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Our Team

Who We Are

Donna Richards Muriel, Founder, Merge Leadership

Donna Richards-Muriel

Founder & Managing Partner

"It’s through awareness of ourselves, others and something bigger than us that we have the potential to make a difference and to do something that matters with our life."

For as long as I can remember I’ve been passionate about awareness and growth. To me, awareness is the key to everything. It’s through awareness of ourselves that we have choice about who we are and how we want to show up. It’s through awareness of others that we build and keep strong relationships. And it’s through awareness of something bigger than us, whether it’s our family, company, community or the world, that we have the potential to make a difference and to do something that matters.

​ I started my career working for Towers Perrin (Now Willis Towers Watson), an international management-consulting firm. While there, I specialized in learning and leadership development, people performance solutions, change management and communication. My focus was on how to help business succeed by creating programs that enabled the people who worked at them to be more successful.

While I loved this, it was missing the one key ingredient, a focus on individual awareness and the impact of that on individual, team and organizational success. That passion led me to found Merge Leadership Solutions, LLC (Merge).  Merge is a boutique firm committed to creating the space and teaching the skills to look internally to live and lead more authentically.

The work we do at Merge has historically focused primarily on supporting leaders and teams be successful through authenticity and courageous leadership. Today, post pandemic and in an increasingly tumultuous world we also partner with organizations as they invest in offering coaching in community to support people who have experienced challenge, hardship or trauma to heal and thrive.

​My passion for awareness and growth has led and continues to lead me to pursue ongoing education.


  • Master of Science degree in Organizational Development and Adult Learning from Northwestern University

  • Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Communications from the University of Illinois. 

  • Graduate of Coach University

  • Professionally certified coach (PCC) through the ICF

  • Certified practitioner of Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP)

  • Certified practitioner of The Leadership Circle 360º Leadership Feedback and Culture Survey Assessments

  • Graduate of the Organization & Relationship Systems coaching program at the Center For Right Relationship​

  • Workshops with: The Arbinger Institute (relationship awareness) and the Ford Institute (The Shadow Process)

  • Certified Trauma Informed Coach

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Carolyn Tilden, Partner, Merge Leadership

Carolyn Tilden


“We are in quest to create great leaders and cultures where what’s possible far exceeds what can be imagined.”



Rooted in love, I cultivate building a trusting relationship with you so you can courageously face your current reality and be energized by the possibility of what wants to emerge.


At the heart of my work, I guide you through deep inner work building your conscious awareness, courage, vulnerability, presence and resiliency, for the sake of your making powerful external changes.


I am grounded by my first-hand experience leading large-scale corporate initiatives as well as my personal journey to overcome roadblocks of my own making.  My work is a catalyst for challenging the status quo by talking about what really matters to inspire reflection and conscious action.


I served at the officer level at two $1 billion plus companies. I understand the challenges my business clients face based on my experience as a leader- including leading culture change- in many different settings.

I am committed to co-creating communities of leaders who want to learn to grow beyond their current capabilities. 

I have worked in organizations ranging from start up to Fortune 500 in diverse industries including manufacturing, advertising, airlines, drugstore, publishing, consumer products, and insurance.

I live in Highland Park, IL with my husband. We enjoy exploring new places together as well as long walks and good books.  Practicing tai chi at the Chicago Botanic Gardens is a highlight I look forward to every week.


  • Graduate of Hudson Institute’s coaching program

  • Professionally certified coach (PCC) through the International Coaching Federation.

  • Certified practitioner of The Leadership Circle 360º Leadership Feedback and Culture Survey Assessments

  • Certified Dare to Lead™ and Daring Way™ Facilitator

  • Graduate of the Organization and Relationship Systems Coaching program at the Center For Right Relationship

  • Graduate of Strozzi Institute’s embodied leadership program

  • Master of Management, Kellogg Graduate School of Business​​​

  • Workshops with: The Arbinger Institute (relationship awareness) and Thomas Hubl’s Principles of Collective Healing

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