About Us – Mentora Institute
Our Mission

To create inspired organizations where people in all roles and all moments achieve breakthrough performance by bringing out the best in themselves and the best in others in the pursuit of a noble purpose.

Coming Soon

Our story
Hitendra Wadhwa

Founder & President

our impact

Our work is informed by Mentora Research's findings on human potential drawn from a range of scientific disciplines, studies of great leaders and movements, and behavioral experiments run by Mentora Labs.

Columbia University
Two people sitting and talking.

Our work is based on our founder Dr. Hitendra Wadhwa’s Inner Mastery|Outer Impact model developed at Columbia Business School over the last 15 years. Hitendra teaches the school’s most popular leadership elective, Personal Leadership & Success.

Inner Mastery | Outer Impact invites you to see leadership as the discipline of bringing out the best in yourself and the best in others in all situations, in the pursuit of a common positive purpose.

Our core beliefs

What is leadership?

Leadership is the discipline of bringing out the best in ourselves and the best in others in all situations, in the service of a common positive purpose. This form of leadership applies to all roles and all moments.

Our inner core

We are at our best when we activate and express our Inner Core. This is our true self, the space of highest potential within us. When we are at our Core, we are beyond ego, attachments and insecurities.

Our five core energies

We all possess 5 Energies at our Core: Purpose, Wisdom, Growth, Love and Self-Realization. These give us 5 Inner Metrics to guide our performance, moment by moment:

Am I leading from my Inner Core by being…

  1. Committed to a noble, uplifting purpose,
  2. Calm and receptive to the truth,
  3. Curious and open to new learning,
  4. Connected with the people I work with, and those I serve,
  5. Centered in my joyful and intuitive spirit within,

…and am I doing my best to help others around me operate from their Core as well?

A library of core-actions

Each of the five Core Energies can be activated in ourselves and others through a few simple actions. These actions serve as building blocks for all leadership behaviors.

Learning in the flow of work

We learn and grow by doing. So rather than focusing on lengthy and repetitive sessions in which people learn new principles, tools and techniques outside of their everyday work reality, we emphasize bringing new discrete actions into the flow of work. In other words, activating innate but sometimes unused or unactivated actions available to all of us at our core. Then actions become habits become a new way of working, interacting, performing and leading.

Our Team

Our team brings a distinctive mix of perspectives on leadership with their C-suite, consulting, research and training backgrounds.

Hitendra Wadhwa Adjunct Professor at Columbia Business School and Founder of Mentora Institute
Dr. Hitendra Wadhwa

Founder & CEO

Dr. Hitendra Wadhwa

Founder & CEO

Adjunct Professor, Columbia Business School

Hitendra’s mission is to discover, codify, and teach the laws of success in life and leadership which form the foundation of our work at Mentora. With an MBA and Ph.D. from MIT’s Sloan School of Management and a lifelong study of the world’s mystic traditions, Wadhwa brings a mathematician’s rigor and a truth-seeker’s spirit to some of today’s most vexing questions about authenticity, success, leadership, and human potential. He has codified these principles in his book, “Inner Mastery, Outer Impact: How Your Five Core Energies Hold the Key to Success”, published by Hachette Book Group in 2022.

As Adjunct Professor at Columbia Business School and Founder of the Mentora Institute, he has coached dozens of Fortune 100 C-suite executives and taught more than ten thousand MBAs, executives, doctors, lawyers, social activists, and educators. His class on Personal Leadership & Success at Columbia has for many years been the most popular leadership elective, earning him the Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence and the Executive-MBA Commitment to Excellence Award.

Hitendra’s work has been covered by leading media including Harvard Business Review, Fortune, Forbes, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, CNN, and more. Hitendra’s lessons, says the BBC World Service, “are about how to become a master of yourself before trying to be a master of the universe.” Psychology Today states, “The award-winning professor promises not how to make a living, but how to live.”

Hitendra’s podcast, Intersections, features acclaimed thought leaders and practitioners reflecting on how to dissolve cultural, disciplinary, and other boundaries to achieve our highest potential in life.

