MaryBeth Hyland

MaryBeth Hyland   Artist and interviewer: Jennifer Bishop

MaryBeth Hyland

Artist and interviewer: Jennifer Bishop

I run my business, SparkVision, out of my house which was for many decades a neighborhood funeral parlor. All the people who came here were already dead, so I’m not worried about ghosts.

My own past has brought me to the work I do. As a child, I accompanied my art therapist mom on projects for women living in Baltimore shelters. I connected to basic human needs and how we all impact each other. I came to realize that I had downplayed my own experience of abuse, from my father. I now know all my professional efforts are directly related to my ability to relate and empathize with others through those experiences. 

With a masters in social work/nonprofit management, I partner with companies, to create connection between their people and purpose of their work together.  My work is not tangible - you can’t hold it in your hands. It’s complicated and simple at the same time: we need to learn how to make people feel good. We have to know each other and trust each other to collaborate. And we all want to find our sense of purpose - the knowing that we are each a vital part of something larger than ourselves. I’m in the business of reinvigorating people, by helping them to find their value in every day. 

I’m also doing research on high-achieving millennials to understand the culture in which they thrive. Most people want the same things, they just ask for it differently.  Organizations and programs want to know, how do we get young people to show up, to care, to grow with us?

I see so many missed opportunities for connection - on a job site, in the grocery store, in a jury selection waiting room - times when we could learn to be more present with each other. Access to technology creates a challenge; it’s always a competitor to being present. We look at our phones instead of at each other. 

My business is all about the power of connection, vulnerability and empathy. I do it for entire companies, boards, committees, and external teams. I hope to reach more complex systems where people are getting lost. After being a foster parent in Baltimore, my dream is to bring this work to the foster care system one day.