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“Just as ripples spread out when a single pebble is dropped into water, the actions of individuals can have far-reaching effects.” – Dalai Lama –

As people aspiring to create enlightened society, we want to believe that we are committed to tolerance and acceptance of all humankind. However, current events are sadly proving otherwise. Racism, bigotry, sexism, xenophobia – most of us hoped we had moved beyond these prejudices. But why does this hatred continue to escalate? And how can we, as a caring society, step up and and step in during these turbulent times to become the positive and humane embodiment of what we want to see in the world?

Mary McHenry, a leadership embodiment coach and one of the faculty at the upcoming Authentic Leadership program in January 2018, explores how we, as individuals, can take a more proactive role in challenging damaging preconceptions and encouraging positive change in society.

Mary shares with us how the three essential competencies of the Authentic Leadership program – presence, engagement and wise action – enable us to become more awake, aware and engaged, not only in our own lives but also in what’s going on in our world.


Awake people make for more proactive people who are passionate about contributing to affirmative change, individually and collectively. Mary teaches that instead of getting bulldozed by mainstream thinking and action, awake individuals pay attention to what is happening around them. Consciously shifting from passive stance and into an engaged one, we can step up as authentic leaders and encourage others take more responsibility for their actions and reactions. By inspiring others to deepen their self-awareness and re-evaluate their actions, we can build a solid foundation to create a profound ripple effect that spreads out to our global citizenship.

Mary emphasizes that there is potential for hope when people show up fully to focus and dedicate themselves to becoming agents of positive change in the lives of others. She is passionate about what a difference these simple tools can make in the lives of every person, and how vital, valuable and enlivening it is to cultivate these gifts together. By reflecting and evolving our perceptions of ourselves, we can reach out and connect with others – engaging with effective and compassionate action, rather than isolation and distrust.

As we contemplate how we, as individuals, can deepen our relationships, broaden our perspectives and learn together, we come to understand how every one of us has the potential and ability to be that single pebble dropped into water to create a rippling, far-reaching effect of loving kindness and compassion in the world.

Mary McHenry is a wilderness rites of passage guide and leadership coach with a background in music, movement and the creative process. Her work explores the voice as a complex, raw and beautiful instrument for expression and communication.

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, where her teachings include embodiment as a vital leadership skill.

Mary McHenry

Curriculum Design & Distance Education Manager, Authentic Leadership Center at Naropa University

Authentic Leadership Program

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