Previously, Wadhwa was a strategy consultant at McKinsey & Company and the CEO/founder of a Silicon Valley start-up, Paramark, which was twice recognized as a Top-100 Internet technology company by Technologic Partners/Venture Wire.

Rob Miller's head shot image
Rob Miller

President

Rob Miller

President

Mentora Institute

Rob is a seasoned entrepreneur with four startups and three co-founded ventures under his belt. His track record includes four exits, one at a “unicorn” valuation, primarily in regulated industries and tech. He’s an active angel investor helping startups realize their growth potential through Lean Startup principles.    

An educator at Miami University and mentor through various non-profits, Rob also brings military experience as a former U.S. Army cavalry officer. He holds MBAs from Columbia University and UC Berkeley. 

Rob completed Professor Wadhwa’s Personal Leadership Course over a decade ago, sparking a transformation in the way he led his companies. 

Based in Chicago, Rob is married with three children. He’s an instrument rated private pilot, primarily flying rugged tailwheel airplanes in the backcountry. Rob holds an amateur radio license, and enjoys travel and fitness.

Lauren Decker

Director

Lauren Decker

Director

Mentora Life

Lauren is leading the launch of Mentora Life. She is passionate about the potential for community and connection that M.Life offers to support its members in their pursuit of growth and a purpose-driven life.

She is the co-founder of The Co-Co, a women’s focused co-working and networking community in New Jersey. In addition, she works as a career coach for MBA candidates at Columbia Business School, and serves as a Board Member for the school’s Women’s Circle. 

Lauren brings a diversity of experience in nonprofit management and consulting, corporate philanthropy, board work, and foundation management, and has also worked in marketing and sales roles at Kraft Foods, Atlantic Media Company, and Time Inc.

She holds an MBA from Columbia Business School, where she was part of Prof. Hitendra Wadhwa’s first full-time offering of his award-winning leadership elective, Personal Leadership & Success. Later, she collaborated with Prof. Wadhwa to bring this course to the entire senior class at Cristo Rey New York High School, a college preparatory school for students from low-income families in East Harlem. 

Lauren lives in Summit, NJ. She enjoys spending time with her husband and three children, hiking, stand up paddle boarding, and practicing yoga and meditation.

Petra Nemeth Senior Executive Coach at Mentora
Petra Nemeth

Executive Director

Petra Nemeth

Executive Director

Senior Executive Coach

Petra has been with Mentora since its inception, having helped architect Mentora’s innovative digital learning programs and directed many of the company’s marketing, strategy and content-driven initiatives. She leads Mentora’s Coaching Practice. Clients she has recently served include Harlem Children’s Zone, H-E-B, and The Holdsworth Center.

Petra brings to these roles a rich set of C-Suite experiences. A former media and entertainment executive, she has worked extensively with brands, has managed growth initiatives across multiple media platforms, and has affected organizational change from the inside out. She held the roles of President of Time Inc’s This Old House Ventures, Executive Vice President at Bertelsmann Inc., and Head of Bertelsmann Content Network. She was also Vice President, Television, in the early days of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, a consultant for the Boston Consulting Group, and an investigative TV reporter in Germany. Petra holds an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

In her spare time, she is passionately involved in her three kids’ school district and actively practices karate and meditation.

jake deberry sales leader mentora
Jake DeBerry

Senior Director

Jake DeBerry

Senior Director

Client Development

Jake architects solutions with Mentora’s clients, designing and facilitating transformation journeys.

Prior to joining Mentora, he was a Lab Lead at Deloitte where he would design & facilitate executive-level workshops that would lead to breakthrough on pervasive, complex and emotionally-laden challenges. Jake served as the VP of Corporate Solutions at NeuroLeadership Institute, focused on helping companies apply neuroscience to their business, leadership and talent strategy.

He spent 8 years at CEB, where he built the membership business and advised executives in the HR, Legal & Sales functions. This included opening their Singapore office and eventually relocating to Hong Kong to support an integration and focus on the Greater China market. Jake’s work led to CEB publishing new research that was specific to the Asian market, which was profiled in HBR, among other outlets. Jake graduated from University of Virginia with a BA in Economics and Psychology. He is also a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, serving in business development in the Andes of Peru.

