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Dear Wayfinder, 

I'm glad you are here.

My name, Samir, is Arabic for a companion, an ally, a storyteller, a friend who is present long into the night. 

When I get down and out about my life, really down and out, I'm talkin' a talking-to-myself-while-walking-down-the-street-kind-of-down-and-out, I go for a walk around the Jackie Kennedy reservoir in Central Park. I feel the ground under my feet, look up and say out loud, "this life is my home."

Then I go into the New York City subway, watch the travelers, and replace my judgments of people, institutions, and myself with blessings. Once I arrive at my apartment in Harlem, I pick three fresh ingredients from the fridge and make up a dish I have never tried before. In the evening, people join me and we feast on our lives.

Then I feel at home in the world again.

I love to help people, communities, and organizations ask better questions, cross their thresholds, and thrive on their journeys.



Samir Selmanović, Ph.D. PCC helps leaders thrive both personally and professionally by embracing the experience of a fully human life. As a wayfinding leadership coach and mindful cooking teacher, Samir consults, coaches, speaks, and facilitates retreats. 

As a young alternative theater leader in Europe, an engineer and pastor in the United States, and finally as an executive coach in New York City, Samir has helped develop more than 200 leaders, from budding entrepreneurs to sagacious CEOs. 

Samir was born into the complexity (bordering on chaos) of Balkans. Growing up with a Muslim father, a Christian mother, and an atheist school system—with capitalism to the West and communism to the East—he learned at an early age the power of storytelling, empathy, and courage. Samir’s restlessness, desire to find his own way, propelled him through a B.Sc. in Engineering, then across the Atlantic through an M.A. in Psychology, a Master of Divinity, and a Ph.D. in Human Development. Samir is also a graduate of Georgetown University’s Leadership Coaching Program and is an ICF Professional Certified Coach (PCC).

Samir has learned something from each of his clients from a wide variety of sectors, including Harvard, Princeton, Glasgow-Caledonian, Freddie Mac, the Tropical Health Alliance Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Arts, World Vision, Storied, Agile Boston and the Florida Hospital. 

Samir loves his home country of Croatia, the streets and humans of New York City, and the changing seasons in Central Park, next to which he lives with his wife Vesna and daughters Ena and Leta.

When the going gets tough, Samir goes into his kitchen and cooks up kindness for family, friends and strangers.


Wisdom Workroom L.L.C. is a mindful, experiential, and integrative space where individuals and organizations can find safety, challenge, and support in working with their stories, enabling them to get to the crux of the matter, cross the next threshold in their development and bring their new story to life.

What's your story? Here is mine.

At first, I thought the meaning of life was to ski with my dad...

I grew up in Croatia (former Yugoslavia) between East and West Europe, the Adriatic Coast and the Alps, Christianity and Islam, atheism and religion, Balkan wars and Balkan songs, and at the crossroad of five cuisines. I grew up:

  • on the milk of communism and the energy drink of capitalism
  • on the asphalt of the capital city and alternative theater productions across the country
  • guest-hosting a cooking show on national TV in 6th grade

Then I thought the meaning of life comes from stuffing my head with stuff...

School ad nauseam:

  • a B.Sc. in Structural Engineering, finishing first in my class, pale like a wall
  • a dizzying fall into Theology (MDiv), Psychology (MA), and Human Development (Ph.D.)
  • free time nerding: assistant teaching behavioral statistics to business students

Then I fell in love with a difficult girlfriend: New York City...

She is gorgeous, but she wears you down. I think that after 15 years now, she is finally loving me back. The love story with the city includes:

  • knowing and caring for business professionals and entrepreneurs in Manhattan, encountering the glitter of the rich, the grit of the poor, and the homelessness and kindness of both
  • a full immersion into corporate and startup worlds and stories
  • deep dive into cuisines of the world

Today I find meaning helping people be present, tell a bigger story and befriend the unknown...

I have come to believe that the humanization of work and the embrace of a fully human experience, in relationships and spirituality, is the defining challenge of our time. To live, love, and lead as we go

These days, I ask myself: 

  • How can I shape my life to match the astonishing privilege and beauty of being born, being brought into light and being called to let go, all the way into my final act of disappearance? 
  • What is the story I am choosing to live?
  • Who am I practicing becoming?
  • What's for dinner?



"My work is born out of 20 years of nourishing leaders—from sage-like CEOs in the United States to young unstoppable community organizers. What made great ones great was that they had the courage to inhabit their own lives." ~ Samir Selmanović



Samir Selmanovic, PhD PCC, is a graduate of Georgetown University’s Leadership Coaching Program, an International Coach Federation (ICF) certified program. He is an ICF Professional Certified Coach (PCC) and is committed to ICF’s high ethical and professional standards.


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