Who We Are

Using social, cognitive, and neuroscience to boost the success of political candidates, campaigns, and causes

Cassandra Vieten, Ph.D.

Cassandra Vieten, a licensed clinical psychologist, has served as a nonprofit executive for over 15 years. She is also a scientist at the Mind-Body Medicine Research Group at California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute. She received her PhD in clinical psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies, where her clinical training focused on the integration of Eastern philosophy and spirituality into psychotherapy. Her research has focused on spirituality and health; development and pilot testing of mindfulness-based approaches to cultivating emotional balance; and factors, experiences, and practices involved in psychospiritual transformation to a more meaningful, compassionate, and service-oriented way of life. Her primary interest lies in how psychology, biology, and spirituality interact to affect experience and behavior.

An accomplished author, she has written books, chapters, and academic articles, as well as presenting at numerous international scientific conferences, trainings for colleagues and students, and workshops and events for the lay public. She is co-author of Spiritual & Religious Competencies in Clinical Practice Guidelines for Psychotherapists & Mental Health Professionals (New Harbinger Publications 2015), Living Deeply: The Art and Science of Transformation in Everyday Life (New Harbinger/Noetic Books 2008), and author of Mindful Motherhood: Practical Tools for Staying Sane During Pregnancy and Your Child’s First Year (New Harbinger/Noetic Books 2009).

Zanette Johnson, Ph.D.

Zanette Johnson is principal and founder at Intrinsic Impact Consulting, a company that helps teams increase their adaptivity, engagement and effectiveness through applied neuroscience and the patterns of evolutionary biology. As an experience designer, researcher, and facilitator, Zanette uses evidence-based tools to deliberately disrupt interpersonal and team dynamics, creating new patterns of action and interaction that are deeply aligned with shared values and the team’s desired results.

Incorporating wisdom from her early life as a neuroscientist, along with mindfulness practices from her 25 years as a dancer and meditator, Zanette guides organizations and individuals in learning to do things differently while navigating comprehensive system change. She has designed experience-based learning for diverse clients, including global Indigenous communities, tech startups, enterprise companies, PBS, NSF, and the US Department of Education. Zanette holds a bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience and Religious Studies, a master’s in Teaching, and a doctoral degree from Stanford University’s transdisciplinary “Learning Science and Technology Design” program.

Bristol Baughan

Bristol Baughan is an executive producer of Emmy-winning and Oscar-Nominated films, author, and executive coach. She founded Inner Astronauts to support people in harnessing their unique gifts in service to the world. Bristol coaches executives and social impact leaders to truly embody the values they believe in with integrity, vitality, and play. She launched Campaign Science to bring cognitive, social, and behavioral science to campaigns, candidates, and causes.

After a decade of starting companies and making award-winning films she spent seven years studying behavior and consciousness around the world including a Master’s Degree in Spiritual Psychology and hundreds of hours of one-on-one coaching. She facilitates individuals and groups using a mix of modern and ancient modalities including Person-Centered Psychology, Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP), Gestalt, and Somatic Meditation.

Shawn Dunning

Shawn Dunning is a leading expert in collaborative leadership and serves as a freelance consultant for a variety of clients. A seasoned trainer, facilitator, mediator, leadership coach, and public speaker, Shawn has served thousands of women and men around the world to develop their confidence and skills. Before going into private practice, he directed the “Leadership Wisdom Initiative” and then founded and directed the Leadership & Training division for the international conflict transformation organization Search for Common Ground. Initially based in Washington DC, and eventually moving to Jerusalem, Shawn led projects throughout the world, including the United States, Middle East, Balkans, Africa, and Southeast Asia that developed the capacity of emerging and elite political and civil society leaders to lead from a basis of collaborative principles.

Shawn studied Speech Communication and Psychology at California Polytechnic State University and holds an M.S. in Conflict Analysis & Resolution from George Mason University, where he developed foundational theory and practice for “Adventure-Based Conflict Resolution.” He has presented at a variety of conferences across several disciplines on topics related to leadership, conflict resolution, and collaboration, and he has served on the roster of certified mediators for the Supreme Court of Virginia.

Sandra de Castro Buffington

Sandra de Castro Buffington is a global leader in entertainment for social change. As the Founding Director of UCLA’s Global Media Center for Social Impact (GMI) and Principal Investigator of the Hollywood & Youth Sexuality, Reproductive Health and Rights project, Sandra works extensively with Hollywood and other entertainment capitals to inspire and develop storylines that have profound impact on knowledge and behavior.

Sandra consults with the entertainment industry and transformational leaders to ignite storytelling for peace, empowered portayals of women and girls, and consciousness that awakens and unites the world. She co-leads The Shift Network’s annual “Sacred Pilgrimage into the Soul of India” where she interviews spiritual leaders for The International Yoga Day Summit, keynotes in creative capitals and spiritual gatherings globally, and co-produces an international peace event in Rishikesh, India.

Michael Sapiro, Psy.D.

Michael Sapiro, PsyD, is a clinical psychologist, meditation teacher, and former Buddhist monk. He completed his postdoctoral fellowship in advanced psychology at the Boise VA Medical Center where he specialized in rural health, PTSD/combat trauma, and primary care. He is on faculty at Esalen Institute and is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Noetic Sciences. He is the founding director of Maitri House Yoga, LLC, which serves the community through integrating Buddhist and nondual meditation practices, psychology, noetic sciences, and social justice. He presents nationally on the science and art of expanded human potential, transformation, and consciousness, and co-teaches the course “How we change and why we don’t: The art and science of transformation” with Cassandra Vieten.

Michael spent five years as a volunteer in both Americorps and Peace Corps Thailand engaged in community development programs. He also earned a MA in English focusing on feminist and social justice pedagogy, and has made a career promoting health and conscious learning for the well-being of our communities. He often presents at Yellow Ribbon events offering transformational perspectives to service men and women returning from combat overseas.

Mica Estrada, Ph.D.

Mica Estrada is a leading scholar in the area of diversity, inclusion and social influence, including the study of kindness, identity, values, forgiveness, well-being, and integrative education. Currently she is engaged in several longitudinal studies, which involve the implementation and assessment of interventions aimed to increase underrepresented minority student participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers (funded by NIH, NSF, and HHMI). She has also directed Climate Education Partners and the interdisciplinary team that provides learning opportunities to San Diego leaders about the changing climate. In all her work, Dr. Estrada works with ethnic populations that are historically underrepresented in higher education, most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, and have the potential to provide diverse and creative solutions to the pressing challenges of our day.

Mica received her masters and doctorate in Social Psychology from Harvard University and now is an Associate Professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences and the Institute for Health and Aging at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). She is nationally recognized for her scholarship on broadening participation, and currently serves on a National Academy of Sciences, Research Council Roundtable.

Shamini Jain, Ph.D.

Dr. Shamini Jain is a clinical psychologist, scientist, and social entrepreneur. She is Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UC San Diego, and a core member of the UCSD Center of Integrative Medicine. She is also the Founder and CEO of the Consciousness and Healing Initiative (CHI), a collaborative accelerator that forwards the science and practice of healing. 

Dr. Jain has published studies and received awards in the areas of psychoneuroimmunology, behavioral science, and integrative medicine. Dr. Jain regularly speaks on the art and science of healing, in diverse venues including NATO, TEDx, major universities, and health-related conferences and corporations. Her research has been featured in CNN, US News and World Report, Time Magazine and several documentaries.