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In the Media:
Co-Founders, Maureen McCarthy & Zelle Nelson

Interviews and Articles

Zelle Nelson and Maureen K. McCarthy
The Center for Collaborative Awareness

Crafting Resilience Through Collaboration

Facing life with a rare genetic lung disease, Maureen McCarthy, together with partner Zelle Nelson, have redefined resilience and collaborative relationships.


As the heart and brain behind the Center for Collaborative Awareness, they have pioneered The Blueprint of We™, a transformative tool revolutionizing relationship design across corporate and personal landscapes, a key element in their Collaborative Brain Toolkit. The social scientists’ work is a powerful blend of relationship design, clear mind tools, and a visionary approach, making them pioneers in the art of relational alchemy. 


Together, they are redefining the landscape of collaboration and relationship design, teaching organizations like Dropbox to navigate change, build trust, and foster creative resilience. Their personal journey mirrors their professional ethos, creating a legacy of powerful insights and strategies for thriving in a complex world.

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Fast Company Magazine

The Blueprint Of We: 5 Ways To Master Collaboration

By Lydia Dishman


There are 7 billion people on the planet. Sooner or later you’ll have to work with some of them. Here is a five-part prescription for how to collaborate with less stress and more focus on innovation.

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Being Human Podcast: Extraordinary leaders telling their stories
Host Richard Atherton   
Topic: The Journey of Possibility-Oriented Thinking – with Maureen K. McCarthy and Zelle Nelson

00:00 / 01:04

About the Episode:

Maureen’s life as a leader is a wild story. Doctors told her she would die young of a rare, genetic lung disease with no cure in sight. She couldn’t change her body, so she decided to change her mind. Knowing that she might die at any time, with her partner Zelle, they had to figure out how to live each day, not knowing if there would be a tomorrow.

We discuss:

  • Consciously designing relationships

  • Finding joy with 10% lung capacity

  • Publishing your ‘Blueprint of Me‘

  • Radically rethinking business contracts

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The Reboot Podcast: Proving Love and Business Work Well Together

Host Jerry Colonna

Topic: Mindful Partnerships

00:00 / 35:27

About the Episode:

What if your agreements with partners and co-workers were more focused on the characteristics of how you come together, related to one another, and work together, instead of what happens when sh*t hits the fan? What if your co-founder agreement came from a place of hope instead of fear?

Zelle Nelson and Maureen McCarthy are co-founders of The Center For Collaborative Awareness and our guests for today’s conversation. They’ve created a collaborative process called  “The Blueprint of We,”  a mindful approach to build and sustain healthier, more resilient business and personal relationships and partnerships – those that start from a place of hope and openness. They join Jerry to share how they came together, how the process works, and how work can impact relationships and organization.

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WatchPitch Podcast for Start-ups and Investors
Host Trey Scott
Topic: It's No Longer About Problems and Solutions

00:00 / 01:04

About the Episode:

So is it really all just about problems and solutions? Will we always be stuck in this pattern that even neurologists will tell us compromises our ability to use the full capacity of our brains? Organization development experts and consultants Maureen McCarthy and Zelle Nelson from Collaborative Awareness and the Blueprint of We join us now to dive into a new model of focusing on what we desire and inventing new possibilities that then excites our brain and engages all of its intelligence. Powerful applications to your self, to inner team dynamics, with your clients and strategic partners and the practice of collaboration. You will be inspired…


Work Alchemy Podcast
Host Ursula Jorch
Topic: The Impact Interview: Neuroscience of Collaboration 

00:00 / 49:03

About the Episode:

Maureen McCarthy and Zelle Nelson are social scientists helping groups to become wiser together by strengthening the neural circuitry of social connection. They build trust by harnessing group stress as a design tool to generate more resilient, creative ways being together using the Collaborative Brain Toolkit™. They are the Co-Founders of the Center for Collaborative Awareness and Co-Creators of The Blueprint of We™, a collaboration design document used by organizations, communities, families and couples in 100+ countries. Maureen and Zelle have worked with organizations from Dropbox to the World Relief Organization to create vibrant leaders and inspire mindful ways of being human

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Relationships: Let's Talk About It! Podcast
Host Pripo Teplitsky
Topic: Designing Collaborative Relationships

00:00 / 1:01:15

About the Episode:

Maureen McCarthy, an extraordinary woman who lives joyfully despite a two-decade-long migraine and 10% lung capacity because of a rare, genetic lung disease. Although she feels pain 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Maureen is one of the healthiest people in the world as she shifts her mindset about living a healthy and significant life. Maureen and I discuss the five components that help people build, design, and maintain collaborative relationships. We discuss how the safety brain and connected brain neurocircuitry work in custom-designing your relationships. We also discuss how Maureen applies these principles in her life to manage her pain and live a rich life with extraordinarily healthy relationships with herself, her health, and others. “People are not the problem in relationships - it’s often the container we put ourselves in that creates the stress in the relationship.” - Maureen McCarthy

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Relationships: Let's Talk About It! Podcast
Host Pripo Teplitsky
Topic: Getting Along with Your Ex

00:00 / 52:20

About the Episode:

Maureen McCarthy is a living testament that just because a marriage ended, it doesn’t mean it has failed. When doctors told Maureen that she would die from a rare genetic illness, she ended her 10-year marriage with her husband, Bill. Yet, Maureen and Bill collaborate to maintain a relationship that’s healthy for both of them and their children. She knew that the fear-driven stories that revolve around marriage and divorce aren’t the only stories that exist. In today’s episode, Maureen and I discuss how to design a break-up or divorce process, why you should maintain a healthy relationship with an ex-partner, and how to get along with your ex after a break-up or divorce. We discuss why Maureen and Bill opted for a divorce and how they collaborated to maintain their friendship after their marriage ended. We also highlight how a healthy divorce affects children positively and underscore the power of purposefully designing a relationship. “Relationships are like containers. You’re going to be in a relationship as long as you can call it a memory. There’s no real ending to a relationship. You have to morph the container to fit the new situation.” - Maureen McCarthy

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