This post was shared by Maria van Hekken – faculty in Georgetown’s Executive Certificate in Leadership Coaching.

What would it take for you to live life in full flourish?

If you flowed in the wind like flowers do?

If you naturally tilted your gaze unabashedly toward the light?

If you blossomed right where you’re planted now,

Grew luxuriantly for all to see,

Achieved success as you define it,

And created seeds of change as only you know how?

What if you reached your full height (and power),

If others looked to you for advice or inspiration,

If you planted seeds as far and wide as the breezes will carry?

Yes, you can flourish.

You can dare to thrive.

It’s all right to blossom in this season

To show what you’re made of

To love who you are and the life you’ve cultivated.

Look at the clever flourishes of the sky-blue clematis,

The soft yellow flowers of tomatoes-to-be,

The feathery fronds of the grasses everywhere –

They don’t worry what others might think.

They carry on, doing what they were meant to do.

And really:

Who among us looks at a flower and asks, why are you allowed to be so amazing?

To be so happy?

To be so admired?

Now, this summer,

This time in your life,

Live your life fully,

Share your beauty with the world,

Go forth and flourish, as you are meant to.


Read more from Maria van Hekken on her Positive Thinking for Leadership Success blog here. 

Double Accreditation: Multiple Paths for Health & Wellness Coaches

This month, Georgetown University’s Health and Wellness Coaching Program earned the distinction of accreditation with the International Coach Federation (ICF) in addition to the program certification by the National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching (NBHWC).

For Health & Wellness Coaching graduates, the ICF accreditation opens up additional pathways for professional credentialing as an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) or a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) by using the ACSTH application pathway. Having both accreditations further distinguishes the Georgetown Health & Wellness Coaching program at the top tier of offerings. Graduates are now set up to more easily pursue the professional path that best suits their passion, their strengths, and their clientele’s requests of validation from the NBHWC and/or the ICF.

The eight-month highly experiential health & wellness coach training program is based on the principles of adult learning, transformational learning theory, and Jesuit Education Philosophy.  With an emphasis on self and personal transformation, the program leads students to explore the full range of human experience including the mind, body, spirit and emotion as a pathway to behavior change for sustainable health and wellbeing.  Students train to become health & wellness coaches in a supportive learning community of faculty, practitioners, coaches, mentors and fellow classmates.

Housed in the Institute for Transformational Leadership, the Health & Wellness Coaching program is part of a rich history of coach training dating back to 1999 with over 2000 coaches graduated.  After the program is over, graduates are able to tap into an active alumni community across the Institute  fueled by leaders, both health & wellness and leadership coaches, organizational development and diversity, equity & inclusion consultants, and facilitators.


Learn more about Georgetown’s Health & Wellness Coaching program in the Institute for Transformational Leadership.


DEI Program Promotes Equity and Belonging in the Workplace

This article was originally shared on the Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies News & Events page. 

Maria Kelts is the Head of Enterprise Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging, at Capital One Financial, but she doesn’t rely on diversity training to make workplaces more equitable and welcoming.

“Diversity training is not a stand-alone solution, and many challenge its effectiveness in organizations,” Kelts says. “I would also focus on creating fair, equitable, and transparent people processes that are sustainable” and encompass the entire employee lifecycle, from the time they are recruited till when they say good-bye.

Because, as she explains, if people “leave your organization with a pervasive feeling of inclusion,” they will promote it as a great place to work or be a long-term customer.

An Increasing Demand

This distinction—between relatively narrow diversity training and a more holistic approach—also applies to Kelts’ other position as an instructor in the Executive Certificate in Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion program at Georgetown University. Led by academics and experienced practitioners, the certificate emphasizes the best practices and latest academic research in cultural competency and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

“The course is experiential in nature and is built on the foundation of understanding oneself through the identities one holds and acknowledging oneself as a change agent,” Kelts says. “Knowing how you walk through the world allows you to more effectively analyze, diagnose, and address DEI issues in the workplace and beyond.”

Many practitioners in her field “are absolutely exhausted right now,” Kelts says. Certainly, the pandemic’s outsized impact on underrepresented groups and a heightened focus on racial justice have compelled corporations to initiate, or reinvest in, programs to address inequities. But this investment is also part of a broader trend of corporate commitment to DEI. The demand for qualified practitioners has grown dramatically, with LinkedIn data showing a 71 percent increase in worldwide DEI positions over the past five years.

Universities have also responded.

“We’re at capacity every quarter,” Kelts says of Georgetown’s DEI certificate program, which includes six intensive courses that must be completed within six months. “The demand has enabled us to be selective with those who apply. It is highly competitive.” Admissions officers “are looking for individuals who are open to learning through non-traditional methods and embracing a cohort experience.”

A Well-Documented Advantage

The business case for diversity has been demonstrated repeatedly in recent years: Simply put, diverse, inclusive, and equitable companies are more profitable. According to MarketWatch: “Diverse companies are 70 percent more likely to capture new markets than organizations that do not actively recruit and support talent from under-represented groups.”

This statistic makes particular sense when considering the kind of out-of-the-box thinking that is required for innovation: Is this more likely to come from a group with similar backgrounds, mindsets, and experiences, or a group with more diverse ones? The answer is self-evident. In addition, forward-thinking companies are more focused on addressing inclusivity, fairness, and social responsibility—and in attracting talented prospects who prioritize these values when choosing a job.

“Diversity is an absolute reality,” Kelts says. “One cannot argue with the changing composition of the United States. In addition to being inclusive of differences, and providing your employees with role clarity, a belief that they are being fairly invested in and rewarded is essential in enhancing a feeling of belonging that leads to greater engagement and outcomes.”

