Marcia Conner

About Marcia

Marcia Conner

After years working within organizations pointing out the emperor has no clothes, I realize no one wants an emperor. It’s time to focus my skills and experience making large-scale change to catalyze a societal shift. The social revolution isn’t only needed in distant lands. It’s needed under our feet, wherever we stand. This website and my work with people across the globe focuses on the change in our midst and the chance we have to make a difference.

Called by some a “blank page systems architect,” serving as senior counsel to executives, corporations, politicians, governments, non-governmental organizations, and schools, I work with big-vision leaders, impact entrepreneurs, and unreasonable thinkers, ready to use their superpowers for good.

I just published a 2nd edition (fully updated) to The New Social Learning: Connect, Collaborate, Work (ATD, June 2015), authored Learn More Now (John Wiley & Sons, 2004), co-created Creating a Learning Culture (Cambridge University Press, 2004), Changing the World of Work: One Human at a Time (Change Agents Worldwide, 2014) and Leading Organizational Learning (Jossey-Bass, 2004). I also wrote the forewords to Opting In by Ed Brill (IBM Press, 2013) and Engaging Learning by Clark N. Quinn (Jossey-Bass, 2005). In addition, I contribute to Fast Company magazine and have appeared on ABC’s World News This Morning and the BBC, as well as being quoted in the Wall Street Journal and Fortune magazine.

When I’m not on a plane or facing big challenges on the ground, I reside in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley with my husband, son, mother-in-law, 17 turkeys, 3 red foxes, and dozens of deer. 

What I Do

Formal Biography

Marcia Conner is a former corporate executive who now dedicates her time to reinventing a vibrant healthy world. Described as a “blank page systems architect,” she works closely with big-vision leaders, impact entrepreneurs, and unreasonable thinkers, ready to use their superpowers for good. She is a SupporTED Mentor, contributor to Fast Company, a fellow at the Darden School of Business, and an activist with Change Agents Worldwide. She is an advisor to Way to Wellville and MminddLabs. This month she releases The New Social Learning: Connect, Collaborate, Work, an full update to her last book, originally published in 2010. She is also author of Learn More Now; co-author of Creating a Learning Culture; contributor to Changing the World of Work: One Human at a Time; and speaks across the globe on outcompeting current structures through system innovation and ingenuity.

Marcia has advised leaders in some of the world’s largest organizations. Often brought in as a “fixer,” she quickly aligns collaborative strategies with organization culture and amends skill shortages to radically change the speed of innovation. The tools she uses surface people’s extraordinary capabilities and spark discovery in quick bursts. She has been quoted on the BBC and World News This Morning, and in The Wall Street JournalFortune, and Forbes. She was Vice President and Information Futurist at PeopleSoft, Partner at The Altimeter Group, Fellow of The Society for New Communication Research, took a company public in 1995, and worked at Microsoft before the release of Windows. [Full Biography Here]

The Rest of the Story

Leola Chidester wrote on my Kindergarten report card, “Although Marcia wants to be President, she’d make a terrific teacher.” She explained that my constant curiosity, endless energy, and incurable ingenuity could be used to help people see new points of view. Years later, after rethinking my political aspirations on a train across Northern Africa, I recalled Mrs. Chidester’s words. There was no escaping my passion for ensuring people can work better together.

Much of my life has been spent in corporations, often unraveling overly cumbersome departments, moving functions into the business line or redesigning software programs so they don’t require endless training. This has required work in areas as diverse as business strategy, product development, marketing, management, human resources, OD, interface design, usability, learnability, publishing, and online community.

Ultimately, I’m interested in ensuring organizational cultures don’t suck, where people can work together and tap into how they learn so they can attain personal and professional success. I refer this as “being human at work.” I’m happy to report, I’m not alone in this quest.

On the personal front, I’m married to a brilliant and handsome tennis coach, Karl Conner. We have a ten year old son who keeps us humble and animals that keep us grounded. We live and work on a 50-acre homestead in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. I whitewater canoe and volunteer my time to talk with parents and teachers about creative solutions for children who have learning disabilities.

In addition to my work with clients across the globe, I head a team that quietly solves urgent business problems, facilitate workshops on new forms of organization design, social media and complexity, and serve as advisor to terrific executives transforming the world. I’m the sort of person who people call when they’re unsure who to call.

I have made a career of fixing problems and creating opportunities. At work or at play, I hate to see people miss out on what’s interesting around them because they haven’t figured out how to master new information quicker. Sometimes this knowledge-transfer happens in a classroom; most of the time it happens through serendipity, when we least expect it. I also love to share what I’ve discovered so if you’re interested in these same sorts of things, let me know what resources you’ve found particularly useful.

Always curious,

[photo credit: Charlottesville wedding and portrait photographer April Bennett]

Let’s connect!

Follow by Email
Copyright 2006-2015, Marcia Conner | Wordpress