating a coherent cross-campus data sciences curriculum that would draw on and build up intercollegiate, interdisciplinary course offerings related to data science theories, methods and applications, I (1) conducted stakeholder interviews with 50 faculty and staff from across seven colleges, (2) hosted multiple charrettes to evaluate the initiative ideas that emerged in the interviews, (3) hosted an all-day data science vision retreat to formalize proposals, and (4) vetted emerging proposals with the presidents and deans of all the colleges



Coaching higher ed and nonprofit leaders who want to create positive outcomes in their organizations and beyond; my coaching focuses on building strong collaborative relationships with others, being present and fulfilled at work, and navigating change with grace

sample coaching client session:

  • The department chair of a large department at a private university sought coaching to help him disrupt entrenched faculty factions, which were expressed as both curricular "turfiness" and in-fighting about perceived workload inequities.

“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


downloadable sample resources

Most individuals who engage in collaborative work genuinely believe that collaboration is valuable to their organizations. Yet, few are trained to engage in collaborative work effectively.

let's connect

Deb Mashek, PhD
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