About MJ

MJ Kaplan founded Kaplan Consulting in 2000 building on 20 years of experience managing complex change initiatives in the private, public and nonprofit sectors, fueling her passion for transforming ideas into action and large-scale results.   

MJ is spending most of 2013 as Ian Axford Fellow in Public Policy, sponsored by Fulbright New Zealand.  Based through August in Wellington, the nation’s capital,  she was sponsored by the Ministry of Social Development and New Zealand’s largest foundation, ASB Comunity Trust, to research social enterprise start-ups and the next generation of social innovators.   MJ was honored to serve as a judge for New Zealand’s Social Enterprise Start-up Weekend – the second to happen globally to date.

In 2014, MJ will join Brown University as Adjunct Professor in Public Policy teaching classes in social enterprise and strategy and continue her work as a student mentor.  She is a partner with Social Enterprise Greenhouse.

MJ has collaborated for 23 years with the national Institute for Conservation Leadership and more recently with Third Sector New England.

MJ was honored by Providence Business News as The Outstanding Mentor for the 2011 Business Women Awards.

In March, 2012, MJ had the privilege to travel to Guatemala with Leading Women to work with Amigos de Santa Cruz on micro-enterprise.

Brown University Adjunct Faculty

  • Leading Social Ventures – Social Entrepreneurship in Action
  • Thinking, Planning and Acting Strategically


  • Harvard University M.Ed., (focus on organization development)
  • Brown University B.A. (junior year at University of Barcelona)

Prior Professional Experience:

MetLife Auto & Home, Rhode Island, 1991-1999
Worked with corporate leaders to align strategy and practice, guiding the culture change process for a major acquisition, launching leadership development initiatives, serving on operational redesign teams and creating and directing a training department.

The Ground Round Inc.Massachusetts, 1987-1990
Served as an internal management development consultant, managing job and training needs analysis, management training, performance management and employee relations during a time of rapid transition.

Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND), Massachusetts, 1984-1986
National Field Director

Built a national network of chapters for this start-up nonprofit to address public policy priorities. Was responsible for strategic planning, board and staff development, leadership training, organization effectiveness and communication and served in national leadership roles as a strategist and public speaker.

State of Ohio Development Department, Ohio, 1983
Special Assistant to Director

Assisted a new governor’s administration, merging departments, redesigning processes and leading special projects.


  • New Zealand Social Enterprise Week Keynote – Growing Social Enterprise Start-ups and the Next Generation of Innovators
  • Ian Axford Fellowship – MJ presented throughout New Zealand.  Highlights included: Philanthropy New Zealand Conference, SOCANZ Social Innovation Conference, Auckland and Christchurch Forums, Victoria University Community and Voluntary Sector Research Forum  
  • Brown University – Navigating Unpredictable Change; Transitions
  • Bryant College, Executive Development Center – organization development
  • Institute For Conservation Leadership– Vision to Impact, Board Leadership, Collaboration, Executive Director Program, Strategic Planning
  • Lesley University – Great Turning Conference: Leading from Within to Collaborate with Others
  • New Roots – Partnerships
  • The Rhode Island Foundation– Strategic Restructuring
  • Social Enterprise Rhode Island – Strategic leadership; Managing Change
  • Social Enterprise Rhode Island –  Partnerships
  • Third Sector New England– Strategic Restructuring
  • United Way Rhode Island – Strategic Restructuring

Community Leadership

Board Roles:

  • The Miriam Hospital – After serving as a Governor, MJ served as a trustee for 8 years including as an officer and vice chair of the Quality Committee.  When the board merged with  Rhode Island Hospital she joined the board as trustee.  She served for several years on the LifeSpan Quality Committee
  • Moses Brown School – 9 years as a trustee through 2012
  • MJ has served on numerous other boards and advisory boards throughout her career

Pro Bono and Community Service

  • Leadership Rhode Island, Alumna and Program Committee
  • Dialogue Circle on Race (NCCJ)
  • Brown Fox Point Daycare Center, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation,  JUMP!, Katie DeCubellis Foundation, Mom to Mom (Families First), RI Food Bank and manyother outstanding community initiatives

These four core themes are woven throughout all of MJ’s diverse experiences.

  • Engagement: people contribute their best effort when they are active participants
  • Networks and Collaboration: breakthrough success demands working together across differences
  • Lifelong Learning: curiosity and openness foster the discovery of new insights
  • Stewardship: commitment to share time and talent generously to support people and communities