The Power of Love & Connection in a World of Noise & Fear

BL00 - Session Highlight From Mindful Leader Summit (1)

Session Summary

In her session at the 2022 Mindful Leader Summit, The Power of Love & Connection in a World of Noise and Fear, Michelle Maldonado, Founder & CEO of Lucenscia, brought to light the transformative power of mindfulness in leadership. In this article, we delve into the key highlights of the session, exploring the nuanced concepts of contextual mindfulness, intersectionality, and compassion as integral components of inclusive and impactful leadership.

Key Highlights  

  • Context Matters in Mindful Leadership: Michelle emphasizes the importance of considering the context in which mindfulness and inclusive leadership occur. Acknowledging the external factors, conflicts, fears, and positive/negative discourse happening beyond immediate surroundings is crucial for developing leaders who can create conditions for belonging and understanding.
  • Paradox of Prediction and Perception: The discussion delves into the brain's predictive nature, highlighting how it constantly forms expectations and perceptions based on past experiences. The speaker introduces the concept of paradox prediction and perception, acknowledging the limitations of our perceptions while appreciating the brain's function in keeping us safe and efficient. The example of the Kanizsa effect demonstrates how the brain can perceive non-existent triangles.
  • Intersectionality, Unconscious Bias, and Microaggressions: The session addresses the complexities of identity and how individuals see themselves versus how others perceive them. The importance of acknowledging and embracing both sameness and difference is stressed. Michelle connects mindfulness to addressing unconscious biases that can lead to microaggressions, providing examples and encouraging the audience to cultivate awareness to disrupt such biases.

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Contextual Mindfulness

Michelle Maldonado began by emphasizing the significance of understanding mindfulness within a broader context. Mindfulness, she argues, is not just an individual practice but a way of being that is influenced by the world's events and personal experiences. In the fast-paced, ever-changing landscape of the modern world, leaders need to cultivate awareness that extends beyond personal boundaries. The external context, including societal conflicts and positive/negative discourse, plays a crucial role in shaping mindful leaders capable of navigating inclusivity with a broader perspective.

Intersectionality and Identity

A core theme of the session revolved around intersectionality, acknowledging the intricate tapestry of identity influenced by various factors such as culture, gender, age, religion, disability, ethnicity, race, class, and sexual orientation. Michelle urged leaders to recognize the complexity of how they perceive themselves and how others perceive them. This self-awareness is essential for fostering inclusivity and understanding the unique experiences different individuals bring to the table. Leaders who embrace this understanding can create environments where diverse perspectives are not just tolerated but celebrated.

Compassion in Leadership

The session delved into the integral role of compassion in mindful leadership. Michelle echoed the sentiment that mindfulness is not merely a practice but a way of being that informs leadership decisions. Compassion, defined as empathy in action, emerged as a cornerstone for effective leadership. Drawing inspiration from Jeff Weiner's idea of "managing compassionately," Michelle highlighted the importance of combining wisdom with compassion. This synthesis of qualities can lead to transformative outcomes, fostering mutual collaboration and co-creation in both personal and professional spheres.

Bridging and Breaking in Leadership

The session explores the concept of bridging and breaking, drawing parallels with ingroups and outgroups. Michelle urged leaders to focus on creating bridging moments rather than breaking connections. In a world where vulnerability and tenderness are increasingly prevalent, leaders must embrace discomfort to engage in difficult conversations. This approach facilitates understanding and enables leaders to create truly inclusive environments.

Final Thoughts

Michelle Maldonado's session at the Mindful Leader Summit provided profound insights into the intersection of mindfulness and leadership. The key takeaways highlight the importance of contextual mindfulness, awareness of intersectionality, and the integration of compassion for effective and inclusive leadership. As we navigate the complexities of the modern world, these insights serve as guideposts for leaders striving to create positive and transformative impacts on individuals, teams, and the broader communities they serve.

Learn more about the Mindful Leader Summit.

Michelle Maldonado is Founder and CEO of Lucenscia, a firm dedicated to human flourishing and mindful business transformation. Michelle serves as Senior Faculty for 1440 Multiversity's Leadership Center, founding faculty for Daniel Goleman's Inaugural Emotional Intelligence Coaching Certification program. Michelle recently was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates where she serves on the Education and Privileges & Elections Committees and K12 and Campaign Finance Reform subcommittees. Learn More about Michelle.


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