His explorer’s mindset has enabled him to live across 5 continents, though he now lives in New York City with his partner and son. In his spare time he is either found with a book, guitar or exploring the great outdoors, from mountain climbing to scuba diving, and everything in-between.

Mathew Burton

Director of Partnerships

Mathew Burton

Director of Partnerships

Mentora Institute

As Director of Partnerships at Mentora Institute, Matthew orchestrates and nurtures strategic collaborations fueled by his extensive expertise in corporate strategy, entrepreneurship, and emotionally intelligent leadership. He has founded two flourishing startups — Adonis Auto Group and Rescue Cooling Rentals — where he championed the principles of Inner Mastery, Outer Impact, embedding emotionally intelligent leadership at the core of organizational culture. His tenure at United Rentals, the world’s largest equipment rental company, fortified his understanding of the intricate dynamics governing corporate strategies, and the pivotal role emotional intelligence plays in steering large-scale enterprises towards success.

Prior to these ventures, Matthew worked as a Consultant at Bain & Company, where he contributed to transformative projects and honed his ability to navigate complex business landscapes with precision and foresight. He also spent two years as full-time volunteer missionary for his church in southern Mexico, an experience that gave him a deeper perspective on cross-cultural connections, community, empathy, and human connection. He holds an MBA from Columbia Business School, and has also been involved in the Mentora curriculum since 2009, as Prof. Hitendra Wadhwa’s teaching and research assistant.

Outside of work, Matthew enjoys spending quality time with his family, beekeeping on his family’s honey farm, and watching his son play American football.

Dr. Heidi Grant Senior Advisor at Mentora, and social cognitive psychologist
Heidi Grant

Senior Advisor

Heidi Grant

Senior Advisor

Faculty

Dr. Heidi Grant is a social cognitive psychologist specializing in the study of leadership, motivation and performance.  She is the author of five internationally bestselling books, including 9 Things Successful People Do Differently, and has been on Thinkers50’s global list of management thought leaders to know since 2017.

As Senior Advisor at Mentora, Heidi guides our go-to-market strategy and the design of our service offerings. As Senior Faculty, she delivers leadership workshops and inspirational keynotes to client audiences. 

In her roles as Chief Science Officer at Neuroleadership Institute and Director of Learning Research & Development for EY Americas, Heidi has designed award-winning, high impact behavior change programs to address feedback, inclusion, unconscious bias, growth mindset, speaking up, purpose, influence, teaming and leading through uncertainty.  Her former clients include Microsoft, IBM, Intel, CVS, Kaiser Permanente, JP Morgan Chase, Adobe, Merck, Oracle, Cigna and Spotify.

Heidi also serves as Associate Director of the Motivation Science Center at Columbia University. She received her PhD from Columbia University, working with Carol Dweck (the Stanford Professor who coined the term “growth mindset.”)

She is an in-demand speaker on the topics of mindset, motivation and influence, and has contributed frequently to the Harvard Business Review,CBS Mornings, Forbes, Fast Company and The Atlantic.  Her 2019 TED talk on motivating others to help you has been viewed over 3 million times.

Natasha Gill Senior Director of Research, Faculty, Executive Coach
Natasha Gill

Senior Director of Research

Natasha Gill

Senior Director of Research

Faculty, Executive Coach

Natasha specializes in researching and developing Mentora training content. She is passionate about following the latest science on human behavior and leadership, and exploring the inner lives and outer impact of great leaders. She also leads program design for our clients, and facilitates virtual and live training & coaching sessions. The Mentora clients she has recently served include Kantar, Ericsson, Siemens, Kraft Heinz, Accenture, Chanel, Chevron, Invesco, The Holdsworth Centre and Tata Communications.

Prior to Mentora, Natasha served as HR & Industrial Relations Manager at Canada-based Northwest Hardwoods, providing HR support to over 150 associates. This support included training and development, performance management and recruitment.

Natasha is also a CrossFit coach & athlete. She gets joy from her devotion to a path of yoga and meditation, spending time with her family and her golden retriever Rocky.

