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Creating impact with sustaining results.

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Maryanne is a compassionate listener that results in collaborative solutions using practical tangible tools that I use every day. She has a gift for assessing and articulating a different perspective with positive results!

Acorn Group

Diana D.

Wehr Constructors, Inc.

maryanne elliott

I was born to create possibilities to transform people and organizations. As far back as I can remember, I’ve been passionate about challenging others get out of their way and recognize what they can do.

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Dr. Maryanne Elliott, MBA, PCC

Founder, Principal Leadership Development and Executive Coach

Dr. Elliott is a leadership coach and founder of The Acorn Group.  She has over 20 years of experience in professional development, solely focused on developing and shaping leadership in others.  She now helps organizations build leadership in their people through individual coaching, leadership development programs, and facilitated workshops & retreats. Dr. Elliott also teaches in the Master of Science in Human Resources and Organizational Development program at the University of Louisville.

She is an ICF-certified Coach with over 2,700 documented hours of leadership coaching and has led over 3,000 workshops.  She holds a certificate in Leadership Coaching from Georgetown University and a Doctorate from George Washington University. She is certified in Leadership Coaching, DiSC, Emotional Intelligence EQi 2.0, Myers-Briggs Inventory, The Integrated Enneagram iEQ9, Aephoria’s Enneagram and Adult Maturity model, and The Hogan Personality Inventory.

The back story: As an 8-year-old, my grandmother gave me three old-fashioned school desks and I found myself coming home from school teaching the neighborhood kids anything I learned that day. (And I guess I never really stopped loving learning & teaching.) After college and a short stint on Capitol Hill & a part-time youth minister role, I wanted to do graduate work in social work. However, reviewing the loan documents for a lot of tuition influenced me to take another route.

My first professional chapter was commercial and small business banking, and the various roles during my tenure offered leadership experience and an understanding of how the business worked. But something itched. I was passionate about helping my clients and team but wanted something more. Something where my passion to transform, to be a change agent for people, could have a platform.

The pivot was to a national consulting organization focused on organizational culture. I loved this role. It was collaborative. It was creative. It sent me to 46 of 50 states in 7 years. It felt like being in a garden watching why some organizations blossomed while others didn’t. I learned that it was the soil that mattered – the beliefs, values, and assumptions of the top leadership team made the difference. Like using soil without proper nutrients to grow something, it never worked – things wilted. Culture needs the attention of the inner game of the leader – openness, humility, ability to learn from mistakes, developing trusting relationships – these intangibles sustained real change and empowered & engaged others those organizations that flourished. Connections from income & cash flow statements as a banker intersected with how humans show up at work.

From a personal perspective, I found myself divorced as a mother of young twin girls, and with the sudden loss of two family members, unable to keep the travel schedule (this was way before Zoom!). So, I bought a business – my second professional chapter. Not the best timing, but I did it anyway. Priority Management ( is a global training company specializing in productivity and other essential team competencies. I taught workshops in almost every industry and at every organizational level – I learned that almost everyone has more work than time, and that time is our most important currency. I learned what it meant to be an entrepreneur. I struggled, fell down, and got back up. I learned what worked and what didn’t and what scaling a business meant. I learned what it meant to hire and fire people. Oh, and I wrote two books.

As my business grew, clients began to ask for more 1:1 coaching, and this part of the business grew. I loved this work so much that I founded my company, The Acorn Group. My third professional chapter. It also called me to further develop my coaching skills through Georgetown University. The application said “transformational coaching.” I thought, “Well, if it’s like fries and it simply comes with the meal, then ok.” What started out as a way to develop skills to help others, really ended up changing me, yes, transforming me, the most. I began to realize the power of the story and how much we contribute to creating and reinforcing stories that don’t align with what we want. I woke up and recognized my ability to make a greater impact. (Oh, and if you want to know about my compassion research and why I got my doctorate, let me know. I’m tired of writing now).

What’s my why today? The Acorn Group creates a platform for me to work with people fiercely committed to playing big and wanting to impact their world. I get to learn & teach & coach & partner with some extraordinary, inspirational people. As a recovering perfectionist, my work beliefs center on leadership – that real, purpose-driven leadership is driven by the inner game – the stories we’re in and the ones we’re willing to write next. This is my story or part of it, and I hope it gives you a glimpse into my journey and a little bit more about me.

I was born to create possibilities to transform people and organizations. As far back as I can remember, I’ve been passionate about challenging others get out of their way and recognize what they can do.

— Dr. Maryanne Elliott, MBA, PCC

maryanne elliott

What do I believe to be true?

Leadership is a made-up construct. It simply provides a lens for us to see our impact on others and be more self-aware. Self-awareness and the ability to reflect is the cornerstone of growth.

We are all living a story that is true to us. We are the main actor in our movie – everyone else plays a supporting role. We make up stories all of the time. You have to know your story to change your outcomes.

Leadership is over-glorified; it’s about everyday people having a positive impact on others. With practice, leadership can develop. Perception, not your intent, creates the reality for others.

Our inner game drives everything. It’s what is happening inside yourself – how you perceive what’s going on in the outer world and what you tell yourself about it. Assumptions, beliefs, and thoughts drive behaviors; behaviors drive results.

Leadership is about helping others grow and be successful. Who we are, at our core, matters. It creates our legacy.

High performers often push themselves too aggressively; frequently de-prioritize themselves and lose their sense of self. It leads to exhaustion and burnout. Self-care is an investment in the resources you use to make your impact. You can’t pour from an empty cup.

Navigating life based on the validation and direction of others and the outside world disconnects you from purpose and meaning. Rudderless.

Team members want clear expectations of the role/job, feedback on their work, and growth opportunities. They want to be seen, know they matter, and feel they belong.

Awareness precedes choice. When we are not aware, we don’t have a choice. We often live our life unconsciously. Practice, routines, and commitments can awaken us.

Humans are flawed and imperfect. We stumble. We get up. We fall again. How we see our faults and the faults of others affect how we either armor up and protect or deepen trust.

Everyone has a secret sauce; magic – or unique abilities and inherent gifts. Knowing what this looks like and feels like can energize your voice and power. It helps you tune into the whisper.

Are you ready to have the type of impact that really matters?

If you want to reach your next level, figure out your next chapter, or thrive in your personal life, we have a proven process to get you there. I’m Dr. Maryanne Elliott, and I founded The Acorn Group to work with leaders who want to be real leaders and have an impact. If that describes you, let’s talk!