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Meet Meredith

Meredith McNerney is a cancer survivor, speaker, and educator. She was born with a rare gene mutation that caused a kidney and ear deformity. She was ill most of her childhood and, at age 11, had a kidney removed. At 31, Meredith was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer, Merkel Cell Carcinoma. After surviving cancer, she founded an all-volunteer organization, A Message of Hope Cancer Fund. She served as the Executive Director for ten years and led her team to raise one million dollars to provide direct financial support to families facing cancer in her local community.


In the years following, she served as the principal of a Title 1 school with nearly 900 students in Montgomery County, Maryland. Ninety percent of her students qualified for free meals, and 78% spoke English as their second language. Before taking over the school in 2016, the school was the lowest-performing school among 134 schools in the district. Under her leadership, her school ranked as a 4-star school, according to the Maryland School Report Card, most notably due to student achievement and growth data. 


Meredith and her team utilized an integrated approach to school reform to maximize structures and processes, including accountability frameworks and best practices for promoting social-emotional health while raising student achievement. Reform efforts included teaching students in their first language first by utilizing a Spanish bilingual/bi-literacy program. 


As a trained mindfulness coach, Meredith led her school to implement mindfulness practice, including mindful spaces, and daily mindfulness practice school-wide (online and in-person).


Today Meredith works with schools and businesses across the country to teach others how to cultivate calmer environments. Additionally, she serves as an adjunct professor at Shepherd University, where she teaches courses on Creating a Trauma-Informed School Culture and Climate and Welcoming Newcomers with a Trauma-Sensitive Mindset.


Meredith earned a B.S. in Elementary Education from East Carolina University and completed her Master of Education as a Reading Specialist at Towson University. She is finishing a doctoral program at Northeastern University where she studies the mental health of black and brown educators. Meredith lives in Ijamsville, Maryland, with her husband, Mark who is a middle school teacher, and two children, Danielle and Kaitlyn. 

Business People


Meredith will help the people in your school or organization choose calm.

What Leads to Calm?

1. Compassion: Humans Make Mistakes. They Need Nurturing.

From the executive team to the sales team, each person in the organization matters. How we nurture each other directly impacts team performance.


2. Affect: Be Aware of Emotion Contagion.

Culture is contagious. What we talk about, focus on, and repeat disrupts or cultivates calm.


3. Little Things: Two-minute Breaks Change Everything.

Self-Care feels impossible when short on time. Calm is integrated into every aspect of life through the little things.

4. Mindfulness: Learn to Respond Instead of React

Thought-management tools and strategies help us grow, manage stress, and choose responses that save time.

If you’re looking to build an empathy-focused culture, embed calm into stressful situations, and improve team performance, then you want to book Meredith to speak at your next meeting. 

Stang-up Meeting
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Speaking Topics

Employee Health and Healing

Understanding Vicarious Trauma to Overcome Burnout

Are you the superglue to so many people? Do you ever feel close to burnout? Are you feeling overwhelmed most days? Caregivers need self-care too. It is important to understand how our personal histories, experiences, and stressors coupled with the demands at work can lead to burnout. When we serve others there is a cost to caring. Learn the brain science behind burnout and strategies for restoring balance. 

Attendees will Experience:

  • A deeper understanding of how our own trauma histories impact our lives at work

  • Greater knowledge of the three part brain to optimize workplace performance and improve culture

  • Strategies for restoring personal health and wellness.

Image by Riccardo Annandale


How to Stay Calm When Challenges Arise

Our thought patterns can be damaging. Whether we approach stress with a catastrophic mindset or we get stuck in black and white thinking, it is important to understand how our ruminating thoughts continuously release stress chemicals in our body.


Research on thought management reminds us that if we want to remain calm under pressure, we need to understand potentially damaging thought patterns and strategies to overcome them. 

Attendees will Experience:

  • Strategies to increase self-compassion

  • Greater team performance as a result of understanding how colleagues process information

  • A clear understanding of ways to overcome damaging thought patterns to cultivate inner calm and spread calm across the organization


Balancing Empathy with Accountability to
Maximize Team Performance

What’s on your business card? Most of us think of our business card as a place to share our name, title, and role at work. However, who we are beyond our title has a lot to do with how well we perform at work. In order to maximize performance, we need to understand what is on the “back of the business card” for each of our team members. Understanding “who” someone is rather than what they do produces a culture of trust and accountability. 

Many humans show up to work asking, “Am I safe here? Am I valued?” This is because our brains perform optimally if we feel a sense of psychological safety and belonging. When it comes to understanding people, it is important to know what cultivates safety and belonging. Executive leaders have an opportunity to create optimal working conditions but they must first understand the roots of trauma, how trauma can show up at work, and strategies for building trusting and safe relationships at work.


Research on leadership reminds us that if we want to maximize employee performance we must know what motivates and inspires staff when no one is watching. When it comes to holding staff accountable, we need to utilize language that is empowering and clear rather than shaming and confusing. Executive leaders, managers, team leaders, and team members will learn the value of the back of the business card along with a clear protocol for addressing underperformance. 

Attendees will Experience:

  • Tools for getting to know who staff are beyond what they do

  • Greater team performance as a result of understanding how to approach staff who are underperforming

  • A clear roadmap for balancing empathy with accountability 

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Larry Epp, Ed.D
​Author, Psychotherapist 

Meredith is an amazing trainer, who is a true pioneer in creating trauma informed schools and classrooms. Her workshops are inspirational and transformative, as she draws on her own experience of leading an underperforming school and remaking it into a place of nurturance and true social emotional learning.

Audience members said…

  • Meredith taught me to utilize my supports more to help me gain calm and understanding of my situations more effectively.

  • Meredith was really informative and a very engaging presenter. She was responsive and gave excellent realistic explanations.

  • You made a difference in my thinking!

  • This was very inspirational. Meredith, keep doing what you are doing!

  • Meredith taught me to take time for myself and that I already have the experiences to draw from. I can do this!

Meredith has worked with...

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