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I called a colleague at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.

Me: “I’d like to teach a workshop to your MBA candidates rooted in play.”

Him: “Hmm. Why?”

Me: “I think we need to train future business leaders to possess strong social emotional skills in order for them to thrive professionally and personally. And I’m pretty sure (gulp!) play is the way to go.”

Him: “Hmm. Ok. If it works – come back. If not – don’t.”

It worked. The success at Stanford led me to work with other universities and organizations around the world.

Roger Manix is an international consultant, educator and author at the forefront of designing play-based learning experiences to grow empathy, joy, and belonging. His award-winning curriculum was developed while lecturing at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business and has been taught to elementary school students through The Fortune 500. Clients include Goldman Sachs, The World Bank, PWC, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Dow Jones, LinkedIn, FDNY, Sprint, Riverdale Country Day, the K-12 Lab at Stanford’s, and NYU.

He created the first-of-its kind play-based course to stimulate innovation and foster collaboration at Parsons School of Design at The New School. Roger continues to teach within Parson’s Global Executive Program, using his curriculum to spark curiosity and develop emotional and social intelligence within creative teams.

Roger’s curriculum has been recognized as one of Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas, and rated the #1 workshop at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business multiple years in a row. For several years, he’s been nominated by students for Parson’s Most Distinguished Teaching Award and The Award for Social Justice.

He is co-author of Turn That Thing Off! Collaboration and Technology in 21st Century Actor Training. The book explores excessive smartphone and tablet use, its effects on collaborative behaviors in the classroom, and offers solutions to rekindle human connection.

He’s co-founder of Immersiva, a technology company that uses play to turn TV into an interactive, social, and educational experience for families. Immersiva strives to raise the consciousness around digital wellness and promotes conscious screen time and family bonding with original programming. Roger has created multiple shows dedicated to both SEL and STEM.

A public-school student all the way through graduate school, Roger studied math and theater at The University at Albany, and earned his M.F.A. in Acting from Brooklyn College, where he taught for 11 years.

Bullied from a very young age, Roger has made it his life’s mission to create a global community of kindness through play.

Growing up I had 2 heroes.

"There are 3 ways to ultimate success: The 1st way is to be kind. The 2nd way is to be kind. The 3rd way is to be kind." - Fred Rogers

My mom says that growing up I was obsessed with Mr Rogers. I even wanted to dress like him! His superpower to deeply connect with people, always coming from a place of respect, captivated me then and continues to in my personal and professional life. Mr Rogers knew that a strong community (The Neighborhood) was vital. To be fully present to the needs of others and recognize their unique abilities is a recipe for success, and the key for any leadership role.

"And I would have gotten away with it, too, if it wasn't for you meddling kids!" - Every Scooby Doo Villain

My childhood revolved around what time Scooby Doo was on TV. I wanted to be one of the gang so badly. And why? Think about it. They were loyal, resilient, adaptable, brave, adventurous and fun! There was a deep sense of belonging. They never let their setbacks defeat them, they constantly strategized and knew together they were much stronger than alone. Sounds kind of like the best case scenario for a classroom or organization. Oh, and there was always a pizza or Scooby Snack an arm’s length away!