Strategic Organizational and Conservation Consulting


"The land protection plan developed by MAYES | WILSON & ASSOCIATES has enabled us to further our goals to protect the Milwaukee River valley and is helping guide our work toward the most threatened parcels. The plan justifies what we’re doing and keeps us consistent on how we approach conservation."


- Kimberly, River Revitalization Foundation



Co-Founder and President Sara Wilson brings the firm’s clients more than 20 years of experience as an advisor, executive, and board member, helping organizations of all sizes achieve meaningful results and success.


As the firm’s principal consultant, over the last 12 years she has guided numerous non-profit organizations through complex governance and organizational transition issues. Sara has helped scores of organizations operate more effectively; govern in alignment with current non-profit best practices; navigate through board and staff leadership transitions; and plan comprehensively for the future.


Sara works with clients to create board structures that maximize contributions and impact. Her expertise includes working with non-profits to build effective boards, helping organizations clarify board roles and priorities, and helping groups manage relationships between volunteer boards and paid staff. In addition, a major emphasis of Sara’s work with boards focuses on creating and implementing methods to increase board engagement.


A highly regarded speaker and trainer, Sara is a frequent presenter at national, regional, and state conferences. Her work has taken her to almost every state and to the Caribbean, counseling boards and staff of organizations of all types: from newly founded non-profits to those with decades of history, and from government agencies to complex multi-state organizations.


Sara has held staff leadership positions with The Nature Conservancy and works extensively with the Land Trust Alliance, where she has co-authored articles for the publication Saving Land. She has long-term relationship with BoardStar, Inc., that includes training on governance topics and directing their corporate employee board placement program. Sara also contributed to developing BoardStar’s online Governance Practices Survey (GPS), a comprehensive assessment tool for non-profit boards.


A life-long learner, Sara has completed many professional development courses through BoardSource, BoardStar, the University of Wisconsin’s Helen Bader Institute for Nonprofit Management, and the Land Trust Alliance. She is a graduate of the Board Consultant Institute II, an intensive governance training program sponsored by the Nonprofit Management Fund. A native of Texas, Sara holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas A&M University.


Sara is a seasoned traveler whose sojourns include Europe, Central and South America, Indonesia, the Caribbean, and Hawaii. She believes in a “best of both worlds” approach to life. Sara has a long family history of owning rural working lands, but lives in the heart of an urban area. She divides her time between her family’s Texas land in the Coastal Bend region and West Texas, and her daily life in Milwaukee. She enjoys taking advantage of theatre and music offerings, walking, biking, and birding in Milwaukee’s urban trails and parks, and toiling in her roof garden, which features a state-of-the-art water recapture system.



Sara Wilson