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Conflict Shift Lab

  • Self-awareness of reactions and responses

  • Balanced thinking

  • Empowered collaboration

  • Respectful, action-oriented communication

Athena Academy's Conflict Shift Lab is designed to produce conflict-competent leaders, teams and cultures. Led by Dr. Susan Bernstein, this 2-month Workshop Series uncovers the factors that facilitate versus hinder effective communication and moves leaders from conflict to collaboration.  

Dr. Bernstein's 4-part workshop demonstrates evidence-based tools that transform victims to creators, move villains to champions and shift heroes to coaches. Expect to boost your workforce productivity, cultivate a healthier and thriving corporate culture and accelerate your top talent attraction, retention and advancement objectives. 

Dr. Susan Bernstein, MBA, PhD
Executive Coach & Leadership Consultant

I strive to bring out each person’s greatest potential.

Early on in my career, I often wished for a mentor to take me under their wing. I would have appreciated having someone there to support my personal growth and to help me remove the barriers that I felt stood in my way of success.

In both my personal and professional life, I often heard, “Stop being so emotional!”

But I didn’t know how to do that. I had no idea that I didn’t have to be at the mercy of my emotions. And especially when I worked in management consulting, serving clients, I didn’t know how to respond when people around me displayed strong emotions — especially anger, sadness, and fear.


I focused a lot of time and attention on my own personal development, and went on to earn my MBA at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, and both an MA and a PhD in Mind-Body (Somatic) Psychology at the Santa Barbara Graduate Institute (which later became a division of the Chicago School for Professional Psychology).

When I started studying mind-body psychology, I had a physical “aha!” in my body. I realized that when I would breathe differently, or change where I placed my eye gaze, or moved in certain ways, I felt calmer and more confident.

I discovered that making small shifts in your body can create big changes in your mental outlook.

By realizing the powerful potential of these micro-movements, I began to share my discoveries with others. I explored how to apply this embodied awareness to practical workplace issues, like navigating conflicts, enhancing interpersonal communication, and stepping into leadership.

My ability to support professionals to become more confident, collaborative, and creative leaders comes from a unique combination of strategy and somatic science.

I honed my pragmatic and strategic skills in demanding executive development and management consulting roles at companies including Franklin-Covey, Intel, and Accenture, where I supported clients in volatile markets and transitions.

Meanwhile, my deep psychological insights into the nature of personal and professional transformation have been gleaned from my PhD level training in the cutting-edge perspectives of Somatic Psychology. This relatively young branch of psychology draws from neuroscience, neurobiology, and mindfulness practices.

Blending these skills I help my clients move past the internal and external roadblocks that hold them back, to create the momentum they seek for making positive change.

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© 2015 –2022, Work from Within, LLC All Rights Reserved

I support existing & emerging leaders to harness all of their strengths — including their emotions — so they can access their authentic leadership, elevate their careers, and make a greater impact in their organizations.

“It was an honor to complete the Athena Academy.  It gave us many insights on things we knew, but didn't realize their bigger impacts. This helped me become a better, stronger person. I already used the principles and reached out to my VP and am now moving to a team I want to work with, next month! I hadn't even set my goal this high through the program. Thank you for making that difference!"

Padmini Raghupathi Mendiratta, Automation Lead | Qualcomm

If your company is interested in the continued development of women in STEM through the Athena Leadership Academy, contact Holly Smithson at

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