We help leaders see clearly through challenges. 

At Makena Leadership we challenge, inspire and support leaders to amplify their impact for themselves, their teams, their organizations, and the world.

Known for a whole-person approach, we help clients develop deep understanding and agility for themselves and their colleagues.  Leaders, executive teams, and entrepreneurs alike discover new behaviors, skills and techniques that support their ability to lead, build resilience and collaborate more effectively.

Meet Dolores Bernardo

Founder & Managing Partner, Makena Leadership Group

Dolores Bernardo is an expert at supporting clients through rapid organizational growth and change. A sought after consultant, facilitator and coach, her experience at Google, Airbnb, GRAIL, Virgin Unite, Intuit, Zymergen and more has cemented her reputation as a go-to professional helping executives lead in rapidly growing, complex situations that require innovative thinking, rapid execution and compassion.

Before founding Makena Leadership Group, Dolores focused on leadership development at Airbnb where she partnered with teams to improve their effectiveness and facilitated programs she helped build. Prior to that, Dolores was at Google for nearly 8 years, where she rose to lead the Global Manager Development team, whose mission was for every Googler to have a great manager. She served over 8,000 managers with the team’s innovative programs. The team’s work can be found on Google’s reWork site and has been featured in the book Work Rules! She also coached executives and engineers, prepared them for Google I/O, developed critical talent leadership programs like “Leadership Impact and Presence” and taught “Search Inside Yourself” to hundreds of employees wanting to build their mindfulness practice.

Dolores is committed to inclusion in the workplace. A graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Dolores was recognized with the prestigious Holly Taylor Sargent award for her work to advance women. She also served as the Director, Western Region for Catalyst, a leading women’s advancement organization, where she focused on human capital strategy for companies Nike, Microsoft and Barclays Global Investors. Dolores combines her deep understanding of people leadership with her business background. She began her career at Accenture where she was a management consultant.

A sought-after speaker, Dolores frequently speaks and writes on coaching topics. Dolores has written for Harvard Business Review and has spoken at the World Business Executive Coaching Summit and The Conference Board. She serves on an advisory board at California Polytechnic State University.

  • Nicole Patterson Talent Consultant & Executive Coach
  • Nicole Patterson

    Talent Consultant & Executive Coach

    Nicole Patterson has over 20 years of experience in business operations and human resources. She’s worked both as an HR generalist and HR specialist, with expertise in staffing, benefits, analytics, HR operations, compliance and learning & development. Nicole began her career in working closely with the Managing Partner of a Stanford University medical practice. This gave her exposure to all elements of running a business and an opportunity to discover her passion for human resources.

    From 2003-2017, Nicole worked in many different roles in Google’s People Operations [HR] department, most recently as the Head of Planning and Operations in Google’s People Development [Learning & Development] organization. In addition to Nicole’s professional experiences as a Google business leader and People Operations manager, Nicole facilitated courses and coached Googlers across the company and around the globe. She also became a certified Hudson Institute Coach. Nicole relishes partnering with leaders and managers to create a culture where people learn, grow and perform their best.

  • David Spungin Leadership Consultant & Executive Coach
  • David Spungin

    Leadership Consultant & Executive Coach

    David Spungin is known for transforming managers into high-performing leaders. He holds a degree from the United States Military Academy at West Point, a Master of Science in Organization Development from American University/The National Training Laboratories for Applied Behavioral Science (NTL), and has completed advanced leadership studies at Harvard University. A U.S. Army combat veteran with corporate leadership experience, he is sought after for developing self-aware leaders who inspire engaged workplaces. He consults primarily to Fortune 500 companies and has trained 2000+ leaders in companies including Google, Schlumberger, Accenture, Harris, Arthur Gallagher, Johns Manville, Hogan Lovells, and Facebook.

    David is recognized for his ability to quickly assess an organization’s needs, develop creative learning designs, and facilitate highly-engaging training events. He’s known for his skill in relating with a wide variety of personalities and cultures. David can successfully deliver training to an oil and gas executive team in Alaska one day, and Millennial leaders in Silicon Valley the next.

    David specializes in helping leaders to develop their executive presence, create highly trusting and accountable teams, and a develop a servant’s approach to leadership that inspires results.

  • Becky Cotton Coaching Programs Consultant & Executive Coach
  • Becky Cotton

    Coaching Programs Consultant & Executive Coach

    Becky Cotton is highly regarded as a top leader in creating a coaching culture in Silicon Valley. Becky first began coaching at Xerox as a manager of large teams and that continued when she joined Google in 2005. Becky developed and lead Google’s lauded internal coaching program called Guru+. She grew it to 750 coaches in 150 global offices. The program won international recognition with the International Coaching Federation. She has studied coaching with New Ventures West, the Coaches Training Institute, the Hudson Coaching Institute and the International Coach Federation.

    Becky’s coaching work and signature methodology has been featured in the following books: Work Rules, The Pivot Method and Pause. She has spoken multiple times for the Conference Board, including keynotes and panels on Executive Coaching and Talent. She speaks at Stanford University’s Continuing Education department on career planning, discovering work purpose and passion. Becky’s clients rave that she is “insightful, curious, warm, open, caring, direct and honest.” She is driven to help clients achieve their goals and develop the emotional intelligence to navigate any leadership challenge.

  • Vic Vuchic Learning Science Advisor
  • Vic Vuchic

    Learning Science Advisor

    Vic is a seasoned thought leader in education technology and learning science.  He is currently leading a large initiative working with the world’s leading neuroscientists to map a learning genome and make the latest learning science accessible for all.  He is an expert in how people learn, innovation, and scaling what works and has launched game-changing initiatives that have increased access to education and improved learning for tens of millions of learners in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa.

    Currently serving as Chief Innovation Officer at Digital Promise Global, Vic previously consulted with a number of foundations and organizations on education technology. While working at the Hewlett Foundation Vic developed strategies and managed over $100 million in grants to launch and grow the Open Educational Resources movement and create and advance the Deeper Learning strategy.  Vic completed a master’s degree in Education, Technology and Learning at Stanford University and a bachelor’s degree in Systems Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania.

  • Kathrin O’Sullivan Leadership Consultant & Executive Coach
  • Kathrin O’Sullivan

    Leadership Consultant & Executive Coach

    Kathrin is an international executive coach, organizational development consultant, and facilitator with twenty years of experience in the tech industry. From 2005 until 2017 Kathrin served in key leadership positions at Google. Initially she built a multi-million dollar advertising revenue channel in Europe. She then moved to the US and held several leadership positions in People Operations, most recently as Head of Executive Development.

    Before Google, Kathrin worked for Oracle for five years as well as two tech start-ups. Kathrin is originally from Germany, has lived in five countries, and worked in over twenty.  Seasoned in complex, fast paced environments, Kathrin understands the demands on executives in a world where traditional structures are breaking open, and is very well positioned to support her clients who want to excel in big jobs. Kathrin is a sought-after speaker on leadership topics and has contributed to leading publications and conferences including Wisdom 2.0, Emerging Women and the Harvard Business Review.