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Stephen D. Romano is a 2014 graduate of the PhD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University.


Dr. Romano [right] with his Dissertation Committee at his 2014 Dissertation Defense

Left to Right: Dr. Elaine Gale, Committee Member, Dr. Alan Guskin, Committee Chair, Dr. Carol Baron, Committee Member, Dr. Stephen Romano

Not Shown: Dr. Amanda Sinclair, External Reader

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The purpose of the study is to investigate how organizational leaders cultivate focus and calm in moments of uncertainty. There is significant literature discussing how individuals manage stress and enhance well-being through formal meditative practices, but few studies investigate informal strategies. Through single subject with multiple subject design, the research examines how specific mind body practices affect an individual's ability to pay attention, connect with others, manage stress, and enhance perspective-taking. This study suggests that being a leader, and by extension, leadership, is not merely a series of actions; rather, it is a way of thinking and being. The capacity to notice breath and listen deeply is understood as a pathway for increasing the mind body connection, and serves as an instrument for the practices. Six participants were selected and introduced to specific mindful practices. Participants applied these practices daily over a 10 to 12-week period. Participants met weekly with the researcher for coaching and developing reflective habits. The Five Facets of Mindfulness Questionnaire and the Mindfulness Survey were administered, along with weekly self-assessments and journaling, to measure leader ability before, during, and after the intervention. All six leaders improved their relationship to breath, and as a result, their overall well-being and effectiveness. All participants reported decreased body stress by week eight or ten, respectively. The findings suggest meaningful change can occur over four months with consistent practice. This study may hold promise for innovative and holistic approaches to leader development, and specifically, how informal contemplative practices enhance effectiveness during times of uncertainty. This dissertation is accompanied by an MP4 author introduction video. The electronic version of this dissertation is at OhioLink ETC Center,


Steve Romano, PhD, is a leadership and change expert with 20 years experience in multiple industries including, life science, biotech/pharma, diagnostics, engineering and science, education, management consulting, and not-for-profit/social change. Steve focuses on developing self-reflective leaders and facilitating purposeful change that builds cultures of engagement. His research interests include organizational leadership at the intersection of contemplative and mindful practice and understanding how individuals cultivate the capacity to remain calm and resilient in the face of uncertainty. Steve holds a PhD in Leadership & Change from Antioch University and is a Certified Executive and Personal Coach. He holds multiple certifications including Facilitative Leadership, Myers Briggs Type Indicator, BarOn EQI, and 360-degree feedback with the Center for Creative Leadership and Korn/Ferry International.

Author_Introduction_Romano.mp4 (63877 kB)
Romano Author Introduction Video