Center for the Advancement of Well-Being
The College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Session Descriptions - Leading to Well-Being: Thriving Together Conference


Sessions on Leadership and Organizational Well-Being 

"Thinking in Big Ways Using the "S.M.A.L.L." Approach: How to Create and Sustain Leadership and Organizational Well-Being"

Cliff Kayser, MSOD. VP and Owner/Partner of Polarity Partnerships, LLC and Founder/President of Xperience® LLC.

This session provides an experiential overview of the five steps in the S.M.A.L.L. approach to create and sustain leadership and organizational well-being. In the first step, Seeing, you’ll learn what interdependent pairs are (referred to as “polarities”), and how they’re different from problems to solve. Next, you’ll gain insight into how the energy systems of polarities work by Mapping two polarities that are common in leadership and organizational life. We’ll then do the Assessing step in real-time to gauge performance and discuss why “balance” in polarities sets the bar too low to thrive big. In the Learning step, we’ll look at common ways well-being is undermined, despite the best intentions and efforts of leaders and organizations. In the final step of Leveraging, we’ll focus attention on meaningful actions and measures to contribute to creating and sustaining well-being for the polarities used in the session.

Either prior to or during the session, participants must complete a short 24-question survey, the results of which will be used in the session.

"Thriving Your Own Way: You, Your Leadership, Your Organization"

Dr. Carol S. Pearson, Ph.D., a world-renowned expert on depth psychology and transformational leadership

Many organizations and individuals have values statements that sound great, but they are generally the same old “mom and apple pie” platitudes.  So they sit in a drawer or are enshrined in a website to impress the public but are practiced little. The true and often unexamined values of the individuals and organizations are generally what is most authentic about them, values that are revealed by the archetypes of their unscripted narratives and by the dramas they are actually living out.   At best, these serve as lighthouses that attract, and glue which retains, customers, employees, collaborators, investors or funders. This workshop will provide an assessment model that can help participants uncover the archetypes that empower their own attractor fields as well as those of an organization they lead or otherwise care about.  In the process, it will explore ways leaders can remain authentic themselves, while saying and doing what is needed to move an organization forward in a way that is natural for its culture, and in this process, shifting counterproductive narratives to their more positive expressions, while also providing ample room for the richness of opinions and strengths of a diverse workforce. 

 "The Art of Thinking Differently and Acting Powerfully" 

Alan Berson, Executive Coach, Leadership Consultant, Professor, and President and CEO of Leadership Conversation LLC

The focus of this interactive, action learning session is on leading both oneself and those of your organizational team to increase the results.  We will practice the theories and models from the new book: LEADERSHIP CONVERSATIONS; Challenging High-Performing Managers to Become Great Leaders, focusing on tips and techniques for building powerful relationships and making decisions that will result in effective action. This session will provide transformational models to employ to increase your client’s agility and ability to focus on people, vision and thought leadership…while also producing required results.

"Minding Your Mindful Leadership"

Tojo Thatchenkery, Ph.D. Organization Development and Knowledge Management

Is there a mindset or attitude about being a leader that might work for us irrespective of our industry or specialty? Mindful leadership, based on the ancient Buddhist practice of paying full attention to the present moment intentionally and non-judgmentally, holds significant promise for developing leadership without strife and stress. Mindfulness enables us to recognize simple, practical responses to difficult leadership situations rather than reacting out of habit. This breakout session will explore the rather paradoxical task of merely paying attention to accentuate our awareness of the socially constructed nature of organizational reality and to feel comfortable acting with simplicity, empathy, and conviction. Examples from the mindful leadership programs of companies such as Google, Target, and General Mills will be shared. 

"Resilient Leadership: A New Way of Seeing, Thinking, and Leading" 

Bob Duggan, Ph.D.,Executive Coach and Leadership Development Consultant/Trainer

A Resilient Leader is someone who leads with calm, clarity and conviction in the midst of the anxiety provoked by our world’s increasing complexity. In this session, Duggan introduces leaders to a powerful approach for cultivating resilience in both themselves and their organizations. After completing the Resilient Leadership Self-Assessment® participants will learn tools for increasing the capacity to thrive, for example: developing a non-reactive, calming presence, positioning oneself in a “triangle,” and focusing on personal functioning in order to help reign in reactivity in the workplace. 

Sessions on Cultivating Personal Well-Being

"You Matter, Don’t Quit: Thriving Together and Living Vibrantly" (keynote address)

Mariel Hemingway, Academy Award nominated actor, author, adventurist, eco activist, healthy lifestyle and mental health advocate, yoga video star, and food brand entrepreneur 

Creating a healthier body and mind allows us to do more and live a longer, more vibrant and meaningful life. The choices we make, the information we seek, and the food we eat are integral to our well-being.  We navigate a difficult world and all of us need to be understood.  Through making positive, intentional choices about food, movement, home, and silence, we can find our center of gravity and balance. Join me on a journey to create and maintain the best "YOU" you can be.

* This session is dedicated to the late Dr. Karen Silien, Leading to Well-Being Conference facilitator and advocate of all things Thriving Together.

