About Marni2018-10-07T21:45:24+00:00

Marni Gauthier, PhD

Writer. Author. Teacher.

Marni lives, writes and teaches at the frontier between deep internal experience and the revelations of the outer world. Four Site Leadership™ reflects the evolution of her practice in holistic leadership™ & transformation since 2009 in the corporate and non-profit arenas; her background as a professor of contemporary literature and film, current research in neuroscience and cognitive psychology; and a lifelong growth mindset and artist’s sensibility.

Marni’s work is steeped in personal & professional transformation and maturation that ensued from her rich experience, and grounded in world-class leadership development. Her approach is holistic, geared for applied learning to catalyze your growth.

An award-winning teacher, expert learning designer and published author, Marni attained her BA at Boston University, her MA at SUNY Buffalo, and her PhD at the University of Colorado, Boulder. As a professor at the State University of New York from 2002-2012, she received numerous teaching accolades and research awards, published her first book with Palgrave MacMillan, and held several leadership positions. She helped create a five-year strategic plan; led a comprehensive program revision; and hired and mentored junior faculty. She was granted tenure by unanimous vote in 2009.

That same year, on her sabbatical, a leadership consultant to Intuit and GE taught Marni the practice of Personal Mastery–the core of the Five Disciplines of Peter Senge. In 2010, the CEO of Conversant, a global consulting firm headquartered in Boulder, sponsored her participation in their signature nine-month leadership intensive. Joining a cadre of Fortune 500 high potentials on three continents, Marni was certified at the level of “Mastery.” From there, she went on to train executive teams how to hold Crucial Conversations and establish collaborative partnerships, became a certified professional coach, and continued mentorship with top leadership consultants.

Master Facilitator. Leadership Catalyst. Thought Leader.

Based on a holistic leadership™ paradigm and on approaching one’s life as a creative force, Marni founded Four Site Leadership™ in 2012. With certifications in and multiple deliveries of internationally renown courses and those of her own design, she played a key role in a several leadership and organizational development initiatives. With clients from gold mining, energy, and retail to geoscience, finance, and technology, she developed a fluency that spans industries and sectors. In 2015-2016, she served as faculty for Leadership Studies at the University of Colorado and the Center for Education on Social Responsibility at the Leeds School of Business. As a Transformation Advisor at CA Technologies in 2016-2017, she advised the CTO and executive leadership as to the agile and cultural transformation of the company.

Marni has spoken, taught and conducted workshops on gender and leadership at CU, the Cornell Johnson School of Management, Boulder Startup Women, the Men’s Leadership Alliance, and as a Featured Writer for the A Room of Her Own Retreat at Ghost Ranch, New Mexico. Her book-in-progress recasts the masculine and feminine as directional and relational leadership competencies, shows their interdependent polarity as vital to the next stage of our human and cultural evolution, and how to cultivate these polarities as practice.

Marni helps people grow their leadership capacity and maximize their influence and impact. As a writer, teacher and coach, she empowers people to realize their vision and authentic power: to cultivate the conditions for creativity, direction and the exceptional life. As a Mentor for the New Venture Challenge and Catalyze CU at the University of Colorado, she helps foster the entrepreneurial ecosystem between CU, Boulder and the world. As the Boulder Hoffman graduate group leader, she nurtures the ongoing personal dimensions of leadership for graduates of the Hoffman Process, a weeklong transformative retreat with 110,000+ graduates worldwide.

Marni is also a certified yoga instructor, meditation practitioner, triathlete, skier, and inspired cook and dancer. From Europe to Latin America, she has traveled extensively and is conversant in French and Spanish. She lives in Boulder with her two exhilarating teenagers and a regal cat who looks, hunts, and purrs like a golden tiger. A passionate outdoorswoman, she replenishes in mountains and oceans. Love, beauty, music, art, and courageous co-creation are her sources of renewal.

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Lover of Wild Places. Doctor of the Soul.

(What I do and how I got here, from the inside out)

I help you become the creative agent of your life and work. Whether you are an executive or entrepreneur, in transition or an emergent leader, launching a new venture or ensconced in an enterprise, I apprehend the currents in which you swim. I help you navigate the waves, and move fluidly between sea level and 50,000 feet. I inspire and enable you to see the big picture and take your next steps.

Creating the conditions for innovation is increasingly vital, rare, and valued in our fast-paced, technology-driven world. It is a process that can be taught and learned.

