About the Instructors

Main Instructors

Susan Skjei, Ph.D., PCC

Susan Skjei, Ph.D., PCC is the director of the Authentic Leadership Center at Naropa University. The center hosts the acclaimed ALIA Summer Intensive and offers public and custom programs in Authentic Leadership and Mindfulness. The purpose of the center is to inspire, educate, and empower current and next generation leaders to act as agents of positive organizational and social change.

Formerly a Vice President and Chief Learning Officer for a fortune 1000 company, Susan has designed and facilitated hundreds of workshops and deep training programs in the US, Canada, and Europe. She has a unique ability to foster energetic and high trust learning environments.

Susan has been practicing and studying mindfulness meditation since 1970. Her first teacher was Zen Master, Suzuki Roshi. She then studied with Tibetan meditation master, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche for 17 years and has continued under the guidance of his son Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. She is Acharya (senior teacher) within the Shambhala Buddhist lineage and has been an authorized meditation instructor for over 30 years.

Mary McHenry

Mary McHenry is a wilderness rites of passage guide and leadership coach with a background in music, movement and creative process. She is an avid Nordic skier and ice hockey player and comes from a long line of powerful women singers. Her work explores the voice as a complex, raw and beautiful instrument for expression and communication; and embodiment as a vital leadership skill. Mary holds several professional coaching certifications and a Masters in Adult Learning. Her extensive background in communication, facilitation, mediation and leadership combined with her down to earth enjoyment of life make her a catalyst for awareness and change. Mary is currently Curriculum Design & Distance Education Manager for the Authentic Leadership Center at Naropa University. 

Guest Presenters

Dale Asrael

Dale Asrael has taught in the field of contemplative education for more than thirty-five years. She is an Acharya (Senior Teacher) in the lineage of Naropa’s founder, Ven. Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and is an Upadhyaya (Buddhist minister). In addition to teaching at Naropa, she leads meditation retreats and dharma programs internationally, and trains meditation instructors. Dale has been appointed by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche as the Dean of Meditation Instructors for Shambhala International. She is also a practitioner of the ancient contemplative body-mind practice Qigong and has been appointed to teach in the Xiantianwujimen and Xiquan lineages by Daoist lineage holder, Eva Wong. 

Gaylon Ferguson, Ph.D.

Gaylon Ferguson, PhD, is Core Faculty at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. He received a doctorate in cultural anthropology from Stanford where he was a Fulbright Fellow to Nigeria. He is the author of two books: Natural Bravery: Fear and Fearlessness as a Direct Path of Awakening (2016), Natural Wakefulness: Discovering the Wisdom We Were Born With. He has led group retreats in mindfulness-awareness meditation for 40 years. 

Peter Grossenbacher, Ph.D.

Peter Grossenbacher. PhD teaches courses in Contemplative Education and Contemplative Psychology degree programs at Naropa University, including Perception, Cognitive Psychology, Statistics and Research Methods, Mindfulness Meditation, and The Mindful Teacher. His research focuses on the teaching of contemplative practice, and the effects of meditation on personal worldview and engagement with awareness. He is Professor, BA Contemplative Psychology and Director of the Consciousness Laboratory at Naropa. 

Marty Janowitz

Marty Janowitz has been involved in environmental change and sustainability for more than 25 years in Canada and internationally. He is Chair of the Nova Scotia Roundtable on Environment and Sustainable Prosperity and is active in Buddhist climate change initiatives. He was Chair of the Authentic Leadership in Action (ALIA) Institute and is currently a trustee of Naropa University. Marty has extensive experience as a business and social entrepreneur, leader and executive. He is currently Vice President and Practice Leader of Sustainable Development for Stantec, an international consultancy where he helps the company ‘walk the talk’ and consults on community, national and corporate social responsibility and sustainability. Marty is also a professional executive and life coach, has particular commitment to environmental and sustainable transformation and what he describes as “sacred activism.” 

Jim Rosen

Jim Rosen is a professional coach working with individuals and teams. His experience spans the breadth of both business and contemplative worlds. As an entrepreneur he co-founded two successful software firms and has extensive experience in the technology industry. He was part of the founding management teams of Netegrity and LANSystems, both of which achieved leading market share positions in their respective spaces. In addition, he has held senior roles in some of the largest technology companies in the industry including Lotus Development and Genuity. He has been studying and teaching mindfulness for more than thirty years and is currently vice chair of the Naropa University Board of Trustees. 

Judith Simmer-Brown, Ph.D.

Judith Simmer-Brown, PhD, is a Distinguished Professor of Contemplative and Religious Studies at Naropa University, where she has taught as a Founding Faculty member since 1978. She has practiced Tibetan Buddhism for forty-five years and is an Acharya (senior dharma teacher) of the Shambhala Buddhist lineage of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Naropa’s founder. She is the founder and Senior Faculty Adviser to the Center for the Advancement of Contemplative Education (CACE), exhibiting the University’s leadership as the pioneer institution for contemplative education. Dr. Simmer-Brown lectures and writes on Tibetan Buddhism, American Buddhism, women and Buddhism, inter-religious dialogue, and contemplative education. 

Tami Simon

Tami Simon founded Sounds True at the age of 22 with the mission of disseminating spiritual wisdom. As a pioneer in the conscious business movement, she focuses on bringing authenticity and heart into the workplace while honoring multiple bottom lines. Tami hosts a popular weekly podcast called Insights at the Edge, where she has interviewed many of today’s leading teachers, delving deeply into their discoveries and personal experiences on their own journeys. With Sounds True, she has released the audio program Being True: What Matters Most in Work, Life, and Love. 

Rev. angel Kyodo williams, Sensei

Rev. angel Kyodo williams, Sensei, is an author, maverick spiritual teacher, master trainer and founder of Center for Transformative Change. She has been bridging the worlds of personal transformation and justice since the publication of her critically acclaimed book, Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living With Fearlessness and Grace. Her book was hailed as “an act of love” by Pulitzer Prize winner Alice Walker and “a classic” by Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield. Her recent book is Radical Dharma: Talking Race Love and Liberation. Ordained as a Zen priest, she recently became the second black woman recognized as a teacher in her lineage. 

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