A Quest for Self-Knowledge

Georgetown’s program generally attracts three kinds of students, Kelts says. They include: people who have been tasked by their organizations to implement a DEI program; those already in the field who want to learn new skills; and others who are “generally interested in DEI as a field of study.”

Early in the program, students engage in a personal inquiry designed to increase their self-knowledge. “It’s very important that you develop a level of awareness around self—how you experience the world and how that peppers and flavors your interactions with others—and really have clarity on that piece first,” Kelts says. “And then you can dive into, for example, understanding how to address systemic inequities in systems at the individual, organizational, and societal levels.”

Kelts says the benefits of this kind of experience go beyond one’s working life.

“Not everybody who completes the certificate program is going to work in a DEI position, nor should they,” Kelts says. “One of our students shared that this program provided them with tools to transform every space they enter. The cohort experience is a unique opportunity to build a network of support as one moves forward with their DEI journey. We know our sphere of influence extends beyond our workplace, including our friends, family, and community.”


Learn more about Georgetown’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion program here.  

Caring for Our Common Home

This post was shared by Lynn Screen, Managing Director in Georgetown’s Institute for Transformational Leadership.

This month marks the 51st Earth Day, a global celebration and reminder of the fragility of our planet.  This year, we also celebrate Georgetown University’s newest Jesuit value, “Care for Our Common Home”.

“Care for Our Common Home” calls us to enter into a “new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet.”  In addition to protecting the Earth through conservation and preservation efforts, there is also a moral imperative at play.   We recognize the disproportionate impact of environmental hazards on people of color, so we are called to advance the work of environmental justice.

What can you as a leader do to care for our common home?

Start at Home

Consider your own ecological footprint and reflect on how your lifestyle compares with that of the other 7.6 million people on the Earth.  The are many tools to calculate the impact of your lifestyle choices.  Try this one from the Global Footprint Network.  

Identify ways that you and your family can continue to decrease your ecological impact on our planet.  Reduce your waste, your use of disposable plastics, your meat consumption, and your water use.  Switch to renewable energy sources and to buying as much as possible locally. Commit to starting something different today.

Learn About Environmental Justice

The environmental justice movement began in the 1980s as massive disparities were exposed in the burden of environmental degradation and pollution facing people of color and low-income communities .  Since then, the environmental justice movement has focused on gaining government support to decrease the disproportionate impact of environmental degradation and pollution- especially on those communities that already face discrimination.

What is your role in environmental justice?  Educate yourself on the environmental justice efforts in your area, and elevate the voices of impacted communities.   As a leader, use your power and position to influence others to support environmental justice.  As a citizen, hold your representatives accountable.   If you are in the U.S., start here at the Environmental Protection Agency site. 

Add a Sustainability Lens to Your Decision Making

Each day, we make thousands of conscious decisions.  What would happen if you paused twice a day to ask yourself, “How will this choice impact the environment?”  In your organization, at what point in your strategic planning, budgeting, procurement, hiring, and operations do you consider the implications on the environment and those disproportionally impacted?  Raise your individual and organizational consciousness by adding a sustainability lens to your decision making.  If you are a coach or consultant, support your leaders as they navigate the moral call for sustainability, regeneration and environmental justice as they also tend to the bottom line.

Our collective home is calling us to witness the realities of how we use and abuse the Earth in a new way.  We must use our voices and make bold moves to reshape the future of our planet.  After all, we are truly in this together.

Photo by Johannes Plenio from Pexels

Body Intelligence: Coming Home

This post was shared by Marcia Feola, MCC, faculty of Leadership’s Untapped Resource: Body Intelligence in Georgetown’s Institute for Transformational Leadership.

What is body intelligence and why is it important?

First let’s start with an historical perspective. It was not until the 16th century when Descartes wrote, “I think, therefore I am.“ that  we began to believe that the mind, body and emotions are three separate and independent systems.  We now know, with the advancement of neuroscience aided by radiological imaging, that the human body in its totality operates more as a chord: all of the functions and processes work together as a whole system. We have a cognitive rational mind, emotions and physical sensations.

If you think of our human body as a three-legged stool with a mind, body and emotions as its legs, you can readily see that if we take one leg away, the stool falls over. When learning to come home to our body’s intelligence we are learning to operate with all three legs of the stool, which are all of the resources we need to be successful in our journey as a human.

Most people with whom I work talk about wanting to be their full, authentic selves — an auspicious goal for sure. If we, as humans, are not in touch with our bodies and the intelligence in our bodies, we are leaving a large portion of ourselves behind. We are socialized to disregard the important data we receive all day long from our bodies. This is epitomized in many organizations by the request to, “Leave your emotions at the door.” Ignoring physical sensations and emotions is a norm for so many of us. This comment suggests that feelings and emotions are not welcome at work. This is why tapping into body intelligence is actually a homecoming: we’re coming back to our whole self.

The work of body intelligence is to raise processes or patterns into our awareness. Awareness provides us with choice and improves our outcomes and relationships. There are three critical elements to coming home.

1. Pay attention (listen to or tune into)  – Can we be aware of our physical self, the sensations, the moves we make, the cues we receive?

  1. Discernment – How do we make sense of those physical signals?
  1. Choice  – How can we use this information to make choices and inform our actions?

When operating with body intelligence, leaders, coaches, facilitators and others have stated they have immediate access to skills and choices that allow them to show-up with more capacity and wisdom, creating positive outcomes for self and others with greater ease. When working with individuals and organizations, your personal decision tree can shift in any given movement. The fastest and most effective way to access authenticity and effectiveness, while creating inclusiveness and connection – is to come home to body intelligence.

Learn more about Leadership’s Untapped Resource: Body Intelligence in the Institute for Transformational Leadership.