Mindfulness and Leadership in the Workplace

Mindfulness and Leadership in the Workplace #34

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In this episode Dr. Ellen Choi discusses her research on mindfulness in the workplace and in organizational behaviour. We cover how mindfulness is defined in academic research and we discuss how the identities we form through self-concept or self-reference influence our perception of well-being and mental health. 

Dr. Ellen Choi

Ellen Choi


I was working at a job making more money than I thought possible as a twenty-something-year-old. As the daughter of immigrants that left their cushy Korean lives to pursue new opportunities in Canada, I watched my parents work tirelessly to get by. I began my career in commercial real estate determined to make as much money as I could so that I could support my parents the way they had supported their children. But, the more money I made, the more unfulfilled I became. When I was in undergrad, my sister had thyroid cancer and while this was difficult for all of us, the experience taught me that life is fleeting and how I spend each day matters.

I asked myself some big questions and it became clear that staying on this path would leave me rich outside and empty inside. So, I went back to school, started meditating daily, did my yoga teacher training, got my PhD studying how mindfulness practices relate to workplace outcomes, and bing, bang, boom, here I am living my best life. Sharing mindfulness with others brings me joy and I am so glad I was able to explore beyond material wealth to spiritual wealth. Note: this is not to say I’m opposed to material wealth; I still very much enjoy pretty things.

Ellen is an Assistant Professor at Ryerson University in the Ted Rogers School of Management. She teaches organizational behaviour, which includes topics like decision making, team effectiveness, leadership, and motivation.

She is an organizational social psychologist who trained at the London School of Economics and completed her doctoral degree at the Ivey School of Business. In particular, she studies the efficacy of mindfulness training on performance under pressure, resilience, and errors.  Ellen has taught and researched mindfulness with corporate executives, lawyers, MBA students, elementary school students, police recruits, and in health care settings. 

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