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Mary Karlsson Consulting

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We focus on PEOPLE, So your people can focus on BUSINESS
Mary Karlsson Consulting project: corporate

The leadership of the Consumer, Customer and Market Insights (CCMI - market research) function at a large manufacturer was concerned about their ability to retain and promote their highly skilled personnel. They needed to identify their team’s unique skills and contributions, and differentiate them from other marketing functions in order to demonstrate their unique value and open up career paths for these valued employees.



  • Mary Karlsson Consulting interviewed CCMI personnel from several levels of the organization and assessed the critical skills and competencies they demonstrated. Mary analyzed their unique set of skills and how they impacted the larger organization; she created a succinct 5-tiered competency model and created clear, usable, job descriptions to support recruitment, promotion, and a career framework for CCMI.


  • CCMI leaders used these career documents while negotiating the restructuring of the unit, aligning it more directly with its business, division, and corporate customers, and allowing greater opportunities for employee advancement.

Mary Karlsson Consulting project: higher ed

A technical/community college, located in a part of the Twin Cities that is home to several high-growth, manufacturing and medical services companies, was not attracting these companies to their employee training programs. 



  • Mary Karlsson Consulting developed and facilitated a forum linking planners of the college’s Customized Training department with leaders of large local businesses, their target market. This forum allowed the college to identify the key skills that businesses wanted in their employees, and led to an on-going relationship with these business leaders.  




  • Participants quickly agreed to act as advisors to collaborate with program planners, develop training in skill areas they required, and promote the college as a source of high-quality education. This created alliances with key targeted businesses and ultimately boosted profitability

Project Success

The following are examples of the services Mary Karlsson Consulting has applied in real-world business situations with a variety of programs and organizations, as a solo consultant and in collaboration with other professionals.


Please feel free to contact us if you would like more information and any of the projects listed below.

Mary Karlsson Consulting project: higher ed

A respected community college’s Customized Training department had completed the first of half of a major Lean/Six Sigma training program it had created for a large manufacturing firm.  The Training Director wanted to assess the program’s quality, cultural impact, and opportunities for improvement at this critical mid-point.  



  • Mary Karlsson Consulting created a blended quantitative and qualitative evaluation study to assess the effectiveness of the 28-month training program and its success in creating entrepreneurial culture change.  Mary analyzed the quantitative learning results and conducted multiple focus groups to understand how well two of business units succeeded in applying the learning in their day-to-day operations. 




  • The data highlighted how various employee groups were affected by the learning and led to adjustments in training program delivery.  Focus group data also revealed the role supervisors had on implementing the program and creating on-the-job impact.  The most successful supervisory techniques were then reinforced during training and generalized across all divisions to embed learning.   

Mary Karlsson Consulting project: corporate


A new Vice President of Marketing over three brands of electronics equipment came on board a local manufacturer shortly before

strategies for product design development were due.



  • Mary Karlsson Consulting designed and facilitated 2-day strategic cross-functional (engineering, design, marketing, and brand management) planning session for the consumer product brands.  The retreats facilitated collaboration between teams, and led them in activities to define the brand, assess the market, and develop product line strategies for each market.  For one brand, a recent acquisition, an assessment of culture was also conducted to identify group strengths and challenges, communication, and decision-making norms. 


  • The strategy sessions led to process improvements that lessened market response time.  They initiated process changes that identified market opportunities, and resulted in more clearly defined roles and task assignments for each team as well as improving cohesion within the group.

 Collaborative Partner project: early childhood 


The consultants were charged with revising a state agency’s Early Childhood Practitioners Core Competencies manual, as well as to standardize content and increase its visibility, accessibility and functionality. Partnered with DeYoung Consulting Services to develop research to assess the application and relevance of the manual as currently written.  The partners used findings to update and revise the competencies, align them with other Minnesota early childhood resources, aid readability, reduce redundancy, and increase internal consistency.


The consulting team facilitated feedback sessions with early childcare and education providers statewide to test document versions.  The project required facilitating on-going strategy sessions with a multiple-agency advisory board that guided and approved the final revision of the Core Competency document.

Collaborative Partner project:
community health 


The work was a collaboration on a state-wide project to develop local programs to impact health behaviors of Minnesotans. Together with DeYoung Consulting Services, the team created formative research on attitudes on health issues and responses to policy and environmental cues that trigger them. The team developed quantitative survey instruments and conducted focus groups statewide.  Results provided data that informed community initiatives in addressing health issues.  

The team also worked in partnership to develop local groups’ capacity to plan and conduct strategic communication.  Mary Karlsson Consulting assisted in facilitating local and regional teams in a strategic communications planning process, helping them create vision and goals, communications objectives, plans and messages to impact target audiences.