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  • Latha Poonamalle

  • Latha Poonamalle
    On Decolonizing and Demystifying Mindfulness

    Latha Poonamallee, a University Fellow and chair of Management in the Schools of Public Engagement at The New School, seeks to change the narrative around mindfulness and leadership. “The Western secular discourse around mindfulness is dominated by white capitalist conversations and exploitative logics focused on individual goals,” she says.

    In her course Mindfulness Leadership Development and her recent book, Expansive Leadership, Latha presents a  relationship-based, morally expansive leadership model—challenging ascendant models that promote self-centeredness and irresponsibility. Her goal is to decolonize and demystify mindfulness and make it broadly accessible—something she believes is desperately needed right now.

    The recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, Latha was drawn to The New School because of its reputation as a leader in the social sciences. She focuses her energies on “research that is grounded in practice orientation and activism,” in her own words.

    When asked what she enjoys the most about her role, she responds, “I love interacting with students, our alumni, and the community. When I occasionally get a little disheartened or disillusioned, students remind me of our collective values and shared journey towards a better world and why we do what we do.” Latha also appreciates the opportunity to work with people from other fields. Cotter Christian, a faculty member at Parsons School of Design, is one of her closest collaborators.

    The freedom to innovate in pedagogy and curriculum development offered by the university has allowed Latha to create three new courses since her arrival three years ago. She also established the Management and Social Justice Conversation Series at The New School.

    Asked about the importance of mindfulness in management, she believes that it is imperative to “understand and experience interconnectedness and to understand that we are one and we all have a responsibility to care for each other and for Mother Earth and all life with whom we share the planet and the universe, and expand our identities and our role in the universe as leaders.”

    Learn more about Latha Poonamallee, or email her at [email protected].

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