Taylor Parker's Headshot image
Taylor Parker

Director

Taylor Parker

Director

Mentora Foundation

Taylor stewards all verticals of the Foundation’s work with an emphasis on brand strategy, social impact, and institutional development. She also supports the Foundation’s retreat practice, translating the Mentora method into onsite experiences. She is passionate about bridging the contemplative and the corporate worlds, creating communities of practice, and applying ancient wisdom in modern contexts.

Prior to Mentora Foundation, she worked as an employer brand strategist and lobbyist on Capitol Hill at one of Washington’s oldest political groups, AIPAC. She has designed staff-wide curriculums, led global communications campaigns, and developed policy agendas that were later turned into law. 

She is a candidate at Georgetown University’s Executive Leadership Coaching program, an alumna of the University of Florida’s Women’s Studies department, and holds certifications across multiple yoga and meditation traditions.

In her spare time, Taylor enjoys living a contemplative life, and taking weekend trips up the California coast with her family.

Josh Davis Chief Scientist and Senior Faculty at Mentora
Josh Davis

Adjunct Faculty

Josh Davis

Adjunct Faculty

Senior Faculty

As a writer, teacher, speaker, and coach, Josh studies and teaches about the mind and brain in multiple ways. He is the author of an international bestseller on time management, Two Awesome Hours: Science-Based Strategies to Harness Your Best Time and Get Your Most Important Work Done, now published in 10 languages. His writing has appeared in Harvard Business Review, strategy+business, Training + Development, Psychology Today, and others. He also trains individuals in techniques derived from psychotherapy at the NLP Center of NY and coaches people to love public speaking.

Prior to joining Mentora, Josh guided the translation of research on behavior change into leadership content as the Director of Research and Lead Professor for the NeuroLeadership Institute, during a period where the organization more than quadrupled in size. He also served as a professor in the Department of Psychology at Barnard College, as well as Columbia University and New York University. He holds a bachelors in engineering from Brown University and a PhD from Columbia University, where he studied psychology and neuroscience.

In his spare time, Josh loves laughing, reading a lot of non-fiction books, and raising his kids with his wife.

Paul Gimenez
Paul Gimenez

Head of Diversity & Inclusion Practices

Paul Gimenez

Head of Diversity & Inclusion Practices

Faculty

Paul leads Mentora’s Diversity Practices which help organizations develop and deploy evidence-based, people-centric learning and culture change initiatives that advance and promote diverse and inclusive cultures of belonging.

With roots in neuroscience and psychology research — including stints at the Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Research (Stanford School of Medicine), brainLENS (UCSF), and the Loss, Trauma, and Emotion Lab (Teacher’s College, Columbia University) — Paul is a speaker, coach, teacher, and trusted advisor to executives who are determined to unlock their individual and collective potential through the translation and application of 21st-century science.

He has served as the Head of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging at Guitar Center Company and supported innovative professional services firms — including the NeuroLeadership Institute, Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA), and The Design Gym — where he supported organizations in the strategy, design, and execution of cutting-edge learning, leadership, culture, and diversity and inclusion strategies, practices, programs, and policies.

In addition to his work in applied human sciences, Paul also co-founded the nonprofit 100 For All, a charity dedicated to helping people build healthier, environmentally conscious communities.

Raghu Krishnamoorthy Senior Fellow and Director of the University of Pennsylvania’s acclaimed Chief Learning Officer doctoral program
Raghu Krishnamoorthy

Senior Faculty

Raghu Krishnamoorthy

Senior Faculty

Faculty

Dr. Raghu Krishnamoorthy is the Senior Fellow and Director of the University of Pennsylvania’s acclaimed Chief Learning Officer doctoral program. His research is centered on the future of work, the workplace, and the worker, and he has written and lectured extensively on the subject. In 2020, his research on remote worker effectiveness earned the Academy of Business Research’s best research paper award. His most recent study investigated how leadership behaviors affect employee engagement in a virtual work environment.

