Dr. M.L. Black, MA, MHA, Ph.D.

Authenticity, Leadership, Strengths

Known as “the Maximizer,” Dr. Black is sought after for her ability to help individuals and organizations reach their absolute fullest potential.

She has coached hundreds of executives, entrepreneurs, and emerging leaders, helping them to enhance their own performance in life and work, and has worked in multiple organizations helping them develop, revitalize, and transform programs into industry-leading practices with authenticity and accountability.

Few have ever seen a person jump nearly a foot above their own height. Fewer still have done it. But, it is exactly that kind of exceptionalism that embodies Dr. M.L. Black and her work. Her phenomenal athleticism was discovered when she was just a tyke, but the hard work, planning, and discipline that developed her into a world-class athlete have continued to be the foundational pillars of her work long after she hung up her cleats.

Since retiring from high jump, where she was a four-time All-American and three-time captain of the University of Michigan’s Women’s Track Team, Dr. M.L. Black has gone on to pick up two Masters degrees from Ohio State University and a Ph.D. in Community Psychology from DePaul University, worked as an executive at one of the country’s top-rated hospital systems, and launch two businesses and a non-profit.

Monika’s trophy mantle is a tad cluttered between the 2012 Global Girls Women and Girls Inspiring Change Award, the Ohio State University Health Services’ Management & Policy Leadership Award, the DePaul University Women Spirit & Action Award (twice), ChicagoNow’s list of Chicagoans to Watch in 2015, her write-up in People with Panache, and the Big Ten Medal of Honor. Clearly, the better half to her husband, Tomer, Monika is a Chicago import. But, since leaving her hometown of Columbus, Ohio 15 years ago, she has paid more than her share of parking tickets and now considers herself a true blue Chicagoan who has both contributed to the tax base and impacted unacknowledged leaders and underrepresented communities.

Keynotes & Large Presentations

  • Unleashing Your Strengths Women Of Today’s Manufacturing  | 2019 Scholarship Dinner |  Beyond Talent: Bringing Your Whole Self To Work  – 2019
  • The Climb Summit | Self Advocacy | Me, Myself, and I: Self-Advocacy In The Workplace  – 2019
  • Chicago Booth | Women Connect Conference | Strengths Strategy Action: Boosting Performance Through Strengths-Based Leadership – 2018
  • Associated Colleges of Illinois | Unleashing Your Cultural Strengths: Moving Beyond The D&I Workshop – 2018
  • American Heart Association | Diversity Summit | Unleashing Your Cultural Strengths: Moving Beyond The D&I Workshop – 2018
  • Devry University  | EDGE Women’s Month Celebration | Unleashing Your Strengths – 2018
  • Chamberlain University | Nurse Strong Week | Pressing for Progress in Leadership and Diversity: Forward Thinking Strategies – 2018
  • Executive Leadership Support Forum | Chicago Northshore | Unleashing Your Strengths – 2018
  • Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation | Activate Your Strengths, Elevate your Organization – 2018
  • Kansas City School of Public Health | Annual Inspiring Women’s Conference | Super Powers Activate: Authentically Leading Through Strengths 2018


  • Women Thriving Fearlessly | Elevate Series | Elevating Your Authentic Leadership Presence –  2019
  • Women Thriving Fearlessly |  Elevate Series |  Productive Partnerships for Systematic Joy – 2019
  • Teach For America – Chicago | Learning and Development Series | Unleashing Your Strengths – 2017
  • Axelson Center For Non-Profit Management | Bootcamp | Unleashing Your Strengths – 2017
  • Dress For Success | Annual Affiliate Conference| Unleashing Your Strengths – 2016
  • Multicultural Strength Parlor.
  • DePaul University Steans Center – Strength, Strategy, Action Workshop
  • Near North Unity Project – A vision for division:  A healthy conversation about near north diversity.
  • Co-presenter at the Albert Schweitzer Fellows for Life Conference – Beyond cultural competency:  Contextualizing multiculturalism to address health inequalities.
  • Guest Lecturer for the Department of Peace, Justice and Conflict Program at DePaul University – From Theory to Practice:  Practical Applications of the Ecological Framework.
  • Guest Speaker for the Steans Eagan Center at DePaul University – Understanding Our Multicultural Selves.
  • Guest Speaker for the People’s Jazz Theatre Public Speaking Workshop – Finding Your Voice.
  • Workshop Facilitator for The Setting Your Goals.  Girl Power Program Kick-Off Meeting.



Chicago’s Top 15 Professionals to Watch


Global Girls Women and Girls Inspiring Change Award


DePaul University Women, Spirit & Action Award


DePaul University Women, Spirit & Action Award


Richard J. Meister Service Scholarship Award


Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellow


The Ohio State University Health Services Management & Policy Leadership Award


The Ohio State University Hospitals Dean’s Fellowship Award Recipient


The University of Michigan Medal of Honor Recipient

Launch DePaul Coleman Entrepreneurship Case Competition 2009 Runner-Up

Chicago Foundation for Women Founders Award 2008 Finalist

National Association of Health Service Executives Case Competition 2001 Runner-Up

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  • The Future of Work
  • Leading With Your Whole Self
  • Diversity Is The Innovation That We Seek
  • From Fear To Financial Strengths
  • Nimble Giants & Corporate Innovation
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