The SIF Mindfulness Cohort

Part 1 of Dr. Stephanie Palacios' Blog
  • By Dr. Stephanie Palacios
  • Published on March 22, 2022
Mindfulness Zoom
The SIF Mindfulness Cohort

Whereas previous programs at SIF focused on logistical skills related to successfully running a business (i.e., how to fundraise, how to set up HR); this program was different. This six-week program guided participants in the exploration of how mindfulness can support with managing stress and cultivating self-compassion.

The cohort was comprised of graduates of the Social Innovator Accelerator program, all nonprofit leaders. A pre-program survey told us that the major reasons why participants signed up included: to strengthen their stress management skills, to learn how to infuse mindfulness into the work they already do, as a way of burnout prevention, and as a response to burnout.

I custom designed the program around these aims and covered several key themes, including:
- The impact of stress on performance in the workplace.
- How and why shifting from criticism toward a stance of nonjudgment and curiosity can help us at work and beyond.
- Accepting the reality that our minds will wander, we will experience a full range of emotion, and we will not always be ‘Zen.’
- Present moment awareness training and its use against distractibility at work.
- Mindful listening and how to use it in the workplace.
- How to engage a beginner’s mindset toward small daily tasks that we normally do on autopilot mode.
- The ways in which uncertainty in nonprofit work can be both stressful and helpful.
- The mind-body connection.
- Values identification and alignment in the workplace.
- Mindfulness in the face of difficulty.
- Effective uses of gratitude.
- Self-compassion and kindness.
- Personalized action plans.

Each session included a combination of learning about core tenants of mindfulness, guided meditation and mindfulness practices, self-reflective prompts, and small and large group reflection and discussion. Suggested home practice was offered in between sessions to help participants introduce aspects of mindfulness into their daily life, especially at work. The program was highly interactive, and discussion was encouraged, so that participants could learn from one another and build a sense of community.

The feedback we received in the post-program survey suggests the Mindfulness program was a success! Six of the 14 respondents evaluated the program as “extremely useful” and the remaining eight respondents evaluated the program as “useful” in gaining knowledge about mindfulness. Eleven of the 14 respondents said they “definitely will” and the remaining three said they “probably will” apply something they learned during the program to their work in the next 12 months. In the SIF post-program survey, one participant shared that they “loved that her classes were a balance of presentation (informative and interesting), guided practice, and breakout group/larger group discussion.” Another shared, “I now have many tools and resources that I can use when I feel overwhelmed.”

This overwhelmingly positive feedback on the program helps us know we are on the right track. Leaders are finding mindfulness to be helpful and important for their success in the workplace.

It was an honor and pleasure to design and lead this series. The energy and motivation of each participant in the cohort was palpable even through the virtual method of delivery. Their energy, commitment to each of their own missions, and scope of impact was inspirational. SIF was a pleasure to work alongside to help elevate these leaders, and I sincerely hope to continue to support SIF’s mission to empower leaders in their mental health and beyond.

About Dr. Stephanie Palacios

Dr. Stephanie Palacios is a mental wellness expert, speaker, trainer, coach, and consultant. She is the Founder of Stephanie Palacios Consulting LLC, a boutique consulting firm that guides organizations, teams, groups, and individuals to transform their mental wellness with a specialized focus in stress management, mindfulness training, values alignment, and resilience building. She is an international speaker and has worked with companies across the U.S., Mexico, Australia, UK, Canada, and Brazil and across medical, government, private, nonprofit, and academic sectors.

She is a mindfulness teacher with Cambridge Health Alliance Center for Mindfulness & Compassion, a Harvard Medical School affiliate. She is also the cofounder of Bonda, a tech startup focused on improving employee team cohesion across remote and hybrid work models.

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Stay tuned for Part 2 of Dr. Stephanie Palacios' Blog coming soon!

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