Daena Giardella


Daena Giardella

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Daena Giardella is a Senior Lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management and a Faculty Affiliate of the MIT Leadership Center.

She has been an organizational leadership consultant and executive coach as well as a media, communication, and presentation consultant for over twenty-five years. At MIT Sloan she teaches the course Improvisational Leadership as well as numerous workshops for the Sloan Intensive Period (SIP), and the Sloan Fellows MBA and Executive MBA programs. She also teaches in the MIT Sloan Executive Education programs. Her areas of expertise include helping leaders effectively navigate difficult conversations, constructively frame conflict, and lead diverse teams that foster innovation. She teaches numerous interactive skills-based workshops and training programs where leaders learn how to respond proactively to implicit or unconscious bias, sexual harassment, and bullying by enacting improvised scenarios. She frequently speaks on topics related to women and leadership in business.

Daena has taught seminars for the MIT Sloan Global Programs Latin America Office in Chile and Argentina at numerous business and academic settings, including Catolica University in Santiago and Di Tella University in Buenos Aires, as well as at the American Chamber of Commerce in Chile. Daena was a visiting faculty member for seven years at The Lisbon MBA program in Portugal, in partnership with MIT Sloan Global Programs. She has also taught Negotiation Improvisation for members of the European Commission in Brussels in collaboration with the Paris ESSEC Business School and Harvard Law School faculty. She has been a regular consultant for Harvard Law School’s Negotiation program, and she taught a Skills Practicum for the Entrepreneurial Teacher at Babson College’s Symposia for Entrepreneurship Educators.

Daena has enjoyed dual careers in business organizational development and in the performing arts. She combines these backgrounds to design innovative educational programs for numerous world-class companies, organizations, and academic institutions in the USA and abroad. Her highly experiential programs incorporate her Improvisation and Influence Model ©, which cultivates dynamic leadership, adaptability, presence, emotional intelligence, and collaborative communication skills. Her consulting clients include organizations, executives, and managers in the financial services, telecommunications, technology, energy, hospitality, retail, fashion, real estate, manufacturing, entertainment, engineering, legal services, and health care industries.

Daena is also an actor, director, and member of SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild & American Federation of Radio and Television Artists). Her numerous original one-woman theater performances have received kudos in the USA and internationally. The Boston Globe has called her an "impressive talent" and the Tel Aviv Ha’eer wrote, "Giardella is a phenomenon...a classic actress."

Daena was formerly a faculty member at Emerson College and Boston Conservatory. She collaborated with David Kantor (creator of the 4-Player Model) for eleven years in the creation of TheraVision, a role-play/video-based training program for psychotherapists at the Kantor Family Institute. She was the director and teacher of a theater program for at-risk students at Roxbury High School under a grant from Harvard University, and she has led diversity and anti-bullying workshops in many educational settings, including the New Mexico Human Rights Foundation.

She is coauthor of the book, Changing Patterns: Discovering the Fabric of Your Creativity and she recorded the spoken word CD, Improvisation in Everyday Life.

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