About Mary

Mary Matthiesen


Great to meet you! I’m Mary Matthiesen,

As you may have guessed, this has not been a linear career path….

My passion is living and dying well

specifically, making the gap between them easier for the public, staff and communities.

Clients call me: strategic healthcare consultant, end-of-life educator and coach, author (Dying to Make a Difference), creator of Conversations for LifeTM , and facilitator of compassionate communities internationally.

In my 30+ years of working on the front lines of healthcare, hospice and communities, I knew a lot. Yet no one thing I’d done or witnessed prepared me with all I needed to support my parents to have “good deaths”, to really face my own mortality, or both. Yet together, they did.

Clients benefit from my honest, heartfelt, and slightly odd combination of personal and professional vantage points: working with the public, healthcare staff and communities in end-of-life issues from sudden death and organ donation to advance care conversations to hospice management to sacred dying.

I’ve been privileged to learn from every experience, from every student, from every story.

  • creating workshops and training lay caregivers how to sit at the bedside of the dying, and ICU staff how to have compassionate conversations in the most traumatic moments of a parent or partner’s life
  • engaging communities and delivering staff and public education in end of life conversations and care in the US with Mission Hospice, and the NHS in the UK.
  • on the frontlines with families and staff in sudden unexpected death and organ donation with the California Transplant Donor Network
  • leading regional chapters of The American Heart Association, and raising awareness about women and heart disease
  • supporting non profits in the Bay Area to mobilize volunteers as Director of Community Impact
  • writing and facilitating the art of end of life care, as co-author and lead trainer with Megory Anderson and the Sacred Dying Foundation’s Volunteer Vigil program, and as facilitator of Companion Arts Care for the Journey and Grace in Practice (based on Graceful Passages).

My work is supported by a degree in Psychobiology and certificates from Stanford University in Executive Leadership, the Coaches Training Institute, the Asset-Based Community Development Institute, and the Cancer Monologue Project.

Today, I lead transformational experiences (coaching, workshops, strategic initiatives) that engage independent women, healthcare staff, and community leaders to join me in turning our fears or denial of death into catalysts to learn how we can co-create the things that matter most as we age through our last days of living: communication, community connections, and care.

Together, we get to witness and acknowledge the hopes and fears we each carry and what lies beneath the wisdom, clarity, and passion to create new foundations for positive change:  the difference we each are uniquely called to make in living and in dying well.

You may have seen some of this work at presentations or with partners here:

This mission takes all of us…..I’d love to connect.

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