Business and Policy Leader Events

A Taste of Mindful Leadership with NYU Alum & Former General Mills Exec Janice Marturano

It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done ... but I saw an impact right away – I was more present, clear, creative and passionate.

As part of NYU Stern’s new Mindfulness in Business Initiative, which launched earlier this year, MBA students convened for a workshop introducing mindful leadership practices aimed at increasing focus, clarity and resilience.  The session was led by NYU Law School alumna Janice Marturano (JD ’82), founder and executive director of the Institute of Mindful Leadership, and a strategic leader within General Mills for nearly 15 years. 
Marturano shared her path to mindfulness meditation, which began as a “21st Century Juggler” – a time period in which she managed a senior-level job at General Mills, children, aging parents and obligations as president of the board of a nonprofit organization.  After working on a stressful, 18-month-long deal for General Mills to purchase Pillsbury, Marturano remembers feeling as though “something did not bounce back.”  In search of some R&R, she signed up for an intensive, six-day workshop on mindfulness and meditation. “It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done,” she recalls, “but I saw an impact right away – I was more present, clear, creative and passionate.”  After some time, Marturano introduced mindful meditation to other senior executives at General Mills, who embraced the practice and its benefits.
Defining mindful meditation, which is characterized by non-judgmental, moment-to-moment awareness, Marturano walked students through several short practices.  She also dispelled the myth of multitasking, pointing to studies that show a 30 percent reduction in productivity when individuals devote continuous partial attention to the task at hand.
According to Marturano, a mindful leader should cultivate:
  • Focus
  • Clarity
  • Creativity
  • Compassion