Laurel Donnellan, Founder and Chief Visionary

Laurel has more than 20 years of experience in executive coaching and consulting with individuals and businesses including Toyota, Disney, Viacom, Yahoo! and Leo Burnett. She has an undergraduate degree from Cornell University and an MA in Organizational Psychology from Columbia University. In addition to her formal education, she has immersed herself in learning the ancient Native American Vision Quest tradition and is a certified yoga instructor through the Omega Institute. Laurel specializes in mindful career, leadership and organizational development that improves engagement and has designed curriculum for corporate universities, schools, an ashram and a prison. She has published several books including Born To Do: The Practical Guide To Loving Your Work, been featured on NPR and had the opportunity to work with executives in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. Her passions include education equality, properly brewed tea and doing creative projects with her nieces and nephews who are growing up too quickly.

Connect with Laurel directly for your FREE coaching session. 30 minutes of uninterrupted “you” time via phone or online. Call 512.222.6651 and get ready to Live Your Genius!

Kelly Dwyer, Chief Executive Officer

With every Bright Livelihoods client, Kelly leverages more than 20 years of cross-functional business & leadership experience, multiple career transition experiences, her talent as a coach & teacher, as well as her gift of holding space for a client’s transformation. Career highlights include founding & running a successful outdoor yoga adventures company, being a part of three venture-funded technology companies who had successful exits (1 acquisition and 2 IPOs), serving as a Fund Manager for BRVentures (Cornell's venture capital fund), working in Nepal as a strategy consultant, participating in lululemon's 2003 launch in the US, & guiding others as a yoga teacher. Kelly has been a certified Bright Livelihoods coach since 2005, she holds an MBA from Cornell University, & she is a certified yoga instructor.

Lisa Widder, Creative Director

Lisa has had ink stains & paper cuts on her fingers for as long as she can remember. Writing – stories, blogs, grocery lists – is her passion. A life-long Chicagoan, Lisa is a graduate of Columbia College & veteran of many creative industries including dramatic theater, high-end catering & consumer design. She stashes Regency romance novels under her bed & expensive cheeses in her fridge.

Carolyn Brunsen, Creative Associate

Carolyn graduated from Columbia College Chicago in 2015 with a BA in Fashion Design. She interned with Bright Livelihoods for over a year before becoming a creative associate & the team’s graphics guru. Carolyn has always been enveloped with art, with a focus on visual branding. She takes pleasure in the process. She is a magpie of sorts.

Katya Raffensperger, Creative Associate

Katya is curious about politics, books & learning anything new. She blogs, builds websites & enjoys telling stories through video editing. Katya speaks French & has dabbled with Russian & Medieval Welsh. At Smith College, her alma mater,  Katya was a leader in her Debate Society & earned a distinguished award upon graduation for her contributions. Katya has interned with the majority leader of the Massachusetts State Senate, worked at the Smith College Archives, Star Talk Radio & at a dairy farm in Vermont.

meMarissa Donnellan, Creative Associate

Marissa is a fine art photographer, cook, editor & world traveler. She has a great appreciation for old photographic methods & a curiosity for the new, which fuels her to be an eternal student. Wanderlust took her to Europe for three years, the United Arab Emirates for five years, & she has called many beautiful states home, including Alaska, Hawaii & Vermont. Marissa currently lives in Easthampton, MA & brings her ability to bring order to creative projects & processes to Bright Livelihoods. Marissa has known Laurel her whole life since she is her (slightly younger) sister.