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 to high-tech leaders. Sue is the author of the well-received business book Leadership Chronicles of a Corporate Sage (Kaplan Publishing, 2004), hosts the popular show WiseTalk – a monthly leadership forum – and regularly delivers keynotes on leadership, coaching, design thinking, talent, and culture.

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 25 years, and her most recent clients include C-level Executives to VPs at:

  • Amazon Web Services
  • BioMarin
  • Blend
  • Credit Karma
  • Hewlett-Packard
  • Instacart
  • Kenzen
  • 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
  • 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 13 year old son, Max. When she is not coaching, you will find Sue on the tennis court or the ski slopes; 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.