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Sharing Leadership (Maureen O’Connor)

  • Episode #23

Dr. Maureen O’Connor transformed her experience as a marginalized woman early in her academic career into a philosophy of human-centric leadership — building and fostering an authentic culture of inclusion, diversity, and ownership.

Welcome to To Lead Is Human. This show helps listeners envision how they can uplevel their leadership and shape cultures of accountability, respect, and candor.

Maureen O’Connor, Ph.D., J.D., is the president of Palo Alto University (PAU), a non-profit private university that specializes in Psychology and Counseling. 

“People start to feel this so-called impostor syndrome because the people who set the path set standards that worked for them. And if you set yourself up against those standards, you are going to feel like an imposter.”

Dr. Maureen O’Connor

Maureen O’Connor, Ph.D., J.D., is the president of Palo Alto University (PAU), which specializes in Psychology and Counseling.

Prior to joining PAU, Dr. O’Connor held multiple roles at the City University of New York (CUNY) in New York City. Dr. O’Connor completed a Ph.D. and J.D. in a dual-degree program in psychology, law, and policy at the University of Arizona. Prior to launching her academic career, she clerked for the late Honorable Patricia Wald, then-Chief Judge of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, and worked on the famous Oliver North case.

An American Psychological Association (APA) Fellow, Dr. O’Connor has held numerous governance roles in APA, including as Chair of its Task Force on Human Rights. She has been active in the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI/APA Division 9) for many years, including serving as its President.

Her recent work has focused on evidence-based pedagogy development for doctoral students and on innovative mentoring strategies. Her 2019 book, Teaching Psychology: An Evidence-Based Approach (2019), with co-authors Drs. Jill Grose-Fifer and Patricia Brooks, was published by Wiley Press. She is a member of the 39th class of the American Leadership Fellows program in Silicon Valley and serves on the Executive Committee of the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities.

For more than 30 years, Sharon Richmond has partnered with C-level executives from mid-size and small, fast-growing companies who want to up-level their leadership and build companies they are proud of. Clients accelerate their leadership by embracing mindset and behavior changes, building self-awareness and self-management skills, and focusing on the three things all leaders must ensure: focus, energy, and delivery.

Sharon’s purpose as an executive coach is to help leaders 10X their impact by leveraging the power afforded by their roles to build organizations that are forces for good, both economically and socially. She also advises CEOs on shaping organization culture and leading change.

Sharon has taught leadership at Stanford GSB, where she now helps leaders increase influence, manage conflict, and prepare to build high-performing teams.

To see a list of Sharon’s clients, please visit

Resources or websites mentioned in this episode:
Sharon’s website
Dr. O’Connor’s website:
Dr. O’Connor’s email:

Producer: Cynthia Lamb
Assembled by: Melissa Deal
Executive Producer: Danny Iny
Audio Post Supervisors: Evan Miles and Christopher Martin
Audio Post Production: Post Office Sound
Music Soundscape: Chad Michael Snavely
Making our hosts sound great: Home Brew Audio

Music and SFX credits:
Track Title: Escaping Light
Artist: Aaron Sprinkle
Writer: Aaron Sprinkle

Track Title: Bright Future
Artist: Be Still The Earth
Writer: Marshall Usinger

Special effects credits:
24990513_birds-chirping_by_promission used with permission of the author and under license by AudioJungle/Envato Market.

To catch the great episodes coming up on To Lead Is Human, please follow us on Mirasee FM’s YouTube channel or your favorite podcast player. And if you enjoyed the show, please leave us a comment or a starred review. It’s the best way to help us get these ideas to more people.


To Lead Is Human

Every business leader has a huge impact on their organization. In this podcast, Sharon Richmond interviews successful leaders who have turned personal growth into tangible business outcomes. They discuss overcoming challenges, lessons learned and what helps them make a positive impact in their organization. Sharon offers insight and advice to help listeners envision how they can supercharge their own leadership by blending the art and science of leading with intention.