Mindful Leadership Certification

Photo of students in the Mindful Leader Certificate program

Course Dates: March 9th, 2021 – April 8th, 2021 

Time: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4:00pm-5:00pm EST

Registration fee:
Regular $599/per person
Government employee rate – Please email for discount code

Registration deadline: March 5th, 2021

Credits: Participants can receive a certificate of completion and receive one (1) Continuing Education Credits upon 100% attendance to the course. Please email for CEUs application.

Online Course & Certificate

This online course is designed for those in leadership positions at all levels and across all sectors and industries. Taught by Heather Gwaltney, Mindfulness and Organizational Subject Matter Expert, Author, and Consultant. The instruction will be in “real time” where students login to the virtual class on Mason's platform. 


What is a Mindful Leader?

Successful leadership requires a specific set of skills that often go underdeveloped. With the constant demands of work and related stress, there is also often little time for personal development to learn the concepts and develop tools to be effective. According to leading business journals, common pitfalls of leaders include: Being reactive vs. proactive, avoiding conflict, treating people like machines, micromanaging, as well as, underestimating the importance of communication, listening, and emotional intelligence. Conversely, studies reveal common success factors of an effective leader. Successful leaders have “breakthrough thinking” and place emphasis on opportunities rather than solving problems. Even though proper task-management is important, they focus first on interpersonal relationships, effective communication, and training and development. They also use a democratic vs. command and control approach.

In more recent years, the scientific community has been studying the connection between Mindfulness Meditation and leadership. The results show a pattern that in addition to reducing stress and providing a number of health benefits, meditation helps leaders achieve mental clarity and activates the prefrontal cortex for advanced interpersonal awareness and problem solving. A C-level professional describes how meditation is also linked to increased “compassion for others, and ability to empower the people in your organization,” in addition to the ability to “maintain their equilibrium under constant pressure.” Mindfulness Meditation is a relatively easy way to apply tools in the present moment while in a work environment.

Course Highlights and Features

In this course, the instructor will provide information on how Mindfulness Meditation works, and how when used in a leadership role, can create healthier, more effective organizations. Specifically, the instructor will teach students how to use Mindfulness to reduce stress and interpersonal conflict, as well as cultivate mental clarity, effective communication, resiliency, and creativity. The course also includes common leadership success factors, different leadership styles, and when to use each. There will be at least one guest speaker from the field to highlight their own relevant experience as a Mindful Leader. Guest speakers will include one or more of the following:

  • Christiane Wolf, M.D., Ph.D. and Author of A Clinician's Guide to Teaching Mindfulness, Mindfulness/MBSR teacher and trainer, and Director of MBSR programs at InsightLA.
  • David Warschawski, CEO of Warschawski Marketing, PR and Branding Agency and Professor at Johns Hopkins University's Carey School of Business, Digital Marketing Certification Course.
  • Tojo Thatchenkery, Ph.D., Author and Co-founder, Professor & Director of the Master’s in Organization Development and Knowledge Management program, Schar School, George Mason University.
  • Violette de Ayala, Founder + CEO of FemCity.

The training webinar is designed for those in leadership positions at all levels and across all sectors and industries.

This five-week course will be delivered twice a week (Tuesdays and Thursdays) over 10 sessions from 4:00PM – 5:00PM Eastern Time. Topics covered include the following:

Week 1 (March 9th and March 11th):

i. Introduction to Mindfulness and Leadership: Benefits and How the Two Connect
ii. Stress Reduction and Mental Clarity: Using “The Power of the Pause” 

Week 2 (March 16th and March 18th):

iii. Sphere of Influence: Starting Where You Are and Where Can You Have a Successful Impact
iv. Leadership and Power: Understanding the Power You Have and Using It for the Greater Good of the Organization 

Week 3 (March 23rd and March 25th):

v. Gender in Leadership: Different Styles and When to Use Each 
vi. Communications and Transparency: Gaining Mental Clarity and Practical Tips on Delivery 

Week 4 (March 30th and April 1st):

vii. Conflict Resolution: Using Mindfulness Techniques to Diffuse Conflicting Needs
viii. Resiliency to Change: How to Relax into It and Thrive 

Week 5 (April 6th and April 8th): 

ix. Listening: Why It’s Important and How to Do It Better
x. Cultivating Creativity: Motivating Your Organization to Do Their Best Work 

Throughout the five (5) weeks, students will be introduced to the concepts and practice of Mindfulness Meditation and how it relates to successful leadership. By the end of the course, they will have more tools and mental models to lead their own organizations. Through a blend of lecture, visuals, mindfulness and case-study exercises, reflection, and dialogue, students will be able to apply practical Mindfulness practices to their daily work experiences, as well as have a greater capacity to cope with stress and lead teams in a healthy, effective way.

[60 minutes per session; two (2) session per week for five (5) weeks. Spring 2021: March 9 – April 8.] 

About the Instructor:


Photo of Heather Gwaltney

Heather Gwaltney began her career in the private sector working for boutique-sized firms in marketing research, strategy, and design. During the course of her now, 24-year professional history, she has expanded into the non-profit and education sectors—providing communications, organizational development, and teaching. What she also brings to mindfulness in the workplace is 12 years of leadership experience with tech and finance companies and a 20-year practice of Mindfulness Meditation. Ms. Gwaltney is a former Adjunct Professor at George Mason University, and has taught numerous in-person and online courses for private companies and non-profits. As a Mason alumna, she has a Master of Science in Organization Development and Knowledge Management and a Bachelors of Art in Psychology: Minor in Business Administration. Furthermore, Ms. Gwaltney is an author of a self-help book for women, has directed a documentary being used in higher education, and has been interviewed on a number of wellness podcasts. She has a practical approach to teaching with an emphasis on compassion and humor. For more information, visit her online at https://heathergwaltney.com/.

Interested in this program? Contact Sisi Jou at schene@gmu.edu.