Lili Powell, PhD, MA

Associate Professor, Darden School of Business

Kluge-Schakat Professor, School of Nursing

Director, Compassionate Care Initiative, University of Virginia

For over 25 years, Dr. Lili Powell has taught MBA, EMBA and Executive Education classes in leadership communication at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business.  In 2017, in recognition for her work in leadership presence and mindful leadership, Powell was awarded a joint appointment as the Kluge-Schakat Professor at the University of Virginia’s School of Nursing.  Today she also serves as Director of the Compassionate Care Initiative, which develops programing, innovative education, and meaningful research aimed at increasing self-care, leadership, and healthy work environments for students, faculty, staff, and clinicians, so that they in turn may offer compassionate care for others.

In 2006, Dr. Powell completed her first yoga teacher training, which led not only to a personal but also a professional transformation.  Soon after her yoga teacher training, she began incorporating mindfulness and yoga methods into a theatre-based course called Communicating through Leadership Presence.  In time, she and colleague Jeremy Hunter developed the executive short course, Leading Mindfully.  Their recent article for Leader to Leader, defines leading mindfully as the intentional practice of training attention, cultivating goodwill, and exercising a positive influence in the world.  In a new interprofessional graduate course, Leading with Presence in Healthcare, Dr. Powell has brought these ideas and training to current and future nurses, physicians, researchers, and administrators.  All this while, she continues to donate her time by teaching weekly yoga classes for beginners at a community center dedicated to bringing yoga to all income levels in Charlottesville.

Dr. Powell’s diplomas include undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Communication Studies, and a master’s degree in Rhetoric and Communication Studies from the University of Virginia.  With a focus on leadership, rhetoric, and performance studies, she earned the PhD in Communication Studies from Northwestern University.