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    • M.S. Strategic Leadership

    • B.S. Leadership

    • A.S. Instructor of Technology


    • Emotional Intelligence Assessment Certified (EQi2.0 and EQ360)

    • Resilience Building Leader Program Certified Trainer (RBLP-T)

    • Empathetic Leadership Course Instructor Certified 

    • Master Resilience Trainer

    • CCAF Level I Instructor Certified

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  • Mary Polanco is the founder and CEO of Live and Lead Well, LLC; a visionary company with the goal of igniting personal growth awareness, insight, and support on a global scale. She is also an author, experienced leadership trainer, transformational speaker, and curriculum developer. Her expertise in leadership and personal growth is evident through her hands-on approach through individualized workshops and personal one-on-one instruction. 

Please provide a summary of your work history, qualifications, and background:

  • Independent Leadership Development Trainer

    • Co-designed and instructed various leadership development training courses; Team Development, Customer Service, Leading Through Generations, Resiliency, and Personal Growth Development lesson plans to address unique needs for over 200 team members through multiple organizations. Developed Seminars in Emotional Intelligence and Authenticity for 220-person convention as instructor for the CORE Leadership Company. Serves as lead adjunct trainer for the Resilience Building Leadership Trainer Program Certification through Courageous Leadership Alliance.

  • January 2022-December 2022

    • Small Business Consulting Corporation 

      • Senior Instructor and Faculty Developer

        • Co-created Foundational Leadership Course for the Air Force’s Global Strike Command. Developed curriculum across the spectrum of leadership development and personal growth for first-time supervisors. Lead Instructor-Trainer to faculty of ten instructors. Manages onboarding process for new faculty, as well as the evaluations and feedback program for staff. Success of the Foundational Course led to the stand-up of the Intermediate Leadership Course. Co-developed this next-level course for mid-tier supervision in the Air Force. 

  • March 1999 - March 2022

    • United States Air Force, Department of Defense

      • Senior Enlisted Advisor, Integrated Resilience Directorate | Pentagon, Washington D.C. [January 2020 - November 2021]

      • Oversaw the Department of the Air Force Resiliency Working group of over 400 members which led to the roadmap for resilience operations and suicide prevention.  Led a team of 25 DAF Civilians, Officers, and Enlisted members. Ensured communication to
        the field of 400K Airmen, Guardians, and their families, on resilience programs available to them. Key Advisor for the Interpersonal Violence Task Force. Advocated for focus groups and additional workplace violence talking points for Pentagon Leadership. Efforts uncovered a widely overlooked root cause of resilience issues of workplace bullying. 

Why would a prospective client want you to be their keynote speaker or to support their speaking event? What are some compelling aspects of your background/career/experience that we should know about?

  • Mary Polanco is a renowned Public Speaker with an array of keynote topics. Her ability to connect with the audience using candor, humor and her sheer authenticity enables them to truly self-reflect, creating a safe space for growth to occur. Some of her most requested keynote speeches are: 

    • You First - The Art of Prioritizing Yourself to Create Balance While Juggling the Chaos of Life

    • Leadership Starts With You - How Committing to Your Personal Growth Completely Changes Your Leadership Capacity

    • Building Resilient Teams - Locking in the Tools to Create an Environment Where Teams Thrive Instead of Just Survive

What are your primary topics/areas of expertise?

  • Leadership  Development Training

  • Lesson Plan/Curriculum Development 

  • Classroom Instruction and Facilitation 

  • Team Building and Collaboration 

  • Resilience Building Training

  • Emotional Intelligence Training

  • Personal Development Training


What are some positions you have held in your career that you would like prospective clients to know about?

  • Director of Operations and Director of Education for Air Force Professional Military Education Schoolhouse

  • Senior Enlisted Leader for the Headquarters Air Force Integrated Resilience Directorate


What are some speaking events you’ve supported recently?

  • Air Force Sergeants Association 

  • Moody Air Force Base Airmen Leadership School

  • Hero Front Podcast

  • Shadows Podcast

  • Chief's Women's History Month Mentorship Panel

  • Stories of Service Podcast

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