Map of Meaning International is a not-for-profit organisation and global community of researchers, subject matter experts and Certified Practitioners working together to deepen our understanding of meaning and expand the body of knowledge about the Map of Meaning. We co-create meaning-centered ways of living, working & organising to reach new audiences in new ways.

We support humanity to find meaning and hope in face of an ever growing crisis of meaning. We are witnessing increasing uncertainty, economic inequality, political instability and existential threat. Our modern lifestyles, social media and consumption patterns are disconnecting us from ourselves and each other, and mental health issues are on the rise. In this context, our work aims to provide access to the knowledge, tools and practices to create and sustain meaning in everyday life and work.

Our work is grounded in the knowledge that meaning and hope can be found even in the most challenging times. We help you reconnect to the sources of meaning in your life and work. This will strengthen your capacity individually and collectively to respond to the challenges which face us and the planet.

Meet our Board 

Marjolein Lips-Wiersma

Marjolein Lips-Wiersma, PhD

Co-Founder, Chair: Map of Meaning International Trust

Marjolein does research at the intersection of meaningful work, hope and sustainability. She is a full Professor of Ethics and Sustainability at the Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand.  AUT Profile

Marjo has spent the last twenty years understanding the theme of meaningful work in practical and empirical ways and is always looking for students and others who want to do research on meaningful work. 

Phone +64 9 921 9999 ext 5038  

Lani Morris

Lani Morris, BA, MBA, MSc

Co-founder, Trustee: Map of Meaning International Trust

Lani is an independent organisational behaviour practitioner who has studied the human search for meaning all her life. Her work helps people take responsibility for and reclaim power over themselves, their lives and their work. Her expertise includes: leadership, motivation, clear communication, innovation, creativity, meaningful work, and how these subjects intertwine. Lani is co-author of The Map of Meaningful Work: A Practical Guide to Sustaining our Humanity.

Mobile +64 21 516 042 


Celine McKeown

Celine McKeown, BSc, MSc

Trustee: Map of Meaning International Trust

As an experienced coach, facilitator and consultant Celine works with purpose-driven people and organisations to co-create more meaningful and sustainable workplaces and livelihoods.

Celine works with The Map of Meaning in team coaching, leadership development and building meaning based organisations.  She created and hosts the Meaning Makers program, delivers professional training and supervision, and supports the strategic development of our services and organisation.

Mobile +44 7906962866  

Certified Practitioners

Our Certified Practitioners are leaders, facilitators and change makers from private, public and not-for-profit sectors, representing a wide variety of professional fields. What unites us is a shared passion for serving humanity by giving people access to the knowledge and skills to create and maintain more meaning in their life and work.

By working with a Map of Meaning Certified Practitioner, you are choosing a trained meaning professional who has the depth of experience to apply the Map of Meaning one-to-one, in groups and wider systemic or organisational contexts. Each Certified Practitioner brings a profound understanding of the complex dynamics of meaning, and embodies our principles of working with meaning to ensure the quality and integrity of the work.

Becoming and being a Certified Practitioner is a commitment to join a professional learning community, in which we continuously research and co-develop new applications for the Map of Meaning across different fields, sectors and cultures.

Meet our CPs from around the World

Our Principles

As the Map of Meaning International Trust, we set ourselves the task of making the Map of Meaning available to you, and to the world. There are five principles that support the Map of Meaning being used easily, effectively and responsibly by individuals and practitioners. We ask you to carefully consider the principles below. 

1.  The Map of Meaning is research based.

The Map of Meaning is based on high quality peer-reviewed academic research. The intellectual source of the Map is established through the published research papers.  Please cite the source at all times. You can find these on our website under Resources.

We ask you to maintain the structure of the Map. We encourage people to choose their own words to describe the elements in order to make the Map more personalised. At the same time, practitioners need to maintain the essential framework of the Map. If you change any element of the Map you change its structure and then it is no longer research-based.

Because we want to make the Map of Meaning readily available we have made the validated questionnaire freely available in the research papers. To reciprocate, we ask that where you see opportunities for further research you consider involving us.

