The Role and Mindfulness of an Effective Leader

Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

My name is Carolyn Lebanowski and I am a Strategic Leadership Partner for ILLLI. I am so excited to be a part of this ground-breaking platform where learning and growing together is a core value.

As a life-long learner and student of human potential, I believe in vulnerability, authenticity, and connection. I have learned that we all experience seasons and chapters in our lives that are sometimes hard to navigate. We struggle with unexpected scenarios and hunger for simple solutions and in the end, we all yearn to be heard and seen – without judgement.

This is life, our life, our journey.

Mindfulness and Leadership – It’s all about CONNECTION

I remember the day when my perception of mindfulness and leadership shifted under my feet – it was embarrassing and humbling. I was sitting with one of my team members discussing a project. As she was talking, I realized I was not listening. I noticed that I was nodding my head, smiling, watching her lips move, but heard nothing.

Why was I not actively listening? Was I judging her words? Did I think I already had the answers? Or was I just trying to multitask?

I realized that connection and authenticity were completely absent – I knew it was never going to work like this. I took a deep breath and asked if we could start over…and we did.

Mindful Leadership requires us to be:

  • Connected and Vulnerable
  • Honest and Humble
  • Curious and Confident
  • Bold and Brave

We need to ask ourselves:

  • Are we fully present in our listening with open eyes and an open heart?
  • Are we being authentic in our voice sharing from a space of truth?
  • Are we asking the questions that help us go deeper?
  • Are we holding fierce beliefs that fuel our actions and empower our instincts?

Mindfulness is a compass in every aspect of our lives. It is an opportunity to redirect our thinking inward vs outward. It takes practice. So when you find yourself off track, just take a deep breath and start over.


Carolyn Lebanowski
Carolyn Lebanowski
She began her professional career in retail and grew to become an experienced and respected senior-level executive with particular expertise in strategic development, organizational communication, and executive coaching. After nearly three decades of career growth in corporate organizational development, Carolyn was ready for a career change—and a life change. This led to a new role and the most challenging, enriching, and rewarding work of her life, as a Strategic Business Leader for nonprofit spiritual institutions. These roles provide her the opportunity to fuse the professional and the personal, aligning her business acumen with her spiritual identity and passion for the development of human potential—in her colleagues, her community, and herself. Carolyn is a writer who seeks above all to share from the heart. Her impulse to write began 20 years ago with letters to her children and grew into journaling that was unedited and life-affirming. Today she writes with a focus on raw, authentic experience, drawn from real life, to explore, express, and make sense of the pain and joy, struggles and triumphs, of life. In all her endeavors, she champions connection, integrity, and radical positivity.

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  1. Welcome to this group and congratulations on your presentation with these reflections on awareness.

    Mindfulness is the key to our growth and we all have great fortune: we can decide to raise it and strengthen it. It leads to skills, and skills lead to the result. We get results for a project if we work in harmony with our way of being and what we are willing to think.

  2. Oh my goodness, Carolyn, are you singin’ to the choir with me! Holy smokes, I think I could have written these same words! It’s so exciting to see this perspective catching fire and all the good work that’s being done in the world to move it forward. Welcome to the BizCat family!

  3. Thanks, there, Institute!

    One of my favorite writers is John Ciardi. I used his “How Does a Poem Mean” in my years as an English teacher and still visit from time to time.

    He wrote of “the pleasure of taking pains” as part of what makes writing and reading poetry so rewarding. One of the cracks in this current time provides us the opportunity to be at least a bit more painstaking and not feel like we’re constantly being spanked by the hands of the clock. I know, some of you are saying “what the hell is the hand of a clock?” Just take it as a metaphor.

    Be good. And well.


    Don’t forget the back2different podcast:

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