Awake in Business brings you cutting-edge organizational development paradigms, design templates, and mindfulness-based emotional intelligence training to anchor a collaborative culture and foster peak performance. The future of work is already here and we help you envision and establish workplace culture that retains the right talent.
Our programs cultivate self-awareness, emotional intelligence, resilience, individual wellbeing, team cohesion, productive collaboration, and positive impact. We work closely with you to develop concrete game plans, provide long-term support, and focus on making measurable impacts in your organization.
We offer organizational training / organizational development and program design / group facilitation / team offsites & retreats / keynote presentations / leadership coaching / communications strategy.
ABOUT LAURA: Laura Wells, M.B.A., brings together 15 years of consumer-packaged goods brand development, cross-functional and cross-border project management, six years of nonprofit leadership, and a longtime meditation practice to affect positive change in the business world. Positive change in the human and environmental impact of organizations as well as the development of human potential within organizations.
In 2019, Laura founded Awake in Business, a consultancy that designs, develops, and delivers an array of training programs to develop widespread compassionate leadership. Compassionate leadership in a broad sense, including powerful personal presence, enhanced focus and clarity, productive team collaboration, conflict management, sustained resilience, and positive impact in the world.
Laura loves to co-create workplace spaces of trust, connection, participation, and meaningful contribution. She sees that when people show up authentically and connect with each other at work, it changes the way organizations operate—and believes this will change the world from the inside-out.
Laura started her career as a brand developer and innovation manager for iconic brands including M&M’s, Palmolive, Disneyland Paris, and Dove. She led cross-functional teams to create new product bundles, developed and executed market research plans, forecasted product growth and distribution, tracked profit & loss statements, and carefully crafted insightful brand communications. In 2010, Laura converted this substantial corporate training and experience to head up marketing and communications at the not-for-profit Brain & Behavior Research Foundation (then known as NARSAD). In that role she learned to engage her heart in her work while transforming an organizational brand and working together with people incredibly dedicated to a cause.
Now Laura brings all this experience and her whole self to work. She has lived and worked in the US and Europe, speaks French and German, and is open to meeting clients wherever they may be in the world.
ABOUT CAROL: Grounded in practice, yet not bound by reality defined by the status quo.
Carol (Jia) Xu, Ph.D., has worn a few hats: startup co-founder, academic researcher, podcast host, and organizational development consultant. Her purpose has always remained the same: To help unleash human potential through a deeper understanding of people, work, and technology.
While pursuing her Ph.D. in management science at Stanford University, Carol has conducted field research and consulting projects in organizations, ranging from high-tech start-ups to Fortune 100 companies. Her research has generated actionable insights on issues such as intercultural knowledge transfer, team dynamics, and diversity in global teams and organizations (both co-located as well as distributed ones).
Motivated by making a real impact in the world, Carol has intentionally immersed herself in hands-on practices of modern organizing. She is actively involved in global movements and communities where thought leaders create alternative, decentralized ways of organizing talent and resources, where company executives experiment with new organizational structures and cultural DNAs, and where pioneering individuals explore radically different mindsets and approaches in creating fulfilling work experience for themselves and others. Carol is passionate in working with aspiring leaders and teams, creating unique game plans that suit individual needs, and helping them to craft compelling impact stories for diverse stakeholders with strong logic and data-driven evidence.
Carol has lived and worked in the US, Singapore, and China. She is fascinated with inter-cultural dynamics and experienced with bridging cultural differences in collaborations and negotiations.
ABOUT PANKAJ: Pankaj Shah, M.Sc., has spent most of his adult life trying to engender collaboration to solve problems that are almost always too complicated for an individual to tackle. Either because they require innovation beyond the current state-of-the-art or require expertise from multiple areas. He thrives on getting to the root-level understanding of the opportunity/challenge; recruiting individuals that have open minds (and ears :-)) and can come up with ideas worth pursuing; and then get out of their way as much as possible so that there is space for magic to happen.
Pankaj's professional experience has led to products and services that range from silicon design, board-level electronics, industrial designs including mechanical engineering of robots, and software ranging from firmware to always-on RESTful services to web and mobile applications.
Pankaj also has been practicing meditation to become more mindful for the past two decades, and like management, finds it to be a practiced art. He has introduced many people to this art, ranging from 8-year old children in a Destination Imagination team to classrooms of children of various ages to coworkers and management teams.
The Dalai Lama beautifully said: "When you talk, you are only repeating what you know; when you listen, you learn something new." And Pankaj adds that listening should start with a practice to listen to oneself. Be kind and patient to see what emerges from your own mind -- it will help clarify your thoughts, how you express them, and the expediency of the resulting actions.
Pankaj has a B.Sc in Computer Science from Portland State University, and an M.Sc in Computer Science with an emphasis on Systems from Stanford University.