2.  Meaning is both constant and ever-changing

On the one hand the places in which people find meaning, such as unity with others, are universal and timeless. On the other hand, how much meaning a person experiences in each of the elements of the Map and from where that meaning is derived (e.g., from a team meeting or an interaction with a client) changes. Meaning is therefore found to be episodical. For you, as a practitioner this means you need to be flexible in your approach and learn to listen for meaning coming and going.

Meaning is also not contained to certain domains, such as work or our private lives. Sometimes solutions to finding more meaning in work lie in the private sphere and visa versa.

3.  The data that forms the foundation of the Map of Meaning was gained from ordinary human beings, like you and us.

This means working with the Map is a meeting of equals. Please stay present to this fact in your work with the Map.

In using this work, please stay present to the fact that all human beings yearn for meaningful lives and work, and that all human beings can articulate what gives meaning to their lives and work. This is not just the domain of professionals. There is also no evidence that managers or leaders know more about working and living meaningfully than anybody else in the organisation.

When the Map is used well, it is a humbling process. One is constantly met by the depth of insight people from all walks of life have into the purpose of their existence. They know what gives it meaning, and where and when meaning is lost.

We ask you to honour the intrinsic dignity of each human being with whom you work by inviting people to stand in their own strength.

4.  Meaning is not a technique, it is an embodied experience

Working with the Map is not a technique that we impose on others.

The Map is much more powerful when we use it from having experienced it ourselves. Working with the Map with others is effective to the extent that you understand how meaning works in your own life. Therefore, applying the Map to yourself on a regular basis increases your ability to share the Map effectively with others.

The Map of Meaning helps people uncover what is meaningful to them. It operates at all levels of human experience and works physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually.

5.  The Map is the product of people’s generosity

Generosity has been integral to the development of the Map of Meaning, to getting it into the world, and to our understanding of how the Map works. We ask you to honour this principle in your work with others and in your relationship with the Trust.

Marjolein Lips-Wiersma, Patricia Greenhough, Lani Morris. Founders of the Map of Meaning International Trust

Our History

The Map of Meaning is based on empirical research

Marjolein Lips-Wiersma originally surveyed people from a variety of backgrounds and roles, including professional, managerial, blue collar and administrative on what gives meaning to their work. Marjolein summarised their answers in the Holistic Development Model. The Model was tested by Marjolein, Lani Morris and Patricia Greenhough with hundreds of people in workshops, lectures, and in organisational and therapeutic interventions. We double-checked its relevance and robustness with twenty colleagues (academics, community workers, consultants, managers and coaches) who use the model in their work. In 2010, we quantitatively tested the model on 500 participants from a wide variety of ages, occupations and cultures. This confirmed that the model captures the content and process of meaningful work. After twenty years of testing the model in this wide range of ways, in an ever-expanding range of countries (including Romania, Saudi Arabia, and Brazil) we know the framework is robust, relevant and very useful.

In 2011, we published the book The Map of Meaning and decided to rename the Holistic Development Model the Map of Meaning. In 2017, our original publisher, Greenleaf, was bought out by Routledge, and the second edition of our book, The Map of Meaningful Work, was published with worldwide distribution.

In 2017, we formed the Map of Meaning International Trust. This Trust supports our goal of sharing the Map of Meaning with all peoples of the world.

The Map of Meaning International Trust goes from strength to strength. We acknowledge all who have been a key part of this growth: Marjo’s husband, Charles Lips; Patricia’s husband, Richard Greenhough; Margaret Jeffaries who was the initiator of the first Spirit@Work conference in Christchurch in 2000 at which the Map was first made public and which created the spark that led us to begin our work together. The early pioneers who worked with the Map: Laura Brearley, Sue Howard, Dave Burton; Robin Burgess and Drew Pryde from the Scottish Institute of Business Leaders; Helena Clayton, Steve Tarpey, Kerry McGovern, who each in their own way took the Map into new parts of the world, and developed new applications. Further pioneers, Chris Henderson, Sandra Hogan and Judy McLelland also added to our work. We have also been greatly assisted by Cara Bennett of Langley Twigg, and Geof Shirtcliffe, Tim Sherman and Pearson Williams of Chapman Tripp, Wellington who gave us advice and legal support to set up the Map of Meaning International Charitable Trust and then complete the IP agreement with the MeaningSphere. We also acknowledge Sean Bevin who was the witness for the Trust documentation.