Being Mindful

Maurie McGarvey selected to attend prestigious Google leadership program

Maurie McGarvey, Senior Vice President and Director of Talent and Culture at Paducah Bank, recently became one of only 51 professionals from 14 countries accepted into Google’s prestigious Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute Engage Program (SIYLI) in San Francisco. “Google is truly the gold standard when it comes to thought leadership,” says Maurie. “I couldn’t be more grateful to be a part of this.”

How Maurie became the only person from Kentucky to be selected for this highly competitive program reveals a sense of her own thought process. “When I realized that a two-minute video was required for the application,” Maurie says, “I very quickly knew what I wanted to talk about.” She wanted to talk about trees—Aspen trees.

You see, one Aspen tree is only a small part of a central root system. A stand of Aspen trees is considered a singular organism with the main life force underground in the extensive root system. Each tree is connected to all the others. So now, Google knows what we know—that Maurie McGarvey sees the world in a beautiful way, a way that ties everyone together for the betterment of each individual and for the best of the whole.

The Leadership Engage program was originally created at Google and is one of their most popular training programs. It was developed by Chade-Meng Tan, a Google engineer and author of the New York Times best- selling book, Search Inside Yourself, together with a Stanford neuroscientist and a Zen teacher.

This globally-recognized program is a highly interactive course that blends evidence-based mindfulness and neuroscience with a focus on emotional intelligence to awaken the best in people and organizations.

Maurie McGarvey“The program teaches tools for focus, self-awareness, and resilience with a growth-oriented mindset,” explains Maurie. “It is backed by world experts in neuroscience, mindfulness, and emotional intelligence skills that lead to sustained peak performance, strong collaboration, and navigating challenges more effectively.” The program is six months of intensive training in mindful leadership. Through collaboration, participants develop the knowledge, tools, and leadership capacities to bring the benefits of mindfulness-based emotional intelligence to the workplace and the community.

While Google might be the gold standard for workplace development, both Maurie and Paducah Bank are no strangers to success in this particular discipline. “I’m proud to say Paducah Bank has a deep commitment to excellence and was named one of 15 top small places to work in North America in 2008 by the Wall Street Journal as well as the number one Best Place to Work in Kentucky among medium sized companies in 2006. We have carefully built our organization through focusing on our niche: developing personal relationships with our clients and providing above and beyond service.”

Even with these noted accomplishments, when the opportunity presented itself to apply for admission to Google’s flagship leadership training program, it gave Maurie pause. “I must admit,” she says, “it was a very intimidating idea at first.” She credits Paducah Bank President Mardie Herndon with encouraging her to “go for it.” “Mardie is deeply dedicated to the idea that Paducah Bank should continue to be on the cutting edge of creative ideas that benefit both our teammates and customers,” says Maurie.

Fresh off her second week in the program at the historic Presidio area of San Francisco, Maurie found her- self awed by the beautiful surroundings, if a bit challenged to enjoy them. “It was a total of ten days of intense work that ran nearly non-stop,” she explains. “The idea is to increase emotional intelligence by increasing self-awareness, and to increase self-awareness through attention training.” It may be a surprise to learn that Google’s most successful training program focuses at least in part on “Unplugging,” Maurie adds. “Mindfulness is all about managing distractions, and there are few things that challenge that more than technology.”

Maurie will ultimately be sharing these newly adopted skills with her Paducah Bank teammates. “This program offers an experience of deep personal development, assists with positively shifting team dynamics, and will help our organization to thrive!”