January 12–May 8, 2015

Become the leader the world needs now.

The Authentic Leadership Program provides a powerful approach to personal and professional transformation that increases a leader's capacity for clarity, compassion and effective action in life and at work.  Drawing on the disciplines of neuroscience, Buddhism, complexity science, organizational learning, and leadership, the program offers proven methods and practices that help leaders cultivate self-awareness and creativity, strengthen and enhance their relationships with others, and effectively lead the changes they want to see in their organizations and in the world.

The certificate program spans sixteen weeks of combined classroom and online instruction. The course work blends the best of Western leadership practices with the wisdom of Eastern contemplative traditions, providing a transformative learning experience that encourages deep, personal reflection, fast assimilation of conceptual models, and practical application to use in the workplace.

Authentic Leadership Cohort

The Program

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

Online instruction allows participants to download readings, share ideas, and participate at their own pace from anywhere in the world. Onsite sessions provide in-depth instruction and practice of authentic leadership skills. Individual and group coaching sessions help participants integrate and apply their learning.

Course Topics

  • Authenticity, self-reflection and personal mastery
  • Skillful conversation and conflict resolution
  • Collaboration, decision making and teamwork
  • Power, influence and empowerment
  • Leading organizational change


The Authentic Leadership Program was developed in 2000 by Susan Skjei, MS, MA, PCC, former Vice President of Human Resource Development and Chief Learning Officer at Storage Tek and adjunct faculty member in the Graduate Environmental Leadership Program at Naropa University. In addition to Susan, the original faculty members were Fred Kofman, PhD; Barb Lawton, PhD; Micki McMillan, MA; and Mark Wilding, MA. The certificate program has been offered at Naropa University during the spring semester each year in Boulder since 2001 and once in the fall semester at the Garrison Institute in New York in 2006.

The program, which is updated every year, incorporates theory and practices from business, human development and leadership authors, including Juanita Brown, Pema Chödrön, Jim Collins, Glenda Eyong, Bill George, Mark Gerzon, Daniel Goleman, Joe Jaworski, Adam Kahane, Robert Kegan, Fred Kofman, John Kotter, Lisa Laskow Lahey, Sakyong Mipham, Julio Olalla, Otto Scharmer, Peter Senge, Chögyam Trungpa, Ken Wilber, Meg Wheatley, and Brenda Zimmerman.


The primary teacher/facilitator has been Susan Skjei with assistance from many guest faculty over the years including Zoe Avstreih (Authentic Movement), Juana Bordas (Salsa, Soul and Spirit), Steve Demos (Right Livlihood), Barbara Dilley (Contemplative Movement), Mark Gerzon (Conflict Resolution), Arawana Hayashi (Embodiment Practice), Fred Kofman (Conscious Business), Barb Lawton (Leading Change), Julio Olalla (Authenticity and Emotional Intelligence), Jim Marsden (Theory U), Mikki McMillan (Commitment Conversations), Dan Montgomery (Balanced Scorecard), Laura Simms (Storytelling), Tami Simon (Contemplative Entrepreneurship), Mark Wilding (Transforming Systems), and Bob Wing (Leadership Aikido).


More than five hundred people have graduated from the certificate program since it began in 2001. Most courses have had thirty to forty-five attendees. Participants have been leaders or aspiring leaders from small businesses, large corporations, nonprofits, government agencies, as well as some coaches and consultants and university staff and faculty. The age range of former participants has been 21–63.  The program has consistently received high ratings on participant evaluations (average of 4.5 out of 5)


2015 Dates and Location

16 weeks online with two five-day live intensives

Online Program: January 12–May 8, 2015
Onsite 1: January 26–January 30, 2015
Onsite 2: April 13–April 17, 2015

Sessions occur at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado.


Noncredit Tuition: $4,800
This certificate program can be taken for credit (see below) or for noncredit/certificate only. If a participant selects to take the program for noncredit they cannot switch to credit at a later date.

Scholarship: Applications for partial scholarship are made available each year for students taking the program for noncredit.

* Travel, lodging, and food are not included. Multiple discounts and/or scholarships do not apply.

Graduate Credit Tuition: (MAR500e, 6 credits): $6500.  $975/credit + a $650 materials fee, which includes a technology fee and coaching.

* Travel, lodging, and food are not included. Discounts and scholarships do not apply if taking the program for credit.

Documentation is available for corporate tuition reimbursement programs and for bank loan programs when Authentic Leadership (MAR500e) is taken for 6 graduate credits. Naropa University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Noncredit vs. Graduate Credit
Taking a class non credit means that you are not responsible for fulfilling the academic requirements for the class and you are not graded for your participation. As a result, you will not nor will you be able to in the future, receive academic credit for your participation should you choose to enroll noncredit now. It is not possible to "upgrade" a noncredit class in order to receive academic credit.