Barbara Vacarr


Dr. Barbara Vacarr joined Kripalu Center as CEO in 2016. She is a psychologist, an adult educator, and the former president and CEO of Goddard College in Vermont. She is also a proud Platinum member of the Women Presidents' Organization, the premier peer advisory organization connecting women presidents and CEOs of privately held, multi-million dollar companies. Her distinguished careers in higher education and mental health and human services have given her the skills and wisdom to advance Kripalu’s leadership position, offering the gold standard for yoga education and serving as a global vehicle for social impact. Committed to learning what creates meaningful change in the world, Barbara has spent almost 30 years developing programs that support adult and non-traditional students to grow and transform—strengthening the connections between their education, their livelihood, and their daily life.

During her tenure at Goddard, Barbara acted as a change agent to build sustainability and regain the school’s historic leadership role in higher education. Prior to that, she served as the founding director of the PhD in Adult Learning program at Lesley University, where she developed and led degree programs in adult education, human development and mental-health counseling, and organizational leadership. As an ambassador of progressive education with audiences around the world, Barbara was named one of 50 “Influencers in Aging in America” in 2015, by PBS’s Next Avenue. She is a sought-after speaker and writer on topics including aging, mindfulness, diversity, and community collaboration and engagement. Throughout her career, she has demonstrated a deep commitment to missions that have meaning and resonance, and a dedication to organizations doing bold, good work.

Barbara holds a PhD in psychology and human development. She is the founder and senior leader of the Intergenerational Women's Mentoring Collective, served as an interviewer for the USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education, and is a project leader for the Cambodian Youth and Missing History Project.

Barbara and her husband of 40 years are grandparents of five. She most enjoys spending time with her family.

Barbara will be part of Women’s Week at Kripalu November 10–15, 2019. Explore and register for Women's Week. 
View the schedule.


  • The Antidote for a Conflicted World

    What do we do when confronted with the realities that disrupt our vision of and hope for humanity? In these moments, the antidote is at the core of Kripalu.

  • What Empowers Me

    We asked a few of the women who make Kripalu such a great place to visit—and to work—to share what keeps them going.

  • How Yoga Supports Women's Empowerment

    Kripalu CEO Barbara Vacarr sat down with four Women’s Week presenters to discuss what "the revolution within" means to each of them, and why gathering together is so important.