Awakin Calls » Leila Naderi

Leila Naderi: Educator, researcher, leadership consultant
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May 9, 2020: The Yogi Leader


Watch: Video Recording

Read: Summary By Preeta Bansal  


Dr. Leila Naderi is an award-winning entrepreneur, educator, researcher and consultant, who is passionate about leadership development, partnership development, and social impact. She is the founder of Global Leadership Academy, an entirely volunteer-run organization, and Yoga for Leadership, a developmental program that bridges yoga and mindfulness to enhance holistic well-being and maximize individual, team, and organizational performance. Dr. Naderi is the Director of Partnership Development and Adjunct Faculty at Alliant International University. She has over a decade of leadership and management experience in different sectors. She is the co-author (with leadership expert Dr. John J. Franey) of The Yogi Leader: Discovering the Seven See full.

Dr. Leila Naderi is an award-winning entrepreneur, educator, researcher and consultant, who is passionate about leadership development, partnership development, and social impact. She is the founder of Global Leadership Academy, an entirely volunteer-run organization, and Yoga for Leadership, a developmental program that bridges yoga and mindfulness to enhance holistic well-being and maximize individual, team, and organizational performance.

Dr. Naderi is the Director of Partnership Development and Adjunct Faculty at Alliant International University. She has over a decade of leadership and management experience in different sectors. She is the co-author (with leadership expert Dr. John J. Franey) of The Yogi Leader: Discovering the Seven Elements of Leading with Mind, Body, & Heart 

The Yogi Leader is both a book and a developmental program (of workshops, retreats, and resources) that is about discovering who we are as people, and who we are as leaders.  As an advanced Hatha/Sivananda yoga instructor, Dr. Naderi was fascinated with the concept of the relationship between yoga practice and leadership while doing her doctoral dissertation work in leadership.  She noticed an incredible synergy and correlation between the two.  Her doctoral study found that leaders who practice yoga regularly score higher on authentic leadership skill tests than leaders who either don’t practice yoga or rarely practice yoga.

As she worked through the concepts of yoga and leadership with her friend and leadership development consultant, Dr. John Franey, she realized that the chakras of yoga (the spiritual energy centers that exist within particular areas of the human body) and various leadership approaches were in fact extremely synergistic.  From this synergy emerged the concept of “The Seven Elements of Leadership,” each of which is perfectly aligned with a chakra of yoga practice.  Each of the elements is a different skill that people need in order to lead effectively and authentically with mind, body, and heart in any aspect of life.  The book follows the stories of seven different leaders, each with their own set of problems and issues to deal with in their leadership practice. Each of their stories focuses on a different Element of Leadership and is aligned to a particular chakra.

Dr. Naderi’s innovative projects include “Yoga 4 Leadership” which she founded in 2014, for organizing and leading executive retreats and workshops, integrating the principles of yoga and meditation into leadership training, with the goal of developing inspired leaders and creating a culture that fosters productivity, self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and well-being. She founded the Global Leadership Academy in 2016 as a volunteer-run organization that serves the community and provides leadership training seminars. She states that her inspiration for creating this organization came when she became familiar with volunteer-run ecosystem of ServiceSpace (of which these Awakin Calls are a part). The goal of the Global Leadership Academy is to develop conscious leaders who act beyond profit to serve people and planet; bridge the gap between the leaders of today and tomorrow; build diverse and inclusive communities; encourage entrepreneurial activities; and connect scholars and practitioners.

Leila was the recipient of Special Congressional Recognition by the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018 for her outstanding community service. In 2019 she was recognized as Outstanding Doctor of Philosophy in Leadership at Alliant International University, and also received the North San Diego Business Chamber’s  Leadership Award for positively impacting the community.

Born in Tehran, Iran, she now lives in San Diego, California. She obtained her PhD from the California School of Management and Leadership.


Five Questions for Leila
What Makes You Come Alive?

The fact that I have a choice...I can choose how to lead my life intentionally and how to make an impact on the world around me

Pivotal turning point in your life?

The entire 3 months that I dedicated my time to yoga teacher training ( India, 2006-2007). Deepening my yoga/meditation practice opened new perspectives to my world.

An Act of Kindness You'll Never Forget?

My sister, Fara, has impacted my life in many positive ways since childhood. I have a great life in San Diego and I am grateful for her kindness to help me to move to the U.S over a decade ago.

One Thing On Your Bucket List?

Giving a talk at the United Nations about Leading with Mind, body, & Heart on International Day of Yoga.

One-line Message for the World?

I offer this quote from our book, The Yogi Leader: "Don't be afraid to change the existence that you know, because what waits on the other side could be a beautiful spectacle".

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