Alex PattakosDr. Alex Pattakos, Ph.D., is co-founder of the Global Meaning Institute, a leader in the Meaning Movement through its leading edge research, education programs, and strategic advising. He is co-author (with Elaine Dundon) of The OPA! Way: Finding Joy & Meaning in Everyday Life & Work, an award-winning book and new Meaning paradigm that is uniquely inspired by Greek philosophy, mythology, and culture. Dr. Pattakos is also the author of the international best-selling book on meaning, Prisoners of Our Thoughts (22+ languages), that incorporates the wisdom of Dr. Viktor Frankl, who personally urged him to write it. A pioneer in the personal transformation arena, Pattakos has an extensive background in political science, public administration, psychology, leadership development, systems science, and business. Dr. Pattakos has been privileged to work globally with businesses across a wide range of industries, as well as with all levels of government, including service to the White House under three U.S. presidents. More information can be found at

Dr. Pattakos will be giving the following keynote lecture and pre-conference workshop, as well as participating in the panels on Meaning & Work and Terrorism & Heroism for the 9th Biennial International Meaning Conference, July 28-31, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.

Keynote Title

Understanding & Exploring the Deeper Meaning of Heroism & Terrorism Based on Greek Mythology

Scheduled for Sunday, July 31, 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM


Considering the dire threats facing our postmodern world from political, cultural, economic, and vicious ethnic rivalries, clashes, and upheavals, one may wonder what kind of future is in store for humanity.  Indeed, in world that has been described as “flat” due to fast-paced, interconnected global communication and related technological advancements, no place within this so-called “global village” is immune, let alone really safe and out of harm’s way, from such threats.  It is now more important more than ever to understand, appreciate, and learn from the multicultural inheritance of the past in order to preserve a sense of civilization for future generations. Building upon observations from ancient Greece with an explicit focus on what can be learned from Greek mythology, this keynote examines the contemporary threat of “terrorism” vis-à-vis “heroism” within a meaning-centered context and seeks to increase our existential understanding of these extreme, if not abnormal, human behaviors.

Learning Objectives

  1. Gain insights into how the mythology of ancient Greece provides crucial lessons about human experience
  2. Learn about the central role played by the Greek gods in understanding human motivations and conflict
  3. Increase understanding about what can be learned from Greek myths in relation to contemporary acts of “heroism” and “terrorism”
  4. Learn the ritual and/or historical meaning of various Greek myths in light of life in today’s fast-paced, ever-changing, insecure, and uncertain world

Pre-Conference Workshop Title

Discovering Meaning Through the Lens of Work

Scheduled for Thursday, July 28, 1:30 PM – 4:30 PM


Work is something that few people are able to avoid over the course of their lives.  Indeed, when one considers the amount of time most people spend “at work” during their lifetime, it should not be surprising that the search for meaning at work is–or at least should be–an important concern for all stakeholders.  Many people complain about the lack of humanity in our organizations and, as a result, feel less and less connected to others and to the work.  Work satisfaction levels are at record lows.  This crisis of meaning in the workplace is contributing to high levels of stress and fatigue, and to lost productivity.  This, however, is beginning to change.  Meaning is the new megatrend for personal and organizational transformation.  It is becoming an organization-wide initiative as leaders are realizing that Meaning can be an important tool in attracting and retaining an inspired, engaged workforce.  Unleashing the power of full engagement can only be realized if there is meaningful engagement.  In other words, everyone wants and needs to know that they and their work truly matter.  It is against this existential backdrop that the search for meaning at work needs to be seriously considered and authentically pursued.

In this pre-conference workshop, attendees will be introduced to a number of different work-related “lenses” that can be used to clarify and better understand the human quest for meaning within the context of work.  They also will learn about a new Greek-inspired paradigm and practical formula called The OPA! Way® that can be used in conjunction with these various work-related lenses in the meaning-finding and meaning analysis process.  Understanding and applying this unique paradigm and formula for discovering meaning will help build the capacity of leaders, managers, coaches, and others concerned with the pursuit of excellence at work and in the workplace to build engagement and resilience, promote health and well-being, and increase performance and innovation in organizations at all levels.

Learning Objectives

  1. Learn to see work as an important focus and laboratory for understanding the human quest for meaning
  2. Learn five different work-related lenses through which to view the search for meaning
  3. Learn a new mindset and approach to lead from one’s “core of meaning” so that meaning becomes the foundation for transforming the workplace
  4. Gain increased awareness and clarity of how meaning drives and sustains engagement & resilience, health & well-being, and performance & innovation at work

Interested in learning more about pre-conference workshops? Find out more here.

Panel Title

Meaning & Work

Scheduled for Saturday, July 30, 4:15 PM – 6:15 PM


  • Luis Marrero
  • Gordon Medlock


  • John Davidoff
  • Joel DiGirolamo
  • Ken Howard
  • Alex Pattakos

Click here to read the panel abstracts and panelist bios.

Panel Title

Terrorism & Heroism

Scheduled for Sunday, July 31, 11:15 AM – 1:15 PM