Brain Hacks: Harnessing Neuroscience for Leadership & Success

Looking for additional leadership opportunities for your new supervisors and aspiring and emerging leaders? Want to bring training to your team? Join us for our GROW classes, indicted on our Classes & Training page by the icon at left. These affordable courses are designed to help you improve your skills in areas like conflict management, emotional intelligence, delegation, communication, performance management, and more.


Your brain has evolved to help you survive, and its primary job is to keep you safe. The challenge is that your brain rarely distinguishes evolutionary threats (e.g. avoiding a lion) from the everyday – and ever-changing! – stressors of our chaotic and complex modern world. If left untrained, the brain will regularly trigger survival responses to mundane challenges like wading through email or even exciting opportunities like speaking in front of an audience or piloting a creative new solution to an organizational challenge.

The good news is that with understanding, intention, and practice, you can reprogram your brain to capitalize on principles of neuroscience. In this session, you’ll take a journey of brain optimization that teaches you – through evidence-based techniques – how to shift from the reactionary, survival-focused “Lower Brain” to the analytical, rational “Higher Brain,” – a source of creativity, empathy, and strategic thinking. This shift – achieved through targeted brain hacks that can actually strengthen desired neural pathways over time – empowers leaders to excel and drives teams to thrive even in the most challenging environments.

Leadership begins from within. The impact you make starts with you and ripples outwards. The tools you will learn in this class will help you build skills to foster a culture that:

  • Embraces authenticity, vulnerability, and transparency in support of a growth mindset
  • Enables more confident, nuanced conversations around difficult or risky topics
  • Fosters teamwork and innovation
  • Embodies of a culture of learning
  • Normalizes feedback and resilience – key skills for improvement!
  • Supercharges productivity through decreased fear-brain responses (e.g. anxiety, distraction, tunnel vision, and gossip)

In this rapidly changing world, fostering innovation and agility is key to survival and success, and taking control of the brain’s often-turbocharged anxiety and self-preservation responses help you boost the mental and physical health of yourself and those around you.

Be a catalyst for transformation and help unlock the potential of your organization’s greatest asset – its people.

Registration Spring 2024

Location: Grainger Hall, UW-Madison

Date: April 19, 2024

Time: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Fee: $289

Register here for Spring 2024 or call 608-262-2451 to register. BONUS: Place 2 or more paid SBDC courses in your cart, and use discount code SBDC10 for 10% off. Classes must be purchased in the same transaction.

Registration Deadlines

Registration type Date Fee
Earlybird Earlybird closes: 3/29/2024 Earlybird Registration Fee: $260.10
Late Registration Late Registration begins: 4/11/2024 Late Registration Fee: $317.90
Course registration closes 4/16/2024

Registration & Cancellation policies

  • Payment will be required at time of registration. You must have either a credit card or valid UW-Madison funding string to be able to register.
  • Cancelations at least 24 hours before the program begins will incur a $25 cancellation fee. Cancelations less than 24 hours before the start of the program will incur the full program fee. To cancel, call registration at 608-262-2451. Please note that in the case of a cancellation (by either the participant or the SBDC), participants can only be transferred one time into a new course.

Disability Statement: Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance. Contact the UW-Madison SBDC office at to request accommodations.


The Small Business Development Center at UW Madison is recognized by SHRM to offer Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for the SHRM-CP® or SHRM-SCP®.


Paul Riehemann, Senior Trainer and Coach, Life Ecology Organization (LEO)

Paul (MBA and Certified Public Manager, UW-Madison) has led public, private and non-profit organizations and is also an experienced wellness coach and workshop instructor. Paul has earned multiple certifications including Emotional Intelligence and Primal Health Coaching, Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and Project Management. He is a Mechanical Engineer and earned his Professional Engineer license in New York State.

Paul is Founding Chair of the Environmental Sustainability Rotarian Action Group (, an international environmental organization through Rotary International), a Past President of the 400+ member Rotary Club of Madison, and has qualified and competed in three Ironman Triathlon World Championships.

He is skilled at interactive/task-based adult learning. His purpose as a trainer is to help others be their best.

[I liked] realizing the many facets of our thoughts and what we can do to guide them.

James Kademan, Calls on Call Extraordinary Answering Service

[I really enjoyed] engagement with other attendees and instructor. Paul is great at teaching the content, and his activities were an excellent way to help us incorporate it with our professional an personal lives.

Founder, JBY Financial Planning

The role-playing was surprisingly effective for practicing difficult conversations. Overall, the course had many concrete takeaways that I believe will be effective in both personal and business settings.

Garrett Hughes, Co-Owner, Heartwood Tree Company

[I appreciated] receiving a matrix that listed all of the brain hacks; [it was] very thorough and will be easy to use and relate concepts in life personally and professionally.

Andrea Matthews, Talent Acquisition Specialist

[I liked] honing in on navigating challenging situations, with tools to improve [my] communication skills

Owner, Orange Shoe Personal Fitness

Very content-rich but well-organized and well-presented. It felt like a week’s worth of content in one day. Paul did a fantastic job. This training was more than worth my investment and will help me be a better leader and person.

Owner, Revive Salt Room & Spa

The course material was very insightful. There were so many mind hacks that will help me better manage my triggered states.

Owner, Eye of Overview

[I enjoyed the] new methods/techniques to deal with difficult situations. Good course. Paul is very knowledgeable and a good instructor.

Procurement Outreach Specialist, Madison Black Chamber of Commerce

The Wisconsin SBDC Network is a proud part of the Institute for Business & Entrepreneurship in the University of Wisconsin System.
It is funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance. Contact us at or call (608) 263-2221.