Practical insights and inspiration

This year’s plenary speakers focus on some of the most critical challenges that EMBA industry members face as they turn survival into revival. These sessions will help you bolster both your quickness and effectiveness in adjusting to changing circumstances; improve your well-being and the well-being of others by nurturing happiness; and bring diversity, equity, and inclusion to life in EMBA Programs.

QUICK SPEAKER GUIDE
Leading Happiness at Work
Emiliana Simon-Thomas, Ph.D.
Science Director, Greater Good Science Center, University of California, Berkeley
The Paradoxes of Leadership – Neuroscience-Based Leadership for the Information Age
Steven Poelmans Ph.D.
Professor of Neuroscience and Strategic Leadership, Antwerp Management School
The Leadership Stimulus Package: A Call to Action for All Leaders
Nouman Ashraf
Associate Professor, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

Leading Happiness at Work

Emiliana Simon-Thomas
Emiliana Simon-Thomas, Ph.D.
Science Director, Greater Good Science Center, University of California, Berkeley

After more than two long years of dealing with a tsunami of global change thanks to a worldwide pandemic, it’s time to take a closer at the power of happiness at work and beyond to improve productivity, innovation, and our lives in general.

The good news: Happiness at work also predicts greater productivity, organizational commitment, innovation, and more. Fostering happiness just makes good business sense.

In this session, Emiliana Simon-Thomas, Ph.D., science director for the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, will share research-backed approaches to strengthening emotional well-being and scientific insights that help people live better lives individually, in relationship with others, within organizations and communities, and throughout society.

Simon-Thomas will define happiness at work, describe evidence of its known advantages, discuss common and timely barriers and bottlenecks, and share key approaches to leading for happiness at individual, interpersonal, and organizational levels. The plenary will include lecture segments and interactive, experiential elements from which participants can draw to strengthen their own and others' happiness at work. Discover the win-win of prioritizing happiness at work as an inexpensive endeavor that promises to be central to the future of work.

About the speaker
As Science Director at the University of California (UC), Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center (GGSC), Emiliana Simon-Thomas, Ph.D., runs the GGSC’s campus research fellowship programs and directs key initiatives, such as Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude, and Person-Activity Fit for Online Happiness Practices. She also co-teaches the Science of Happiness and the Science of Happiness at Work Professional Certificate Series courses on the edX online learning platform.

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In addition to her academic and popular writing, Simon-Thomas co-edited the transdisciplinary Oxford Handbook of Compassion Science, and regularly creates content for GGSC-run platforms like Thnx4.org, the Pathway to Happiness and Big JOY programs on the Greater Good in Action site, and custom initiatives and partnerships.

She currently serves as the executive director of the UC Berkeley-University of California San Francisco-Harvard branch of the NIH's Science of Emotional Well-Being Network. Simon-Thomas also advises organizations – from a culture, product, and policy perspective – on why and how to promote happiness at work. Sharing practical strategies that can be implemented across multiple contexts and settings, she offers actionable insights that can measurably improve four key drivers of happiness at work: Purpose, Engagement, Resilience, and Kindness (PERK).

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The Paradoxes of Leadership – Neuroscience-Based Leadership for the Information Age

Steven Poelmans Ph.D.
Steven Poelmans Ph.D.
Professor of Neuroscience and Strategic Leadership, Antwerp Management School

Whether a leader in name or practice, conference participants will benefit from learning about the ground-breaking work of plenary speaker Steven Poelmans, founder of the NeuroTrainingLab™, a neuroscience-based leadership development methodology, and professor of neuroscience and strategic leadership at Antwerp Management School.

Poelmans developed the Paradox Theory of Leadership by observing more than a thousand managers in action. Using NeuroTrainingLab™ methodology and measuring competencies and associated EEG activity to provide specific feedback, he demonstrated that successful leaders quickly adjusted their behaviors to address multiple organizational paradoxes.

Those leaders effectively balance the many paradoxes that they face in an ever-changing business environment while at the same time engaging in complex human interactions that involve solving problems and building relationships.

This plenary presentation will help you learn to quickly adjust and become smarter and more effective by improving your brain flexibility, which allows you to switch between mindsets, and brain resilience, which helps you bounce back from cognitive overload or emotional turmoil.

About the speaker
Professor of the Faculty of Business and Economics of the University of Antwerp and professor of Neuroscience and Strategic Leadership at Antwerp Management School (AMS), Steven Poelmans, Ph.D., founded the NeuroTrainingLab™, a neuroscience-based leadership development methodology that uses competencies assessment and neurophysiologic indicators, with labs in Spain, Peru, Brazil, Belgium, and Argentina. A research pioneer with a drive for entrepreneurship, a multicultural mindset, and a passion for teaching and developing people, Poelmans has taught for more than 20 years at seven different business schools in three continents.

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He has written several books including Paradoxes of Leadership and is editor of five academic books, several dozens of articles in peer-reviewed journals, and more than 30 book chapters. The Work-Family Researchers Network recognized Poelmans as a Top 50 Overall Contributor.

Poelmans has trained executives in multinationals such as BASF, Deutsche Bank, ETEX, EISAI, ENEL/ENDESA, European Investment Bank, Google, Grohe, International Monetary Fund, Japan Tobacco International, Mango, Nestlé, Nike, Novartis, Petrobras, Pfizer, PwC, Randstad, Roche Diagnostics, Santander, Telefonica, and the World Health Organization, as well as coaching 250 executives of more than 30 different nationalities.

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The Leadership Stimulus Package: A Call to Action for All Leaders

Nouman Ashaf
Nouman Ashraf
Associate Professor, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

As organizational commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion grows, so, too, does its role in leadership. This important imperative constitutes the backbone of a leadership stimulus package that is necessary to raise key questions about how leaders can both address societal inequity and, at the same time, seize opportunities for greater organizational inclusion at all levels.

Organizations that successfully tap diversity in all its forms tend to outperform other organizations. That consistent research finding raises some important questions:

  • What role can leaders play in marshaling the power of diversity?
  • How can leaders address societal inequity?
  • And, for EMBA Programs, what can they do to prepare their students for the challenges of attracting diversity and nurturing an inclusive and accepting environment?

In this session, Nouman Ashraf, an award-winning professor and inaugural director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at the University of Toronto Rotman School of Management, will explore these questions and share his perspectives on the very vital task of incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusion as part of the EMBA curriculum.

About the speaker
Nouman Ashraf, associate professor within the organizational behavior area at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, possesses a broad range of professional, academic, and research interests, with a specialized focus on enabling inclusive and innovative practices within teams, organizations, and boards. For the last decade and a half, he has held progressively senior roles at the University of Toronto, including most recently as the director of equity, diversity, and inclusion at the Rotman School of Management. 

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A recognized thought leader in governance, Ashraf has taught thousands of directors in the national Rotman program on Not-for-Profit Governance in partnership with the Institute for Corporate Directors since its inception in 2007. He serves as teaching fellow at the Institute for Gender + the Economy, an associate at Trinity College within the University of Toronto, and an affiliated faculty member at the University of Toronto School of Cities.  At lunch time, he can be found at Massey College within the University of Toronto, where he mentors exceptional post-graduate students in his capacity as senior fellow emeritus. He also has supported executives globally across sectors as a trusted advisor.

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