Kendra is a powerful presence; born at San Francisco Zen Center & spent the first 7 years of her life exploring the mountains & rivers of Tassajara Zen Mountain Center.

She is the co-founder of Authentic World and has been teaching, facilitating, and (most importantly) practicing Authentic Relating & Integral Circling for the last fifteen years. She works with organizations, leaders & coaches who know that connection; truth & integrity are actually access points to success.Kendra has consulted for companies such as Genentech & is currently on staff for 4PC, an elite mastermind for the top 4% of coaches in the world. She brings a genuine care for people, as well as an extraordinary depth of insight, in service of people living truly fulfilling lives.

In this episode, Giovanna interviews Kendra Cunov, co-founder of Authentic World. Kendra has been teaching, facilitating, and most importantly, practicing authentic relating and integral circling for the last 15 years. She works with organizations, leaders, and coaches who know that connection, truth, and integrity are points to success. Listen as Kendra talks about the true meaning of authentic relating, the interpersonal activities that create opportunities for genuine connection, and the benefits of investing in both solo and interpersonal experiences.

  • Today’s guest is Kendra Cunov
    • “Kendra is one of the most powerful coaches & leaders I know. If you are looking to deepen your personal relationships, grow your business, build your team, or improve the communication and leadership skills of your team leaders, you would be well-served to work with Kendra. Her guidance has supported me in scaling my events, while simultaneously creating even deeper and more intimate experiences for our participants. Her impact is magical.” – Rich Litvin, Author of The Prosperous Coach & 4PC Founder
    • Kendra is the co-founder of Authentic World
    • She works with people who know that connection, truth, and integrity are points to success
    • She has consulted for companies like GenenTech and the staff at 4PC
    • Learn more about Kendra on her website,
  • Giovanna has known Kendra for a year now
  • Sometimes, even Kendra thinks about how she came into her position right now
  • She was born into a Zen Buddhist Monastery
    • She went back to the monastery and lived there for 3 years as an adult
    • The monastery was her life
    • At 5, Kendra and her mom left the monastery
    • When they moved, her memories became sharp and clear
  • Kendra thinks that intentionally surrounding herself with people who are on the path of personal growth impacted her a lot
  • At 19 or 20, Kendra looked around and saw a group of people dedicated to their awakening and their personal paths
  • Kendra felt a part of her was already curious about this interpersonal experience
  • There’s a dynamic tension between our solo experience and our interpersonal experiences
  • Meditating solo everyday won’t improve interpersonal relationships; working on interpersonal relationships won’t build your inner stamina
    • The test comes when you’re in a relationship – not necessarily a romantic one
  • Authentic relating comes from a myriad of different communities/practices coming together
  • Kendra’s husband and his business partner created the Authentic Man Program – it’s where Kendra first engaged herself in this interpersonal relating
    • Kendra and her fiancé held authentic relating games nights
    • It was creating experiences for people to connect in ways they don’t do on their own
    • When you’re face to face with someone, you can think of your answers to that person, in that moment
    • “It allowed people to share to others in the way that they were longing to”
  • After 3 years of facilitating the game night, they started facilitating events for a dating company
    • The dating company worked with more middle-aged, professional people
    • This opportunity led Kendra to realize that authenticity works for everyone
    • Another key was: “You gave us permission”
  • Giovanna shares her experience with Kendra’s intimacy workshop last year
    • Giovanna believes there was the sense of essential longing that she felt was fulfilled in that workshop
    • Kendra feels fulfillment when people tell her how they felt with her sessions or workshops
  • It’s normal to feel the way you do, especially in a container
    • It takes a setup to play formally or informally
    • “Containers hold us”
    • Container or context is the thing that people say, “You gave us permission”
    • “Set people up so they know what’s happening”
    • Women operate on a deeper level than men
    • Men are single-focused
    • Women have dispersed attention
  • One game Kendra plays is Curiosity
    • Only one person asks, and another person answers for 3-5mins
    • Nothing is off limits
    • “The only rule is you have to be curious”
    • The role of the person answering is to answer in a way that is true for them, in that moment
      • Moment-to-moment discretion allows both people to be in that specific moment
      • What Giovanna loves about this game is that each moment is genuine curiosity
      • This game allowed Giovanna to get over herself and develop intimacy
      • It’s easy to think we know a person
      • There’s a loss of real intimacy when we think we know a person
    • Continued mutual work towards intimacy can change all relationships
    • Giovanna mentions a game she did in a workshop
      • There’s a real value in putting yourself in real practice containers
      • There’s a lot of work we can do in ourselves, but there are things that don’t get touched
      • The format to be played is infinite
      • Permission and witnessing in a triad
      • We free other people and we witness in love, in the triad
      • Giovanna felt reverence and gratitude for allowing herself to be a part of that
    • Women are the worst because women can talk about a lot of things
      • There’s a limit to what one should share
    • Kendra shares about her experience while working in a shadow process
    • Kendra’s full bodied expression
    • Giovanna realized how uptight she was in that embodied piece
    • Check out John Wineland – Kendra and John work together in the realm of romantic, intimate relationships
      • They also work a lot on the piece of embodiment
    • John and Kendra have a 6-month program – The Relationship and Intimacy Salon
    • The work Giovanna did on her own let her blossom as a grown woman
    • Want what you want and be able ask for what you want
    • Kendra shares a funny story about spotting the only ripe mango on a tree while in a vehicle
      • She was in Hawaii with her fiancé
      • There was a mango tree and Kendra demanded that they stop the car
      • She picked up a rock, hit the mango, and ate it
    • Connect with Kendra on her website

3 Key Points:

  1. Solo meditation and engaging in interpersonal activities are BOTH important – you need both.
  2. Authentic relating builds up intimacy with a person—most people just need to be given that opportunity and permission.
  3. There’s a real loss of intimacy when we THINK we know a person, there’s always room to go deeper.

Resources Mentioned:


She Rises Podcast by Giovanna Capozza Kendra Cunov
- The Art of Deep Intimacy
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