MARY STACEY, MA | Founder and Managing Director

Mary is Context’s founder. She combines her role as managing director with select client engagements, innovative projects in leadership development, and university teaching.

Mary’s work with executive leadership teams increases their effectiveness in the midst of escalating complexity. She is known for delivering high-impact change strategies that create a leadership culture and align capabilities with business needs. Her leadership designs have been named best practice in multinational corporations, profiled by the US based Information Management Forum and in Life Science Leader. She also facilitates multi-stakeholder collaborations on global challenges, most recently The Climate Gathering in Europe. In 2014, she initiated the Burren Executive Leadership Retreat, an annual gathering in Ireland of global leaders who are navigating complex systems.

Mary’s articles have appeared in strategy+business magazine, The Change Handbook: Best Methods for Engaging Whole Systems, and the Context Brief: Adaptive Leadership Networks in Global Organizations. She recently presented at the World Institute for Action Learning, the MaRS Discovery District, The Conference Board of Canada, and the Society for Organizational Learning.

Mary holds an MA in Organizational Leadership and Learning and is a certified executive coach qualified to work with a variety of development assessments. She teaches in the Strategic Leadership Advanced program at the University of Toronto, where she also regularly works with delegations from China.

Download Mary’s bio here.
Mary Stacey in the 2015 Distinctive Women Magazine



karen yeyinmen 114 x 114A skilled coach and facilitator, Karen supports people and organizations through processes of learning and change. She has contributed to developing skills, products, processes, and teams at organizations across the US. Drawing on these experiences, and applying such tools as CUED for Action Coaching, Global Leadership Profile, Immunity to Change Coaching, Adaptive Leadership Theory, and Developmental Action Inquiry, Karen adapts her consulting approach to fit the needs of each development challenge.

Karen earned her BA in psychology from Brown University, her MBA in Organization Studies from Boston College, and her Masters in Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is currently enrolled in a doctoral program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education where she is investigating how developmental maturity can serve as a resource for adaptive leadership. In the recent past she served as editor and co-chair of the Harvard Educational Review, a scholarly journal of educational research and opinions. Karen has published articles and book reviews in business reference books and academic journals.

A long-time practitioner of action inquiry and other experiential learning models, Karen strives to model real-time integration of learning and producing through her own approach to work and life. She lives in Cambridge, MA with her husband and two daughters.



Gayle Karen Young is a culture-builder and a catalyst for human and organizational development. She comes from a rich organizational consulting background with both corporate and nonprofit clients. She was in process of becoming a monk when she became an executive instead, taking on the role of Chief Culture and Talent Officer at the Wikimedia Foundation (Wikipedia and its sister free-knowledge projects) until early 2015, when she decided to return to private practice as a rogue provocateur. Born in the Philippines to Chinese parents and raised in the United States, she has a multicultural perspective, an adventurous spirit, and a deep commitment to expanding human freedom.

Gayle works to create dynamic organizational cultures in which people can thrive and thus make greater contributions. She acts as the interface between individuals and the systems within which they work, and fosters the development of both. From high-level strategic thinking to practical implementation, her skills include leadership development, change management, instructional design, training, strategic communications, team building, and personal and organizational transformation. Gayle has a rare capacity to hold multiple perspectives at once, remaining sensitive to the needs of diverse stakeholders and working for higher synthesis. Combining wisdom and warmth with expertise and effectiveness, she elicits trust and inspires transformation. Her clients have ranged from McDonald’s Corporation to Kaiser Permanente to Yale University to Ernst & Young. She is currently based in the United States between San Francisco, California, and Whidbey Island, Washington.


REILLY DOW | Associate and Graphic Recorder

Since 2008, Reilly has supported organizations on four continents, creating visual representations in English and Spanish to facilitate greater creativity, depth, and engagement. She uses graphic recording and visual facilitation in support of diverse groups looking to share, understand, and act on important ideas. Her recent clients include the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the International Peace Institute, and the United Nations.

Reilly is a member of the International Forum of Visual Practitioners (IFVP) and the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation (NCDD). She holds an MA in Interdisciplinary Studies, and her research interests include multi-stakeholder dialogue and participatory decision-making in complex environments. Reilly is originally from Canada and has lived in Chile and the US. She is currently based in Mexico City.


