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Stop, Look and Listen: Learn to Lead Mindfully at Duquesne

When have you heard the words “mindful” and “leadership” in the same sentence?

A new program offered by Duquesne University’s School of Leadership and Professional Advancement will explore the idea of mindful leadership in a new Leadership Breakfast Series starting at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, June 7.

“Being mindful means paying attention, consciously and non-judgmentally, to the present moment,” said Dr. Michael Forlenza, assistant dean, who will lead the series that suggests ways that today’s cutting-edge business leaders can tap helpful tools such as meditation practices that are thousands of years old.

The informally structured professional development series will start with Leading Mindfully and continue monthly through December, with discussions of the leader’s role in fostering work that is excellent, ethical, engaging and empathetic. Sessions cost $45 each or $225 for the entire series.

Mindful meditation, proven to be helpful in clinical settings, is now being studied as a business tool at Harvard, Case Western Reserve and Claremont Graduate universities, according to Forlenza, who also serves as executive director of the professional coach certification program and will teach a graduate course in leading mindfully this fall. “It is a way of helping leaders stay present and focused in a rapidly changing, swirling workplace,” he said.

Additionally, strong evidence suggests that sitting meditation changes the brain in important ways, supporting mental and emotional stability. “You don’t meditate at work, but you bring your changed brain—and a fresh perspective—to work,” Forlenza said, who sees many parallels between mindfulness and coaching.

Forlenza explained that mindful leaders are non-judgmental and fully attentive with employees.

“Our most constrained resource is attention,” he said. “It is biologically limited and rapidly consumed. When you give someone your full attention, you are giving them a gift. This is the foundation for good managers and good leaders.”

Forlenza hopes that participants in the Leadership Breakfast Series will discuss how mindful leaders see more clearly, listen more deeply and respond more effectively. “In the long run, this generates less stress, enhances concentration and creativity, and improves resilience,” he said.

For more information or to register, visit www.duq.edu/leadership and click on Professional Development.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic research universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. The University is nationally ranked by U.S. News and World Report and the Princeton Review for its rich academic programs in nine schools of study for nearly 10,000 graduate and undergraduate students, and by the Washington Monthly for service and contributing to students' social mobility. Duquesne is a member of the U.S. President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction for its contributions to Pittsburgh and communities around the globe. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Princeton Review's Guide to Green Colleges acknowledge Duquesne's commitment to sustainability.