Mindful Leadership Blog

Famous CEOs Who Meditate: What Makes Mindfulness Key to Success

Feb 07, 2023

CEOs, leaders, and professionals around the globe are seeking mindfulness training to make positive changes for themselves; their families, businesses, and communities; and the world. Mindfulness allows you to accumulate more wealth while being present, thus making a positive difference along the way.

By learning from the success of other mindful business leaders, you can find strategies to help you be a mindful professional. 

Why do CEOs meditate?

The impact of mindfulness on profits are well-documented. For example, Google’s Search Inside Yourself Program, a program designed to teach mindfulness, reports to have reached tens of thousands of executives and professionals, from companies like Procter and Gamble, 3M, and Ford.

One company, SAP, reported:

  • 200% ROI for their mindfulness training, 
  • 6.5% greater employee engagement, 
  • 13.8% improved focus, 
  • 6.9% better communication, and 
  • 5.2% better collaboration.

In addition, SAP also reported in 2018 that it more subjectively found mindfulness gave it a competitive edge.

Why should employees meditate?

You can improve the health of your employees and the bottom line at the same time. Mark Bertolini, former CEO of Aetna, a Fortune 100 company with more than $30 billion in revenues and more than 20 million members, had over 13,000 employees participate in mindfulness training. The results were astounding:

  • Employees’ stress levels improved,
  • Aetna’s overall health care costs were reduced by approximately $2,000 per year; and
  • productivity gains alone amounted to $3,000 per employee, an eleven-to-one return on its investment.

There is no doubt that following these principles will increase the bottom line, while at the same time improving peace of mind, focus, joy, and important relationships.

What successful professionals have a mindfulness practice that I could learn more about?

Successful professionals, celebrities, and notable CEOs have been reported to have established mindfulness and meditation practices. Those professionals include but aren’t limited to:

  • Jack Dorsey, cofounder and former CEO of Twitter, CEO of Block (formerly known as Square)
  • Bill Gates, cofounder and former CEO of Microsoft
  • Oprah Winfrey, chairwoman and CEO of Harpo productions; chairwoman, CEO, and CCO of the Oprah Winfrey Network
  • Ray Dalio, billionaire investor and hedge fund manager; founder of Bridgewater Associates
  • Naval Ravikant, entrepreneur; investor; cofounder and former CEO of AngelList
  • Marc Benioff, founder, chairman, and co-CEO of Salesforce; co-chair and owner of Time
  • Andrew Cherng, cofounder and CEO of Panda Express
  • Bill George, former chairman and CEO of Medtronic
  • Ramani Ayer, CEO and chairman of The Hartford
  • Jeff Weiner, executive chairman and former CEO of LinkedIn
  • Bob Stiller, cofounder of E-Z Wilder and Keurig Green Mountain Coffee Company
  • Alak Vasa, founder of Elements Truffles; former Wall Street trader
  • Jonathan Tang, Senior Venture Partner of Pioneer Fund
  • Russel Simmons, cofounder of Paypal; Yelp, Inc.; and Learnirvana
  • Rick Goings, chairman and former CEO of Tupperware Brands

You can establish your own mindfulness practice, too; just start small and be consistent.

I wrote a book, Profit with Presence: The 12 Pillars of Mindful Leadership, which goes in to further detail about this topic and more.

Although the world is currently abuzz with the term “mindfulness,” some believe mindfulness is a fringe activity to be practiced before or after the workday, if at all. Too few business professionals take the time needed to be present and aware throughout the workday, which is counterproductive. Mindfulness is not only a path to personal success, but a sound business strategy.  

My hope is to positively impact the world through infusing more mindfulness into business -- and it starts with each of us individually. Together, we can create a future where mindfulness is deeply embedded in our work culture, leading to greater well-being, productivity, and meaningful success for all.

- Dr Eric Holsapple


Get my free mindfulness resources here

Learn more about my book, Profit with Presence: The 12 Pillars of Mindful Leadership here

Check out the Profit with Presence Podcast Miniseries here

Watch videos on YouTube here

Learn more about my nonprofit, Living in the Gap, here


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