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Maureen K. McCarthy

Keynote Speaker

Resiliency Strategist

Collaboration Expert

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Maureen K. McCarthy

Connection as Medicine

Resiliency Strategist • Collaboration Expert • Executive Coach • Keynote Speaker

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Past Clients Include


The British Government

Astra Zeneca

Fast Company Magazine




Barrett Values Centre

University of British Columbia

Spirit of Humanity Forum


Maureen McCarthy Bio

Maureen McCarthy’s life is a wild story. She was told she would die young of a rare, genetic lung disease, and with no cure in sight, she couldn't change her body, so she set out to change her brain. 

With intense chronic pain, an allergy to all pain medicine, and 10% lung capacity, Maureen has been on oxygen for a third of her life. Paying attention to what made it harder to live in her body, she began to question the very architecture of our human experience: the much lauded Problem-Solution Mindset. Relating to her health as a problem was killing her faster than the lung disease.

Rather than a problem, Maureen sees death and illness as an opportunity to question the nature of our brain’s relationship to pain and fear. This propelled her to design a radical, brain-based approach to being alive, using the neural circuitry of social connection to harness group stress and build trust in fast-paced environments.

Maureen is the Co-Founder of the Center for Collaborative Awareness. She has worked with individuals and organizations worldwide using her co-created collaboration design document, The Blueprint of We™; the Collaborative Desire-Invention Model™, an upgrade to old school problem-solution thinking; and Micro-Dosing Other People™, a tool used to harness stress as a design tool for building resiliency and connection.

Through dynamic keynote speaking and global leadership consulting, Maureen has worked with organizations from Dropbox to the World Relief Organization to create vibrant leaders and inspire new ways of working. She is the co-author, with Co-Founder Zelle Nelson, of the upcoming book Collaborate or Die: A Radical Approach to Relationship Design.


Maureen’s rare approach to life and unbelievable energy enlightens and inspires audiences to see themselves and the world with a new set of eyes.


Maureen inspires audiences on topics regarding

  • Connection and Resilience

  • Stress and Pain Management

  • Collaborative Relationships




(+1) 847.859.9649



Travels from 

Asheville, North Carolina, USA

A/V Needs 

Lavalier or headset microphone and LCD projector

Maureen enjoys collaborating with event coordinators to customize her talks. Below is a list of the most requested topics.

1. Connection as Medicine 

How to engage with life when your mind and body hurts 

Maureen McCarthy has an illness: a rare, fatal lung disease that brings with it pain, suffocation, and death, yet she is one of the most vibrant and alive people on the planet. In rewiring her brain’s relationship to pain and stress, she experienced a deep realization that connection is her most potent medicine.


Maureen shares the tools she developed to strengthen the neural pathways of joy and connection. These tools apply to both the physical pain of an illness and the social and emotional pain of stress that arise when we worry about money, what other people think, or our own self worth.


Maureen shares the story of how she navigates the warning system of pain and transforms it into a messaging system that helps her upgrade her brain. This creates an upward spiral of connection—to herself, to others, and to the world with which she interacts.


2. Give Them a Peace of Your Mind 

Rewire Your Brain to Use Stress as a Design Tool for Life

Our brains crave human connection, as much as food and air, yet other people trigger most of our stress. As the control centers of our lives, our brains determine our action and reaction to everything; from how other people behave to the thoughts that keep us up at night.


Maureen McCarthy has a rare, fatal lung disease and has been on oxygen a third of her life. For her, a messy mind is a luxury; she can’t breathe when her brain believes there’s a problem.


Rather than avoiding stress, she teaches you how to use the very thing that triggers you to access what matters most. From that place you engage your creative energy to custom design a meaningful life, which calms the mind, builds trust and resilience, and feeds the connection you crave.


3. The Relationship Revolution

The Future Is Now: It is collaborative and custom designed

Our culture was designed for a life that was smaller, simpler and shorter. Yet, complexity and uncertainty are only getting louder. The world is not waiting for you, the revolution has begun, and it is both exhilarating and daunting!


We have more freedom, more options and more possibilities than ever before. The relationship revolution demands a reorientation to relationship beyond you or me. With a fatal, genetic lung disease, Maureen McCarthy stayed alive by overcoming her brain’s fear of uncertainty and boldly custom designing her life through the lens of collaboration: co-creating healthy relationships with other people, her health, her work and her mind.


Maureen teaches you how to engage the neural circuitry of connection to calm the anxiety, strengthen what matters most, and become wiser together.



(+1) 847.859.9046



Travels from 

Asheville, North Carolina, USA

A/V Needs 

Lavalier or headset microphone and LCD projector

Downloadable Images

Collaborative Awareness Logo Brain-Text
Collaborative Awareness Logo Brain White
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