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Wisdom in the Waves: Surfing and
the Art of Leadership

EMAIL Conferences@ila-net.org to be added to the waitlist.

When: Wednesday, 24 October | 09:00 - 16:00 | FULL DAY
Where: Offsite - Beach
Ticket Price: ILA members - $130 | non-members - $173
If you would like to be a sponsor of this event
visit our sponsor page to learn more!


Surfing is known for many things—play, recreation, communion with nature, and a cool lifestyle, to name a few. But can surfing teach us something about leadership? Join this workshop and find out!

We begin at the beach. There we attune ourselves to the elements water, wind, waves. Whether it is your first time surfing or 100th, you receive guidance from a certified surf instructor, while being immersed in the ocean's waves, and learning important lessons about leadership.

Following our surf session, we lunch together, share experiences, and look for meaningful insights about leadership practice and development. On such lessons from a previous workshop, Max Klaus shared: "I was amazed at how many leadership concepts sprang vividly to life during just one hour out in the ocean. Out there on the surfboard, I saw the folly of believing that I could just make things happen whenever I wanted. Much of leadership involves waiting patiently for the right moment to appear...and then seizing that brief moment to ride the wave of energy."

Besides a unique way to explore leadership, the workshop is an opportunity for a sensuous body-mind experience that is fun, engaging, and promises to leave you stoked for the coming conference.

For more information, download the long description.

  Who Should Attend?

This workshop is for those who want an embodied, sensuous, and unique way of learning leadership, while enjoying the beach life in South Florida.

What Will Attendees Gain?

Attendees will take away:

  • An insider's view of the surfing experience and an understanding of its allure and benefits for life and leadership
  • The connection between surfing and the understanding, practice, and development of 21st century leadership
  • The chance to have a day of serious fun while learning leadership

Track: Leadership Development

Workshop Leaders & Presenters

Ken Otter
Ken Otter
Saint Mary's College of California


As a life-long surfer, I live life in motion, more improvised than choreographed. Professionally, I design and facilitate innovative and transformative learning experiences in academic and work settings. Linking traditional and contemporary knowledge, and art and science, I strive to promote personal and social practices to cultivate artistry, integrative health, and wisdom in individuals, organizations, and communities globally through teaching, coaching and facilitation. Presently, I am Co-director of The Leadership Center at Saint Mary's College and faculty in the MA in Leadership program. In addition to my Ph.D., I am certified in Adaptive Leadership Development and Executive and Organizational Coaching.



Whitney McIntyre Miller is an Assistant Professor of Leadership Studies at Chapman University. Whitney received her Ph.D. in Leadership Studies from the University of San Diego, and centers her research around peace leadership and issues of community development and leadership, with a particular focus on postconflict societies. Whitney has researched and worked in Sierra Leone and Bosnia-Herzegovina, and has also lived in Russia. She has traveled to over 40 countries for work, study, and leisure. She has also worked in the areas of international development, refugee return and resettlement, nonviolence, elections monitoring, and community development. Whitney has served for the past several years as the co-convener of the International Leadership Association's Peace Leadership Affinity Group.



Paul Kosempel is currently Teaching Associate Professor in leadership studies at the University of Denver (DU) as well as Interim Director of the Pioneer Leadership Program. Paul joined the faculty in 2007, and soon after received his PhD in interpersonal communication from DU. His professional experience includes over twenty years in higher education in various capacities including career development, leadership development, and operations management. He is co-convener of ILA's Sustainability Leadership Learning Community. His research interests include leadership and sustainability, assessment of leadership learning outcomes, and mentoring and leadership. He is also part-owner of the Green Bay Packers Football Team.



Charles David Tauber, M.D. is a founder of the Coalition for Work with Psychotrauma and Peace and has been its Head of Mission for Southeast Europe since 1995. He developed Pragmatic Empowerment Training (PET), a participatory course in communication, psychology, civil society, non-violent conflict transformation, and human rights for people without previous education in these fields. He has given therapy and supervision to victims of war. Previously, Tauber worked with various groups in The Netherlands, assisting asylum seekers and refugees and lay volunteers. He grew up in the USA, where he worked with environmental and peace groups starting in 1966.



Sandra Marić, grew up and studied in Zagreb, Croatia. Before joining to the Coalition for Work with Psychodrama and Peace as Deputy Head of Mission for Southeast Europe in 2006, she worked extensively with children and young people in eastern Croatia. Sandra holds a Masters in Sociology from the University of Zagreb. Her role with the Coalition includes therapy, research, writing, and a wide variety of other Coalition tasks.