Exploring Leadership With Rhonda Magee
Exploring Leadership is a series of conversations hosted by Kathryn Goldman Schuyler in which she introduces viewers to leaders who dance with possibility and whose creativity, depth, and vision bring leadership to life — people from many arenas whose lives add vitality and meaning to our planet.
In this episode of Exploring Leadership, Kathryn Goldman Schuyler interviews Rhonda V. Magee, Professor at the University of San Francisco School of Law and author of The Inner Work of Racial Justice: Healing Ourselves and Transforming our Communities Through Mindfulness.
Rhonda Magee is among a small number of thought leaders who have been powerfully speaking out about how mindfulness and other contemplative practices need to be part of leadership development and part of all professional development. I was fortunate to be able to speak with her in person just before the pandemic, and am happy to now release the video! Now is an optimal time to listen to her talk about her work and its importance. It is especially relevant as we, as a society, consider the impact of the murder of George Floyd and other Black men and women and the anti-racist work we must all do to achieve racial justice.
A longtime professor of law and meditation teacher, Rhonda’s latest book provides a theoretical and practical reframing of mindfulness. She offers profound insight into how racialized experiences can be made visible and changed through awareness practices that she labels color-insight. In our conversation, she describes how she has brought together teaching the history of law in America with awareness training and methods from contemplative pedagogy. A sociologist by training, as well as an attorney, she draws on her integration of these and other sources, including Buddhist teachings and what she learned from her Christian grandmother.
Our conversation provides a context for what is happening in our cities right now and supports all of us in seeing how mindfulness is not simply about one’s own body and mind, but also about awareness of the society in which one has been acculturated. As we talked, I gained new insights into how the very individualized American mindset may have contributed to the individualistic focus of much current mindfulness teaching.
Leadership educators may see comparable value in their field to what Magee sees with regard to the law: just as mindfulness meditation can be a way to support law students looking at painful parts of legal history, mindfulness and compassion practices can help students be less bound up in whatever they have learned in the past, so they can be open to perceiving the current world and its need with fresh eyes.
Want to learn more? The ILA is pleased to announce that Rhonda will join us this November at ILA’s global conference. Follow the links from our home page for more information.