My movement from academia to business, and to a renewed expression through writing, teaching and coaching has been concomitant with working with people holistically and new spheres of influence. My mission—to meet people where they’re at and empower them to fulfill their potential—remains constant. Yet I’ve become an increasingly experiential learner, teacher, and embodied practitioner.

As a newly minted PhD, moving from a research 1 university to teaching at a tier 3 college, I learned to meet students where they were at by making space, asking good questions, and listening insightfully. This is where my facilitative approach to teaching matured. Building an arc of long-term learning, holding space, deep listening, and weaving together perspectives served me as I moved to teach in the corporate world.

As a scholar-teacher of cultural systems and myths, I became a deft systems thinker with the capacity to make meaning of multiple threads. My work connected countries, current events and histories across space and time. Immersed in literature, film, and metaphor, I learned to see the significance and spiritual dimensions of the quotidian and seasonal life. At mid-career, I re-connected with a PhD colleague who had become an organic farmer-owner-educator and shaman. When he told me the shamans say that, “metaphor is direct speech from God,” I recognized it exactly. It clarified everything I had grown to see and know.

As a first-generation college student and woman who entered leadership development at the executive level, I’m often the minority in the room, and I’ve always traversed new terrain. My Fortune 500 mentors grew up in a different world than the one now dawning, for which I groom leaders, influencers and change-makers.

From my mentor who taught me Personal Mastery, I learned how to discover the energy I had unconsciously adopted, distinct from my essence. I gave back what wasn’t mine and claimed my authentic power and gifts. This was an early initiation into several cycles of transformation through which the patina of acculturation wore away, as I became an alchemist of the soul and learned the art of transformation. The many potent tools I’ve gathered over the years inform the art and practice I now offer my clients.

My next executive coach led me to a life-changing self-awareness, supported by the nine-month leadership immersion in which we were paired. In concert with her skilled, loving, incisive approach, this also became part of my master toolkit, what I tend and share.

The lessons I’ve assimilated go on. I’ve been that fortunate student of the proverb:  When ready, the teacher and the path appear. Again and again. This is something I couldn’t have believed if I didn’t experience it, so often that it is now part of what it means for me to be awake and alive.

This is what I teach. How to grow, how to learn the lesson that life is offering you (or foisting upon you). How to gain what you need when you need it—aka wisdom and blessing–and the courage to step through to the next thing. This is the Art of Transformation: How to turn a pivot, transition, crisis or opportunity into Your Next Evolution.

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About Four Site

Four Site Leadership™ is based on several paradigms of four in the natural and human worlds. Four leader archetypes are grounded in the four intelligences, energy sources, elements, directions and aspects of mastery.

  • Personal Mastery:  Becoming the creative agent of your life and work
  • Interpersonal Mastery:  Conducting skilled, crucial conversations
  • Team Mastery:  Developing synergy and high performance
  • Systems Mastery:  Leading and managing change

Derived from ancient wisdom in conjunction with premier contemporary leadership frameworks, the leader archetypes are rooted in the body, mind, heart, and spirit. They represent our ways of learning and leading. 

Neuroscience now maps these four dimensions of our humanity as four brains: the head, heart and gut brains—and consciousness. Consciousness, in premier neurobiologist Daniel Siegel’s words, is the “fourth facet of brain.” Also called “the seer” and “the seat of the soul” by CEO-author Michael Singer and Harvard physicist-author Gary Zukav, consciousness is the fourth site of leadership: the visionary that integrates the other three. Siegel defines the mind as within the embodied brain and between people, occurring as energy.

Four Site Leadership is holistic leadership.™ The practice of integrative mastery and energetic flow.


My Fourfold Approach:

Neuroscience, emotional intelligence, extensive mind-body medical research and our own experience tells us that exceptional performance, thriving relationships and our health all depend upon the well-being and care of our whole selves. IQ and technical skills are threshold capabilities for executive positions and, among senior leaders, EQ rather than cognitive abilities accounts for 90% of the difference between high and average performers. EQ depends on attunement to self and others. Effective leadership depends on conscious integration of head, heart and gut, and resultant action.

Finally, and first, we are not fully at home in ourselves if we are not at home in our bodies. The body is the literal core of our capacity to lead. A strong, grounded body allows a clear, focused mind and the embodied presence that is the foundation of authentic leadership.

