By Michelle Maldonado
Michelle Maldonado is founder of Lucenscia, a human potential and mindful business transformation firm. Named "Top Corporate Leader of the Year" and "Woman of the Year," she is faculty for Dan Goleman's Emotional Intelligence Coaching Certification program and is a certified mindfulness teacher with the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute. She has facilitated keynotes or programs for several leading-edge companies, including Microsoft, LinkedIn, Deutsche Telekom, Pfizer, Fitbit, Dell, TD Bank, Department of Defense, and Department of Homeland Security.
Taking time to explore the wisdom within you, what fuels you, and what you are passionate about is at the heart of the True North Leadership experience. Based on the acclaimed course developed and led by Bill George at Harvard University, this program is designed to support you in gaining clarity and insight into your life stories, crucibles, and other experiences that inform who you are today, so you can leverage what is important to you, what you love, and what your skills are to support the organizations and people you lead. As you follow your own compass in the direction of your True North, you will discover who you are as a leader and that, in turn, will inspire how you make a living, create a life, and fulfill your dreams.
We value and seek perspectives that come from people of different genders, sexual orientation/identification, political affiliations, economic classes, disability, races, cultures, and other groups which are invaluable to cultivating the conditions for belonging, unity, equity, and impact in the room and beyond. Without the benefit of diverse voices, we would miss a big opportunity to create understanding and connection that could serve as a springboard for bringing teams and organizations together in new and transformative ways.
This element is important for each of us so that we can better enable civil discourse, healthy and skillful navigation through conflict, and leading through change and across global communities.
As a former attorney who has worked with corporate, nonprofit, and government organizations, and as a former business leader across multiple roles, I understand what many of our participants are going through. I learned how to integrate True North Leadership principles to better align my professional and personal values and purpose, and I share approaches and frameworks that can help you succeed in this effort as well.
In True North leadership, I lead the section on Introspection. Together, we focus on daily practices (such as taking another's perspective in a conflict, pausing before reacting, and seeing similarities with another to help reduce unconscious bias) and skill sets (including mindfulness and meditation) that make a difference in not only the nature and quality of our leadership, but also in our capacity for high performance and ability to create psychologically safe work environments and sustain positive impact.
My path to meditation and mindfulness has been unfolding over several years. My earliest memory is of my great aunt introducing me to meditation during the summer I spent with her in Wyoming between first and second grade. I vividly recall her placing her hands gently on my head saying, "quiet here," as she slowly moved her hands down to my heart while saying, "so you can be here."
Over the years, I became very familiar with what it took to run and lead teams and organizations sustainably and in healthy ways. I wanted to debunk the myth that in order for someone to win, someone has to lose. Research shows that when everyone thrives, the organization thrives. With this as my backdrop, I set about helping people drill down on their fears and insecurities and explore what it is like to step into their personal leadership power with a desire to bring people with them, instead of leaving them behind on a singular trajectory and journey to the top. This is one of the many reasons why the True North Leadership program struck such a chord with me. It teaches how we can do our inner work for meaningful outer impact.