The Institute for Compassionate Leadership (ICL) was formed in 2012 by Lodro Rinzler, an author & meditation teacher based in New York City.

ICL serves to empower socially conscious, self-aware, and compassionate leaders by educating aspiring change-makers in meditation, community organizing, and 21st century leadership skills built for today's workplace environment.

ICL makes practices accessible to all, so that more compassionate leaders will rise up to meet worldwide challenges and strive to shape a better and brighter future for our planet. We recently loaded our full curriculum online, so that you can cultivate the skills of compassionate leadership alongside a full-time job and/or busy school schedule. Through working on the ICL teachings (below), along with the help of executive coaches, we offer the tools needed to become a more compassionate, self-aware leader.



In the same way [that] Alex left this indelible mark on my life and Michelle’s life, and many of your lives, you will leave an indelible mark as well, as long as you decide that you’re going to spend your life giving something back.
— President Barack Obama, January 23, 2013

The Institute for Compassionate Leadership was founded after the passing of Alex Okrent. Alex was a dedicated political activist, and a champion of Barack Obama's, dating back to 2004. He was a pioneer in creating social change, and he did this through his ability to love and be compassionate.

The Institute for Compassionate Leadership was born out of the idea that the world needs more leaders like Alex, and it was founded by one of Alex’s friends from college, Lodro Rinzler. 

Upon learning of Alex’s passing, Lodro dropped everything to carry on his friend’s work on the campaign trail in 2012; and, after returning from his campaign work in the state of Ohio, Lodro Rinzler met with a wide variety of compassionate leaders. A dialogue began about how to support inspired individuals, not simply with the next political candidate, but by focused attention on an issue they can care about for the rest of their lives. Minutes after the January 13th speech by President Obama quoted above, the idea for the Institute arose in Lodro’s mind and he got to work, making it a reality. 

The Institute began as a six-month leadership training program and we are proud that dozens of individuals have graduated from that program - transformed into more compassionate leaders, doing the work they have always longed to do. In order to make our curriculum as accessible as possible, Lodro Rinzler, the Executive Director, and the Board decided to bring the teachings online, and the revised version of this site was born.

[Alex] was among the first to join Obama’s presidential campaign in its barest days... He was demanding, fun and irreverent. And he was never shy about telling people that he loved them.
— The New York Times


We have twenty one tracks of teachings. Though you can listen to the talks individually, we recommend listening in order and allowing yourself to build skills as you go. Take some time to let each one sink in. In the original program, participants would go through one per week. No need to rush!



Whether you are going through the program solo (totally okay!), or doing it with a group, we recommend going through the talks using the following format:

  • Meditate (solo or with a group): 15 minutes
  • Check-in (alone or with a group) : 1-2 minutes per person
  • Listen to the talk: 20-30 minutes
  • Open up discussion (with group): 15 minutes

For the meditation section:

  • People may come to the training with their own meditation practice, and they are welcome to do that during this time. If someone is new to meditation, the talk offering instruction should be played first/repeated as needed so they learn a basic mindfulness practice.



For the check-in section:

  • One person can facilitate, asking each person present to do one to two minutes on the topics “How are you feeling as you enter this class?” and “What is one instance in which you were able to apply last week’s talk to your everyday life?”

During the closing discussion:

  • It’s important to emphasize how the particular topic is relevant to your everyday life. These are not theoretical ideas being presented, but tools for more compassionate living. 

For classes that have homework:

It's helpful for everyone to have a peer accountability buddy, someone they text or email everyday to ask how the homework is going and confirm/encourage that they maintain a daily meditation practice.

In any group there is attrition... So if you lose one or two friends to the busy-ness of everyday life, do not despair. If you have a steady group going through these teachings we would love to hear about it and our founder, Lodro Rinzler, is always happy to hop on a call with you halfway through the curriculum to answer any questions you may have, free of charge.



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Community support can be invaluable when working toward inner change, as well as social change. Surrounding yourself with thoughtful company is sometimes very beneficial during this process.

If possible, we recommend bringing together a small group of 4-8 friends. From the outset of diving into the collected talks, you can set norms for the group - rules that you all agree to - such as deeply listening to one another, confidentiality, shutting off your phones during meetings, and staying attuned to who is speaking too much or who might need encouragement and space to speak. 

Once the norms are agreed upon, you can meet once a week at a consistent time and place (even if that place is an online forum, like Skype).

Remember, if you decide to do the program on your own, that is ok too. 

Whether you work with a group or on your own, an executive coach can help you along the way. Check out our recs below!


Previous cohorts at the Institute for Compassionate Leadership worked one-on-one with executive coaches. This practice can help to create clarity and accountability. We recommend the coaches listed below, as they are the most familiar with the ICL curriculum.

Michael Carroll



Hylke Faber



Adreanna Limbach



Jim Rosen



Ellen Carton


James Ruberg


Lisa Zigarmi



Thank you for visiting! Please be in touch! Let us know about your progress.



 You can reach out to our founder, Lodro Rinzler, at lodro@mndflmeditation.com. 

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Lodro Rinzler - Founder

A lifelong messenger of Buddhist principles, Lodro Rinzler has been bringing his extensive learnings to new and varied audiences since childhood. His bestselling books The Buddha Walks into a Bar, the award-winning Walk Like a Buddha, and many more share the wisdom he’s learned over a lifetime to a millennial audience yearning for meaningful messages.

A graduate of Wesleyan University, Lodro Rinzler founded the school’s Buddhist House while studying at the famed liberal arts school. A haven among the sometimes-frantic undergraduate world, the 18-person meditation dorm was an early staging area for a career spent sharing in the possibilities of mindfulness. Taking charge in establishing this collegiate safe haven was an early execution of Lodro’s lifelong mission of making meditation accessible to all.

After college, Lodro began leading meditation practices in Boston and around the country, traveling frequently to better share his experience with a wider audience. As Founder and Executive Director of the Institute for Compassionate Leadership in New York, Lodro built an organization charged with coaching and mentoring entrants as part of a full educational experience. With an eye on equipping a generation for thoughtful problem solving, he was well-positioned to help inspire with the meaningful message of the Buddha. To Lodro Rinzler, suffering and anxiety can be tamed in any mind, as long as it is opened to the possibility.

His mission was brought to further light with the birth of MNDFL. Named NYC’s best drop-in meditation studio by New York magazine, this organization was co-founded by Lodro with the goal of spreading the peaceful ideals of meditation to a world inundated with stressors. Since 2015, MNDFL has expanded to two more studios, an online teaching portal, and a non-profit arm sharing meditation principles with underprivileged students for no cost.

Lodro Rinzler has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, and FOX, CBS, and NBC News coverage. His books rank among the leading contemporary works in philosophy and mindfulness and have twice been honored with the Independent Publishers Book Award.

Lodro Rinzler currently lives in New York City with his wife and pets.