Q&A with Institute for Compassionate Leadership founder Lodro Rinzler
Q: Lodro, Tell us more about why you wanted to found the Institute?
A: These days more and more young people are graduating from school with a deep desire to help the world around them but not a lot of clarity on what that looks like for them. After years of traveling for my books on meditation and my stint as a community organizer, I not only was put in touch with scores of people looking to have conversations about finding their sense of purpose but real experience seeing how these tools of compassionate leadership can be transformative for them. Instead of just doing one-on-one work with them I designed the curriculum to be a master class for anyone who is looking for more clarity in their purpose and confidence that they have everything they need inside them to pursue that.
Q: Who is the typical student at the Institute?
A: Sometimes people think that the Institute was set up just for Millennials. While a number of people in that age demographic have done the program in-person, I continue to get emails from people of all ages and backgrounds who are doing the program online and as it continues to expand and reach more people, I realize more and more that the core concept of compassionate leadership is something we all could benefit from.
Q: What kind of leaders does the Institute strive to create?
A: Really human humans. By that, I mean the core skills of meditation, organizing principles, and practical business techniques all point to the very notion that each of us are fundamentally good, strong and wise, and by uncovering our humanity and connecting to the humanity of others we not only uncover our own sense of purpose, we learn to be of benefit to others.
Q: What is it that makes the Institute a unique place to learn leadership skills?
I can say without a doubt that there is nothing out there like the Institute. This unique blend of working on oneself and then learning to hold space for others through these three lenses (meditation, organizing, business skills) creates a well-balanced and thoughtful leader, which is something we desperately need in these difficult times.
Q: What makes the Institute’s work essential in today’s professional environment?
A: The speed of today’s work environment is only getting quicker - we are being asked to do more, be more efficient, and work harder. Yet there is a growing counter movement which I’ve been a witness to that knows that if you slow down mentally you can show up for others in a way that is respectful, compassionate, and actually is more effective. When we are truly present we learn to see reality for what it is and respond in accordance with what is going on, as opposed to our fixed or stubborn notions of what we would like to see. This ability to be present and respond skillfully can be developed with the tools offered by the Institute.
Q: What does a world of Institute-trained leaders look like?
A: The more the work of this organization continues, the more people we have out there responding to the crises of our times from a thoughtful and human-centric perspective. We need more compassionate leaders in our world and I’m hoping this toolset helps create them.
Q: Where do you see the Institute in the future?
A: We started with a few dozen people in New York City, meeting every week for six months. The moment we scaled these teachings online we began receiving notes from study groups around the world. I would love to see only more of that - the incredibly inspired people from all backgrounds committed to deepening their own understanding about themselves and helping others. It’s already happening and I can’t wait to see how it continues to develop.