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Lavender Fields

ABOUT
SUZANNE MATTHIESSEN

Professional  Snapshot | Academic Education

 Professional Certification Trainings 

Over more than two decades in adult work/life skills Learning and Development experience, I have crafted and taught courses to thousands of learners at community college continuing education programs, in public workshops, for law officers and first responders, and to corporate employees of large organizations. Whether I am teaching in person or via live online/interactive formats, I strive to create what I call “high touch” Learning Experiences for all attendees. My long-time personal passion for holistic wellbeing merged with my education and consulting professional focus after I was contracted to teach mindfulness courses for healthy stress management. My corporate employee students confided to me privately back in 2011 that what is now referred to as toxic workplace leadership and culture was what was making them chronically unwell and unhappy, and I felt it was unethical to promise what I was teaching would counteract that. Unfortunately, the ethical component of traditional mindfulness is de-emphasized in its modern application, and I wasn't permitted to openly address concerns that many students communicated to me privately - and that doesn't work for me

My experience during this time taught me that when mindfulness training is offered within an organization of any size or type, if it does not become part of their overall culture, and transparently reflected and continuously supported by leadership and managerial staff, it is less likely to be adopted on a lasting, sustainable basis. After witnessing corporate mindfulness trainings become competitive, commercialized and stripped of their universal ethical and spiritual components (and other baggage that it has acquired), I chose to disengage from what I refer to as "the modern mindfulness industry.

Being that I'm always been someone who wants to get to the “root cause” of any dis-ease and not just put band-aids over symptoms, I responded by acquiring a degree in Organizational Leadership to compliment the one I had in Psychology and dedicated my life’s work to teaching and advising about how to create a sustainably healthy, humane, and harmonious workplace. This also moved me to speak and write about the importance of living with unbroken integrity in both our personal and professional spheres of influence, which led me to obtain Leadership Professional in Ethics and Compliance certification, and my subsequent leadership advising work that centers upon what I refer to as Ethical Intelligence

 

While recovering from two major surgeries and the simultaneous loss of two loved ones, I stepped back to decide what really mattered to me personally and professionally. I knew I was always going to teach what I refer to as the Life Smarts Skill of Mindful Awareness as well as the practice of Social Mindfulness, and bring in what I've learned and road tested for many years, always keeping in mind my responsibility regarding the vulnerable psyches of students and clients who I advise and educate, either in person or via my recorded talks and guided practices.

 

My professional hiatus coincided with when the Covid global pandemic hit, so in-person trainings became impossible, and budget cuts put contract workers like myself on the back burner. During this downtime I obtained Leadership Professional in Ethics and Compliance (LPEC) certification though the Ethics and Compliance Initiative (ECI) and refocused my sights on guiding businesses to becoming Adaptive, Behaviorally Ethical, and Socially Mindful. To continue being professionally engaged during the COVID pandemic, I volunteered to be a contributor to two online Working Groups with ECI during this time, including a huge multi-media Learning Project that I spearheaded:

 


 

 

Being that I've always been someone who wants to get to the “root cause” of any dis-ease and not just put band-aids over symptoms, my extensive SME work in proactive, holistic employee workplace stress resiliency and wellbeing gave me the opportunity to share my knowledge and content for this massive learning project for the Ethics and Compliance Initiative (ECI). Our Working Group White Paper was tasked with researching contributing internal and external factors; identifying specific risks which result from the impacts of chronic stress upon employees and the overall organization; identifying the role E&C can take in addressing structural, process, and cultural measures; and identify interventions, skills trainings and best practices. 


Additionally, I co-created a corresponding online Stress Readiness, Responsiveness and Resiliency Awareness + Actions Toolkit Website, addressing workplace stress at its Root Cause(s) including the "elephant in the room" of toxic leadership and cultural issues - or else multiple risks to the company will increase. I also developed, designed, and delivered webinars for ECI members and co-facilitated an online forum that educated them on the consequences of ignoring the ethical, financial and reputational impacts of workplace stress, trauma, and burnout.

Life Smarts - Making Wise Choices at Any Age

Over the past couple of years I've extensively reflected upon and researched what elements of human behavior foster making wise choices in both their personal and professional lives - and what doesn't. There is considerable resistance by many people to look deeply at the ways they sabotage their own success and damage relationships by thinking and acting in ways that are harmful to both themselves and others. Words like "ethical" "integrity" "character" "trustworthiness" often prompt ego-driven reactivity and defensiveness as they don't want to admit they don't always embody them, regardless of whether they proclaim them as core values.

The problem is this is extremely damaging in the long run, and all the denial, lame excuses, and justifications they offer up are simply a waste of time and energy when they could instead a) take ownership for their impact and b) commit to choosing differently and create new behavioral habits of response that empower them to lead by contagiously inspiring example in whatever sphere of influence they have in any given situation, interaction or moment - and there are no unimportant situations, interactions or moments.

As a Learning and Development and Growth and Behavioral Ethics specialist, I have been committed to serve people in upgrading what I call our "Internal Operating System" away from their old, unproductive, status-quo driven one that impedes actualizing their aspirations to become the best and most honorable versions of themselves possible - and to in turn courageously lift up others through their contagiously humane and positive example. 

 

All that I have learned and experienced over the years has culminated into teaching what I describe as “Life Smarts” – the mindsets and skillsets that can make us both wise and empower us to lead by inspiring example regardless of our age, formal education, or life circumstances, and build smart self-identity habits that can be learned by almost anyone  and by doing so make wise choices that will guide them throughout their entire life,  and provide them with a legacy they can be both humble and proud of leaving behind when they are gone.

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Academic Education | Professional Training

 

❖ B.A. in Organizational Leadership, Summa Cum Laude, Arizona State University 

 B.A. in Psychology, Summa Cum Laude, Arizona State University
❖ Leadership Professional in Ethics and Compliance Certification (LPEC), ECI/Ethics and Compliance Initiative

❖ Certificate in Psychological First Aid, Johns Hopkins University

❖ Certificate in Inspiring Leadership through Emotional Intelligence, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH 

❖ Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) training, Kaiser-Permanente, San Francisco Medical Center

❖ Mindful Eating for Health Care Professionals training created by Duke University's Integrative Medicine program

❖ Certificate in Nutrition for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, University of California, San Francisco, CA

❖ Basic certification in Transformative Conflict Mediation from The Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation, which is affiliated with the Maurice A. Dean School of Law at Hofstra University, Hempstead

❖ Diploma in Hypnotherapy from the nationally accredited college Hypnosis Motivation Institute, Los Angeles, California

❖ Certificate in Clinical Hypnotherapy, American Institute of Hypnotherapy (non-accredited), Irvine, California

❖ Certified Massage Therapist and professionally certified in Polarity Therapy, Touch for Health, reflexology, and Chinese acupressure

Additionally:

❖ Becoming a Certified Master Gardener through the University of Illinois Extension and working for many years as an organic garden designer provided a visceral understanding about Systems Thinking, natural cycles and a reverent relationship with nature essential for holistic human wellbeing.

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