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Mindfulness Collaboratory: Leading by Intention

Research Open House 2024

A group of people, some sitting in chairs, others on the floor, in meditation in a classroom.

Mackenzie Adriance, Associate Director, Work and Life Specialist, Center for Career and Professional Development / Division of Student Affairs

Sam Harvey, Assistant Director, Creative Resilience and Well-being Programs

Rhonda Schaller, AVP for Resilience, Wellness and Well-Being; Lecturer; Visiting Instructor, School of Continuing and Professional Studies

Esmilda Abreu-Hornbostel, Visiting Associate Professor, School of Design

School of Continuing and Professional Studies

The Mindfulness Collaboratory: Leading by Intention focuses on contemplative leaders setting intentions to create resilient artistic communities through individual meditation skill share, mentorship through collective support, and mindful leadership. Participants learn, meditate, discuss, grow, and lead together. 

The Mindfulness Collaboratory, funded with a multi-year grant from the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation in partnership with Pratt Institute, launched its leading by intention research leadership project in July 2022. By January 2023 they were joined by 72 creatives from around the country and internationally, meeting in community and in small mentor groups for the next 15 months. The Mindfulness Collaboratory’s hybrid, virtual, and in-person sessions were held once a month for one and a half days the first six months, and then followed by small group meetings, and large groups every 3 months. Sessions included workshopping examinations of the leadership cycle through the sailing metaphor, centering contemplative practices of mindfulness and meditation, and reflective investigations of what arises through informal contemplative approaches to the practices of mindful eating, interpersonal mindfulness, deep listening, and mindful walking. These all offered moments of collective pause and contributed to increasing intentionality and the power of self care as world care through deepening self-awareness and leading from within. Participants were then able to apply the tools and techniques of contemplative leadership to reimagine themselves and their personal and professional lives. 

The Collaboratory sessions concluded with individual artist and arts administrator capstone presentations in February and March 2024. As we complete the 2022-2024 Mindfulness Collaboratory project, participants provide survey data, qualitative feedback and their hopes and aspirations for its continued expansion and sustainability. Participants turn toward the future with many lessons learned, and the data of evidence based experiential learning for the creation of local and global resilient artistic communities.

The survey data and qualitative feedback collected to date indicates an uplift in positive change and contemplative practice with a strong sense of belonging and connection. The preliminary capstone data illustrates leadership development and transformational ideation in a variety of creative applications. A full analysis of the data will be compiled in June 2024


The Mindfulness Collaboratory’s success is a result of a commitment from those who participated to seek pause together, nourish together, and deepen creative perseverance and leadership with the contemplative approach as a cornerstone value of self care. This holistic effortless effort was applied to leadership development through communities of care and mentor circles from around the world practicing self care as world care. We believe this contemplative community based approach is an integral part of our valuing creative practice and provides a leadership journey that creates the fertile ground for thriving. Our goal is to continue this research in contemplative creative community development and leadership building through solidifying our project into a sustainable organizational structure. This will ensure that setting intentions, providing mentorship circles, and providing contemplative practice tools and techniques in leadership can expand from a core group to larger communities of practice and impact.

A chart titled, Pulse Results: Diener. The column headers are Pre, Post, and Change. There are numbers in each of those columns for the following rows. I lead a purposeful and meaningful life, 5.6, 6.0, +0.4. My social relationships are supportive and rewarding, 5.2, 5.8, +0.6. I'm engaged and interested in my daily activities, 5.4, 6.0, +0.6. I actively contribute to the happiness and well-being of others, 5.7, 6.3, +0.6. I am competent and capable of activities that are important to me, 5.6, 6.0, +0.4. I am a good person and live a good life, 5.8, 6.3, +0.5. I am optimistic about my future, 5.5, 6, +0.5. People respoect me, 5.6, 5.9, +0.3. Total, 44.5, 48.4, +3.8.
A chart titled, Pulse Results: Meditation Practice and Impact. There is a table with the two column headers, As a result of practices in the collaboratory, and, Out of 5. The rows are as follows. I am happier, 4.2. I feel more in control of my life, 4.0. Make me feel less stressed, 4.3. I have a better ability to focus, 4.0. I have a stronger sense of self-awareness, 4.3. I feel more productive, 3.8. I feel more creative, 4.1. There is also a pie chart with the title, Meditation Practice. The slices are as follows. Somewhat More, 34.1%. Significantly more, 26.8%. About the same, 19.5%. Didn't have a practice, 19.5%.