VCU Center for Corporate Education

Transformational change starts here. Join us.

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Headshot of workshop facilitator Chris Reina, PhD.

VCU Business School faculty and mindfulness enthusiast Chris Reina, PhD, facilitated our recent workshop on A Mindful Approach to Leadership.  For more details about Chris or to read about his most recent program, visit the CCE website.

Describe your own career path up to this point.

I have always been interested in understanding why some leaders are effective while others are not. This prompted me to study psychology and leadership as an undergraduate student and then I worked for Chipotle Mexican Grill in training and leadership development. Later, I earned a Master’s degree in Leadership and Management and worked for Aetna Health Insurance in marketing and business development. Finally, I earned a PhD in Business Administration with a focus on leadership and mindfulness. Now, I work in the space of mindful leadership as a consultant and coach, professor, and researcher.

When did you first start partnering with the CCE?


What do you enjoy most about teaching/facilitating?

Teaching and facilitating is exhilarating because I get to share my leadership passion with others and help them gain an appreciation for the art and science of leadership. I enjoy connecting with leaders and helping them reach new levels of insight when it comes to what holds them back from being the leader they have always wanted to be. By simply bringing increased awareness to how and what we pay attention to, we can learn to become more intentionally aware which has important positive implications ranging from increased personal well-being to more empathy, and more authentic connections with others.

How do you contribute to “transformational change” in the workplace?

Our attention and our time are the most scarce and valuable resources we have. We spend most of our days on mindless autopilot, never really connecting with others and deeply absorbed in our own mind. I believe that learning to become more intentional about how we allocate our attention and time resources and learning to get out of one’s head to lead without ego is single-handedly the most important thing leaders can develop. As leaders learn to recognize the presence of ego and mindlessness, they can work toward more mindful leadership, where they are able to truly value and care for others. When individuals feel cared for and valued, they are able to unleash their full energy and passion at work and this provides the fuel for transformational change in the workplace.

Describe a “lightbulb” moment you’ve had on your personal career journey.

We are all stressed and overworked and our current path toward achieving and doing more is not sustainable in the long-term. We seek to simply survive each day without really ever living or connecting with what matters. We are so stressed we don’t have the resources to just be present wherever we are, and this holds us back at work and at home in all of our relationships. By cultivating mindfulness, we can slow down our racing thoughts and reduce our stress levels which allows us to more authentically be ourselves and connect with others. As leaders, this allows us to lead other as they would want to be led rather than how we would want to be led, which makes all the difference when it comes to ensuring followers feel valued.


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