First Person: A conversation with Jacqueline Hartman, co-founder of Stanford Red Barn Leadership


Even though there's no riding going on at the Red Barn Leadership Program at Stanford University, there's lots of action. That action might include encouraging a horse to walk around the ring in a particular direction or engaging in an emotional exchange with a horse that might intimidate the human involved.

Jacqueline Hartman, the program's co-founder and chief facilitator, and her team bring together groups ranging from Fortune 500 executives to patients suffering from early stage and early onset dementia with their caregivers and loved ones. Hartman also works with a variety of students from Gunn and Palo Alto high schools, as well as Stanford's Graduate School of Business, among others.  

Hartman, who grew up on a ranch in the Santa Cruz mountains, surrounded by horses, spent as much time dancing ballet as riding horses.

As a leadership coach, her work was inside -- literally and figuratively. She worked in offices and encouraged leaders to "go inside themselves" to grow and thrive in their roles, she said.

Now, though her "office" is outside in horse rings, her focus is still the inner workings of leaders of all stripes. Hartman believes in the power of relationships and communicating through all senses, she said. That power was evident during a short visit to the Stanford Red Barn, just listening to and observing the horses during the conversation.

• Watch the video

• To watch previous First Person video interviews, click here.

Host/interview, Lisa Van Dusen

Video, Veronica Weber

Production Manager, Lavanya Mahadevan

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