SANDRA HAYES, PhD | Associate

sandra hayes 114 x 114Sandra Hayes’s organization learning and change background includes specialization in leadership development, collaborative negotiation strategies, and team building. Some of her clients have been the United Nations, UNICEF, NYC Health and Hospital, Allstate, Citibank, Reuters, American Express, Lucent Technologies, and Columbia Business School.

She earned her Doctorate in Adult Learning and Leadership at Columbia University, where she also earned a Master of Arts degree in Organizational Psychology. She is on the faculty of the Summer Principals Academy at Teachers College, Columbia University. Sandra is a certified facilitator of The Human Element, a course that allows individuals and teams to focus on the underlying causes of behavior that block successful performance.

Sandras’s background in training and facilitation is enhanced by extensive experience in both the corporate and non-profit arenas. For ten years, she was a human resources professional for Westinghouse Broadcasting and Cable, American Health Partners and Reader’s Digest. Moreover, she spent seven years with the US Department of Labor’s Job Corps and for Prep for Prep. 



herb stevenson 114 x 114Herb Stevenson has been a management consultant for thirty years. He has designed and successfully guided many large scale change initiatives, including the turnaround of nine failing financial institutions. Herb supports executives who are seeking to address strategic issues and bring greater focus to their leadership, and organizational talent development and succession planning to ensure long term leadership capacity. His clients have included Fannie Mae, Hewlett Packard, NASA, and the National Cooperative Bank.

Before becoming a management consultant, Herb was a bank executive for twenty years. During this time he managed five offices specializing in business start-up and rapid growth. As a consultant, he developed a national training program still being used by ten percent of US banks. Herb has published a number of books including Executive Management Guide to an Effective Board of Directors. He recently published A Paradoxical Theory of Change (Gestalt Review, 2010).

Herb served in the Unites States Marine Corps and is a recipient of the George Washington Medal of Honor. He holds an MA in Organizational Psychology and is on the faculties of Cleveland State University at the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland. He regularly leads Natural Passages nature-based leadership program, and lives with his wife on their ranch in Novelty, Ohio.


AFTAB ERFAN, PhD | Associate and Graphic Recorder

aftab erfan 114 x 114Educated as a community planner with a background in environmental sciences and fine arts, Aftab supports organizational and community change processes in a way that cares for the individuals involved. She works as a visual recorder, process artist and facilitator for businesses, non-for-profits, community organizations, colleges and universities, and government agencies. Her work consists of [co]convening and [co]leading story telling, strategic planning, conflict resolution, innovation and leadership development processes.

Her facilitation approach is based in various methodologies including Deep Democracy, the Art of Hosting and Harvesting, Theory U, Action Inquiry and the Expressive Arts field. She draws heavily on her strength as a visual communicator, serving the 80+% of group members who are visual thinkers, and enabling everyone to access under-utilized sources of emotional and somatic imagination. She is an exceptional listener and quick thinker and is comfortable in a variety of sectors including education, culture, health care, First Nations, immigration, energy, green technologies, IT, pharmaceuticals, transport and housing.

Aftab teaches courses on planning theory, community development, de-colonization, and stakeholder engagement at the University of British Columbia. She is serving as a lead on the International Forum of Visual Practitioners (IFVP) learning community planning process. She has also recently served on the governing council of the Authentic Leadership in Action Institute and the Mayor of Vancouver’s Advisory Group on the Greenest City Action Plan.

View Aftab’s portfolio of visual recordings and custom charts.


EDWARD KELLY, PhD | Associate

ed kelly 114 x 114Edward brings his experience as an adventurer, entrepreneur and researcher to his work as a coach and facilitator in the field of leadership development. A recurring question he deals with is, “how can executives build their internal capacity to match the increasing outer complexity of the environment they are operating in?”

While earning his doctorate, Edward spent a decade researching in the field of adult development. During this period he also eased out of the telecoms business which he had founded in 1995. Prior to that, and while working for an investment bank in Sydney, he organized and participated in The Great Sydney Taxi Ride, raising $350,000 for children’s charities and entering the Guinness Book of Records in 1990 for the longest most expensive taxi ride in history.

Edward holds a PhD in Leadership Development, an MBCA in business and a BA hons in history & politics. In addition, he holds a Chartered Institute of Marketing Certificate (UK) an Integral Theory Certificate (ITC) and is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) in London.


