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Our Co-Founders & Co-Directors

Zelle Nelson and Maureen K. McCarthy

Maureen K. McCarthy

Maureen McCarthy is the Co-Founder of the Center for Collaborative Awareness and Co-Creator of the Blueprint of We—a design document process used to build resilient, collaborative relationships in start-ups, communities and organizations worldwide.


Maureen’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. One of the healthiest people you'll ever meet, Maureen teaches a radical, brain-based approach to being alive. In partnership with her co-founder, Zelle Nelson, her journey and pioneering energy have birthed a new approach to collaboration—using the neural circuitry of social connection to harness group stress to build trust and clarity in fast-paced environments.

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 together in the midst of rapid change. She is the co-author of the upcoming book Collaborate or Die: A Radical Approach to Relationship Design. Maureen’s rare approach to life and unbelievable energy, even with only 10% lung capacity, changes the perspectives and lives of every person who hears her stories. 

READ Maureen's Introduction Blueprint of Me to see how she works collaboratively.

READ The Center for Collaborative Awareness Organization Blueprint of We

Zelle Nelson

Zelle Nelson is Co-Director of the Center for Collaborative Awareness in Asheville, NC and Co-Creator of the Blueprint of We Collaboration Process—used worldwide to grow and sustain healthier, more resilient business and personal relationships, making our day-to-day interactions effortless and our time together more creative and productive.


In a world that changes in increasingly complex ways, making the old ground rules no longer reliable, we are being called to experience dynamic growth in groups. Zelle teaches others to re-imagine the conditions in which individuals and organizations access and experience Collaborative Awareness. He is passionate about understanding the neuroscience of our Connected Brain and Safety Brain so that we can have the conversations that matter to better custom design our life and work. He is the co-author of the upcoming book Collaborate or Die: A Radical Approach to Relationship Design.


Zelle is a gifted business entrepreneur, social scientist, writer, and facilitator. He has built an extraordinary life with his wife and business partner, Maureen K. McCarthy, which encompasses both business and family. If you want to be deeply known and understood by others, take the opportunity to spend time with Zelle.

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