"Powerful Feedback: Building Resilience Through Open, Honest, Conversation"

Virginia Diamond, Leadership Coach and Consultant, Diamond Insight 

To navigate our complex world, we need to be resilient—to learn, adapt and grow even stronger together in the face of uncertainty. An integral part of strengthening resilience is sharing our feedback in a powerful, grounded way. We will focus on practices to give powerful feedback, speaking from the heart in ways that help us learn, grow and thrive together. This session will be highly interactive and immediately practical, designed for practitioners of all levels.  

"The Art and Science of Nurturing Self-Compassion" 

Mary Elizabeth Lynch, MA, JD, President of the Personal Transformation and Courage Institute

Based on both ancient spiritual philosophies and research from the modern science of well-being, this workshop is for those committed to taking a next step in the process of personal transformation.  Becoming more self-compassionate is a multi-stage process and starts with recognizing that a heart-centered and caring relationship with oneself is crucial for achieving the hallmarks of well-being, including resilience, equanimity, emotional intelligence, and meaningful connection with others. Participants will learn about and engage in time-tested practices that work constructively with individuals’ strengths and imperfections, leading to an experience of self-love, self-acceptance and the richness of one’s heart.   

"Career Guidance from People Who Turned Good Jobs into Happy Lives"

Shane Lopez, Ph.D. Research Director, Clifton Strengths Institute; Senior Scientist, The Gallup Organization

One of our biggest hopes in life is to land a good job. Those of us who realize that goal have a better than fair shot at a happy life...if we follow the guidance of people who have turned those good jobs into ones they can love. Learn the five strategies of people who have taken the career path to happiness.

"Lessons from Poetry: Well-Being, Love, and Listening"

Chris Wahl, MCC. Executive Coach

This session is for anyone who appreciates poetry or who is open to learning about its quiet power.  Together, we'll capture the emergent, profound, and sometimes magical messages that poetry has to offer. Attending to well-being for yourself and for all, living with a loving heart, and listening deeply are three areas that are essential for thriving together.  In this time together, we'll experience the writing of wise poets and how their work can apply to our work, home lives, friendships, conversations with self and nature, and with our thinking about the lives we are living on this precious planet.  

Together, we will take time to pause, be quiet, read and listen to poetry, and through deep conversation, let whatever truths are available to you be heard.   The threads that are important to you will be tapped throughout the session via inquiry and conversation. This session will be interactive, and your voice will matter. 

Sessions on the Science and Application of Well-Being Research

"The Science Behind the Pursuit of Happiness" 

Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Riverside.  

Happiness not only feels good; it is good. Happy people are more creative, productive, and helpful, have more stable marriages, and boast stronger immune systems than their less happy peers. In this presentation, Lyubomirsky debunks the common misconceptions about happiness. Drawing on her two decades of research with thousands of participants, she introduces empirically-supported ideas about how people can boost their health, productivity, and happiness in their day-to-day lives by engaging in positive activities on a regular basis. These activities include practicing kindness, optimism, and gratitude in optimal ways.  She also discusses critical factors that bolster our likelihood of achieving success, like finding the right fit between the happiness activities and our personalities, interests, and goals, as well as how to understand the obstacles to happiness and how to overcome them.  Lyubomirsky emphasizes how much of our happiness at work and at home is within our control, and addresses the scientific “how” of her happiness research, demystifying the many myths that unnecessarily complicate its pursuit.

"The Role of Heart Coherence & Resilience in Thriving Together"

Rollin McCraty, Ph.D., Director of Research for the Institute of HeartMath

This presentation will provide an overview of a new approach to building and sustaining resilience through self-regulation and energy management techniques that have a wide range of health and wellness enhancement applications. The presentation discusses how heart-brain interactions affect many aspects of cognition and emotional stability and the use of technology to facilitate self-regulation skills associated with a distinct change in the rhythm of heart activity that is associated with optimal cognitive functioning and improvements in a wide range of wellness outcomes. In addition, research will be discussed showing that the heart radiates a measurable electromagnetic signal into the environment, which can be detected by nearby animals or the nervous systems of other people. The presentation will conclude with a discussion of how the earth and ionosphere generate a symphony of resonant frequencies that are in the same frequency range as those of the human heart and brain which have surprising influences on human health, behavior and well-being.

"The Really BIG Picture of Personality"

Dr. Todd B. Kashdan, George Mason University, Senior Scientist, Center for the Advancement of Well-Being

How do you describe your personality or that of someone else? Your answer to this question matters, influencing your behavior and how you intervene to reduce problems and enhance well-being. In this keynote, you will explore how our knowledge about personality has been severely limited by narrow ideas, measures, and interventions. Learn about what exists beyond personality traits. You will be exposed to tools, experiential exercises, and strategies for putting these lessons to practical use. 

“The Two Proven Steps to Lifelong Happiness”

Sara Oliveri, MAPP, Life Coach, Speaker, Sara Oliveri Coaching & Consulting

Happiness comes down to only two steps. These two steps are supported by the science of positive psychology and hundreds of studies on human well-being. Step number one is developing an optimistic attitude. Step number two is building strong relationships. These two steps are simple to understand, but difficult to practice.This breakout session will teach you the most effective ways to take these two steps in your personal & professional life. During this session you will learn: -  Techniques for changing negative thought patterns. -  Positive communication strategies. -  Practices that will enhance your relationships. -  Simple habits to boost daily happiness. -  Practices for increasing happiness at work.

STAY TUNED! More session descriptions will be added as they are received. Check back for updates.

Visit the conference website for a full list of speakers.

Register now.

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