Why UC Berkeley Is Partnering With Mandala

Emma Hayes Daftary
2 mins
Posted on
January 31, 2024

As an assistant dean at UC Berkeley, I spend a significant portion of my job thinking about how to prepare our students for the world that awaits them. I meet with alumni who tell me about what it’s been like to have started working; and what they wish they’d learned, and unlearned, back in school. On occasion, I meet with employers who share their perspective on what they feel matters most.

What’s fascinating is that their answers are the same; both alumni and managers want our programming to focus on building resilience. They want us to help current students be self-aware, emotionally regulated, and connected, so inevitable obstacles that arise don’t enervate them, but rather energize them. 

In what feels like the blink of an eye, these graduates - Gen Z - will become managers and leaders. And they’ll be tasked with the challenge of creating psychologically safe work environments, spaces where people can thrive and bring their authentic, whole selves. If we are to prepare them in the work of doing that, then we need to begin now.

That’s why we’re excited to partner with Mandala – a social enterprise that’s focused on cultivating resilient leaders in both workplaces and universities. Beginning this spring, we will be offering Mandala’s “Foundations of Resilient Leadership,” a certificate program open to enrolled juniors and seniors. 

Selected students will be invited to join five 90-minute sessions, spread out over five consecutive weeks. Here’s what they’ll cover:

  • Awareness: Acknowledging how our life stories and inner states show up in professional contexts. 
  • Connection: Bringing an element of pause into our lives so that we can practice both an inclusive, and healthy approach to working with others
  • Emotional Regulation: Learning how to have difficult conversations in ways that feel clear, empathetic, and empowering. 
  • Bravery: Navigating the inner dialogue that emerges from that comes from a culture of chronic stress.
  • Commitment: Helping students build out a resilience leadership plan so that they can concretize their learnings and share it with one another. 

At the end of the program, they’ll leave with both concrete tools (non-violent communication, mindfulness-based practices, stress management strategies) and a lifelong community with which to navigate their careers. Our dream is that students who participate will support each other as they navigate the contours of their careers – from their first days on the job, to their promotions into managerial roles, and importantly, to the times they struggle and stumble along the way.

Our partnership with Mandala builds on our Defining Leadership Principles, empowering our students to change the way we do business by exploring a leadership model that honors their lived experience and grounds them in best practices. 

Haas students interested in applying can click this, here’s a link to the application. We’ll be hosting a town-hall with the founder & CEO, Tarun Galagali on Tuesday, February 6, 2024, at 6 PM in Chou Hall to share  more about the program. We’d love to see you there!

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