Susan Bethanis, Ed.D.


Experience / Approach

Susan J. Bethanis, Ed.D., is the CEO/Founder of Mariposa Leadership, Inc., a 12-person San Francisco-based firm, which provides executive coaching and design thinking to high-tech leaders. Sue is the author of the well-received business book Leadership Chronicles of a Corporate Sage (Kaplan Publishing, 2004) and hosts the popular show WiseTalk — a monthly leadership forum, and WiseSpace — a Zoom coaching community. She regularly facilitates strategy offsites and delivers keynotes on influence, coaching, and innovation. Currently, given the Covid-19 crisis, Sue has been focused on supporting executives to pivot strategies and culture given the WFH environment as well as acting as a sounding board on work-life balance.

Using real-time, relevant business issues, Sue helps executives:

  • Energize their leadership skills that results in increased influence across the organization
  • Energize their leadership teams that results in increased engagement, motivation, and productivity
  • Energize their leadership creativity that results in innovative and sustainable organizational strategies, structures, and culture

Recent Clients

Sue has worked with Silicon Valley and San Francisco companies and non-profits for 26 years, and her most recent clients include C-level Executives and VPs at:

  • Amazon Web Services
  • AppFolio
  • BioMarin
  • Blend
  • Credit Karma
  • Hewlett-Packard
  • Instacart
  • Jumio
  • Maveron
  • Microsoft
  • Netflix
  • Nimble Storage
  • Old Navy
  • Omada Health
  • OpenX
  • PayPal
  • Pinterest
  • San Francisco Homelessness & Housing Support
  • San Francisco Port
  • San Francisco Rec & Parks
  • StartOut
  • Theravance Biopharma
  • Twilio
  • Twitch
  • Visa
  • Zendesk
  • Zenefits


Sue has an excellent grounding in both business and coaching:

  • Certificate, Design Thinking and the Art of Innovation, course at Stanford Design School, June 2010
  • Ed.D, University of San Francisco; emphasis in Organization/Leadership, Adult Learning, and Pacific Leadership International Studies. Dissertation – Transforming Organizations: Understanding Relationships Among Paradigms, Language, and Action.
  • M.A., Education, Stanford University; emphasis in Instructional Design
  • B.A., Psychology, Occidental College


People describe Sue as creative, generous, witty, confident, and laser-focused. Sue acts as Mariposa’s “Chief Creative Officer” and is known for designing experiences, services, and products that move people and “raise their game.” She regularly applies insights from design thinking, linguistics, anthropology, and athletics to her roles as manager of the Mariposa team and as a sounding board to her clients.

Sue lives in San Francisco with her 14 year old son, Max; they both love to spend time in Kihei, Maui. When she is not coaching, you will find Sue biking, skiing, or on the tennis court; watching the SF Giants; or making photographs in places like Amsterdam, Athens, Beijing, Berlin, Buenos Aries, Hanoi, Havana, London, Oslo, Rio de Janeiro, and Tulum.