Kim Nolan is a 2013 graduate of the PhD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University.

[Below] Dr. Nolan [center] at her Dissertation Defense with Dissertation Chair, Dr. Lize Booysen [left] and Committee Member, Dr. Carolyn Kenny [right].


contemplative leadership, spiritual leadership, wholeness, spirituality, Buddhism, phenomenology, women

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Many of us struggle to find a theoretical framework within which to approach leadership. We may draw upon personal aspects of spiritual practice, scholarship, and vocational experience with hopes of developing a deeper method of conceptualizing all the elements that comprise relevant and meaningful ways of being and leading in the world. The purpose of this phenomenological study extends the inquiry, examining leadership as a path toward wholeness and investigating the research question – what is called into being for the contemplative leader? The roots of the question originate with the conceptual framework set forth by Kriger and Seng (2005), advanced by Fry and Kriger (2009), and further elaborated upon by the author (Nolan, 2012a; Nolan 2012b), adding new perspectives on progressive stages of mental complexity (Kegan & Lahey, 2009) and progressive stages of being from the Buddhist wisdom tradition. In order to enter the lifeworld of contemplative leaders and inquire into their everyday embodied experience, five female leaders serving within community-based settings engaged in a series of in-depth, phenomenological interviews. Thick and rich data emerged. Findings of this study suggest there are eight C's of a being expressed by the contemplative leader, supporting the construction of an integrative model of Contemplative Leadership. The electronic version of this Dissertation is accessible in the open-access Ohiolink ETD Center,


Kim Nolan, PhD, is the Executive Director of the Dignity Foundation, Williston, Vermont.