Raghu worked as an executive with 38 years of experience in human resources and learning prior to entering academia. He retired from General Electric after serving as the company’s chief human resources officer. He also served as the company’s Chief Learning Officer and head of talent over his 25-year tenure, which included HR leadership responsibilities at GE Aviation and GE Healthcare, as well as assignments in other geographies such as Europe and Asia. Under his leadership, Fortune Magazine named GE’s learning and development function as one of the best in the world. Additionally, Raghu has been recognized as one of the top 50 Asian American business leaders. Raghu has taught and lectured at many prestigious institutions, including Columbia University, Harvard University, MIT, Yale University, and the Milken Institute.

Raghu consults with a variety of businesses on issues such as the future of work, the return to the office, virtual or hybrid working, talent management, leadership development, and learning. He is also a popular coach with executives at the C-Suite level.

Raghu earned a master’s degree in management from the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad. He later earned a Humphrey Fellowship from the University of Minnesota under the famed Fulbright Scholarship program. After retiring from his professional career, he acquired a master’s degree and completed his doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania.

Judy Calabrese Office Manager at Mentora
Judy Calabrese

Office Manager

Judy Calabrese

Office Manager

Judy has over 20 years of experience as an administrative assistant in the corporate world, including a decade at McKinsey & Company.

She jumped at the opportunity to work with Mentora because Mentora’s values and beliefs are the same values and beliefs that Judy holds dear. Through this work, she hopes to help change the world one person at a time.

In her spare time, Judy can be found shuttling her two young sons to their activities, playing with the beloved family dog, and dreaming of the beach, her favorite place to be.

Paul Ingram Senior Faculty at Mentora Institute and Kravis Professor of Business at Columbia Business School
Paul Ingram

Senior Faculty, Mentora Institute

Paul Ingram

Senior Faculty, Mentora Institute

Kravis Professor of Business, Columbia Business School

Paul Ingram is the Kravis Professor of Business at the Columbia Business School. His PhD is from Cornell University, and he was on the faculty of Carnegie Mellon University before coming to Columbia. He has held visiting professorships at Tel Aviv University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University and the University of Toronto. The courses he teaches on management and strategy benefit from his research on organizations in the United States, Canada, Israel, Scotland, China, Korea and Australia. His research has been published in more than seventy articles, book chapters and books. His publications have received numerous distinctions, including the Gould Prize from the American Journal of Sociology, and best paper awards in the areas of Organization and Management Theory, and Collective Behavior and Social Movements.

Ingram’s current research examines the intersection between culture and social networks. Recent papers investigate questions such as the role of value similarity to foster business networks, determinants and outcomes of individuals’ fit in organizational cultures, and influences on ethical decision making. He has served as President of the College of Organization Science of the Institute for Operations Research and Management Science (INFORMS). He has served as an Associate Editor for Academy of Management Discoveries, a consulting editor for the American Journal of Sociology, a senior editor for Organization Science, an Associate Editor for Management Science and on the editorial boards of Administrative Science Quarterly and Strategic Organization.

Paul’s undergraduate degree is from Brock University where received the Governor General’s Award as the top graduating student. In 2004 he received the Distinguished Graduate Award from Brock’s Faculty of Business. At the Columbia Business School, Paul has received the Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence, won the Commitment to Excellence Award, voted by graduating EMBA students seven times, and thrice been chosen by graduating EMBA students to deliver the keynote speech at their commencement ceremony. He has consulted on issues of leadership, organizational design and strategy to leading companies in the finance, health care, insurance, energy, arts, legal, education, and consumer products industries.

Pratyush Rajvanshi Director of Strategic Initiatives and Faculty at Mentora
Pratyush Rajvanshi

Director of Strategic Initiatives

Pratyush Rajvanshi

Director of Strategic Initiatives

Faculty

Pratyush leads strategic initiatives at Mentora Institute and the development of programs and partnerships at Mentora Foundation. He is passionate about emerging approaches to leadership and organizational design that are rooted in the harmony of our inner and outer well-being. He enjoys engaging with businesses and non-profits to jointly explore this theme in their unique context.

