Dr. Mary C. Gordon

Meet Mary Contini Gordon, Ed.D. Business and Innovation Leader, Speaker, Writer/Researcher

Dr. Mary C. GordonMary’s Topics of Expertise

  1. Leadership in the 21st Century – While the core aspects of leadership such as knowledge, honesty, sincerity, and the ability to develop trust, are still critical, the changing motivations and mores of the employee base require a skill to address multiple perspectives.
  2. Change Management – Change needs to be orchestrated. Part of the process includes understanding the perspectives and needs of the stakeholders whether they be leadership, employees, suppliers, or customers. Another key part of the process is continuous communication.
  3. Research Methods- Conducting in-house research involves clearly identifying sponsorship, creating the overarching research plan, staffing from interviewers to those who will bank and analyze data, and the process for disseminating the information. While this process has similarities between the quantitative and qualitative aspects, the qualitative is gaining use. It can be harder to manage and validate so is the focus of these talks.
  4. Think Tank Approaches – Breaking through habituated mindsets is challenging but necessary to discovering and implementing solutions to tough problems. Starting think tanks with unusual and sometimes unfamiliar approaches sets the tone that this is not business as usual.

Presentations/Key Notes

  • Leadership
  • Change management
  • Quantitative and qualitative research methods
  • Think tank approaches for tough customer problems



Mary Contini Gordon, Ed. D. is an experienced business executive, public school leader, and media developer who has successfully implemented innovation and change projects from idea creation through launch in a variety of public and private sector organizations and their internal departments. Her experience spans over 30 years.

Dr. Gordon has delivered speeches at leadership conferences, innovation workshops, technology symposia and education meetings nationally and internationally. The scope of her talks includes leadership, change management, quantitative and qualitative research methods, and think tank approaches for tough customer problems. She has also conducted small and large scale interview-based research projects in both the public and private sectors to determine market trends, customer needs, and employee issues and then delivered the results to their sponsors.

Mary has a background in theater and TV production which drives her to bring her talks alive with examples and interaction. Her talks are full of examples from her experiences in the board room to the manufacturing floor and out to customer venues. Her stories include those of working with scientists and engineers to help them break through technical mindsets to design for the real customer need of working on the manufacturing floor to understand the human factors contributing to errors, and of collecting employee thoughts to address organizational improvement. She shares stories from her work with the education sector as it applies, usually in regard to how people learn. Recently she has engaged with Native Americans, archaeologists, and anthropologists to decipher a leadership story that has spanned decades. She interweaves examples from that project as relevant. Her talks also, and importantly, include relevance to the audience through pre-talk data gathering and interaction during the session.


Dr. Mary Contini Gordon served as the executive director of the Hughes Institute for Professional Development which served all five Hughes Companies (80,000 employees). In that role she was responsible for the flow down of new initiatives from the CEO’s office, oversaw the development of classroom and electronic delivery of executive, professional, technical, and line management programs, was responsible for employee research, for assessments, and oversaw nominations for university programs in which the company participated. Subsequent roles after the Raytheon/Hughes merger have included leadership of an innovation center, executive coaching, organizational development, change management, workshops, and training. Her work has been commended by the US Navy and Air Force.

Mary has managed large ethnographic research projects for Hughes and for Raytheon. Some of these projects involved interviewing people across the country and overseas and synthesizing their stories into a larger picture to be used as background for business decisions. She developed methods to bank, track, retrieve, and analyze large quantities of narrative data. Her most recent corporate work was a book on business anthropology.

Prior to her roles at Hughes/Raytheon, Mary was a teacher, curriculum chair, and vice principal in the public school sector where she worked with staff to initiate programs for the gifted as well as for remedial students.

After Mary retired from Raytheon, she helped form and then facilitated an Aerospace and Defense CEO Network, worked with the General Patton Museum to mount their first artist-soldier exhibit, and has written a biography which is a leadership study, TIQ SLO’W: The Making of a Modern Day Chief, in cooperation with the National Park Service, to be released by Amethyst Moon Publishers at the end of 2013.

Mary’s public speaking includes addresses on leadership, change management, research methods, think tank approaches and other topics at national and international venues. She focuses on subtopics as requested, such as the leadership subtopics of motivation and delegation or the innovation subset of innovation tools. For a time, Mary hosted a local TV talk show in Ventura County, California with guests from the business, civic, educational, and entertainment sectors.

Mary’s degrees include Theater and TV Production from Kent State and the City University of New York and a doctorate in educational psychology from UCLA. In addition to her projects, Mary enjoys nature trips with the families of her four children, Greg, Dan, Sara, and Rebecca, who beckon from their homes in different places across North America.

Public news on Mary

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