<iframe src="//www.googletagmanager.com/ns.html?id=GTM-NP2ZK8" height="0" width="0" style="display:none;visibility:hidden"></iframe> Foundations of Authentic Leadership

Foundations Program

Foundations of Authentic Leadership

Bring Who You Are to How You Lead

How can we respond with authenticity, courage, and skill to the leadership challenges we face in the world today?

Authentic Leadership is a process—a journey—anchored in self-awareness and the courage to genuinely show up for the moments that matter, and effectively lead the changes you want to see in your life and work. This experiential workshop provides practical methods for cultivating self-awareness, inspiring and engaging others, and taking wise action with confidence and compassion. Drawing on principles and practices from contemplative traditions as well as contemporary approaches to leadership and organizational learning, we will create a collaborative learning lab that will foster deep personal insights, enhance interpersonal skills, and increase your overall leadership effectiveness.

You are invited to bring yourself fully to this experience, including the questions and issues that matter most in your life and work. You will explore and work with the three competencies of authentic leadership—presence, engagement, and wise action—within the shared context of a diverse group of leaders. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned professional, you’ll go deeper in your practice of authentic leadership. You will leave feeling inspired and encouraged to bring yourself more fully to whatever life presents, with clarity and confidence as you step forward on your path.

Don't miss the opportunity to engage in this transformative experience! Registration opens in June!

 BOULDER, COlorado | SEPTEMBER 8–9, 2017                  
       seattle, WAshington | November 3-4 2017           
NOVA SCOTIA, CAnada | December 1-3, 2017                   
“The Foundations program has been a journey within myself to get in touch with my true self, a journey to discover tools and techniques to practice presence, hence to bring authentic leadership into my life and work. The meditation, action-learning, and co-creative moments have made this program highly effective and stimulating. The Foundations program has been an experience that has deeply changed me so that I can now be more aware and effective as a change maker. Also, having the chance to become part of a larger community is also very important in my path of authentic leadership as change maker.”—Simona Orlandi, Marketing Intelligence Advisor, Coach & Team Facilitator | Foundations of Authentic Leadership, November 2016



Susan Skjei - Banner with Credentials

Susan Skjei, PhD, PCC, is the director of the Authentic Leadership Center at Naropa University. The center combines the network of practitioners and teachers from the acclaimed Authentic Leadership in Action (ALIA) Institute, formerly based in Nova Scotia, Canada, with Naropa's in-depth Authentic Leadership programs. The purpose of the center is to inspire, educate, and empower current and next generation leaders to act as agents of positive organizational and social change. 

"How many authentic leaders does it take to shift a culture? At least one. Culture doesn't change because we think it should -in fact organizational cultures are notorious for not changing - no matter how many interventions we try. What can change a culture is a leader who behaves differently in challenging moments. Instead of reacting with defensiveness, a leader who can take a mindful 'pause' can make all the difference in both the process and the outcome. Of course, pausing alone is not enough -during the pause we can access our "felt sense" in the moment and make new choices based on our values and what is best for the whole situation. This takes courage as well as insight - qualities that can be developed through practice."—Susan Skjei, PhD, PCC | Director, Authentic Leadership Center


Jane Allen

Jane Allen is an experienced consultant and leadership coach working in public and private sectors. She provides advice and support for consultants working in the field of transformational leadership and organizational development with particular expertise and enthusiasm for the Global Leadership Profile and the practices of action inquiry and authentic leadership. She has extensive experience running action-learning sets and providing a leadership coaching and mentoring practice at a strategic level. 

Maaike Boumans

Maaike Boumans is an expert at the Art of Hosting and strategic sustainability. She works as a host and trainer in various countries and contexts and specializes in multicultural dialog to assist community leaders in creating positive societal change. Her work is rooted in new ways of learning, organizing, and working together around issues that matter. Maaike holds an MSc in Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability and works with Authentic Leadership globally. She is based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

 Steve Byers

Steve Byers is an interdependent consultant and trusted advisor who works with leaders, leadership teams, organizations, and other communities seeking to establish or renew their essential conversation. He focuses on helping human systems think, learn, and work together—better. Based in the Pacific Northwest, he hosts the monthly First Wednesday Conversation about leadership, systems intelligence, and inquiry practices in Olympia, Washington.

Rita Devassy

Rita Devassy, founder and CEO of Deva Seed, brings twenty years of business experience in the competitive, challenging, and dynamic field of technology; her company helps leaders incorporate mindfulness into how they live and lead. Originally from India, Rita moved to the United States in 1988 to go to college. She has a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Indiana University, a bachelor’s degree in Computer and Information Science from Purdue University, and a certificate in Authentic Leadership from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. She has studied meditation in various Buddhist traditions. Rita lives in Golden, Colorado, with her husband, Phil, and their two dogs, Oliver and Oscar.

