About Gael O’Brien

Gael O'BrienI realized 25 years ago that my purpose was helping leaders succeed in change and challenge. I was inspired by the growing evidence that values and purpose could help drive culture and financial turnarounds (as had dramatically happened at Alcoa.)

After leaving a Price Waterhouse office as marketing and PR director, I founded Strategic Opportunities Group. I incorporated vision, purpose and values discussions into strategic planning facilitation for businesses and state/national professional associations. These discussions kept strategic plans on track. I also worked with clients to elevate communication effectiveness which increased team engagement and business growth.

Recruited to Mitsubishi Motor Manufacturing of America to help lead a model workplace initiative and culture change, I co-led a successful values process with nearly 4000 employees. The culture shift supported a business turnaround. Promoted to vice president of corporate communications, government relations and head of the foundation at Mitsubishi Motors North America, I coached teams in 4 locations. After a break to enjoy becoming a stepmother, I returned to Strategic Opportunities Group.

I’ve worked with companies, professional service firms, entrepreneurs, The Conference Board, RAND’s Center for Corporate Ethics and Governance, The Ethics Officers Association (now ECI) and Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship; taught business ethics and coached clients in several fields. I publish The Week in Ethics blog, was recruited to write the Ethics Coach column for Entrepreneur Magazine and write a leadership column for Business Ethics Magazine.

Through my Executive Coaching, Culture Coaching, Speech Coaching, speaking invitations and writing, my focus is advancing ways to increase leadership effectiveness, purpose and impact.

Relevant credentials:

  • Named a “Top 100 Thought Leader” by Trust Across America; corporate leadership background and seasoned executive, culture and speech coach, professional speaker and leadership columnist;
  • Board Certified Coach (BCC) in Executive/Corporate/Business/ Leadership;
  • Certified practitioner in administering The Leadership Circle ® Profile (360) and The Leadership Culture ® Survey; Accredited in Tracom Social Style assessment;
  • TEDx speech coach since October 2015;
  • Award winning communicator; accredited by PRSA (APR); Distinguished Toastmaster; Improv training;
    Kallman Executive Fellow (Hoffman Center for Business Ethics) at Bentley University and Senior Fellow Social Innovation (Lewis Institute) at Babson College;
  • College of William and Mary (MA); McCallum Graduate School of Business, Bentley University (graduate Business Ethics certificate); Skidmore College (BA).

Expertise and purpose: Catalyst in leaders leading in purpose and impact through clarity, presence and connection.

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I had the great fortune of working with Gael O’Brien as I prepared to give a Ted Talk…. Her positive reinforcement, combined with gentle redirection, allowed me to bring forth a story that even I didn’t know I could tell. The lessons she taught me ….will be carried into my career for many years to come. Importantly, Gael was committed to taking the journey with me to ensure that I put forth my very best self.

Jill Maron MD, MPH
Executive Director, Mother Infant Research Institute at Tufts Medical Center
TEDx Natick Speaker, 2019