Team - The Gaia Project

Meet Our Team

We’re Changing the World, One Leader at a Time

Elizabeth Cronise McLaughlin

CEO/Lead Executive Coach, Gaia Project Consulting, LLC
Founder, The Gaia Project for Women’s Leadership

Described as a “celebrated career coach” and “fearless entrepreneur,” Elizabeth Cronise McLaughlin is the CEO of Gaia Project Consulting, LLC, and the Founder of The Gaia Project for Women’s Leadership. Her work has earned the support and recognition of women such as Arianna Huffington, Ali Brown, DailyWorth and WorthFM Founder Amanda Steinberg, and Emerging Women Live Founder Chantal Pierrat, among many others.

Elizabeth has a storied track record of success as a Wall Street lawyer, serial CEO and entrepreneur, and high-powered executive coach. After a fifteen year career as a full-time Wall Street securities litigator and trial lawyer, Elizabeth founded Gaia Project Consulting, LLC, an executive consulting and coaching firm that serves senior executives across tech, finance, banking, law, fashion, healthcare, non-profit and consulting, propelling its clients to new heights of growth and professional alignment.

Five years later, she founded The Gaia Project for Women’s Leadership, offering virtual and live programming to grow New Paradigm Women’s Leadership worldwide.

+ expand for more.

Elizabeth has been featured in major media such as CNN,, Elle Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, The Huffington Post, HuffPost Live, DailyWorth, MindBodyGreen, Ali Brown’s Glambition Radio,, Levo League, The Glass Hammer, and The New York Times. Elizabeth is the host of the Women’s Leadership Podcast, a top business podcast on iTunes, and has taught courses to thousands of executives worldwide, including at Columbia Law School. Elizabeth also keynotes routinely in corporate and non-profit environments on issues relating to leadership, women’s advancement, professional success and work/life alignment.

Elizabeth has a J.D. from The George Washington University Law School, where she graduated with honors, was the recipient of the West Bar Publishing Award for Clinical Achievement, and served as the President of the Moot Court Board, among other accolades. She obtained her B.A. from Carnegie Mellon University, with college honors, where she triple-majored in creative writing, professional writing, and French, won awards for poetry, and completed a Senior Honors Thesis on the work of French feminist theorist Luce Irigaray, including translations from the original French.

It is Elizabeth’s mission in life to transform traditional paradigms of leadership so that all leaders, and women leaders in particular, can lead lives that allow them to share their gifts, achieve epic success on their own terms, and lead lives in alignment with their deepest values-- and to change the world as a result.

She lives in New York City with her family.

Megan Baker

Social Media and Community Director

Megan Baker is a Gaia Leadership Certified Coach and serves as Community Manager for the Gaia Project. She spends time in the Gaia Project groups on Facebook, helps cultivate community by asking and answering questions, and provides resources for participants. For 26 years, Megan was a middle school and high school social studies teacher, so she was an early adopter of technology and social media for learning and helping people connect with ideas and each other. Since she left teaching, she’s been building a career as an entrepreneur, finding ways to combine her skills in coaching, shamanic practice, reiki, writing, social media strategy, and curriculum design.

+ expand for more.

Megan has a BA in history from the University of Colorado and an MA in political science from Purdue University. She’s also a certified Holistic Health Practitioner, has completed the Foundation for Shamanic Studies 3-Year Program, and has done reiki training with Laurelle Gaia and Michael Baird.

Megan is the stepmom and primary support person of a young adult with an intellectual disability, which has led her to do ability-focused advocacy work. She’s an avid hiker, backpacker, and poet, and sings in a women’s a cappella group called Sound Circle.

Vanessa Couto

Executive Assistant

Vanessa Couto is liminal coach and artist. Through her coaching work, she helps clients see their life’s story from a broader perspective, while helping them view the path ahead with insight and confidence. She loves helping her clients to navigate their life’s thresholds towards birthing a richer and more meaningful life. In her work, she also weaves elements from astrology, depth psychology, storytelling, dreamwork and art.

+ expand for more.

Vanessa received her M.A. in Counseling Psychology with emphasis in Depth Psychology. Depth Psychology invites a curiosity about the psyche. Interdisciplinary courses in literature, mythology, religion, and culture to deepen the ability to link archetypal themes to sociopolitical issues in the lives of individuals, families, and communities.

Vanessa has a second M.A. in TESOL-- Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages-- from New York University Steinhardt School of Education.

Nikki Innocent

Marketing & Sales Advisor

Nikki Innocent is a marketing strategist and leadership coach focusing on women’s leadership and corporate diversity & inclusion efforts. After a decade of experience in the corporate world at companies like Bain & Company and Bain Capital, Nikki ventured into the entrepreneurial world by starting her marketing advisory business, Story & Voice, that helps companies tell their stories and amplify their voices.

+ expand for more.

Nikki is an experienced diversity & inclusion facilitator that has worked with both individuals and organizations spanning various industries from tech to healthcare to government to e-commerce startups and more. Her passion for connecting people and facilitating inclusive environments has shown to be an integral part of her DNA.

Coming out of her time in primarily white, CIS-gendered, male-dominated environments during her corporate career (private equity, venture capital, management consulting, etc.), Nikki has since focused her energy on ways to shine a light on the experiences of being the “only fill in the blank” in the room — woman, person of color, creative, the list goes on. Nikki believes that storytelling and experience sharing are keys to guiding organizations to celebrate, hire and empower employees with diverse perspectives to create a more inclusive, innovative and profitable workplace for everyone.

Get Connected

Learn more about upcoming Masterclasses, programs and training by becoming a part of our community.