Speaker: Mina Lee

Integrating Spirituality and Business: an East-West Approach to Transformation

In a retreat center in Suzhou, China, Mina Lee can be found sitting in the center of a dozen executives, a shawl draped over her shoulders and a metal drum at her lap, immersing the room in a “sound bath.” On another day, she's commanding the stage in front of hundreds of female business leaders in America, presenting on authentic leadership or conscious entrepreneurship. On yet another day, she's standing at the head of a long, wooden table in a redwood forest of Northern California, a teacup raised to her forehead, co-leading a traditional Chinese tea ceremony.

As a facilitator, executive coach, and strategist for culture change, Mina lives as fluidly in the ancient mountains of Washington state as she does the contemporary high-rises of San Francisco or Shanghai, all of which she currently calls home. Through Mina’s eyes, though the external settings may vary, our inner worlds are the “greatest lever for systems change.” One of the primary vehicles she uses for inner transformation is the business sector. 

At the heart of Mina’s life and work is the permission to be stretched by love. She is guided by the question of how to bridge cultural and intergenerational divides — the ways in which we dehumanize each other through misunderstanding, whether between investors and investees, business and non-business sectors, people living in the East and those in the West, and more specifically, China and the United States. “On a deeper level,” reflects Mina, “this is the healing of my own rift, from when my father said, ‘You’ll never be able to understand me — you, raised in America, versus me, in China.’”

So, how can we let go of the stories that keep us separate? How can we relate more authentically to one another? What is the new aspirational story where self-awareness becomes the cultural norm? Mina’s questions go beyond geographical and political, and into the core of the personal realm: How do the constructs of our minds keep us separated from and in judgment of ourselves? 

After her self-described “wild self” graduated from New York University with a BS in Economics and Finance with a focus on Social Entrepreneurship, Mina served in a series of positions — management consultant at the Boston Consulting Group, Innovation and Economic Development Consultant at the World Bank, founder of an events company in New York City, and COO and Chief of Staff of Xiaomi Southeast Asia. The different organizational structures, whether for-profit or nonprofit, Western, Eastern or global, increasingly affirmed her realization that systemic and social dysfunctions stemmed from a disconnection to oneself. She began seeing her role in connecting leaders more intimately with their core selves, thereby repairing the ecosystems of their relationships, organizations, or companies.

In 2018, Mina founded the East West Bridge, which she currently hosts, “an advisory firm that helps conscious leaders and companies grow.” During its inception, the East West Bridge organized a retreat of 28 leaders from China’s healing and wellbeing sector to meet their peers in the United States for the first time. From millennial to elder, the group ranged from teachers of psychology and mindfulness to entrepreneurs, corporate coaches, technology investors, philanthropists, systems change experts, and neuroscientists. Collectively, their platforms in China reached 25M+ people. Over the course of the week, the immersive exchange of skills and strategies, as well as the co-creation of a heart-centered field, manifested the holistic, inside-out transformation that Mina embodies and catalyzes. 

Mina weaves skill as well as playful creativity throughout her professional projects, like coaching American, European, and Asian venture-backed CEOs, or advising the CEO of Innerland, a “Disneyland for Zen,” a still-in-development cultural ecotourism experience park in China to help make accessible the ancient wisdom of Chan (Zen). She has also conducted extensive research and mapping studies, from the philanthropic funding of consciousness to the underfunding of mindfulness teacher training for BIPOC and economically underserved communities. 

In her personal life, she mirrors the same combination of creativity and contemplation, whether practicing yoga on a lone pier over a lake — or writing poetry about the romance of a cup of tea or the sensuality of a lychee fruit. She is fluent in Mandarin, as well as the language of the wooden flute, Kalimba (thumb piano), drums, and shakers. She is a certified Music Medicine Facilitator through the UCLA Arts & Healing program. Each year, she spends time in deep monastic study. 

To try to encapsulate Mina’s person and mission? As one client shared, "What's unique about Mina is that she can work with all parts of me — the CEO, mother, wife, daughter, sister, and inner two-year-old and teenager. She helps me integrate these roles, experience deeper vulnerability, and relate to the one beneath the roles, without a mask. I'm able to balance serious execution with relaxation, rest, and joy."

Please join Cynthia Li and Nicolas Boillot in conversation with this gifted weaver of inner and outer, business and beauty, strategy and consciousness. 

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