In the past, Pratyush has led transformation in diverse contexts that include working onboard merchant ships, serving as a management consultant at McKinsey, and later advising start-ups and mid-sized companies on strategy and people development. He has also designed and facilitated youth leadership programs and actively supported rural community development initiatives. He holds a Bachelor’s in Marine Engineering from BITS Pilani, India.

In his spare time, Pratyush is part of a service community at the Sabarmati Ashram—where Mahatma Gandhi started his ‘Experiments with Truth‘. He likes to meditate and reflect on wisdom from the past and present, meet people and travel to experience fresh perspectives on life.

Nailah Wagner Executive Coach and Faculty at Mentora
Nailah Wagner

Executive Coach

Nailah Wagner

Executive Coach

Faculty

Nailah is passionate about empowering clients to navigate difficult leadership and career challenges, turn setbacks into successes, and achieve professional fulfillment and growth. As a coach, Nailahalso has a reputation for establishing nurturing and lasting relationships as both a trusted advisor and confidante. The Mentora clients she has recently served include General Electric, Harlem Children’s Zone, Kraft Heinz, Morgan Stanley, and Tata Communications. She also serves as a guest lecturer in Professor Hitendra Wadhwa’s award-winning Personal Leadership & Success course at Columbia Business School.

Prior to joining Mentora, Nailah worked as an Executive MBA career coach at Emory University Goizueta Business School. She also has extensive corporate experience having worked in brand management with Campbell Soup Company, and in Sales with Whirlpool Corporation where she managed key territories including New York, Washington, DC and Los Angeles. Nailah received her BA in Public Policy from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her MBA from Columbia Business School in New York.

In her spare time, Nailah enjoys exploring different cultures, visiting new countries, hiking to waterfalls, and cooking with her husband and three young daughters.

Derrick Huang Executive Advisor, Strategy and Innovation, and Faculty at Mentora
Derrick Huang

Executive Advisor, Strategy and Innovation

Derrick Huang

Executive Advisor, Strategy and Innovation

Faculty

Derrick helps individuals and organizations build lasting capabilities – his primary areas of focus are strategic problem solving, high impact data-centric decision making, executive-level communication, and disciplined innovation and execution. He often takes on the role of change agent within organizations as well as an executive coach for C-level executives and their teams. He has served clients across multiple industries, including high tech, retail/CPG, healthcare, insurance, finance, and education. His recent engagements have focused on helping companies develop new market strategies and building the requisite new capabilities. Examples include helping clients build internal innovation labs to run startup-like “fast-fail, fast-learn” experiments and leading organization-wide digital transformations that include culture change, in addition to technology and capability shifts.

Derrick began his career as a technologist at various Internet start-ups, designing and developing software, leading project teams, and selling software products and services to a variety of Fortune 500 clients. Derrick was also a consultant at McKinsey & Company, leading initiatives on innovation, competitive intelligence, strategic decision-making, and wargaming. His 15+ years of professional experience in management consulting, venture capital, and software development have given him a unique and broad perspective on strategy and operations, best practices in innovation and organizational transformation. He holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and a BA in Chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania.

In his spare time, Derrick can occasionally be found at a poker table, but his primary passion is exploring every nook and cranny of NYC with his wife and two children.

a small group of people in a meeting setup, looking for common objectives.

We strive to live the principles and values we teach our clients – to do everything in service of our purpose, to be honest, open, supportive and genuine in all we do, and to create an environment where we all feel safe being this way. If this sounds like the kind of place that would energize and inspire you, then have a look at our open positions.

If you are interested in Mentora but do not see a job posting that is the right fit for you, send us an email at [email protected] with more about your background and interests, and do include your resume, and we will be in touch.

Join us

Want to join in our mission to awaken individuals, teams and organizations to their full potential?
If so, we’d love to
hear from you.

Four individuals in a friendly conversation.

Our Culture is our Mission

Coming Soon

The culture we strive for at Mentora is the same as what we strive to build for our clients: to be inspired every day with our mission, to connect human-to-human and spirit-to-spirit, to partner in growing each other to our full potential, and to seek out the truth in all matters.