"I have had the pleasure of working with Joan Mara in her Transformational Forum workshop. She demonstrates a real and genuine communication style that draws the group in and deeper. Whether you are a well-oiled Forum machine, stuck in a bad place, or need to get to the next level Joan would be the one I would call.
Transformational forum requires the expertise of some one like Joan to see the kind of results that last. She is committed to the process not only during the retreat, but long after open to phone calls to discuss your progress and concerns getting the most of this new Forum tool. If you would like to discuss Joan further, don’t hesitate to call or email me."
"I've worked with MANY coaches over the years, from e-myth, Gazelles, NeuroLeadership and other very business minded and logically focused coaches. To what some might call 'deeper' personal growth focused coaches.
Joan has an amazing ability to blend the two together in a way that plays off the importance of both sides of the spectrum. I've found my work with her to be focused on practical matters, with a solid understanding of business and entrepreneurship, yet she takes into consideration what's going on below the surface level in a way typical 'business' coaches tend to miss."
"Joan did a remarkable job facilitating the new Youth Forum training for our local chapter. Her vast experience in forum facilitation and coaching made this new and unique experience a huge success. She was able to bring together principles that have been long-used in our traditional forum structure and translate those principles to adapt to the younger generation of future leaders.
I would highly recommend Joan."
"Being trained by Joan was as much a journey as an education. She took EO course materials and brought them to life by encouraging those in the group to reach deeper, stay focused and to truly listen. Her approach is intelligent where she needs to share logic and empathetic when asking students to look within. I have been stuck by Joan’s ability to adapt to group dynamics and tailor the program so that everyone leaves the day feeling more connected, valued and ready to implement what they learned.
On reflection, I believe Joan’s greatest strength as a trainer is that she remains a student of her craft; as she helps us to better listen and learn from shared experiences, she too continues to grow and develop. I’m grateful for such high calibre training and I look forward any future opportunity to have Joan’s guidance on this journey we all call life."
"Joan has been an invaluable resource for our forum. When we met her, we were in the very beginning stages of creating a new forum. Under her guidance, we quickly became a tight-knit group. We learned so much about each other, and about ourselves, during the retreat that she facilitated. Her compassion and intuition were key in helping us establish deep bonds of trust and intimacy.
Among Joan's many virtues are integrity, intelligence and curiosity. Perhaps her most important attribute is her ability to take highly conceptual ideas and make them practical. The worksheets and exercises that she has developed have allowed our forum to continue the work that she started at our first retreat. We now have meaningful updates, planned and impromptu presentations at each meeting. Our forum is operating at a level which gives maximum benefit to all of us.
We are so fortunate to have met Joan during our first year as a forum. She set us on a path that has allowed for immense growth, both within the context of forum and in the larger sphere of family and work. We think of Joan as the 8th member of our forum and most of us are in contact with her by phone or email throughout the year. We have invited her to facilitate 2 of our retreats and are planning to work with her at our next one.
Asking Joan to step into your forum will be a transformational experience. It may be the very best thing you will ever do as a group."
"I have been in forum groups for over 30 years; first in Ontario( we still meet once a year for a four day retreat since many of the members live throughout North America now), then in B.C. in a spousal Y.P.O forum until the age of 50. After that I was approached to form the first new W.P.O. Spousal forum group in Vancouver, with some members who had never been in a forum before..
With this group we have had Joan as a facilitator at retreats three times and several people in our forum have had moderator training from her.
With her own materials ,she has honed our update skills to include only significant issues and feelings, and present in a timely fashion. As well, Joan has taught us to do presentations , with coaching,following her very effective outlines. She has led us through a number of exercises which have helped our forum move to a much higher level, and she has guided us in leading discussions on topics of interest.
But what I have found so unique about Joan is her ability to asses the group and individual members quickly and accurately and to deal with us in a sensitive manner to realize our strengths and our weaknesses so we continue to grow as a forum.
I can honestly say that Joan is the most effective Y.P.O facilitator I have seen over my 30 years in forums and I would not hesitate to recommend her."
"Joan’s commitment to “getting it right” for the retreat of two of our spousal forum’s retreats really served our WPO Chapter well, She patiently and respectively, worked and planned with different forum moderators to customize their retreat experiences. Her ability as a Master teacher, was evident, as she skillfully guided both moderators and the group members through varying levels of activity.
The comments I heard from participants, following Joan’s work, were:
“This was a home run!” ; “ I’d like to have Joan advise us from time to time!” : “Let’s continue as Joan demonstrated…”
Many in our Chapter have had years of forum experience, and Joan still brought fresh perspective and gentle guidance for a deeper connection."
