Maril Gagen MacDonald, the Founder and CEO of Gagen MacDonald, On: Navigating an Oil Spill Response, Turning Navistar Around, and Changing the World One Dysfunctional Company at a Time

Maril Gagen MacDonald

Maril Gagen MacDonald is an awarded leader in PR and a pioneer for disciplines that promote corporate collaboration and employee engagement. She is the Founder and CEO of Gagen MacDonald, a strategy execution firm that is intent on connecting the corporate office to frontline employees. Since its foundation in 1998, they have become an award-winning firm that’s worked with notable names such as ADP, Allstate, and McDonald’s.

Maril’s background is primarily in communications, having learned many of her skills from leading companies, including Navistar and Bayer.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • How to change the world through one dysfunctional company at a time
  • Maril Gagen MacDonald’s upbringing and learning how to define yourself
  • What Maril learned at Standard Oil Company 
  • Looking at Maril’s experience in male-dominated industries 
  • Improving the company from the ground up
  • How to focus on what matters when fixing problems within a company
  • The three components that can transform a business
  • Women helping other women in business

In this episode…

What’s the best way to transform a company?

There are layers to the question, from the company’s actual performance to the culture to its public perception. Each one is important to the business’ overall health, but it can be hard to pull it all together. The only real answer is to start where you are and redefine the company from your position of leadership.

Maril Gagen MacDonald has had to do this for multiple companies. From Navistar to Bayer to Standard Oil, she’s helped guide these businesses towards higher functioning and greater results. Now her firm does this for some of the largest companies in the world, sharing her expertise with those willing to listen.

In this episode of Next Wave Leadership, Dov Pollack speaks with Maril Gagen MacDonald, the CEO and Founder of Gagen MacDonald, on transforming companies and improving business results. They talk about her time at Standard Oil and Navistar and how she helped direct those companies towards a better image and improved strategy. They also go over corporate culture and what it’s like to be in a male-dominated industry.

Resources Mentioned in this episode

Sponsor for this episode…

Founded by Dov Pollack, Next Wave Leadership is an executive coaching firm focused on helping CEOs, executives, and emerging leaders to deepen their executive presence, differentiate their voice, and embrace the plot and promise of their story.

To know more about what we can do to help you grow as a leader, visit our website at or send us an email at

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