Professional Snapshot | Academic Education
Professional Certification Trainings
I was drawn to mindfulness when I was nine years old, after hearing my grandmother saying grace at holiday meals that included the line, "Make us ever mindful of the needs of others," and I explored many religions, faiths and belief systems to learn how to do that.
After decades of observing unethical behaviors within the "spiritual" and personal growth arena (including groupthink, power abuse and manipulation techniques) I learned some priceless lessons on how not to behave, how not to lead as well as a deep reverence for the vulnerable psyches of those who place their trust in your guidance. I became certified in hypnotherapy to learn about the subconscious mind and behavioral habit upgrades, and took Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction training in the '90s.
Beginning in 2000, I began writing columns about and teaching mindfulness courses for small and mid-sized businesses, police officers, first responders and the general public, and was a contracted mindfulness instructor/group meditation leader for companies that offered online mindfulness courses for corporate employees. During my time doing the latter, I observed a toxic workplace culture is a root cause of employee stress and job dissatisfaction, including uncivil and unethical behaviors by leadership, management - and fellow coworkers. 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 has 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."
So I stepped back while recovering from two major surgeries and the simultaneous loss of two loved ones 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 Skill of Mindful Awareness as well as the practice of Social Mindfulness, and bring in what I've learned and road tested for decades, 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.
When the Covid global pandemic hit, in-person trainings became impossible, and budget cuts put contract workers like myself on the back burner. During this downtime I obtained my 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, Harmoniously Integrated, 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:
My extensive SME work in proactive, holistic workplace stress management gave me the opportunity to share my knowledge and content for this learning project for the Ethics and Compliance Initiative (ECI). Our Working Group researched contributing internal and external factors; identifying specific risks which result from stress Impacts upon employees and overall organization; identifying the role E&C can take in addressing structural, process, and cultural measures; and identify interventions, skills trainings and best practices. Click here to be sent a copy of the White Paper.
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. Ignore at your peril!
However, as vital as this work is for organizational, personal, and professional success, companies are not breaking down the doors to actually offer trainings for employees at all levels to learn, integrate, and embody the behavioral skillsets and mindsets to make those changes - even with the countless examples demonstrating why and how they generate greater cohesiveness, engagement and productivity at work that then spills out into their personal and social lives.
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 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 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.
Hence my new focus on educating about the tried and true essential skillsets and mindsets that build smart self-identity habits that can be learned at any age - and by doing so make wise choices that will guide them throughout their entire life, "make them ever mindful of the needs of others" and not just their own - and provide them with a legacy they can be both humble and proud of leaving behind when they are gone.
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
❖ 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 human well being.