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Going Beyond the Pig and the Ape: Making Mindful Choices to Connect People, Passion and Purpose

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By Michelle Maldonado
Associate Vice President of Corporate and Strategic Relationships, American Public University System

Throughout our technologically advanced and connected society, many Americans are running on fumes. Whether on the job or at home, we’re taking on more and working even harder at a time when the economy continues to struggle, and political leaders cannot see eye to eye. Despite gloomy outlooks, there are starting points and resources to help authentic leaders utilizals-october2013e mindful practices in the classroom, boardroom, hospitals and the frontlines across industries. In this issue of the Authentic Leadership Series, I talk with author and former Chief Operating Officer and Coach of Waldron Wealth Management, Krishna Pendyala about his work to help “the driven and restless” make wiser choices and his unexpected partnership with U.S. Congressman, Tim Ryan to help build a mindful nation.

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Q: You’ve mentioned how you stumbled upon Congressman Ryan’s writings and work. Can you share how your own work led you to this intersection?

Krishna: I published my first book in 2011. It was written for the personal development and business audiences, but it resonated most with the mindfulness audience. Interestingly, I had chosen to stay away from the word “mindfulness” in my book as a quick Google search would bring pages of results steeped in religious connotations. And I knew early on that I didn’t want to approach the topic of self-awareness with an association to religion. Then last year I received a chapter
of Congressman Tim Ryan’s book, “A Mindful Nation.” I immediately connected with it and I tried reaching out to him. However, I couldn’t reach him directly since I wasn’t in his Ohio district and I couldn’t send a direct email. Not too long after, while attending a Mindfulness in Education conference, I happened to cross paths with Congressman Ryan having been introduced to him by the folks at the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts. Over a dinner conversation, I went from being unable to send him an email, to openly collaborating on ideas to convert the Rust Belt between Pittsburgh and Cleveland into a “Mindful Tech Belt.” Over the next few months, we continued the conversation  and converged on our shared dream to build a mindful nation by creating a foundation. I was surprised when he followed up by saying, “Krishna, I want you to run the initiative.” At that point, it became ultra-clear that this project would serve as a vehicle to connect people, passion and purpose in an intentional and conscious way—elements which are necessary to building a mindful nation.

Read on to learn more about Krishna’s insights on mindful choices that connect people, passion and purpose as part of the APU Authentic Leadership Series, “Going Beyond the Pig and the Ape: Making Mindful Choices to Connect People, Passion and Purpose“.

About Michelle:

Michelle Maldonado is a former corporate attorney with more than 17 years of leadership experience in strategic planning, operations and partnership development across the e-learning, technology and online media industries. She currently serves as Associate Vice President of Corporate and Strategic Relationships for American Public University (APU) and is the creator and editor of The Authentic Leadership Series. Michelle is passionate about talent development, coaching and the mentoring of professionals to support organizational success and sustainability. Utilizing an authentic and consultative approach, Michelle collaborates with industry organizations to form education alliances that support overall talent and institutional growth strategies. She also represents APU in conferences and other venues on the topic of leadership authenticity and its convergence with emotional intelligence, mindfulness and other “conscious leadership” practices that inspire culture transformation. Michelle’s work has been featured in Chief Learning Officer, Human Capital Insights, Leadership Excellence, and Training magazines.

To learn more about how American Public University’s programs and services may help you with your talent development and retention strategies, please visit: www.StudyAtAPU.com/Solutions or contact Michelle at mmaldonado@apus.edu.

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