In 1994, out of the blue, Lawrence Levy received a phone call from Steve Jobs to see if he had any interest in running Pixar’s business. Over the next twelve years, Lawrence served as Pixar’s Chief Financial Officer, a member of its Office of the President and later as a member of its board of directors. During this period he developed and put in place the strategy that would transform Pixar from a money-losing graphics company into an entertainment powerhouse.
Lawrence then took a break from corporate life to pursue his passion for eastern philosophy and meditation. He came to see the power of these ideas for realizing our potential as individuals and for creating human-centered organizations that foster creativity, dignity, and excellence.
For the past twenty years, Lawrence has been dedicated to studying and practicing Buddhist philosophy and meditation with his teacher, Tibetan Buddhist master Segyu Choepel Rinpoche, and to understanding how these practices and ideas intersect with modern life. At its core, Buddhist ideas are a deep inquiry into the nature of the mind and reality combined with a system for unfolding the mind’s potential for wisdom, peace and joy. He believes these ideas and practices have enormous potential to help humanity in this time of revaluation and agitation, and to balance material progress with spiritual well-being, all without resort to dogmatic thinking or ideas.
In 2003, together with four co-founders, Lawrence created a non-profit called Juniper Foundation that focuses on bringing Indo-Tibetan meditation practices to contemporary life. He teaches meditation weekly and continues to write and speak on a range of topics including creativity and innovation, collaboration, realizing our potential, and building human-centered organizations.
In 2016, Lawrence released his first book, To Pixar and Beyond: My Unlikely Journey with Steve Jobs to Make Entertainment History, an Amazon Best Book of 2016 in Business and Leadership and A Fortune Magazine Best Book of 2016. The New York Times described it as “enchanting…Mr. Levy has quite a story to tell” and Fortune Magazine called it “an epic tale of Levy’s quest to balance the competing interests of the quiet artists and technologists who created Toy Story and the mercurial entrepreneur who controlled their professional fates.”
Lawrence lives in Palo Alto, California with his wife Hillary. He is an avid reader, with a wide range of interests including philosophy, economics, and science fiction.
Lawrence’s Grand Rounds, "To Pixar and Beyond: An Unconventional Look at Culture and Narratives in Countering Burnout" struck a chord with the audience in helping healthcare workers understand and deal with burnout. It was described as “exceptional" and several people reached out to thank me for inviting Lawrence, mentioning how he had helped them think differently about their personal narratives and well-being; both in the hospital and beyond!
Lawrence Levy inspired our members beyond measure when he spoke to the NEXUS community about culture, corporate trends, the spiritual world and the inter-connection between the three. He is a truly gifted and engaging storyteller who brought warmth, compassion, humor, and decades of expertise to his presentation. His discussion of a radical shift in narrative towards collaboration and joy was especially meaningful to our audience, who were all deeply grateful for Lawrence’s time and now committed Lawrence devotees and fans.
Hands down, yesterday was the most inspiring moment of my career. I have never seen my students as engaged and driven to learn more than yesterday. It was the perfect storm! Lawrence’s passion and down to earth nature combined with a student body of 80+ students hanging on his every word and taking in every element of every story. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
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