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Wellness is a global concept with no borders or boundaries and is culturally expressed and experienced. Wellness pioneer and 2017 NWI Halbert L. Dunn Wellness Award recipient, Jack Travis, states that “My summation of 40 yrs work in 6 words is: "The currency of wellness is connection." We have much to learn from one another no matter where we call home. Please join us to share your wellness stories here so expanding your connection with all wellness seekers across the world.

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Transformational Leadership

Posted By Alex Lobo, MBA, Thursday, January 3, 2019
Updated: Monday, December 17, 2018
Originally in NWI's International Wellness Connection blog on November 28,2017
To access the current and 60 plus members only archived International Wellness Connection articles, become a member
 HERE >>

One of the biggest issues in the management of human talent, the achievement of strategic objectives, and the execution of priorities and needs of the organization, is that people do what they have to do to succeed. 

The issue of leadership has been addressed in many ways; most research being around the need to train people, motivate them, and empower them. The main problem is that each human being has different needs, values, beliefs, talents, resources, abilities, and ways of looking at life. Also, the people who lead do so in different ways through different leadership styles and employ different techniques to have their teams achieve their results. From this perspective, change by itself is not enough to achieve goals and results, especially in medium- and long-term strategy issues in companies. It is not enough to provide methodologies, motivation, and tools. It is necessary to accomplish a change from the operational level, to transform at the level of identity; which generates alignment with respect to values and strategy.

Today, work teams need to self-manage, and for this we need a new way of looking at the leadership issue. Not only the change that the leader asks of his teams, but from the process of accompaniment towards an integral transformation of the person. Today more than ever, leaders have the opportunity to become mentors, coaches, cheerleaders, and sergeants of their teams. Always starting from their own example, from their own resources. But above all, the leadership that is required nowadays has to do with the identity of the leader and the identity of the work teams.

The basis of transformational leadership is self discovery. Who should I be to achieve the objectives? Who do I have to convert? What are the features of my personality that I would have to exalt? What to improve? How should my own resources grow? How am I a generator of that process of change in operability, of transformation in identity? 

Affects Of Transformational Leadership On Work Teams

Transformational leadership positively affects work teams from the level of behavior change —new tasks, assignments, skills to be developed — through to the transformation of beliefs and attitudes, regarding the task itself and team members' own abilities. It is also important to influence the habits and discipline of each member, to explore what are the values and moral and intellectual priorities of each one, as well as their intrinsic and extrinsic motivations, which gives a better understanding of what is relevant for each work team. 

The three concrete actions of the transformational leader are: understanding the fears and obstacles through which each work team passes; understanding the context and current situation of the individual and their resources and immediate needs, and facilitate the process of transformation, starting from what is apparently a simple task to what becomes a new identity.

Transformational leadership involves those steps leaders have to take to manage themselves. To be able to increase their influence on others, understand the motivations, limitations, and fears of their work team, and help them to expand an instrumentalist vision of accomplishing tasks and achieving results to a functional vision of capacity expansion and strengthening of human identity.

There are specific characteristics of the transformational leader and specific motivations and ambitions of all human beings. The contemporary leader understands these elements and uses them in favor of results, growth, and the generation of future value. Thus adding competitive advantage through four characteristics for the development of transformational leadership: 

  1. Social-emotional skills:  these are the concepts of self-care, self-knowledge of emotional intelligence, social intelligence, the motivations and unique situations of each individual, decision-making, and always thinking about this concept of "better decisions" and that of resilience, concept, and concrete development goals, how to grow in each of these areas with specific indications, individually and at a corporate level.
  2. Virtues: the transformational leader is someone who is regulated in the moral and spiritual from the cardinal virtues. The need to develop strength as a central element of consistency, ability to face obstacles and not bend to situations that are in the way. Temperance, which is the virtue that regulates one's appetites, passions, and vices that we generate consciously or unconsciously and that obviously distract us, de-motivate us, and generate physical, psychological, and profitability consequences. Prudence, which is having the clarity of doing the right thing for the right reasons at the right time with the right people, and being able to understand and have a broader vision of the different systems, actors, and forces that exist in the business environment — the number one feature of the trans-formational leader. Development of maturity as the core competence, understood as the ability to self-regulate, self-manage, and to achieve what is proposed.
  3. Persuasion: everything that social influence implies, and how to raise one’s levels of influence to have others do it. Evidently here the key piece has to do with the motivation both at the intrinsic and extrinsic personal level. 
  4. The competition vs. the experience: every transformational leader must have worked, documented their personal learning, their success stories and failures. The leader must understand the specific lessons to work with their teams in specific situations and understand that the main task is to inspire and instruct.

Every one of these characteristics is necessary to increase the chances of success in achieving objectives. In addition to these competencies there are five specific habits that transformational leaders have to master: 

  1. Self-management and self-government: eat well, sleep well, exercise, and lead a harmonious, healthy, and well existence.
  2. Continuous learning: the leader is the first apprentice. Lead from learning and not from knowledge; the knowledge leader gives a chair, the leader in learning accompanies the discovery or transformation process.
  3. Listening: it must be active, with an interest and with a fair amount of curiosity towards people and their points of view.
  4. Discipline: there is no obstacle that can resist perseverance and for this it is important to stay focused, not be distracted, and be a bit stubborn through tenacity.
  5. Celebration: the transformational leader knows how to recognize the effort and knows how to reward the results. Understand that the basis of happiness is progress and that it requires taking time to recognize, reward, and give back. 

Although these habits are not generated from one day to the next, if you start immediately, you achieve your domain through repetition. It is also useful to propose a plan of action and individual improvement for the achievement of goals. This is undoubtedly a recipe or proven formula for accomplishing the transformation of work teams and individuals. Conceptually it makes a lot of sense, however the emphasis must be on the execution and implementation of these concepts.

