lifecoach 195 Marla Keenan Marla Keenan I coach nonprofit leaders to empower themselves, tap into their core energy, and achieve success!
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Marla Keenan

Core Energy Leadership Coach (iPEC) 
Washington, District of Columbia, United States

I coach nonprofit leaders to empower themselves, tap into their core energy, and achieve success!

Executive coach Leadership coach
Energy coach Core Energy Coach
OFFERINGS: Private coaching

FEES from $195 to $3495 for coaching packages. more...

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About me

Hello! I'm Marla Keenan, nonprofit leader, strategist, and coach.

A person’s leadership journey is always evolving, and mine has certainly taken many twists and turns. In my first career, I worked in fashion, a perfect match for my interest in international business and marketing. I was just a few blocks from the World Trade Center on 9/11 and it changed everything for me. Like many Americans, I re-evaluated what I was doing with my life. I started my transition to the nonprofit world, hoping that my business know-how would be of value to a cause larger than myself. A master’s degree at Carnegie Mellon, volunteering with organizations to handle their operations and marketing, taking a job I was passionate about but that paid me half what I had made before grad school… every moment of the long slog to the non-profit community was worth it.

For the past 11 years, I have been the managing director at Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC), where I lead a team of passionate program, communications, and operations staff. I've traveled the world, seeing the tragedy of war close up and the remarkable resilience of both war’s victims and the civil society that supports them. I’ve helped shape our innovative programs in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, Lebanon, Mali, Israel, Jordan, Nepal, Nigeria, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic.

Let me be honest here, though. The successes took a while. I started at CIVIC shortly after the founder, a friend named Marla Ruzicka, was killed in Iraq. The challenges--and pressure--of bringing her vision to fruition were enormous. The new executive director (also a young woman) and I were on our own, with one $60k grant, no strategy on paper, a relatively inexperienced board, and the tragedy of Marla’s death still fresh for everyone involved. But we never took no for an answer. We made it work. CIVIC became known for its innovative way of working and its ability to do more than most organizations with far fewer resources. We’ve been called the “mouse that roared.”

The executive director and I 'grew up' together at CIVIC, testing so many approaches to leadership, working our way through management obstacles, and failing often on everything from strategy to planning to hire before ultimately finding success. When she told me she was leaving in 2014, I had no idea how hard a leadership transition would be. I was about to find out!

Onboarding a new ED was incredibly challenging, particularly in a time of growth and expansion for the organization. I’ve always known the importance of leadership but was now experiencing first-hand how deeply a change in leadership can affect an organization and its team.

I decided this was an opportunity. So, I took a three-month sabbatical with the goal of learning all I could about leadership. I came back to the organization with a plan for developing a strong talent management and leadership culture. (Oh yes, it’s working.)

Who knew that I’d find my passion in leadership coaching? With my certification in hand, I’ve developed my own unique coaching practice focused on building strong nonprofit leaders for the future. I take pride in empowering leaders to make good decisions and become even better at what they do (and happier doing it).

This is my calling. I look forward to working with you!


Please feel free to visit my shop to see the details of my offerings.


Nonprofit organizations are recognizing the value of leadership coaching for executives and emerging leaders alike. Coaching provides a confidential space for reflection, growth, and strategy development. In the NGO-world, we also want to focus on creating big impact for societal problems through leadership. Our community needs its leaders to bring innovative perspectives and energy. I work with individuals to challenge conventional knowledge, and tap into what they can bring to the table – for themselves, their teams, and the causes we are about.

I tailor my coaching to fit your unique needs and goals. I work one-on-one to empower you and maximize your leadership potential. We’ll get to an individualized professional development plan that helps you on your leadership journey. I focus on individual executives and senior management teams and also emerging leaders.

What can coaching do for you?

Develop your leadership skills with the goal of creating the team you need to ensure project and/or organizational success.

Define clear goals and ensure accountability.

Get clarity on your organizational mission, vision, and impact.

Develop the confidence and capabilities to effectively lead your team and organization through challenges.

Learn about yourself and remove obstacles to your true leadership potential.
   more ...

Experience, Certifications and Training

  • Energy Leadership Index Master Practicioner (ELI-MP) Expected June 2016
  • Master of Science in Public Policy and Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration & Marketing
  • Certified Professional Coach (CPC) Expected August 2016

Nearly 20 years in corporate and not-for-profit industries including 11 at Senior Management and Executive Levels.

Fee description

Fees: from $195 to $3495

ELI Assessment and Debrief: $195
Includes administration of the assessment and 1 hour debrief session. Great deal and a great way to try out my services and a better understanding of how you currently show up as a leader!

Succeed Package: $3495
ELI Assessment and Debrief, 16 coaching sessions (50 minutes each), 2 monthly 20-minute lifeline calls (you can me for anything!), unlimited email access.

Additional pakages available. Please contact me directly!


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