The Authentic Leadership Center (ALC) was created in 2001 by a dedicated and experienced team that is largely still involved in its leadership.


The Authentic Leadership Center is joyously committed to helping people come to resolution with the parts of themselves that may get in the way of fully stepping into who they are. We do this through experiential training, support groups, seminars, consulting, and coaching, utilizing researched and proven modalities for both intra-personal and interpersonal healing and growth.


The Authentic Leadership Center’s vision is of a vibrant community of individuals expressing their greatness with joy, compassion and integrity. We pursue this vision by creating an environment for deep, transformative learning, change and growth.

meet the alc leadership team

Maril Cardwell

Maril Cardwell

In 1985, I started my journey of self-reflection.  My marriage had ended, and I was desperate to figure out my part and, most of all, stop blaming.  This led me through the doors of Al-Anon, which led to some grief and co-dependency work.   As I moved on in my life, I attended a training based on transformation and personal growth, which was absolutely life changing.  Because of my desire to return some of what I learned, I became a staff coordinator for that organization, and also one that worked with women dealing with abuse, whether from childhood or in their current relationships.  All of that is my foundation for becoming one of the founding members of Authentic Leadership Center.

During this process, I have learned and, firmly believe, that as humans, we all have a part of us that is whole and unbroken, and we just need to find that wholeness again.  Somewhere along our path, there were defining moments that created core beliefs about who we are – both positive and negative.  Unfortunately, the negative ones can create a belief about who we are that is not true.  I am committed to helping people uncover these core beliefs that hold them back, and in doing so, make a new decision about themselves and have new choices before them.

Being raised by a military family, I went to 17 schools in 12 years, and from this defining experience, I learned about change.  I bring this first-hand experience about life and change, as well as management and coaching skills to Authentic Leadership Center.  I am filled with joy and extremely proud of the work we do.  Today I am semi-retired from my other business and fully employed by my six amazing grandkids!  Life is good.

“There is in all visible things… a hidden wholeness.”
– Thomas Merton

Call Maril at (916) 838-1321 or email her.

Chris Mathe

Chris Mathe, phd, mba

I am passionate about transformative, lasting change and how that can best be facilitated in groups and individuals. I have had many different opportunities to experience and create change over the years as a business owner, software executive, consultant, facilitator, trainer, executive coach, and therapist.

I am a life-long student with BAs in Political Science and Economics, Masters in Business Administration and in Clinical Psychology, and another year towards a PhD in Change in Human Systems. I received my PhD in Clinical Psychology and am the owner of Authentic Counseling Associates; a group training practice. I am also a coach and facilitator with ALC.

The work my partners and what I do at ALC is truly my life’s work. I love my life. I can think of nothing more fulfilling than helping people fully realize their own magnificence in their personal and professional lives. I love my wife of more than 45 years and my two grown kids with all my heart and I look forward to each day.

“Change is a continuous process of widening our perspectives and allowing more possibilities into our lives. Yes, it’s inevitable and everything is constantly changing, but we can choose to ride this wave with wonder and abundance or with fear and grasping. The choices we make determine how much joy and pain we feel in the process.”
– Chris Mathe

Contact Chris at (916) 709-1170 or email him.

Ayleen O'Connell

Ayleen O’Connell

In 1983 my journey of self-discovery and deep healing began in the rooms of the 12 step program where I learned what it meant to be a co-dependent. Individual counseling and group processing of grief and co-dependency led me to an 8 day transformative workshop. As an analytic thinker and processor, this work has opened me to the discovery of my heart and spirit. This in turn has helped me acknowledge the authenticity in myself and others.

I am very passionate about helping others find the love that may have been lost along the way, love of self and those that mean the most to them. As a storyteller, I connect with others by being a deep listener of their stories. Together, we uncover and discover the truths of why they do what they do and then help guide them to new stories of empowerment and compassion. I have been involved with coaching this transformational process for over 20 years.

I am always in awe of the journey and have such gratitude for the courage, willingness and gifts that all of the participants bring into our room. I have been an entrepreneur and business owner for 20 years.

Several years ago, because of the culmination of my own personal journey, my son and I became business partners. These years have become the most fulfilling and gratifying of my working history. I look forward to retirement in a few years and then doing some travel, play and relaxation with my granddaughter, son and daughter-in-law.

“There are a hundred ways to kneel and kiss the ground.”
– Rumi

Contact Ayleen at (916) 712-2551 or email her.

Lou Zweier

Lou zweier

I am an educator and filmmaker.  I have taught communication, conflict resolution, and leadership skills to individuals and groups for over 25 years. I am a former Director of Academic Technology for the California State University System where I led multi-university teams in new-media educational software projects, and professional development programs. I have been married for over 35 years and have two adult children.

I started doing personal growth work in my early 20’s and have continued throughout my life.  I have studied and practiced a wide variety of work which informs my leadership, facilitation, and coaching at ALC.  In addition to the models and practices we use at ALC, I have formal training in Re-Evaluation Counseling, Nonviolent Communication, Restorative Circles, and Empathy Circles.

I am a loving and compassionate teacher, healer, and artist who loves to connect and inspire people through honest communication and artistic expression.  My purpose is to help create a world where all people feel connected and find meaning for themselves; where self-respect and respect for others makes living together in peace possible.  I pursue this purpose with love, intelligence, creativity, compassion, strength, and playfulness.

Contact Lou at (707) 364-7907 or email him.