About

ERICA PENG

About a year ago, I received an email from a participant after a T Group Workshop. He wrote, “Thank you for a profound and transformative weekend. You’re so much more than a “coach.” Your job title should be something more like…Freedom Fighter.”

As I read the email, I was stunned by what seemed like the biggest compliment I’d ever received. I refer to myself as many things – coach, consultant, facilitator, lecturer, educator, designer, learner… But my purpose, no matter what form, is to support individuals and teams to clarify intentions and aspirations, liberate from tendencies and dynamics that impede effort and intended impact, and develop the skills, competencies – and courage – to manifest what’s most important, personally and professionally.

I was so moved by his “compliment,” I went ahead and added “Freedom Fighter” to my LinkedIn profile. (Yes, I really did!)

As a Coach/Freedom Fighter, I partner with individuals in all stages of life, career, and leadership. In our work together, you’ll cultivate “internal” grounded awareness and presence, along with “external” interpersonal skills, critical for leading effectively in today’s diverse and dynamic global context. My coaching and teaching approach integrates somatic coaching and embodied practices, with support from research and conceptual frameworks in areas including: emotions, neuroscience, interpersonal and group dynamics, management theory, systems thinking.

Having lived, worked, and traveled extensively in Asia, Latin America and Europe, I bring nuanced awareness and skill to issues of social identity, unconscious bias, and the process of owning unintended impact, as I help leaders navigate team and performance issues across language, culture, power and status, and other dimensions of diversity and difference.

At Haas School of Business, I teach a course, “Interpersonal Skills and Embodied Leadership,” and at Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB), I help deliver the most popular class on leadership and interpersonal dynamics, as well as coach senior leaders through an Executive Education Advanced Leadership Program.

At the GSB, I’m part of a team of senior facilitators who design and lead a half-day workshop about social identity, unconscious bias, diversity, and inclusion for all MBA and MSx (Masters in Science of Management for Experienced Leaders) students. I am also a speaker for Stanford Design School’s “Mindful Activism” class, sponsored by the East Bay Meditation Center.

In between a BA from Stanford University and an MA in Organization Development from Sonoma State University, I spent 2 years at the University of California Santa Cruz Center for Agro-ecology, learning and teaching how to grow good soil and organic food. I emerged from this experience transformed by an awareness of the interdependency between our health, well-being, the greater eco-system, and each other. I went on to design and build my strawbale house, and to launch an innovative organic garden and cooking program in the Berkeley public schools, a model for schools across the country.

When I’m not coaching or teaching, I sing in Pacific Edge Voices, a Grammy-nominated a cappella group, cook meals for friends and family from my garden, and hit the dance floor (Cuban salsa!). I’m proud to say I love what I do…a culmination of decades spent pursuing my zest for learning and taking risks to live a fulfilled and creative life of collaboration and contribution.

I’m inspired to keep living and working in this spirit amidst waves of change and uncertainty. And I’ll champion you to do the same.

My own path of growth and leadership development has not come without struggle, guidance, and support. I am grateful for my teachers/mentors who have inspired and shaped me across decades, disciplines, and traditions:

  • Mr. Kirkpatrick: High school English teacher
  • Wonnie Tarinchareon: Buddhist teacher
  • Tommy Woon: Former Director of Diversity and First-Gen Programs at Stanford University, and former Dean of Multicultural Education at Stanford, Dartmouth and Macalester colleges
  • Joanna Macy: Author, visionary, eco-philosopher, systems-thinker, engaged Buddhist
  • Orin Martin and John Farrell: Master gardeners and teachers, UC Santa Cruz
  • Scott Bristol: Author, lecturer at University of Applied Sciences in Austria, former lecturer at Stanford GSB, consultant on leadership and diversity
  • Larry Dressler/Blue Wing Consulting: Author, facilitator, social justice advocate, leadership coach and consultant
  • Richard Strozzi-Heckler/Strozzi Institute: Author, coach, consultant on embodied leadership and somatics
  • Staci Haines/generative somatics: Author, social justice advocate, consultant on somatics and trauma
  • Ed Batista: Author, executive coach, lecturer at Stanford GSB
  • Jeremy Taylor: Author, former instructor at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, founding member and past president of the International Association for the Study of Dreams