Interview: Janice Marturano, a mindful leader

Janice Marturano founded the Institute for Mindful Leadership in 2010, following five years of developing curricula and providing mindful leadership training to leaders from around the world.

Prior to becoming the Founder and Executive Director of the Institute for Mindful Leadership, Janice held the position of Vice President, Public Responsibility and Deputy General Counsel for General Mills Inc., a Fortune 200 food company recognized globally for its training and development of leaders.

While at General Mills, she was a strategic business leader, responsible for a wide variety of legal and social issues. Janice received her Juris Doctorate from New York University School of Law and her mindfulness training from Jon Kabat Zinn and Saki Santorelli at the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

1. What led you to meditation?

I was completing a very complex and very long transaction that had completely exhausted me and, even after I was done, I did not ‘bounce back’. My mental resiliency had been completely depleted. So I wondered if training the mind to be ‘stronger’ is possible just as training the body is possible. Eventually, I found a mindfulness retreat taught by Jon Kabat Zinn and it was the first step on this journey.

2. What value has practising meditation brought to your life?

I awoke to how much of my time was on auto-pilot and, of course, it ultimately allowed me to combine my 25 years as a leader in for-profit and nonprofit organizations with the practice of mindfulness to develop the offerings of the Institute for Mindful Leadership.

3. How has meditation supported you in your professional life?

It allows me to have greater focus, to see what is here versus what I expect/hope to be here, and it allows me to connect more fully and deeply with those around me, and with my community.

4. What are the biggest obstacles to your practice?

The pressure of time.

5. What is a quote that most inspires you and why?

‘Opportunities for leadership are all around us, the capacity for leadership is deep within us.’ Madeline Albright

It reminds us all that we all have the capacity to lead, to influence. And it reminds us that true leadership comes from bringing all of us, all of our capabilities to each moment.

6. What is a book that has opened you to new ideas and inspired your growth and why?

Coming to Our Senses by Jon Kabat Zinn.

7. What Mindful Music do you listen to (ie. music that grabs your full attention and brings you into the moment)?

All music.

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"If we wish to be healthy, happy and clear-minded, we need to upgrade our “inner technology”of attention to meet the demands of our increasingly complex world. That's where mindfulness comes in.."




Elise Bialylew is the author of the bestselling book, The Happiness Plan, and founder of Mindful in May, the world’s largest online global mindfulness fundraising campaign.

A doctor trained in psychiatry, turned social entrepreneur and mindfulness expert, she’s passionate about supporting individuals and organisations to develop inner tools for greater wellbeing and flourishing, and offers workshops and training at The Mind Life Project.

Her work has been featured in the Huffington Post, New York Times and on Australian Television. She was recently recognised by the Australian Financial Review as a 2019 AFR Women of Influence.

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