Years ago when I was stressed and exhausted by my high-powered, high-pressured corporate career as a lawyer-lobbyist, I hit a wall and decided to take myself on hiking vacation to the mountains of New Mexico. I climbed to the top of a big hill, took off my backpack and probably for the first time I, really looked up at the sky.
I sat there motionless with my back against a fallen tree in a jaw-dropping moment of being fully present enough to see and to feel the sky and the clouds move in a slow-motion dance above my head.
I thought: Where have I been all this time and not noticed? What was I doing?
In that moment I realized not only was I alienated from the natural world, I was alienated from myself. That day led me on a quest of self-discovery and self-transformation which led to letting go of my high-powered career that paid all the bills but wasn’t serving my fullest potential. As scary as that was, I kept going, immersing myself in the study and practice of mindfulness meditation with Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh and the Plum Village community, Kundalini yoga, pilgrimage travel, and leadership development.
Today, I am clear about who I am, what I offer, and how I can serve and support leaders who may be on a similar journey of transformation:
I offer social equity centered facilitation, leadership coaching, and pilgrimage rooted in my decades of training that blends social justice, evidenced-based mindfulness practices, leadership development, and spiritual growth to support diverse leaders and teams in fostering trustworthy, authentic, compassionate, and connected workspaces.
Writing keeps me grounded and I am an award-winning author of Hope Leans Forward: Braving Your Way toward Simplicity, Awakening, and Peace (Broadleaf, 2022), The Road that Teaches: Lessons in Transformation through Travel, The Mindful School Leader: Practices to Transform Your Leadership and School (with Kirsten Olson, PhD), and Cultivating Happiness, Resilience, and Well-Being through Meditation, Mindfulness, and Movement: A Guide for Educators (contributor).
In 1995 I began studying and practicing mindfulness in the lineage of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh and the Plum Village tradition, and I was ordained as a Buddhist Dharma teacher in 2018. I facilitate national and international gatherings and retreats for nonprofits and corporations and lead an annual pilgrimage to El Camino de Santiago, Spain to celebrate the power of sacred place. I am a certified Kundalini yoga teacher (500 hours), engaging leaders to embody somatic wisdom and creativity.
Focused on uniting my values with my work in the world, in 2009, I completed facilitation training at the Center for Courage & Renewal co-founded by Quaker author and activist, Parker J. Palmer to support leaders in strengthening integrity and agency. And in 2019, I completed the Transformative Educational Leadership Fellowship training to integrate personal development with systemic and structural transformation in schools.
I am an accredited leadership coach (Professional Certified Coach, PCC) and I completed my coach training in 2011 at Georgetown’s Leadership Coaching Program at the Institute for Transformational Leadership. After transitioning my legal career, I became the Founder and Chief Mindfulness Officer of Lead Smart Coaching, LLC, supporting leaders to apply and integrate leadership and mindfulness for greater resilience, clarity, and compassion, and serve as a co-director of Georgetown’s Institute for Transformational Leadership, Leadership Coaching Program.
I place a high-value on education as well as spiritual development and I hold a Juris Doctor from Howard University School of Law, Master of Arts from Miami University (Ohio), and Bachelor of Arts from City University of New York. I’ve participated in multidisciplinary training in mindfulness, somatics, leadership development, and personal growth.
Of Cuban-Jamaican descent and with a unique, Buddhist-Christian perspective, my life has been greatly enriched as a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). I live in a converted barn and tend a lively perennial home garden in New Hope, PA, on traditional lands of the Lenni Lenape Nation.