If you want your team to make a lasting impression, they need to know how to make a memorable first one
Hi, I’m Mary. Your First Impression Authority.
As a business strategist and etiquette expert, I help businesses, universities, and organizations teach rising stars the modern business etiquette skills they need to stand out and build authentic relationships in today’s digital world. I’m also passionate about helping ambitious women develop the executive presence and mindset they need to reach their goals, whether it’s starting a new business or shattering glass ceilings.
Over the course of a career spanning more than 20 years, I’ve helped the American Red Cross exceed “impossible” fundraising goals, hosted lavish dinners for top political leaders in our nation’s capital, and helped commercial real estate giant McKinley grow from a multimillion-dollar company to a $4.6 billion powerhouse.
Let me tell you: There’s nothing quite like the adrenaline rush of personally helping close deals with the likes of Disney, ESPN, Lockheed Martin, and more.
But the secret to my success wasn’t understanding the numbers inside out or analyzing data.
It was dressing like an executive before I was one, sending handwritten thank-you notes, remembering personal details, and yes, knowing my way around the most intimidating, fork-heavy table settings.
Even before I decided to attend The American School of Protocol or become a certified Business Coach, I understood the importance of dressing impeccably, reading people, and going above and beyond to follow up and make the person on the other side of the table/phone call/email feel like royalty — especially as a female executive in a male-dominated corporate environment.
From my first job in hospital administration to the 10-plus years I spent as chief of staff, I’ve witnessed faux pas you wouldn’t believe from some of the smartest, most perfect-on-paper executives you’ll ever meet. These “little” mistakes have cost millions in lost deals and cut promising careers short.
Because the truth is, in business, some rules are meant to be broken. But the rules of common courtesy, professional appearance, and genuinely caring about other humans are not.
And yet, as we go through life and learn the practical and technical skills necessary to excel in our career, there’s no college course called What Not to Wear to Work or Making Small Talk at a Networking Event 101.
That’s why I’ve made it my mission to bring a different kind of business training to anyone and everyone who wants to reach their full potential and achieve their biggest goals.
Entrepreneurs and ambitious C-level hopefuls come to me for help with…
- Projecting confidence and professionalism in every situation
- Navigating office politics and making it work in their favor, instead of making the wrong move without knowing it
- Creating a personalized roadmap for getting promoted
- Polishing their dining etiquette skills, so they’re prepared to wine and dine any client or executive
Business leaders in finance, hospitality, luxury sales, nonprofit fundraising, and health care come to me for help with…
- Teaching sales and customer-service teams high-touch relationships strategies, so they can create lifetime clients
- Coaching executive and sales teams on client entertaining and dining protocol, so they feel confident at business meals and functions
- Grooming top talent to have the executive presence they need to lead a team and represent the company
- Teaching teams the art of email and social media etiquette, so communication stays appropriate and professional
- Handling sensitive conversations in the workplace (from approaching employees with bad hygiene and beyond) to avoid HR issues
University deans come to me for help with...
- Guiding students in “power dressing” and presenting themselves professionally, while keeping their personal style intact (man buns, tattoos, etc.)
- Supplementing technical skills and knowledge with social and people skills
- Educating students on professional email and social-media etiquette, so they make a good first impression from day one
- Coaching soon-to-be grads on interview preparation so they “ace” every job interview
- Leading workshops on dining etiquette and professional presentation, so business meals are always a pleasure, never a source of stress
- Sharing tips on networking with confidence
Ready to build the most impressive team in the business?
I invite you to explore the different workshops, consulting, and speaking opportunities I offer.
CURIOUS TO KNOW MORE?
It’s true I’m a stickler for proper etiquette and always being “camera ready.” But beyond my Royal Family–worthy table manners, I’m also a busy mom with a serious shopping habit and an appreciation for good red wine.
Here are 10 more facts about me …
- I have twin daughters.
- I own three businesses: Your First Impression Authority, Jackson Street Vintage, and I’m a vendor at the Market at Left Bank.
- I’m a Midwest Michigan girl through and through, but I’ve lived in two countries, Washington, D.C., and now St. Pete, Florida.
- I have two fur babies: a Maltese named Bella and a Shih Tzu named Lilly.
- I could spend hours (HOURS) treasure hunting at estate sales and estate auctions.
- I started my career as a nurse. I quickly realized it wasn’t for me and worked my way into hospital administration.
- The most memorable moment in my career was the day I asked a big-time American Red Cross donor why she kept writing us checks. Her answer: “Because you write me thank-you cards.”
- You might find me binge-watching Madam Secretary, Property Brothers, and The Queen.
- I love french fries and throw proper etiquette out the window when I eat them. Most people don’t know that in a fine dining restaurant, it’s actually proper to eat fries with your fork (I know, I know).
- I believe it’s never too late to pursue your dreams, and you’re never too “ordinary” to be the best. I went from small-town Midwest girl to the C-Suite, and now, in my third act, I’m a proud business owner dedicated to helping others reach their full potential.