Marybeth is President & co-founder of Cygnet Strategy, LLC. As a trusted coach, advisor and strategic partner to many executives and boards of national and international associations, societies, and for-profit businesses, she is happiest when helping clients create a powerful environment for discovering what is possible and a powerful group commitment to make it so.
A top leader since the early 1980’s, Marybeth’s combines her artistry, leadership and business expertise into transformative consultation, design and facilitation of large group processes.
Marybeth is past Executive Director of a 190,000 member charitable organization based in New York City where she was instrumental in strengthening the association's financial health and stability and rebuilding constituent relationships through The Partnership Project, a governance initiative. She was also volunteer President of a 30,000 member professional association.
She served as Senior Vice President of Commercial Lending and Financial Services at Sovran Bank/DC National in Washington, DC and was a key member of the senior management team that grew the bank from $100 million to $1 billion in 6 years, at which time the bank was sold for three times book value. After a 6-month sabbatical in France in 1987, she ended her 14-year banking career, declining two bank CEO positions in favor of association management.
A published poet and artist, Fidler co-authored ASAE's best-selling book, Successful Association Leadership: Dimensions of 21st Century Competency for the CEO, which at one time formed the basis for ASAE’s CEO Invitational Leadership Institute, Future Leaders Conference, and Strategic Leadership Forum.
Fidler is a member of the Future Search Network. She has also served as a Board Member and President of Big Sisters of Washington, Inc., and as a Board Member of the Washington Urban League.
Catherine D (Cate) Bower, FASAE, IOM
Cate is co-founder of Cygnet Strategy, LLC. She has extensive experience in strategy development, large group process, leadership development, facilitation, governance and organizational structure alignment, strategic communications and culture change, primarily with not for profit clients in the US and Canada. From 1991 until 2010, when she and Marybeth Fidler co-founded Cygnet Strategy, LLC, she was a principal partner with Tecker Consultants, LLC. Her office is in West River, MD.
Cate is a skilled facilitator and an award winning strategist and writer. Prior to entering consulting, she spent 20 years in association management and organizational communications. In 1974, she joined what was then the American Society for Personnel Administration, following a three-year stint in corporate communications at a major public utility in Cleveland. During her tenure, ASPA became the Society for Human Resource Management (she oversaw the name development and change process) and the association grew from 14,000 members, 7 employees and a $750,000 annual operating budget to 50,000 members, 130 employees, and a $20 million budget. She also developed and implemented its nationally recognized Issues Management program.
A Fellow of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), she has chaired both its Research Committee and its Communications Section Council, served on the ASAE Foundation Board of Directors and the ASAE Board, chaired the 2003 Strategic Leadership Forum and served on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of Association Leadership. She served as core faculty for the Power of Partnership Symposium sponsored by the Association of Fundraising Professionals and co-facilitated the Canadian Society of Association Executive’s CEO Symposium Program for 5 years. She served for several years as editor of Working Smart Newsletter, and as an editor of the highly regarded business books Work in the 21st Century and Worklife Visions. She currently serves as a member of the Director’s Circle of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Edgewater, MD. She is a graduate of Kent State University and of the US Chamber’s 6-year Institute of Organizational Management and earned her CAE in 1991.
CEO of Marking Ideas Visible
Julie Stuart is an ideas alchemist, creative catalyst and entrepreneur. Founder and principle of Making Ideas Visible, a facilitation, strategy and visual thinking company, Julie heads a team with backgrounds in business, marketing, and organizational development that works with businesses from start-ups to Fortune 100’s.
Julie loves being in the space of emergence--where ideas are percolating and connections are starting to form. As a systems thinker, she visually makes connections tangible so her clients can imagine and see where they are going. Hers is the art and science of REVELATION—of what’s possible if we dream big and bold. As a strategist, she makes those ideas actionable and accountable.
Recognized in the Harvard Business Review, the New York Times, Miami Herald, and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung for her graphic facilitation work, Julie’s clients include Accenture, GE, Eli Lilly, Victoria’s Secret, Burt’s Bees, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Duke University, Skype and the United Way. Julie has spent over two decades developing her change management and strategy savvy, first in marketing for the healthcare industry then as a self-taught day trader, before actively running multiple environmental non-profits as a lobbyist and campaign strategist. Currently, she’s the board chair for Georgia River Network, a statewide group that is the voice of Georgia’s rivers. In her downtime, she races sailboats, takes photographs and dances. She also hosts intuitive painting retreats for women to explore their intuition and creativity.
