SOKA University: Evolved Higher Education by Mayra McCullough

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This week I had the honor and privilege of collaborating with Dr. Marc Spencer, CEO of the rapidly growing, youth empowerment social enterprise known as Juma Ventures, in teaching a group of international students at SOKA University through the University’s Changemaker Program.  Headed by Director Mary Patrick Kavanaugh, the Changemaker Program connects students with Purpose Economy leaders who provide them with hands-on tools to shape students’ passions with tangible processes in order to help make their dreams a reality. The two day workshop run by Dr. Spencer titled Conscious Commerce Bootcamp, was literally a bootcamp of sound business practices that concluded with a Shark Tank type of Pitch to possible funders and investors (played by the students themselves). I was invited by Ms. Patrick and Dr. Spencer to demonstrate how embracing a daily practice of well-being that integrates body, mind and spirit is the first building block to any change-the-world endeavor.


My role at the workshop was to balance Dr. Spencer’s intense left-brain curriculum with tools that helped students connect with their inner wisdom, knowledge, creativity and source of strength. Holistic fitness requires discipline, patience, persistence, endurance, strength, confidence, intuition, and LOVE.  Once we learn to effectively manage our body – the first thing that was entrusted to us in order to walk in this life and planet – learning how more complex systems are developed and taken to optimum performance become second nature, joyful and effortless. We practiced guided meditations before each business development exercise, during which students experienced the power of working from their truth, their essence, and their peaceful place. We also went through assessing their current holistic fitness levels using C2E’s Wheel of Well-Being and were able to connect the dots between the skills they need to pursue their dream and the skills they need to live a lifestyle where they feel completely expressed in every area of their lives.


Both the students and teaching team were awed by the results of their required presentations with just a couple of hours to prepare. The amount of work students produced taking their passions and developing them into actionable changes they wanted to make in the world was truly what I call Supernatural Production. Also supernatural is this young international community of Social Architects in the making! Student goals included helping humanity overcome sex trafficking, ending financial inequality, reinventing the education system, setting people free from financial dependency, building community resources through community-made fashions, making organic foods accessible to all, stopping once and for all the ever so toxic plastic, providing sound opportunities to eradicate homelessness and transforming shark corporations to green friendly entities. Can you tell why this was soooo H.O.P.E. (Heaven On Planet Earth) for me?!! Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, New Delhi, Check Republic, Vietnam, and Southern California became ONE through these superstar students with great vision for a better world.


This article is dedicated to those who embraced this workshop and were open enough to tap to their personal power and their truth:

Elissa –  May your resourcefulness continue to ground you with conviction…SAFI is a solid vision of solutions for disseminating organic foods and assisting the homeless.

Kiki –  Your voice resonates with illuminating wisdom…1plusN has the potential to be a sound cure to poverty…please keep singing your song!

Paresh –  Your heart connection to your vision is so beautifully grounded, creative, and authentic…you brought me to the beauty of Bali’s sustainable fashion rainbow!!

Albert – You are set up to be a historic knight in conscious shining armor, UNAFRAID is an answer to many prayers…trust your gut!

Ted –  Your vision of reinventing future children’s education is so close to the heart of so many who feel trapped in a school system where they feel stagnant and misunderstood. Thank you for tackling that one ASAP!!;)

Yaro – Your process was as beautiful as the story of creation! You gave shape and form to the intangible, the invisible…you pressed through like a champion…keep practicing your power…we NEED you to SPREAD IT for sure!!!

Natalie –  WE GREEN BUSINESS was brilliant expression of your gifts of diplomacy, hard work, and marketing genius…may your light shine on!

Julie –  Mother Earth is really rooting for you and SANO RESOLUTION…your drive and excellent spirit will bring this home all the way!


I want to thank Dr. Marc Spencer for giving me this amazing opportunity to bridge the gap between monumental undertakings and the absolutely necessary skills of being self-sufficient in connecting to source and taking care of ourselves. Thank you for dedicating your life to youth empowerment, and being such a catalyst of change in our world.  Juma Ventures is a true and excellent model of Social Entrepreneurship that blends the benefits and strengths of corporate America with the humanitarian efforts and commitment of non-profit America. I would also like to complete this journaling exercise by thanking SOKA University.  To me, SOKA University is higher education evolved, with a conscious approach to edification. SOKA University is to post high school studies what Coach2Edify is to gyms in America. Both take a holistic approach to educating humanity in a way that embraces our birthright to happiness as well as our fulfillment of purpose in a way that promotes financial success. Thank you Mary Patrick Kavanaugh for spearheading the Changemaker Program at SOKA University and facilitating pure conscious commerce co-creative genius!!

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