"I was extremely fortunate to come to know Joan several months prior to stepping into my two year term as Spousal Forum Coordinator for the Alberta Chapter of Young Presidents Organization (YPO). At the time, the idea of “forum training” for members other than moderators was new to the Chapter, and we were struggling to fill a 10 person Forum Fundamentals training. Since this first session, Joan has facilitated many more forum and moderator training sessions for the Chapter, as well as worked directly with many of the Chapter’s new and established forums facilitating their retreats, always with excellent feedback. Joan has been so effective within the Chapter that Forum Fundamentals has become mandatory for any new member joining forum and is in high demand. I believe that new forums launched in a facilitated session with Joan are two years further ahead on the forum growth and learning curve than those launched without. Joan is also a gentle but firm arbiter in taking established forums to a deeper level of trust, vulnerability and meaning.
Joan is a person of integrity who cares deeply about the individuals and forums with which she work, and makes herself available to give guidance on issues and concerns that may arise beyond the formal training. Throughout my term, I relied on Joan as a sensitive but objective sounding board on matters beyond my scope of experience. I recommend Joan without hesitation in all her capacities as a YPO certified facilitator."
"Joan Mara is an extraordinary facilitator who I highly recommend to enhance developing any business. She has a unique talent for observing and bringing the best out in each participant. Her style is so efficient and engaging that each participant gets the utmost benefit and return for their time.
I have had the pleasure of learning from Joan in EO’s Forum and Moderator Training Programs. She has an intimate understanding and knowledge yet the biggest benefit is from her incredible way of sharing the process with personal experience to make it work for each individual or group. She is committed to results and making the process work for you.
Joan is a tremendous leader who creates an energizing and inspiring environment of learning while pushing participants to strive for more, to be the best. I came away with practical tools and more importantly a plan of how to implement. Joan ensures that participants are committed and engaged in training and responsible for their results.
I highly recommend Joan for any form of training, mentoring, coaching. I am confident that she will hear what your needs are and provide the tools and training to enhance your personal growth or business growth."
"Joan Mara and I were first introduced through YPO/WPO; since that time Joan has conducted two retreats with our forum, the first of which was our first time meeting as a group. Joan’s skill set to bring us all together, with a wide variance in ages, backgrounds, and occupations, was simply wonderful. Every forum would benefit greatly from her wisdom, guidance and exercises, either at formation stage, or, as a more experienced group. In fact, we found the exercises at the second retreat really deepened our connection to each other. On a personal level, Joan helped me to better understand my new role as moderator. Through her retreats, I became aware of several techniques and learnings that expanded my knowledge in the area.
As luck would have it, Joan also led my Son’s first forum meeting in our chapter’s first NextGen forum. While I did not attend, it is a pleasure to see the enthusiasm that he has had for the power of forum, and, I know in my heart that Joan would have played a large role in that outcome.
Perhaps most importantly, I have had occasion to reach out to Joan since those retreats for counsel and have always found a willing, unselfish and concerned mentor for both me and my forum’s good health. I, and, our whole forum, have truly been blessed to have Joan in our lives."
“Organizing a Corporate retreat is a time consuming and risky proposition. Joan took the time to understand what we needed on a deep level. What followed that preparatory work was a robust work plan that addressed the challenges we identified together. If you are looking for a formula solution then look somewhere else.
Joan has developed the kind of intuition and insight that are only available to someone deeply committed to their craft. Breakthrough insights are possible for the prepared, open organization.”
“I first meet Joan as the facilitator of a peer advisory group I was part of. I was impressed with her ability to sense that there was something deeper behind what was being said and draw it out in an open and accepting environment.
I was also impressed with her talent to speak hard truth when it needed to be said and have the person hear and receive it. When the group closed and I needed a person to guide me through a difficult conversation with a sibling/shareholder/employee it was Joan who I turned to with very positive results.
Our family business is working our way through a succession process and as we entered another phase of the process it was necessary to bring a non-family facilitator. Joan was ideally gifted to interview and listen to the parties. identify the themes and then conduct a facilitated meeting that left all of the individuals being heard and understood, their knowledge of the company increased and they left feeling closer relationally to each other.”
“Joan was called in to help a relatively new executive team be more effective. She skillfully created an environment that made it easy for the team members to feel safe and be courageous enough to be vulnerable with each other, and connect in a way we hadn’t been able to achieve before. Joan demonstrated her ability to be a listener, allowing authentic sharing, but also picked the right moments to ask bold and incisive questions when we needed to be pushed. I would recommend Joan and her unique ability highly.”