Mariana Marko is an experienced trainer and gifted facilitator. She is passionate about creating strong organizations and helping leaders align their workplace behaviors with strategic goals, objectives, and values. Her human resources background includes work in performance management, employee engagement, and leadership development.
Mariana’s warm style and her outcome-driven mindset make her a favorite of organizations that have specific challenges they need to tackle. She is known for bringing an individualized approach to transformation through coaching and executive advising, team building and facilitation, organizational development, and conflict management.
Mariana has worked with a wide range of organizations: large corporations, universities, private businesses, not-for-profit entities, faith-based groups, and the government. Some of the groups she has served include AstraZeneca, CarMax, the US Army, the US Space Force, Workday, Lockheed Martin, and Virginia Tech.
Mariana began her career in an executive training program with a large financial bank in the Washington, DC area. Subsequently, she spent several years in the financial services industry with leadership roles in retail banking, commercial lending, mortgage services, and training.
Building on her work in training and for her next career move, Mariana joined a boutique consulting firm. There, she designed, developed, and facilitated sessions for individual contributors, mid-level managers, and senior leaders on such topics as conflict resolution, interpersonal skills, and team dynamics.
Most recently, Mariana served a large nonprofit organization as the director of staff training and development. In that role, she developed training programs through needs analysis and stakeholder evaluation, designed talent development plans, facilitated strategic planning and team development sessions, restructured the performance management approach, and coached employees and leaders at all levels. She also created the framework for an organization-wide leadership development program.
Mariana believes in a process of encouraging self-awareness, understanding, and intentionality as they apply to individual, team, and organizational success.
Education and Certifications
Mariana earned a BA in interdisciplinary studies with a focus in arts management from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She also holds an MA in management and leadership from Liberty University.
She is certified to facilitate several professional development assessments, including Core Clarity (using Clifton Strengths), Predictive Index, and DISC. Mariana is also a certified ELC3 coach.
An Interview with Mariana
What three or four words describe your facilitation style?
Engaging, relaxed, and outcome driven.
What are your favorite topics to facilitate?
I love a wide variety of topics – but the topics that are most interesting to me are considered “soft skills”. However, I do like to challenge that label. I prefer to call those skills “crucial skills” because they are essential to success. Even the smartest, most capable employees can struggle with productivity if they are not able to succeed with the “crucial skills” of emotional intelligence, communication, or conflict navigation. Equipping people in these areas is fun and exciting for me and can be life changing for them.
How do you plan for a training session?
I begin by understanding the needs and the desired outcomes for an engagement, and I also want to understand the potential barriers or obstacles. From there, I work to design an experience that is relevant, useful, and practical – and also interactive. I want to give participants an immediate “win” that they can apply to see quick results.
What do you like best about your work?
On this list is making a difference in the lives of others, encouraging change and growth, connecting with people, mobilizing teams, and seeing others live their strengths.
I am passionate about educating and coaching people to be intentional – whether that’s realizing talents, strengthening weaknesses, or something else that will help them be the best them they can be.
What would you do as a career if you weren’t in this field?
Something with horticulture. When you think about it, there are a lot of crossovers. I like to see things grow, I will roll up my sleeves and get my hands dirty, and I also understand that many factors influence a plant’s success. You need good dirt, a good location, an attentive gardener, and so forth.
When you are not working, what are your interests?
I love music of all genres – playing and singing. Also, my husband and I enjoy home renovation and building projects. But the list of things I enjoy is not complete unless I add a sparkly beverage, singing at the top of my lungs when I’m alone in the car, laughter with friends, and time with my family.