About the Author
Dr. Ginny Whitelaw is both a leadership expert and roshi (Zen master) in the Chozen-ji line of Rinzai Zen. She is the author of The Zen Leader, and founder of the Institute for Zen Leadership. She is also the President of Focus Leadership, and has taught and coached in global leadership programs for nearly 20 years. Formerly deputy manager for integrating NASA’s Space Station Program, she has a PhD in biophysics as well as a fifth degree black belt in Aikido.
Dr. Ginny Whitelaw didn’t dream she’d become an innovator in leadership development. She dreamt of being an astronaut, and wrote NASA at the age of 13 to ask about the courses she should take in junior high school to best prepare. Treasuring the letter they sent back, she followed its advice to study science, which led to 3 years in a high energy physics lab, a doctorate in biophysics, and a lifelong interest in energy and the human body.
From the age of 19, she also started intense physical training, first in martial arts, then in Zen, which led to a 5th degree black belt in Aikido and her becoming a roshi (Zen master) in the Chozen-ji line of Rinzai Zen. She has led dojo (training centers) in Houston and Atlanta, and currently trains and teaches at Chozen-ji Wisconsin Betsuin.
Along the way, she also made it to NASA. There, she went into management, not space, eventually becoming the Deputy Manager for integrating the Space Station program, and receiving NASA’s Exceptional Service Medal for her efforts. It was while attending her first NASA leadership development program that she discovered, to her own surprise, this was her work. She continued to learn everything she could about leadership and combine it with everything she knew about Zen, biophysics, and the human body.
For more than 15 years, Dr. Whitelaw has brought this rich background to the service of leaders all over the world. She co-founded Focus Leadership with an integrated, energy-based approach to developing transformational leaders and their teams. She has worked with numerous Global1000 leaders and businesses, including Dell, Novartis, JNJ, Bank of America, Precor, Sprint, EMC, XL Capital, and Prudential. She is a seasoned keynote speaker, having presented to such groups as the International Coaching Federation, Professional Coaches and Mentors Association, and European Professional Womens Network. The co-author of Move to Greatness (with Betsy Wetzig, 2008), she continues to teach Zen applications to leadership, in which the ideas of The Zen Leader have met with such enthusiasm, they needed to be written down.