Jim Drescher

Jim Drescher has experienced business success and business failure in his fifty years as an entrepreneur and has discovered that great learning comes from both. He is a naturalist with a master's degree in Ecology to support his seven decades of nature observation. As a forester, farmer, construction worker, and businessperson, he has considerable experience in how things are built—and how they grow naturally. As a student, practitioner, and teacher of mindfulness-awareness in the Shambhala tradition, he knows inner leadership work. For the past twenty-six years, Windhorse Farm has been his practice ground: in business, in community, and in the rocks and flowing water of a pristine forested landscape. As a teacher, mentor, coach, and organizational change artist, Jim's work now focuses on leadership and culture change with individuals, and with a variety of enterprises. The particular flavor of his work arises out of his experience in forming—and being formed by—Windhorse Farm.

Margaret Drescher

Margaret Drescher is a co-director and teacher at Windhorse Farm, a 250-acre leadership and hosting center in a diverse landscape of forest, gardens, and wetlands on the Lahave River in Nova Scotia. Professionally trained in ornamental horticulture, her studies for the past four decades have been in Shambhala Buddhism, leadership, and permaculture. She is a senior teacher in Shambhala and a mentor/coach working regionally with a global view. Her lifelong interest in women’s leadership has resulted in her serving as faculty for Coming Into Your Own (CIYO). She was part of the core faculty for the Authentic Leadership in Action (ALIA) Master Class, in Nova Scotia, which was about finding that generative place where meditation practice, cutting-edge leadership methodologies, creative process, and contemplative practice in nature build genuine leadership for this world.

Mary McHenry NEW

Mary McHenry is a wilderness rites of passage guide and leadership coach with a background in music, movement, and creative process. She is an avid Nordic skier and ice hockey player and comes from a long line of powerful women singers. Her work explores the voice as a complex, raw, and beautiful instrument for expression and communication; and embodiment as a vital leadership skill. Mary holds several professional coaching certifications and a master's degree in Adult Learning. Her extensive background in communication, facilitation, mediation, and leadership combined with her down-to-earth enjoyment of life make her a catalyst for awareness and change. Mary is currently curriculum design & distance education manager for the Authentic Leadership Center at Naropa University.

Sheldon Romer

Sheldon Romer is a consultant and certified professional coach who works with some of the country’s most respected companies and nonprofits. Sheldon is widely acknowledged for his unique perceptive insights into leadership development, change/culture management, team development, strategic advising, conversations, planning, facilitation, and executive coaching. As the co-founder and former CEO of Rudi’s Organic Bakery, Sheldon led the company to become the largest organic bread baker in the United States. For the last twelve years, Sheldon has served as an adjunct faculty member at Naropa University in the Authentic Leadership Program. He is a member of the Deming Board of Advisors at the University of Colorado’s Leeds School of Business.

JoAnn Schindler

JoAnn Schindler has woven together a professional practice of organizational development consulting, leadership coaching, group facilitation, and teaching for the past thirty years. She is a member of the Authentic Leadership West Coast Regional Team and lives in Seattle, WA.

"A big part of what made this program special lay beyond the actual syllabus. The facilitators radiate a sense of clarity and heightened awareness, and really know how to manage the group dynamics to get out the best in everyone. I rode home with my heart full of love and the reinforced conviction that there are far more precious people on this planet than you can meet in a lifetime."—Dennis Pachernegg, Copywriter & Strategist | Foundations of Authentic Leadership, November 2016

Authentic Leadership Competencies

Authentic Leadership competencies include: presence, engagement and wise action within a shared context of a diverse group of leaders. As a participant, the course will enable you to:


  • Identify the issues and trends that matter to you and call your authentic leadership into action
  • Understand the benefits of authentic leadership and why it is essential in these turbulent times
  • Co-create a learning “container” that integrates the key elements of authentic leadership (hospitality, inquiry and nowness)
  • Identify the “moments that matter” in your leadership practice


  • Discover the impact of your leadership presence
  • Cultivate leadership presence through mindfulness practice
  • Explore and overcome personal obstacles to your leadership presence
  • Strengthen your capacity for clarity, connection and courage through self-awareness


  • Practice deep listening as a gateway for skillful engagement with others
  • Discover how fear can be an opportunity for further confidence and connection
  • Cultivate a safe, respectful and honest workplace culture that encourages authenticity
  • Surface and appreciate differences and explore the creativity in the heat of conflict

Wise Action

  • Explore a model of change and wise action based on 5 authentic leadership archetypes
  • Understand your strengths using the 5 authentic leadership archetypes
  • Use the power of intention to bring authentic leadership into your life and work
  • Maintain the power and grace of responsibility and choice as we re-engage in our personal and professional lives  


Contact Us

Email: alc@naropa.edu

Phone: 720-608-1238