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Leadership and Personal Success Through Self-Awareness and Emotional Intelligence

Leadership and Personal Success Through Self-Awareness and Emotional Intelligence

Presented By


Leadership coach, entrepreneur, and former physicist Joshua Spodek spoke from a scientist's and entrepreneur's perspective on developing personal leadership skills. The two-day, eight-hour interactive seminar took place April 5 and 7, 2011 at the New York Academy of Sciences and was designed to provide a foundation for the continued development of skills of personal leadership, self-awareness, and emotional intelligence.

According to Spodek, business literature and top business schools are increasingly focusing on these skills as the basis for leading others and oneself. In addition, research indicates that ability in these areas correlates with business and personal success. Scientists typically receive little or no exposure to these topics through their graduate and post-graduate training; therefore, this workshop was designed to fill that void by introducing the importance of these skills and the methods for acquiring them.

The first day began with Spodek presenting context to the study of these skills and providing a simple model for the human emotional system based in evolutionary psychology, positive psychology, and cognitive behavioral therapy. Instead of acting as a model for psychological research, this model was designed to increase self-awareness and emotional intelligence in the individual. After hearing a description of the model, the seminar participants were given a practical method for its implementation. Throughout the two days, the seminar included exercises, audience participation, and anecdotes to help put the material into practice for the audience.

The second session delved even more deeply into the practical application of the model and method presented in session one. Spodek discussed how to begin applying this understanding of the emotional system, build awareness, overcome objections and obstacles, help others, enlist others to help, and manage ruts in motivation and poor habits. The day closed with a review of some stories of exceptional historical figures showing high personal leadership skills whose experiences offer sources of inspiration.

Overall, this session was a primer for science PhDs with limited business experience who wanted to learn how to increase their personal leadership skills.

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Monica Kerr, PhD

The New York Academy of Sciences


Joshua Spodek, PhD

Columbia University Business School
e-mail | website

Joshua Spodek, after helping assemble an x-ray observational satellite launched by the European Space Agency and researching supernova remnants, became an entrepreneur with several patents and start-ups. He is now an executive / personal coach working with Columbia Business School's Program on Social Intelligence. Spodek helps clients develop effective leadership skills and optimize their professional and personal lives. He does so by assisting them as they understand what brings them meaning and happiness and as they act on these insights. He has been quoted and profiled in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, USA Today, Fortune, CNN, and the major broadcast networks. Esquire magazine named him "Best and Brightest" in their annual Genius issue. Spodek graduated from Columbia University with a PhD in physics in 2000 and with an MBA in 2006.