Merrilee Buchanan, Founder and Principal Consultant


Merrilee's vision and passion for developing women for leadership began when she and four other like-minded women launched Chocolate Villa®, recognizing a need to help women find their voices for leadership and develop their own authentic styles of influence.  

Merrilee believes that the challenges of businesses, governments, and communities ahead will require new and different styles of leadership and thinking. Instead of asking only, “What does this person need to become a better leader?” we must ask, “What about this person makes her/him a better leader?”

Chocolate Villa women’s leadership and career development programs have taken Merrilee and her team all over the world in just a few short years, delivering programs for women in the U.S., Canada, Europe, China, Thailand, and South Africa. Working with women from different cultures and backgrounds, she recognizes that we all share similar challenges, and find strength in joining a broader community of women to share our successes in breaking down barriers and confronting norms that no longer serve our businesses or our economies.

With a dual background in organizational development and behavioral health, Merrilee brings years of experience and perspective to Villa Leadership to help companies open the next chapter to their success. She has worked with large and small companies from a wide range of industries, designing and delivering leadership development programs that have real impact in both the lives of individuals and bottom-line results for business. She believes that when people clarify their personal and professional visions and take charge of their own career and life paths, they are happier, more productive, and successful contributors to the organizations for which they work.  

With her warmth, wisdom and gentle humor, she helps individuals and companies design a balanced path to the future, and connect to the strategies and supports that will take them to the next level of their own success. 

Find Merrilee on LinkedIn