ROOTS: bio

Wendy Morris has been described as a creative pioneer in leadership development whose integrative approach transforms the way people view themselves, their organizations, and their world. Organizations from policy centers to social action networks to Fortune 100 companies turn to Wendy for new thinking and learning around thriving in uncertain conditions.

Wendy is on the faculty teams for some of the most innovative and premiere leadership venues in North America including:

"Wendy is a master integrator. She's part of that rare breed of people who have a deep knowledge of a particular domain, the ability to make strong connections across domains, and a graceful way of leading others to find those connections for themselves."

Colin Funk, Creative Programming Director
Banff Centre Leadership Development

BACKGROUND Wendy Morris is the Founder of The Creative Leadership Studio in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her work as a leadership educator, coach, and consultant is informed by her experience working with an extraordinarily wide range of organizations and groups.

  • As a facilitator with Synectics, Inc., a pioneer in innovation, she learned about fostering a climate for creativity inside large companies.
  • As a cultural organizer working with immigrant communities she learned how to get things done collaboratively with highly diverse groups.
  • As an award-winning artist who performed and taught in Asia, Europe and North America she learned how to develop ideas and adapt them in different cultural contexts.

EDUCATION Wendy had the gift of both a global and a local education. She attended Nanyang University in Singapore, and obtained her undergraduate degree with Honors in Asian Studies at Washington University in St. Louis with an emphasis on Chinese language and culture. She completed her master's degree in Human Development at St. Mary's University of Minnesota in 1985. At that time she was serving as a consultant at The Center for Reflective Leadership in the Humphrey Institute for Public Affairs, University of Minnesota, which is where she began to explore an integrative approach to leadership development.

UNIVERSITY TEACHING Wendy's university teaching practice is also a life-long learning practice. She teaches Master's Level courses on Creative Leadership Development at St. Mary's University where she has been a Graduate Advisor since 1989. She advises graduate students whose interdisciplinary studies pioneer the intersection between diverse disciplines and fields. She has taught in university programs including business, fine arts and social work at the University of St. Thomas Graduate School of Business, the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and the University of Minnesota.

SOMATIC PRACTICE AND MINDFULNESS TRAINING After 20 years studying and teaching movement-based awareness practices, in 1990 Wendy began practicing vipassana meditation and learned to love stillness. She has studied with some of the world's foremost teachers of meditation, tai chi, qigong, yoga, Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais Method, Body-Mind Centering, Kinetic Awareness, Laban Movement Analysis and other forms of somatic practice and movement education. For more information see Wendy's Somatic Lineage.

AWARDS AND HONORS Wendy's commitment to excellence has been recognized by over 25 awards for her work in leadership (St. Paul Companies), interdisciplinary practice (Kentron Foundation, The McKnight Foundation) and the performing arts (major artistic fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Bush Foundation, and the Jerome Foundation) See Awards and Honors

ETHICS Wendy expresses her commitment to ethical practice in her research and service. Her master's thesis was an investigation of ethical issues related to somatic practice in diverse professional contexts (leadership development, education and psychotherapy). She has supported several faith communities through times of ethical crisis, and served on the ethics committee for a mindfulness meditation practice center.

WENDY'S TOOLBOX Wendy's practice is informed by her studies with the following innovators, many of whom have become her partners and colleagues.

Systems thinking, change theory and innovation processes

  • Human Systems Dynamics (Associate of the Human Systems Dynamics Institute founded by Glenda Eoyang)
  • Polarity Management (Barry Johnson)
  • Leadership in Networked and Emergent Systems (Tom Hurley)
  • Synectics Innovation Process (Synectics, Inc.)
  • Creative Problem Solving (Creative Problem Solving Institute)

Adult learning and curriculum design

  • Brain-based Teaching for Adult Learners (training from 1998-2008 with Eric Jensen, Pat Wolfe, Marion Diamond and others in the field of brain-compatible learning)
  • Curriculum Development for the Adult Learner (Metropolitan State University)

Coaching, communication and presentation skills
Wendy has been certified as a coach by CCF/Certified Coaches Federation

  • Learning Methods - interview skills for coaching and problem solving (David Gorman)
  • Interpersonal Communications Programs (Sherod Miller)
  • Non-Violent Communication (Marshall Rosenberg)
  • The Communication Studio (Ellen Anderson)

Facilitation, participative change practices, conflict transformation and cross-cultural relations

  • Open Space Technology (Harrision Owen)
  • Thomas-Killmann Conflict Mode Instrument (PDI)
  • Process Work (Arnold Mindell)
  • World-Work (Arnold Mindell/Amy Mindell)
  • Art of Hosting and Convening Conversations That Matter (Art of Hosting)
  • Facilitation Graphics (ToP/ Cheryl Kartes)

Mindfulness Meditation, Somatics and Body-Mind Integration - over 20 years of study and teaching

  • Vipassana Meditation (Insight Meditation - 17 years of training with master teachers)
  • Embodied Leadership (Wendy Palmer)
  • Alexander Technique (many teachers)
  • Feldenkrais Method (many teachers)
  • Kinetic Awareness (Elaine Summers)
  • Body-Mind Centering (Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen)
  • Laban Movement Analysis (many teachers)

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