Susanna Maida, PhD


Co-Founder & Leadership Coach

Looking back over the arc of my adult life, the consistent thread of my work has been supporting the full expression of the human spirit. I have an abiding passion for helping people call forth their greatest gifts, align them with their deepest purpose, and offer them in service to making their most meaningful contribution. I also love helping individuals learn to function collectively in ways that allow them to go farther together.

Informed by working with indigenous wisdom teachings for almost 20 years, I see everything through a deeply relational awareness. The world of business become a vast interrelated network of value creation, woven together with the rest of the human and more-than-human world. Leadership happens as a distribution of intelligence and competency across an organization, which enhances organizational resilience and optimizes the value and contribution of each individual in relation to the whole, and vice versa.

There’s also a special place in my heart for women leaders – visionary women with ambition who are navigating the unique challenges women face in the realm of modern leadership. Integrating the wisdom of both feminine and masculine principles of leadership is vital so that all leaders (both women and men) have access to the full spectrum of their capacity and together we can move toward greater partnership in our leadership.

My professional path in life has been very eclectic, which speaks to my ability to forge new trails. After getting a Bachelors and Masters in the hard sciences and seeing how a career as a groundwater hydrogeologist would slowly squeeze the life out of me, I jumped ship, followed my passion, and spent a decade leading whitewater rafting adventures in the U.S. and Costa Rica, plus running a rafting operation with an extraordinary long-term culture of learning, growth, and shared leadership. To this day, wild rivers are my home.

The river is also where I fell in love with transformation. When I discovered there was a doctoral program in Transformative Learning and Change in Human Systems (at the California Institute of Integral Studies), I enrolled immediately. My journey through that degree transformed me deeply and irrevocably. It also catalyzed my considerable capacity to be a midwife of transformation for others, individually and collectively.

At times I’ve struggled with the shadow side of being such a pioneer and maverick, including the fact that the more I learned, experienced, and grew myself, the less interested I was in following a conventional career path. Eventually, I realized that to be true to myself, I had to cut my own path. This choice has been incredibly liberating, although it came with its own challenges because I had to quickly learn how to be successful in business, while simultaneously overcoming the natural fears and doubts that seem to come with the entrepreneurial journey.

I’ve got years of experiencing working in and with groups, always seeking to help them function more easily and skillfully at a higher level. I also love helping leaders grow their capacity and become more authentically themselves through deep experiences in nature, including vision quests and nature-based leadership retreats.

The last decade has seen me at the helm of my own online coaching business helping an international clientele of self-funded, purpose-driven, solo entrepreneurs and micro businesses move from startup to thriving, by developing the necessary business acumen and entrepreneurial leadership skills.

I’m visionary by nature, always imagining new possibilities for creating value at or beyond the leading edge of what’s known, and then innovating ways to make them real, usually in collaboration with other adventurous souls. It is this energy and impulse, along with an abiding love for business, that brought me into the collaborative venture of Syntropy.


Education and Other Relevant Trainings:

  • Ph.D. in Transformative Learning and Change in Human Systems; California Institute of Integral Studies
  • The Leadership Circle Profile and The Leadership System; The Leadership Circle
  • Co-Active Coach Training and Certified Professional Co-Active Coach; The Coach Training Institute
  • Indigenous Wisdom Applied to Modern Life and Business; Shaman’s Light
  • The Practice of Council Training (both facilitator and train-the-trainer); The Ojai Foundation and the Center for Council Training
  • Non-Violent Communication Training; Prescott Center for Non-Violent Communication
  • Vision Quest Training, Teachings of the Medicine Wheel; School of Lost Borders