October 19, 2018

How a Small Buddhist University became “Secretly Famous” for a Unique Leadership Program. {Partner}

For 17 years, top tech companies, entrepreneurs, school districts, NFPs, and hospitals have been sending their talent to Boulder to Naropa University’s Authentic Leadership Program to learn how to become mindful leaders.


Many people who are aware of progressive universities know Naropa University as the contemplative education school founded by Trungpa Rinpoche. What may be Naropa’s best kept “secret” is that they have been quietly extending that contemplative education to business leaders.

In 2001, longtime Naropa faculty member and seasoned senoor corporate executive, Susan Skjei, saw an opportunity to create an incubator for human development.

Skjei recognized that the business world’s classic training models were broken and she designed a curriculum to address the whole person; our struggles with our own agendas, insecurities, resistance to change, and our inner monologues that may limit our ability to be mindful leaders and optimally impact change—not just our work, but at home, and in society.

When MIT’s Otto Scharmer asked Bill O’Brien, CEO of Hanover Insurance, to sum up his most important learning experience in leading profound change, he responded, “The success of an intervention depends on the interior condition of the intervenor.”

As mindfulness has become more understood and as the mainstream recognizes this as truth, more individuals and small business have invested their resources in Naropa’s mindful leadership approach, knowing that where we are coming from as leaders is of paramount importance.

Skjei’s emphasis on organizational health and effectiveness seems to resonate now more than ever. Her model is not just about actions, but about why things are happening. Skjei thought that there was a real missing opportunity—“we don’t want to psychoanalyze people, but we could acknowledge that real change comes from a change in the operating system of the person.

Elephant Journal Publisher, Waylon Lewis, credits this program with being a “deeply challenging and meaningfully transformative experience that I could not have found elsewhere.”

Learn more: Naropa’s Spring 2019 Authentic Leadership Program >>

The Program:

Naropa’s online learning environment allows you to download readings, share ideas, and participate at your own pace from wherever you are living or traveling.

Plus you will have the opportunity to network, share ideas, and learn with like-minded leaders during two onsite sessions during which you will engage with faculty, practice meditation, and apply leadership skills.

Naropa University’s Authentic Leadership Program consists of:

  • Sixteen weeks of internet-based instruction
  • Two five-day onsite seminars in Boulder, Colorado
  • Five individual sessions with professional leadership coaches
  • Online interaction with instructors and colleagues
  • Action-learning projects in the workplace
  • Teleconferences with coaches and colleagues

Elephant Journal’s own CRO, Dave Rogers, attended the 2017 Naropa Authentic Leadership Program and said, “NALP pushed me to reflect on where I was coming from as a leader—what insecurities are present, what agendas do I have, how can I be certain to see the whole person I am impacting to best effect the changes my organization needs? The experiential work with such well-intentioned and brave classmates was truly invaluable.”

Course dates:

January 14th – May 10th, 2019.

Onsites: Jan 28th – Feb 1st and April 15th – 19th, 2019

Early Bird Pricing ends November 16th, 2018

Register for Naropa’s Free Preview Webinar: December 4th, 2018 >>



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