Mary D. Coleman, PhD

Senior Vice President and COO, Economic Mobility Pathways (EMPath)

Mary Coleman is Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Economic Mobility Pathways (EMPath), a Boston-based nonprofit that transforms lives by helping people move out of poverty and provides the tools for other institutions to systematically do the same. Mary provides senior leadership for EMPath’s strategy development and growth, and oversees the organization’s programs, research, and evaluation operations.

Mary brings more than 30 years of higher education experience in executing organization goals and overseeing programs and services to EMPath. Prior to joining the organization in 2015, she served as Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Lesley University, where she focused on strategic planning, developing and implementing initiatives on well-being of faculty and students, high impact advising programs and the Lesley University Initiative on Child Homelessness, which she founded.

In addition to her professional positions in higher education, Mary dedicated several years to teaching and developing programs in the civil society sector in Cuba and Palestine, and lectured widely in nations throughout the world, including Luanda, Angola, Bucharest, Romania, Lusaka, Zambia and Azerbaijan. In 2005-06, she won a prestigious Woodrow Wilson International Scholar’s award for her work on rural poverty. She is the past recipient of research awards from the National Science Foundation and the Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education.

Mary was a post-doctoral fellow in public policy at the University of Maryland and in liberal arts at the Harvard School of Law. She holds a doctoral degree and a master’s degree in political science from University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Jackson State University.