Naropa Authentic Leadership Program
Student in Authentic Leadership class with sticky notes

Authentic Leadership Program 1.0

 January 17-May 12, 2017

Become the Leader the World Needs Now

Imagine if your work aligned with your purpose. If you could meet stress gracefully. And if you could address challenges with humor and creativity.

Imagine if you could inspire others to do likewise.

Wouldn’t NOW be a great time to become the leader the world desperately needs?




Authentic Leadership Program

Join the mindful leadership revolution.

School districts. Hospitals. Technology companies. Graduate business schools. Nonprofits. Sports teams.

These are just some of the organizations incorporating mindfulness into their leadership development programs. Market pressures, passionless workplaces, and relentless “busy-ness” are reasons leaders and organizational visionaries are seeking to transform themselves—and in turn transform their workplaces.

Naropa University’s Authentic Leadership Program is an in-depth 16-week experiential course in mindfulness, authentic communication, and leading change, designed to help you acquire the equanimity, skills, and vision to lead from your courageous self.

Dare to become the kind of leader you know you can be. Become part of Naropa’s Authentic Leadership community.

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The Program

Naropa’s online learning environment allows you to download readings, share ideas, and participate at your own pace from wherever you are living or traveling.

Plus you will have the opportunity to network, share ideas, and learn with like-minded leaders during two onsite sessions during which you will engage with faculty, practice meditation, and apply leadership skills.

Naropa University’s Authentic Leadership Program consists of:

  • Sixteen weeks of internet-based instruction
  • Two five-day on-site seminars in Boulder, Colorado
  • Five individual sessions with professional leadership coaches
  • Online interaction with instructors and colleagues
  • Action-learning projects in the workplace
  • Teleconferences with coaches and colleagues

The Schedule

Online Program: January 17–May 12, 2017
Onsite 1: January 30–February 3, 2017
Onsite 2: April 17–21, 2017
Onsite sessions occur on Naropa University’s beautiful campuses in Boulder, Colorado.


Tuition is $4,800 for the noncredit professional. Travel, lodging and food are not included. (Please see below for the graduate credit pricing.) Some partial scholarships are available. Preference will be given to participants who register before November 15th. Please email to request scholarship information.

If you have an undergraduate degree, you can receive 6 accredited graduate credits for this program. The tuition is $6,500*—which includes a non-refundable materials, technology and coaching fee. When taking the program for academic credit, two additional papers are required as well as regular attendance onsite and participation online.

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  • Authenticity, Self-reflection and Personal Mastery
  • Skillful Conversation and Conflict Resolution
  • Collaboration, Decision-making and Teamwork
  • Power, Influence and Empowerment
  • Leading Organizational Change

Featured Faculty


Susan Skjei: Authentic Leadership InstructorSusan Skjei, PhD, PCC
Program Director

Susan is an educator, executive coach, and consultant specializing in leadership, mindfulness, and transformative change. Drawing on the disciplines of neuroscience, Buddhism, complexity science, organizational learning and leadership, Susan's work offers skillful methods and practices that help leaders cultivate self-awareness and creativity, strengthen their relationships, and effectively lead the changes they want to see in their organizations and in the world. Formerly a Vice-President of Learning and Development for a large technology company, she directs the Authentic Leadership program at Naropa University and is a co-founder of the Authentic Leadership in Action (ALIA) Institute in Canada. Susan is an Acharya (senior teacher) in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition and consults internationally through her company SaneSystems.

Gaylon FergusonGaylon Ferguson

Acharya Gaylon Ferguson, PhD, is a senior teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition who has been leading meditation retreats since 1976. He is a member of Naropa University’s core faculty and the author of Natural Wakefulness: Discovering the Wisdom We Were Born With. Additionally, his article, “Making Friends with Ourselves,” was selected for inclusion in The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 and his essay “No Color, All Colors” appears in the book, Mindful Politics.

Mark GerzonMark Gerzon

For a quarter of a century, Mark Gerzon has been a mediator, leadership consultant and activist across many of the great divides that breed separation and mistrust. Ever since his work designing and facilitating the Bipartisan Congressional Retreats in the late 1990s, he has been working on the frontier beyond “left” and right.” The author of The Reunited States of America: How We Can Bridge the Partisan Divide and other books, he has conducted leadership trainings in many parts of the world. For more than a decade, he worked with the United Nations Development Program as an advisor to leaders in conflict zones in Africa and Asia. He also has passionate interest in the life cycle and is deeply committed to empowering a new generation of voices.

Arawana HayashiArawana Hayashi

Arawana Hayashi  is on the faculty of the Certificate Program at the Authentic Leadership Center. She has been on the on the Creative Process faculty of ALIA’s Shambhala Institute for Authentic Leadership in Halifax, Nova Scotia since 2000. In these roles, Arawana mainly contributes as a performer and dancer.

Arawana is a co-founder of the Social Presencing Theater at the  Presencing Institute.

She invites individuals and groups to discover their natural creativity by paying attention to their own physicality and to their environment.

Melissa MichaelsMelissa Michaels

Melissa Michaels, Ed.D. creates movement based cross–cultural community peace building trainings around the world. Her recently published book, Youth On Fire: Igniting a Generation of Embodied Global Leaders tells the timely story of her work with emerging leaders from college campuses, to refugee settlements, to the United Nations. Melissa is a first generation teacher of the 5Rhythms® along with being a registered Somatic Movement Educator and Therapist (ISMETA). Her work is dedicated to our collective renewal through the liberation of the creative spirit. 

Sharon SalzbergSharon Salzberg

Sharon Salzberg is a central figure in the field of meditation, a world-renowned teacher and NY Times bestselling author. She has played a crucial role in bringing meditation and mindfulness practices to the West and into mainstream culture since 1974, when she first began teaching. She is the co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA and the author of nine books including NY Times bestseller, Real Happiness, her seminal work, Lovingkindness and most recently, Real Happiness At Work. Renowned for her down-to-earth teaching style, Sharon offers a secular, modern approach to Buddhist teachings, making them instantly accessible. She is a regular columnist for On Being, a contributor to Huffington Post, and the host of her own podcast: The Metta Hour. For more information, visit

View Additional faculty

“I graduated feeling more resilient, more empowered, and more effective as a leader.”
~Quentin Finney, regional sales manager, Google 

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Watch what our participants have to say about their Authentic Leadership Program experience



Graduates of the Authentic Leadership Program



Average evaluation of the Authentic Leadership Program



Age range of former graduates


Contact Us


Phone: 303-245-4831