Introduction to Services

Leadership, at its highest, emanates from the cultivation of inner wisdom - its true source. Knowledge comes from the intellect. Wisdom arises from immediate apprehension or direct perception, available only in the present moment and informed by the context we are in. To more consistently access wisdom three significant pieces of inner work are necessary: stabilizing our relationship to the present moment; developing a state of mind that is both relaxed and alert; and working through the aspects of our identity that are in the way. This strengthens our access to emotional and intuitive intelligence and helps us identify our blind spots, creating a strong and integrated character. And nothing is more important to leadership excellence than our personal integrity. We don't "create" wisdom. Instead, we uncover it. At the heart of the inner journey is the return to this creative stream.

Why contemplative leadership? Most leaders are working at an extraordinary pace, often struggling to balance their lives. Finding time to slow down and turn your attention inward, the underpinning of any contemplative act, balances the nervous system, strengthens your relationship to the present, deepens self-awareness, and increases wisdom. It may not be possible to slow things down at work, but it is possible to remain simultaneously relaxed and alert even when under pressure. 

For further reading on contemplative leadership, please read our Mission


In our time together, we will seek to identify your deepest sources of inspiration so that your work remains vital and creative. We will attempt to get to the root of issues so that change is permanent, and we will use your everyday challenges as the grit of our work together.


"I have been working with Jan Birchfield, the founder of CLD, for the past five years and I can only describe the experience as a transformational journey.  My personal growth, professional development, and vastly improved leadership skills are all directly linked to the work I have undertaken with her.   Jan’s ability to help me define - and refine - who I am and what I want to be has been powerful - one of the hardest, most amazing and fulfilling experiences of my life."
— Tracy Nelson, Director, Curriculum Design, Novo Nordisk

"Contemplative Leadership Development combines a highly professional perspective with a very personal and insightful one as they examine culture and leadership.  Jan and her team see reality objectively and provide tangible methods of transformation.  I would give my highest recommendation to a leader of any organization to take advantage of CLD’s expertise and real-world experience."
— Carl Hartman, CEO, Geometry Global

"Going through CLD’s leadership program was an in-depth search of who I am and why I do what I do. This search never ends, but with the guidance and structure provided by Jan, I was able to accelerate this process, connecting to what really matters to me, and becoming more aware of my strengths and derailers.  As a consequence, I am able to face day-to-day challenges with greater serenity, and I am a much more effective leader."
— Cintia Piccina, IMP, Sales Strategy and Excellence, Novartis

Problems we solve

"In my business we are moving away from the production of commodities to a service culture, and so human capital is even more important.  The kind of leadership required is different than what was needed in the past - flexible, adaptable, self-aware, humble, and inspiring to others.  I want to become a more effective leader for this service-based economy."
— Jessica, Chief Operating Officer, Cable Company

"Right now, the biggest challenge for leaders is not how to meet Wall Street expectations, or how to develop a corporate vision, or even how to create a business-building strategy - the biggest challenge is the impact of stress on the decision-making process that underlies all of these issues."
— Kai, Senior Vice President, Financial Services

"Through my entire career I have had the same issues crop up over and over again.  I know what my shortcomings are, but I have never been able to change them."
— Margaret, Chief Information Officer, Pharmaceutical Company

"Most people develop their leadership skills through trial and error.  I want to better understand the fundamentals of leadership before my next promotion, instead of waiting until I am in the job and then discovering what I don’t know."
— Jeffrey, Director, Global Media Agency

"I have a direct report who is phenomenal in most ways, but has a serious shortcoming that is derailing her.  I have given her this feedback but she never seems to change.  I am unsure what to do."
— Keith, Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Manufacturing Company