Wendy Saunders is the founder of Compassionate Leader, LLC.  Wendy has studied mindfulness and compassion intensively since 2012 and has actively integrated these concepts into leadership development and workplace training curriculum for a number of years with the largest non-profit organization in the United States (the YMCA), as well as with other organizations, companies and groups.  Wendy is also a Certified Teacher for Emory University’s Cognitively-Based Compassion Training (CBCT®) program, which was designed to cultivate mindfulness, self-compassion, empathy, gratitude, interconnectedness, and compassion for others in participants (see below).  Wendy has taught this program to executives, team leaders, educators and administrators, healthcare and other corporate leaders, and to their staff teams–as well as to community members of all ages.  Wendy also facilitates YMCA of the USA’s New Branch Executive Institute which prepares new YMCA Executive Directors and District Executives for success in their roles.

Wendy is a seasoned non-profit executive. She began her career with the YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles more than 25 years ago and served as an Executive Director responsible for hundreds of employees and operating multiple facilities and a merger before transitioning into a senior Leadership & Executive Development role in 2014 with YMCA of the USA — a $7B organization with over 2,000 locations nationally.  She has worked with CEOs, COOs, executives and other leaders across the U.S. and internationally providing executive development institutes, leadership symposia, and other leadership development and mindfulness courses, programs, workshops, and coaching. Wendy facilitates executive and leadership workshops and retreats on various talent-development topics, including, but not limited to:

Wendy is also a Certified Facilitator of Emory University’s SEE Learning® curriculum which introduces mindfulness, trauma-informed care practices, and resiliency skills in K-12 educational, afterschool, and camp settings.  Wendy works hand-in-hand with administrators and prepares educators to teach the curriculum by facilitating training and providing ongoing support, so they can introduce and reinforce these concepts with the youth day-to-day and establish a more compassionate classroom culture.

Clients have included:

Individual Coaching & Organizational Consulting

She also provides customized individual and small group in-person, phone, and virtual coaching, educational sessions, and guided meditation sessions.

Wendy holds an Executive Master’s degree in Positive Leadership & Strategy from IE University in Madrid.  During her coursework, she completed Mindfulness-Based Strategic Awareness Training (MBSAT) developed by Dr. Juan Humberto Young (learn about MBSAT here), and also studied the Mindfulness & Character Strengths curriculum developed by Ryan M. Niemiec, PhD, PsyD.  As part of her graduate research, she examined approaches for creating and embedding an organizational culture of mindfulness and compassion in workplaces, and subsequently conducted a multi-phased project with a large non-profit organization ($140M operating budget and 4,500 employees), which involved a cultural assessments around mindfulness and compassion-related workplace behaviors, a series of dialogue sessions and introductory mindfulness workshops for all leadership staff, Leading With Compassion executive and staff retreat sessions, and follow-up recommendations for continued cultural shifts.  She has also studied and provided executive coaching related to compassionate corporate reorganizations.

Wendy facilitates executive institutes, virtual and in-person CBCT® courses, as well as formal training, workshops, retreats, keynotes and talks, and is available for coaching and consulting.   Wendy also invites project requests related to assessing and integrating mindfulness and compassion in organizational cultures, educational systems, healthcare settings, member and client offerings, and reorganization efforts.

Wendy can be reached at cbctlosangeles@gmail.com.


CBCT was developed by Emory University in Atlanta, GA in 2005 to help people progressively cultivate mindfulness and other-centered thoughts and behaviors while improving their own health, well-being, and feelings of connectedness with others. The promising results have attracted the attention of leaders in various sectors, including education, medicine, and business. To date, thousands of business and medical professionals, community leaders, educators, parents, college students, youth and teens have been trained in the cultivation of compassion. Major universities, including Emory University, the University of Arizona, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, have conducted scientific studies on this program and found that CBCT can reduce neuroendocrine, inflammatory, and behavioral responses to stress, and increase resilience, empathy, and compassion for others. This program also helps participants cultivate self-awareness and other-centered thoughts and behaviors while increasing overall well-being. Learn more about this transformative program by clicking here.

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