Partners & Associates
Joint Venture Partner
CTP is President & CEO at the Simon Connection and Joint Venture Partner with Cygnet Strategy, LLC.
Lisa Simon’s expertise is in association management, strategic planning and tourism market development. With nearly 30 years of experience in association management, her facilitation skills and analytical abilities have proven effective in leadership development, strategic planning, organizational structure and change management.
Lisa most recently served as the president of NTA (National Tour Association), the premier travel and tourism association in North America. NTA has a global membership of 3,000 tourism professionals in 44 countries involved in the growth and development of the packaged travel industry.
Lisa began her association and tourism career with NTA in 1985 when the association was managed by Host Communication, Inc. During her tenure with Host, later purchased by IMG Worldwide, Lisa managed NTA’s education, certification and marketing activities, as well as serving as the director of its philanthropic arm, the National Tourism Foundation (now Tourism Cares) and its for-profit publishing division, National Tour Marketing Services. Lisa served as NTA’s senior vice president from 1998 to 2004 and president from 2007 to 2013. Prior to serving as NTA’s president, Lisa oversaw IMG’s association management company as senior vice president of association management. Additionally, she served as the executive director of the International Coach Federation, a global association for business and life coaches.
Lisa has spoken on global and domestic travel, tourism marketing and travel industry trends throughout the United States, and on the American market in Canada, China, Egypt, India, Italy, Jordan, Mexico, Scotland, Senegal, Spain, Tanzania and the UK.
Lisa is a member of the American Society of Association Executives. She previously served on the boards of the U.S. Travel Association, Caribbean Tourism Organization, Destination Marketing Association International Foundation, the Association for Coach Training Organizations and Tourism Cares. She received the Certified Tour Professional designation from NTA in 1994.
Senior Consulting Associate
Cygnet Senior Consulting Associate, Erica is a results-driven strategist with the ability to identify the big picture and create building blocks to achieve the vision. She has successfully guided organizational strategy, helping them to identify their vision, to build consensus, to add value, and to inspire actions that move strategic priorities forward. Her specialties include strategic planning, change management, strategic positioning, program development, community relations, and research.
Over the course of her career, Erica has been part of developing a national network of nonprofit and philanthropic leaders, political activists, and academics. Her broad experience spans both the public and nonprofit sectors, having worked with the U.S. Department of Justice, Duke University’s National Center for Child Traumatic Stress, United Way of San Diego County, and The Salvation Army. Erica has often been involved at the inception of new ventures and instrumental in creating infrastructure and policy for programs impacting complex social issues, such as homelessness, human trafficking, and child trauma.
Erica holds an MSW from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, focusing on community, management, and policy, and a Bachelor of Arts in Justice from American University, Washington, DC. Erica previously served on the Board of Directors for the National Association for Social Workers-North Carolina. She holds a Change Management Certificate from Prosci.
As a strategic consultant, Erica believes that identifying the desired state is the key to ensuring strategic growth and action. By working collaboratively with her clients, a firm foundation is established upon which future change efforts can succeed with buy-in from organizational leaders.
As a recent Magna Cum Laude graduate from Temple University with a dual degree in Spanish and Education, Marley brings unique knowledge of recent innovations in adult learning and group process. As well as contributing a fresh and up to date way of being in the world — whether through multicultural literacy, technology assisted information gathering or multi-generational interaction and communication.
In the spring of 2013 Marley moved to Oviedo, Spain where she enrolled as a full-time student at La Universidad de Oviedo. During her time abroad Marley opted to live with a host family, finding it to be an incredibly rich context for robust cultural exchange. Marley also honed her teaching skills by conducting one-on-one English classes to Spanish-speaking natives of all ages.
Marley has always understood the importance of supplementing the traditional classroom education with hands-on experiences. Returning to Philadelphia to complete her undergraduate degree, Marley taught at the Academy at Palumbo in South Philadelphia. This experience allowed her to learn about current issues affecting our youth and how to target their interests and needs.