About Mary Ellen Ball

Mary Ellen Ball
I am unwavering in my commitment to connect people to their purpose.

I created the Open Delta Group to partner with adults, coaching them to clarify their purpose. I am a Certified Professional Coach through iPEC, a CEO with 18 years of dynamic leadership, strategic planning, capacity building, and executive coaching experience, and a perfectly flawed human person.

I’m known for my energetic style, offering corporations innovative solutions for inclusion and diversity opportunities. I have developed a formal mentoring program for employers that coaches strong female talent for leadership roles. I am data-driven and interested in working with clients that understand the value of retention and impact on the bottom line when women are equally represented in decision-making roles.

My individual and small group coaching programs revolve around the belief that clarity is the most powerful feeling. I help clients disrupt the cycle of overwhelm and underwhelm – the cycle of the limiting beliefs. I am equal parts woo-woo and Type A, having studied Public Policy at the University of Chicago but never really found my calling in econometrics or statistics. Simply stated, I love my psychic and my complex excel model on key performance indicators.

My style is straightforward, compassionate, and far from half-assed. I may curse but it always seems perfectly placed, so I am easily forgiven. I am infectiously optimistic, abundantly energetic and I know I have found my calling helping clients discover how big their dreams really can be—because I am realizing the same about myself.

I live in Evanston, Illinois and share my life with my two radical kids and a brilliant partner who is the president of my fan club. I keep trying to foster senior dogs but end up adopting them. I am the luckiest on all accounts.

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The Behind the Scenes Story

Every good story has “the moment” that changed it all. My “moment” seems to keep happening. Just as I think “PHEW! I survived! Now that is what resilience looks like,” I catch my breath and something new and terrifying and gorgeous and undeniable presents itself, and I am smack-dab in a new “moment.”

The Open Delta Group’s mission came from a lot of discomfort, a lot of gut feelings that wouldn’t be shaken. The actual name came from the tattoo on my inner right forearm and the suggestion of my brilliant partner to use that tattoo’s meaning as I dreamt of my new company.

Years ago, I had this symbol tattooed to remind myself to stay open to change and to keep moving forward.

ODG Symbol

A few years later, when I finally believed in what I had permanently inked into my skin, I took a professional leap of faith by venturing out on my own to start Mary Ellen Ball Consulting Services in October 2017.

I loved it, but it was missing something. It lacked joy. It still didn’t feel like me

So I kept digging. I worked with a therapist. I found a coach. I cried in public and swore in front of children. The unraveling is hard. The rebuilding is even harder.

Finally. FINALLY! It became crystal clear what brought me joy. Watching people discover their power, their resilience, their natural abilities. Watching people learn how to forgive themselves (me included), find humor in the mess and reach levels of personal happiness that were previously unfathomable-that right there is magic. I think I have always been a coach but was too afraid to say it out loud. I had been trying to ignore this for years, giving all the excuses I could imagine. I am a single mom/breadwinner—I am NOT to take silly risks. And even worse, I could fail. In front of everyone. And that would be the worst. But, I am not scared anymore.

I still do consulting because my consulting brain loves the challenge. I thrive when I help boards understand their pivotal roles, lead agencies through transitions, coach teams to work collaboratively and more efficiently, and help organizations plan for a future better and bigger than they had ever imagined—that right there brought me joy. And I am really good at it.

I had dumped my life out to start over and I didn’t dump it all out to do anything half-assed. So as of July 9, 2018, the first day of my thirty-ninth year, Mary Ellen Ball Consulting Services flourished into its intended shape, becoming my greatest vision so far: The Open Delta Group. Reminding us all to stay open to change and to continue to move forward.


For more on me and my origin story, you can check out the article in Voyage Chicago. I was approached by Voyage Chicago to talk about all the musings of my mind. The result was a terrifying exercise of throwing myself way out of my comfort zone. (The article editing is poor, but the message is still there.)

The feedback following the article has been overwhelmingly positive and has proven to me once again how necessary it is to really show up each and every day.