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From Maharishi University of Management

OCTOBER 18, 2015 • ISSUE 315

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PhD student Leigh Lester-Holmes

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With friends at MUM

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Singing with the Iowa Freedom Choir in 2013 celebrating the music of the Civil Rights Movement

Leigh Lester-Holmes — Bringing Entrepreneurship into the Nonprofit Sector

Leigh Lester-Holmes holds a master’s degree in business management with a specialization in public administration. She had worked in the nonprofit sector for ten years when she decided to apply for a doctoral degree. However, she didn’t want to commit to a university until she could find something that would help her focus on her studies.

When she discovered the Transcendental Meditation® technique, it was just a matter of time before she enrolled at MUM. “When I started TM, things just became crystal clear,” she said. “I no longer had any doubt about what I wanted to do.”

Leigh is passionate about working with nonprofits and began her PhD in business administration because she wanted to teach. The focus of her doctoral dissertation is teaching the entrepreneurial mindset to nonprofit leaders as a way of helping them become more successful. 

“It’s about what kind of business nonprofit organizations can do within their mission to create income,” Leigh said. “That’s a more long-term and more sustainable goal than fundraising.” Eventually she would like to develop an online entrepreneurial training program for nonprofit leaders.

In addition to working on her dissertation, Leigh has been teaching entrepreneurship online to the students of the Maharishi Invincibility Institute in South Africa. She also started a consulting business for nonprofit organizations. “When you really enjoy something, it doesn’t seem like work,” she said. “That’s one of the first things I learned at MUM.”

Leigh found a lot of support for her goals from the MUM faculty, and she was also able to find peer support within her industry. This past summer she won a full scholarship to attend the Organizational Behavior Teaching Conference at the University of La Verne, California, where she was able to network with other business educators.

Leigh’s dream is to find a full-time college teaching position while at the same time continue consulting for nonprofit organizations. She feels that staying in both the academic and nonprofit worlds is the best way to keep her knowledge and research current.

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