about mark

Experience. Leadership. Compassion.


Mark started training in life coaching skills “on my way to something else,” fell head over heels in love with professional coaching on the second day of training, and made that his final destination rather than a stepping stone. “The initial passion has never left me; the experience of flow and satisfaction in using all of me to help someone get unstuck, make a difficult transition, or live fully into their larger self, their most fulfilling dream.”

From personal experience and his experience as a minister (Unitarian Universalist), he knows birth and death up close. He knows failed marriage, flawed marriage, and charmed marriage. He’s messed up as a parent and succeeded as a parent. He worked in a university for eight years and in the corporate world for nine. He’s experienced being fired (once) and promoted; had to fire a few people himself but got to mentor and promote many more.


He knows what it’s like to change careers and to step into the scary identity crisis of doing so. He turned around three churches that were in different kinds of distress, and grew a stalled fourth from 70 to 200 members, from zero programs to full programming – he’s led and knows leadership. For five years he helped people from eleven different religions in the Washington DC metro area learn to dialogue with each other rather than hate, training 41 people from those faiths to lead such dialogue groups themselves.

Mark is a trained group therapist (Transactional Analysis with Gestalt) and relationship coach, and did two years of hospital chaplaincy. He’s a trained community organizer as well (modified Alinsky style), and successfully co-led two community organizing campaigns in a suburb of Portland, Oregon.


His top measured strengths are deep empathy, continual curiosity, passion for fairness and social connection, insistence on evidence, broad spirituality, love of ideas, and sense-of-beauty. His clients remark about his full presence with them during coaching, his calming affect and effect, use of his whole self, use of metaphors and (sometimes crazy) little teaching tales; his ability to be with them down in the depths, neutralizing of their inner critics, and his ability to call them forth to do what they thought they couldn’t do … and his wisdom (about which he says, “Whatever that is; I’m never quite sure”).

Mark is married to Karen H. Key, an independent nonprofit organizational consultant; theirs is the charmed marriage. To recharge his batteries and juice up his creativity he paints (pastels), goes ballroom dancing, and does 3-mile walk-jog-sprint jaunts with Karen. When he’s not doing those you’ll find him deep in a book of philosophy, art, poetry, or neuroscience, or at the theater or an “indie” film with Karen. They love the same things.