Naropa University Partners with Wanderlust


Authentic Leadership is Focus of Speakeasy Series at Wanderlust-Aspen


June 30, 2014 (Boulder, CO): Naropa University today announced that it will partner with Wanderlust Festival, LLC, to bring global thought leaders to Wanderlust's Aspen-Snowmass Festival to explore themes related to authentic leadership. Naropa University will host three skill-based sessions on July 6, organized under the umbrella of Wanderlust's Speakeasy Lecture Series. For more information, please visit

Naropa University's Authentic Leadership Program is a national model for personal and professional transformation, and draws upon the disciplines of contemplative practice, neuroscience, organizational learning, and complexity science. The goal of authentic leadership is to increase a leader's capacity - regardless of the sector or industry - for clarity, compassion, and performance at work and in life.

"Naropa University, since its founding in 1974, has been an innovator in the practical application of contemplative practices to work in the nonprofit, for-profit, and public sectors. As leadership programs, including training in mindfulness, become more widely offered, it is becoming increasingly important to ensure that the presenters are skillful and well-grounded in genuine practice," said Charles G. Lief, president of Naropa University. "We are proud to partner with Wanderlust on this innovative program, and are pleased to be at Wanderlust for the second year in a row."

"Wanderlust gathers people around mindful living, and our events are designed to inspire and educate people looking to live well and be well," said Jeff Krasno, co-founder of Wanderlust. "While we do this with an annual big celebration in Colorado, Naropa is doing this work every day. Naropa's commitment to providing a dynamic contemplative education is unparalleled, and our partnership is in perfect alignment."

At the July 6 Speakeasy, a distinguished series of experts from Naropa University will present on some of the most pressing problems for today's leaders. These include:

  • Jerry Colonna, "Being Fierce: The Five Challenges of Leadership." Jerry Colonna is a certified professional coach who draws on his wide variety of experiences to help clients design a more conscious life and improve their professional performance and satisfaction. Prior to his coaching career, Colonna was a venture capitalist focused on investing in early-stage technology related startups, and was also a partner with J.P. Morgan Partners (JPMP), the private-equity arm of J.P. Morgan Chase. Colonna is a frequent speaker on topics ranging from leadership to entrepreneurship, and has been named in Forbes ASAP's list of the Best VCs and in Worth's 25 Most Generous Young Americans. He also serves as a director, trustee, or advisor to a number of for-profit and nonprofit organizations, including Naropa University.
  • Diane Musho Hamilton, "Turn into the Skid: New Conflict Skills for Leaders." Diane Musho Hamilton is an author, professional mediator, and master facilitator. She has practiced meditation for more than thirty years, and is a Zen priest and teacher in the White Plum Lineage. Hamilton lives in Utah, where she is the executive director of Two Arrows Zen, a center for Zen study and practice that she established in 2008 with her husband Michael Mugaku Zimmerman. In 2012 she co-founded Integral Facilitator®, certifying practitioners in a developmental approach to group facilitation. She is the author of Everything is Workable: A Zen Approach to Conflict Resolution (Shambhala Publications).
  • Susan Skjei, "Joining Head, Heart, and Hands: The Power of Authentic Leadership at Work." Susan Skjei is an educator, coach, and leadership consultant, helping her clients discover and enact the transformative changes they want to see in themselves and in their organizations. Formerly a vice president of learning and development for a large technology company, she founded and directs the Authentic Leadership program at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, and is a founding member of the Authentic Leadership in Action (ALIA) Institute in Canada. Skjei has been a student and teacher of Buddhism for more than thirty years and consults internationally through her company, SaneSystems.  

About Naropa University ( Located in Boulder, Colorado, Naropa University is a private, liberal arts institution offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Celebrating its 40th Anniversary in 2014-15, Naropa University is a leader in contemplative education, an approach to learning and teaching that integrates Eastern wisdom studies with traditional Western scholarship. Naropa University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

About Wanderlust Festival ( Wanderlust is a producer of large-scale lifestyle festival events focusing on yoga, music and wellness. The company encompasses Wanderlust Festival, the largest multi-day yoga and music festivals in the world; Wanderlust 108, a one-day "mindful triathlon" taking place in urban parks across the U.S.; Wanderlust Yoga, a reimagination of the yoga studio experience; and the Wanderlust Teacher Training, a yoga teacher training program inspired by the Wanderlust festival experience. In 2014, Wanderlust will produce fifteen events across the world, centered around its core mission: creating community around mindful living.