Meet Maureen

Maureen Cunningham

Maureen Cunningham

I have been helping leaders, businesses and work groups get closer to their potential since 1993.  I have worked with groups as small as two and as large as 12,000; on projects from $5,000 to $120 million: with public, private and not-for-profit organizations.

My clients have been my greatest source of learning.  More often than not, fascinating synchronicity brought us together.  I have been inspired time and time again by their commitment and courage in taking powerful leaps forward.

I am enthralled with human nature and in constant pursuit of emerging theories and practices in the field of organizations and change.  My formal education includes a BA in Psychology, an MBA taken both in Canada and in France; extensive coaching training and a powerful, 10-month Leadership Program based out of California.  I am qualified in a number of psychometric instruments that add to the richness of my work.  I am a Certified Management Consultant (CMC), Certified Professional Facilitator (CPF), Certified Facilitator in Organizational Systems Dynamics (Bert Hellinger Institute), Certified Prosci Change Management Practitioner and Certified APMG Change Management Practitioner.

I mentioned in the overview that I chose the name Up Until Now because I was moved by the power in making the choice to believe: now. So what is the greatest thing I choose to believe is possible?  That we can change the default of every human being to assuming that there is value in each human being.

Think about your favourite person to be around.  I guarantee you that person makes you feel like you are valuable.  And then what happens?  This brings the best out in you.  And then?  You like who you are because of it.  And?  You are more generous towards others because of the good place you are in.

Imagine a world in which everyone saw and therefore brought out the best in everyone.  We would astound ourselves with what is possible together.

My life purpose is to take a stand for that possibility.  Wherever and however I can.

I hope we get to connect, or better yet, to work together.

Maureen Cunningham

P.S. If you are curious to know about my journey, please keep reading… 

My Journey

From 1988 to 1992 I worked at Nortel, then a world-leading high tech firm.  I worked in accounting, finance, manufacturing and market forecasting.  This gave me a great overview of business, not to mention some amazing people to work with, but I did not yet fall in love with any one area.  Hoping for that lightning bolt of clarity, I left to do my MBA.

My epiphany came instead three years later when I was working as an independent consultant.

In 1995, a Rear Admiral with whom I was working recommended I read Real Time Strategic Change.  It offered a model for how you create profound change in organizations, not by expertise in knowing the perfect solution, but through a one to three-day process to create and gain commitment to a new strategic direction.  Long before books like “The Wisdom of Crowds”, this process understood how to tap the wisdom of groups.  Better yet, it did this through conversations, with 400 or 2000 people at a time…without the use of technology.  Within months I was on a plane to train with the author’s former organization, Dannemillar Tyson Associates.

For the next ten years, from 1995 to 2004, I worked with organizations trying to create profound change.  My role was that of coach and facilitator.  Together, we named the underlying needs and designed workshops to surface the wisdom of the group, and bring rapid and far-reaching progress.  I worked with amazing clients like the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and Avenor Pulp and Paper (now Bowater) and AGRA Systems (now AMEC).  I continued to expand my skillset with new tools such as the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), Strategic Alignment and Future Search.   Most powerfully, I trained as a business and life coach with CTI.

Then, I got curious again.  I had been working without a boss as an “outside advisor” to organizations for over a decade.  What if my perspective on organizations was dated or, worse yet, inaccurate?  After all, mine was not the every-person reality.  I decided the answer was to experience the work world again through the lens of an “insider”.

So, after over a decade of growth, I took a sabbatical to help Stephen Beckta open the first of his three restaurants: Beckta dining & wine, now a wonderful success story.  It was not only enlightening to work with a compelling small business, but so too was it to work with a great leader.  (Steve’s plethora of awards will confirm this.  I am biased, of course.  Steve is my husband.)  I took away renewed clarity about the key levers for exceptional organizations.

In 2004, I joined CGI, a top-ranked global IT firm, as Director of their Business Transformation and Organizational Change practice.  For six years I worked with clients ranging from senior government and business leaders to front line service workers, on projects from $5,000 to $120 million.   I was both awestruck by the potential in the people I met and too often demoralized by the circumstances that squashed their individual and collective flourishing.  What became so clear is how much the things we build to help, aren’t.  As an “insider” I saw that the need for powerful organizational change was deeper than I had known.

In 2010, I felt the call to pull together the sum of my learnings to help serve this need.  This is how Up Until Now was born.  It began with me diving into the great readings of late, as well as dissecting my past case files to extract and deepen my learning.  Since then I have been working with incredible organizations like the CN Tower, Export Development Canada, Canadian Heritage, Prysmian Power Cables & Systems, Robertson Martin Architects, the Canadian Automobile Association, Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI), Industry Canada (now ISED) and the Department of Justice, among other wonderful organizations.  And each time, our learning and results are getting richer still.

And this is where I am today.  With you, here.  Now.

What future can you claim for your organization that may not have been true… Up Until Now?