This holistic approach informs all my work. From coaching to my workshops and retreats designed around distinct and connective development of body, heart, mind and spirit, Four Site Leadership is grounded in the four leader archetypes.

In light of the #MeToo Movement and the current pillage of US public lands, endangered species and our planet, cultivating a healthy masculine & feminine is more urgent than ever. Indeed, our opportunity to learn and practice healthy gendered expression in ourselves, our relationships and our organizations is unprecedented.

The embodied integration of masculine and feminine is the central essence of my work. Our mature vitality develops through a healthy inner relationship with masculine and feminine archetypes that correspond to the body, heart, mind and spirit. I recast the masculine and feminine as directional and relational leadership competencies, energies and rhythms, and teach how to cultivate these interdependent polarities as practice.

My holistic approach derives from ancient wisdom, as the FSL logo conveys. Yet it was as a faculty scholar-teacher and then leadership consultant in the Fortune 500 world that I learned the lineage of ancient cross-cultural forms to contemporary assessments and practice.

Likewise, meditation and yoga, born in the East, converge with Western neuroscience and athletic training in the ways we can focus and visualize to alter our brain structure, establish new neural pathways and ways of being and interacting that positively change our lives.

Research of flow states shows that we maximize creativity and learning by balancing and extroverted and introverted behaviors. And intuition more than rational thought sparked the imaginative leaps of innovators from Albert Einstein to Steve Jobs.

My work draws from and connects all of these formerly dualistic spheres of knowledge to share and create experiential wisdom and learning. Both ancient and cutting-edge,

It’s concurrent with today’s smartest organizations and leaders; and increasingly relevant in our era of an evolving gendered, intergenerational and digital workplace.

From the agile world, from the most creative, successful leaders, change agents, my mentors, leadership immersions and all my teaching and experience, I’ve learned many things about transformation. Here’s three:

Transformation is an all-in adventure; it’s iterative; and it’s not a one-and-done.

Any crisis or challenge is an opportunity for us to grow into the next best version of ourselves–to live and love with more passion and purpose. When faced with these crucible moments, most people keep their heads down and take the path of least resistance—denial or avoidance.

Change is hard because it requires doing something or even several things differently. This requires openness; openness requires vulnerability. It’s not just the mind that’s involved. It’s the heart, body and spirit. That’s why I work holistically – to generate real results; to inspire and empower you to manifest your passion and purpose.

Growth and results are iterative. The only way in is to try; the only way to grow is to learn from what happens and apply it for the next cycle—which may be the next day or the next moment.  This is how we work: with the real field of play in your life.

And finally, we’re made not only to grow but also to evolve. If you’ve undergone a transformation and managed to keep your heart open, life will throw you another curveball around the next bend. Don’t duck. Don’t hide. Meet it.

Welcome to the exceptional life. 

About The Four Site Logo

Four Site’s logo is a mandala, the Sanskrit word for “sacred circle.” Mandalas symbolize our need to know our inner reality, to align this reality with our body’s wisdom, and to awaken in ourselves a sense of harmony with the world around us. Clear living occurs when inner meets outer, when we walk in full integrity of being, when our purpose and passion accords with our life.

The mandala represents the way I work with people to illuminate their purpose and empower them to heed their calling to manifest it. Each person’s purpose is unique and unfolds over the course of his or her life. Each relationship, job, network and community reveals dimensions of that purpose. The best teams – at work and at home – recognize and maximize their member’s talents, allowing freedom for creativity, learning and growth of individual and team simultaneously, and become greater together.

Four Site’s logo is an ancient symbol called the Sri Yantra Mandala. Sri is Sanskrit for “sacred” or “holy,” while yantra translates to “instrument,” an expression of the divine. The square that encloses the central image represents the four directions, elements, and leader archetypes that are the foundation of the Four Site approach. The lotus petals represent those natural elements of the universe and the awakened mind. At the center, intersecting triangles emanate outward, representing the co-creative energy of masculine and feminine power. The horizontal base of the square represents homeostasis. The two vertical planes that form the sides of the square and meet at its corners represent the principle of movement, the transition from static to dynamic.

This is my work: to help you move from your current reality to your vision of your future, to fulfill your highest potential.

Mastery is love of subject and devotion to the path, not attainment. Mastery is the art of correction, not perfection.

You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.   

~Woodrow Wilson