A trusted and respected advisor to Chief Executives (CE), Mary O’Hara-Devereaux has more than 25 years of global experience providing private companies, government entities, and non-profits with long-term socio-economic forecasts, trend analysis, strategy, and innovation support to support them making better decisions and make sense out of the future.

Known for her steady-eyed forecasting, Mary’s ability to analyze emerging trends and translate them into profitable business opportunities is legendary. She is known for finding targets no one else can see.  Mary’s insights and strategic prowess have results in a bevy of rave reviews.

Mary’s skill at helping executives thrive in turbulent times has been honed by more than 25 years of global experience in over 66 countries on 6 continents. Her deep cross-industry expertise includes work for well-known companies in the technology, entertainment, media, biotech, financial services and accounting, consumer products, energy, health care/pharmaceuticals, food and beverage, and staffing industries. Areas of business expertise include business forecasts, corporate strategy, innovation “skunk works,” competitor analysis, business development, and strategic human resources.  See Mary’s impressive client list here.


Mary’s Books

Mary’s insights have culminated in several powerful books.

World’s Leading Futurist

Through this sleeves-rolled-up building and managing of teams on five continents, Mary’s work, research and innovation in the late 1980s effectively foretold the story of globalization, the rise of the emerging markets and the emergence of China. Her next stop was in the Silicon Valley and the Institute for the Future, a spin-off from the RAND Corporation, whose global business clients needed to learn how to work globally. From these disparate experiences Mary helped them do so and she wrote the classic “Global Work – Bridging Distance, Culture and Time.” This book anticipated the dawn of the World Wide Web and the Internet as a tool of communication, commerce and learning. During her time with the Institute as Senior Research Fellow and Director, Mary co-led the Emerging Technologies Outlook Program while continuing her thought leadership on the future of health care safety and the future of work. Mary was to forecast the burst of the tech bubble burst and stock market crash in 2000.  She foresaw the economic crisis of 2008 years before the recession hit the United States. She anticipated the game-changing social impact of the Internet and later the disruptive effects of social media.

After founding the think tank Global Foresight in 2000, she transitioned to become its president full-time in 2003 and to write her next book on globalization: Navigating the Badlands: Thriving in the Decade of Radical Transformation. Today we are still mired in what her book terms the “Badlands” of ongoing historical transformation. And we are plagued by many symptoms of this shift that include the continuing rise of toxic leaders who are nurtured by the fear of change and missing out as we approach 2020 and beyond.

Inspirational & Insightful Speaker

With unparalleled global and cross-industry experience based on research and work in over 66 countries on 6 continents worldwide, Mary is a sought-after keynote speaker. She has always been a story teller hoping to inspire others to innovate fearlessly. She inspires and guides diverse audiences toward the future with carefully researched and customized speeches with a call to action.  Her speeches draw upon her decades of experience in global affairs along with her expertise honed through forecasting and close work with global corporations, nonprofits and governments to analyze emerging trends in society and develop cogent strategy. Eloquent, interesting, engaging and — most importantly — consistently accurate, Mary’s keynotes offer targeted forecasting and explore the implications for businesses and leaders across industries. In this time of major disruption and redefinition of the world order, Mary highlights trends that will assure each audience can understand and define its future.

Her executive clients range from startups to multi-billion-dollar global companies. She has advised a variety of blue chip companies, including Apple, AT&T,  BASF, CITIC-Pacific, Chevron, Coca Cola, Disney, Ernst & Young, Genentech, Google, Kaiser Permanente, Netscout,  Oracle, P&G, and Ericsson. Nonprofit organizations with which she has consulted include The Asia Foundation, The National Council on Aging, The Robert Woods Johnson Foundation, United Way, The Kaiser Family Foundation, the World Bank Group and The World Health Organization, as well as many universities and leadership institutions.

Best-Selling Author

After her classic “Global Work,” Mary authored the foundational Navigating the Badlands: Thriving in the Decade of Radical Transformation.  The book accurately forecast the “Great Recession” of 2008 and other significant global changes that continue to reshape society, politics and business today. In addition to those two volumes, Mary’s books include China Five-Year Forecast: Creating the New Marketplace, and China’s Generations: The Transformation of Daily Life.  Before these seminal works on the future, Mary wrote extensively on global health care and primary medicine.

The sum of this research, forecasting and insight informs her work today. She is currently writing the sequel to Navigating the Badlands, which looks out to 2040 and visualizes the journey through the next phase of disruption. With these practical tools and deep understanding, she has explored — and continues to explore — innovation opportunities in the midst of chaos, and how leaders can journey out of these “Badlands” and into the “Far Foothills of the Future.”

Mary’s books have established her as a thought leader who can make sense of globalization as well as a world-renowned China and Emerging Markets Expert. All her works are valuable guides for business leaders who want to engage in the myriad opportunities presented by the world’s fastest growing economies.

Leadership Coach

Mary helps already successful leaders with big visions become thought leaders in their industries. Her ability to spot emerging trends early and envision nascent opportunities allows leaders to get to the future fast and first. She combines coaching with a strategic partnership with her clients.  Her unique coaching process includes a forecast to assure correct positioning and helps leaders to establish a relevant ‘vision and strategy’ in the emerging context. Mary’s coaching also offers tools that equip clients to influence and shape what is coming. This coaching provides leaders with a thought leadership marketing strategy that prepares them to effectively launch themselves, their messages and their work.

In addition to a long history of working with top leaders of the Global 100, she now provides the opportunity for leadership coaching to mid-market CEOs and top executives through a private CEO board of advisors that Mary chairs in San Francisco. Her two peer boards are affiliated with Vistage International, the leading global peer-to-peer network of CEOs. The necessity for mid-market business leaders to see into the future is not optional: to develop competitive advantage and survive in a business climate that won’t resemble the past, forecasting the future is a must. Today’s critical insights include understanding how the once “Emerging Markets” are moving to the center of the global economy as the new drivers of growth and the “Frontier Economies” are assuming their place on the periphery.


Mary holds degrees from the University of Michigan, the University of California, and Fielding Graduate University. For many years, she served on the faculty of the School of Medicine at the University of California at Davis and the John A. Burns Medical School at the University of Hawaii. More recently, she was a professor at China’s Peking University. She has been a visiting professor at numerous universities around the world and has also served on several corporate and nonprofit boards.

Frequently in the media, Mary’s work has been featured on Bloomberg TV, Fox TV, CCTV China, National Public Radio, AARP Radio, the Wall Street Journal Asia and the Los Angeles Times among others.