MARIE LEGAULT, PhD | Associate

marie 114 x 114

Marie is dedicated to helping leaders and organizations develop to their full potential for a sustainable future. Since 1996 she has helped public and private organizations in diverse sectors attain their business objectives. She designs and delivers integrated organizational and leadership development initiatives that support organizations’ visions, values, objectives, and strategies. She facilitates learning and transformative processes, founded on leadership and adult development principles, to accelerate the developmental process and optimize performance.

As a leadership coach, Marie guides and supports leaders and executive teams as they develop on three leadership levels – personal, organizational, and systemic. Her coaching has supported leaders develop and implement strategic plans, and energize them into action to lead change initiatives, to think systemically, to communicate effectively, to build relationships and teams, and to reflect on their leadership style and its impact on others.

Marie is a dynamic bilingual speaker. She has a PhD in Human and Organizational Systems, a Master of Arts in Leadership and Training, a Bachelor of Commerce, an Executive Coaching Graduate Certificate, and a Professional Training & Development Certificate. Marie is an Academic Supervisor in the School of Leadership Studies at Royal Roads University.



grady mcgonagill 114 x 114For 30 years Grady has been the principal of McGonagill Consulting, specializing in building capacity for leadership, learning, and change. He has been a key adviser to McKinsey & Company in the development of a culture of learning and coaching. He helped the Firm develop innovative team leadership practices that have been adopted world-wide. In addition, he designed a high-impact coaching workshop that has become part of the Firm’s required curriculum. He was recently selected by the Bertelsmann Foundation to conduct a study on “Leadership Development in the U.S.: Principles and Patterns of Best Practice.”

Grady’s workshops on leadership have been offered through M.I.T.’s Sloan School of Management and the Harvard-affiliated Center for Management Research. Grady holds an EdD from Harvard University, an MA from Stanford University, and a BA from the University of Texas. Grady is a contributor to the Fifth Discipline Fieldbook, edited by Peter Senge et al. (1994), the author of a chapter in Executive Coaching, edited by C. Fitzgerald and J. Berger (2002), and the co-author of Leadership and Web 2.0 (2012).


TIM DIXON, MEd | Associate

time dixon 114 x 114Before co-founding the training and development company InCourage in 1997, Tim had served as a Senior Consultant at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce’s Leadership Centre. Prior to that role, Tim was Director of a research centre at Brock University called the Corporate Adventure Training Institute, which provides experiential training services in private and public sector applications while conducting empirical investigation into the efficacy of various learning methodologies.

In contrast to providing training and facilitation for his corporate clients, Tim has also served in consulting and facilitation roles within and across various community agencies as well as servicing government organizations at federal, provincial and municipal levels.


SAMINA HASHMI | Program Director

samina 114 x 114

In her role with Context, Samina supports our global team of Associates and oversees the offerings within our Learning Spaces. Recent designs have included Creating Shared Vision through the Practice of Action Inquiry with Air Canada, and the DNA Cafe Action Learning program for Genzyme-Sanofi, and Theory U with the Arts Services Organizations of Ontario.

An engineer by training, Samina is an accredited LEED Green Associate. A change catalyst by nature, and connected with M.I.T.’s Presencing Institute, Samina integrates a myriad of methodologies including Appreciative Inquiry, Complexity Theory, Action Learning, World Café, Open Space Technology, and Integrated Design Process.

For almost a decade, Samina Hashmi worked internationally with Engineers Without Borders. As the Director of Leadership & Organizational Learning, she led transformational change and organizational development initiatives and supported self-organizing communities. Having worked with technical, non-technical and multidisciplinary teams, she harmonizes a unique right and left brain approach.

Most recently Samina was recognized by the Women’s Executive Network as one of “Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women.” In 2006 she received the Honours Medal for Outstanding Leadership from Carleton University, and in 2005 she was the recipient of the YWCA Women of Distinction Award.


SUSAN WELT | Associate

welt 114 x 114Susan is the principal of Susan Welt Design, a New York design consultancy. She leads Context’s business identity and product development team. Susan brings an extensive list of accomplishments to her projects, including two illustration awards from the Society of Illustrators Annual Show, a Grammy Award based on her work with Tokyo-based Eiko Ishioka, and Excellence Awards gained during her tenure at Reader’s Digest General Books. Susan is a graduate of the Parsons School of Design, New York.