Alex LoboAlejandro (Alex) Lobo is founder and CEO of the Mexican Institute of Integral Prevention, writer, researcher, lecturer, educator, consultant, Wellness Coach, Life & BusinessPerformance Coach. The Mexican Institute of Comprehensive Prevention, is an association Alex founded after extensive experience working in the design, management and implementation of “Comprehensive Prevention” Models in educational institutions, public and private sector and governmental organizations. He has studied administration, international trade, and has obtained a Master degree in the Mexican Business School (IPADE). Furthermore, he has worked in consulting, teaching and research in various institutions in Mexico, the United States, and South America. “Comprehensive Prevention” ensures full personal development and freeing the inner potential. It humanizes relationships and leads to a state of consciousness, well-being and fulfillment.

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Designing and Delivering the first Wellness Management Degree in the United Kingdom

Posted By Louise Buxton, BA (Hons) PGCE MA FHEA, Wednesday, December 5, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Originally in NWI's International Wellness Connection blog on November 28, 2017
To access the current and 60 plus members only archived International Wellness Connection articles, become a member
 HERE >>

University of DerbyDegree programmes relating to wellness and wellbeing are not commonplace within United Kingdom (UK), those that do exist largely couple the subject of wellbeing with health.  Drawing on its expertise in spa management education, in 2016, the team from the Department of Hotel, Resort and Spa Management at the University of Derby embarked on a journey to design and develop the first degree in wellness management in the UK.  The programme that they designed, the BSc (Hons) in Wellness Management, is a three year undergraduate programme that includes an optional year of placement in professional practice. 

The University of Derby is a modern and innovative university, which gained its university status in 1992, along with many other institutions via the UK Further and Higher Education Act. The university’s focus is on industry relevant qualifications and it prides itself on the high employability rate of its graduates (97% in 2017) and its Gold rating in the UK’s Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).
The University of Derby, over a decade ago, developed the first degree level programmes in international spa management in the UK.   Taking their knowledge, expertise and experience of spa, of which many traditions and therapeutic practices have their origins in wellness, and their focus of developing graduates with strong managerial skills, business acumen and commercial awareness,  the team set out to develop an innovative degree programme. 

Being located in the beautiful spa town of Buxton, surrounded by the Peak District National Park, provides great opportunities for the department to link with the local community and tap in to the heritage of the region. Buxton as a health and wellness destination dates back to Roman times, the Romans settled there over 2,000 years ago because of the mineral springs that bubble up from under the town.  The 18th century saw great development in the town with the building of the Crescent Hotel and the Devonshire Dome, the Dome is now the Buxton campus of the University of Derby. To this day visitors to Buxton can taste the famed mineral waters by visiting St Ann’s Well in the town centre. The Devonshire Dome was originally built as stables to house the horses of visitors to the town, subsequently it became a hospital and continued to offer hydrotherapy treatment and rehabilitation until its closure in 2000. The university bought the Devonshire Dome in 2001 and invested in a £23 million renovation project. The Dome opened as a campus in 2006, delivering degrees in spa, tourism, events, culinary arts, hospitality management, sport and outdoor leadership.

Department of Hotel, Resort and Spa ManagementThe team in the Department of Hotel, Resort and Spa Management at the University of Derby were aware of the emerging wellness sector for a number of years, seeing a greater emphasis on multi-dimensional and holistic practices in spa, and a rise in guests seeking to enhance their mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing through their spa consumption. Drawing on expertise from colleagues in spa, tourism and hospitality management, the team set out to test the idea for their new programme through initial consultation.  A series of events were arranged with local, national and international employers, plus their network of contacts and alumni.The response was overwhelmingly positive and via the consultation, themes emerged which emphasised the need for graduates to have a clear understanding of the concept of wellness and the practices that underpin the concept. Ideas and information abounded and one of the first challenges in taking the idea forward was deciding what to and not to include in the curriculum.  

In rising to the challenge the team looked to the National Wellness Institute and Dr Bill Hettler’s model of The Six Dimensions of Wellness.  Drawn from this model, the curriculum focusses on, but is not limited to: the concept of wellness, principles of mind, body and spirit and the theories that under pin wellness, including anatomy, physiology and psychology. At its core the programme has a suite of management modules including aspects of, marketing, leadership and management, finance, business planning, strategic and operational management.  Forming the core of the programme, these modules are designed to develop students’ business acumen and commercial awareness, and skills that allow them to lead in a range of supervisory and management positions.Noting that communication skills are essential and wanting students to gain skills in coaching and mentoring, so that they can have ‘wellness’ conversations, whether that be individuals about their wellbeing or companies about developing their wellness strategy, a module focussing on this was included in the second year of the programme.  One of the biggest challenges faced in curriculum design was in deciding whether or not to teach students practical wellness modalities as part of the programme.   Modalities such as yoga, tai chi and meditation were considered but the team settled on onsite massage and mindfulness as their choices.  The choices were based on the flexibility for these two practices to be delivered in a range of settings and they were included within the first year of the curriculum. It was then decided that the two areas of corporate wellness and wellness tourism would be option modules within the programme, as these may provide distinct career pathways for graduates.  

The importance of integrating knowledge from a range of disciplines and ensuring graduates were cognisant of the tenets of wellness became a strong guide in curriculum design. A highlight in the journey was concluding that the aim of the programme was:

To develop graduates with strong management and leadership skills, who promote a holistic, multi-dimensional approach to wellness and are aware of the breadth and diversity of the wellness sector.

With this aim, the intention wasto ensure graduates are lifelong learners and are equipped to take up leadership roles in areas such as: workplace wellness, community wellness, wellness tourism and wellness destinations. Exposure to professional practice was considered essential; the team concluded that students should engage in live projects throughout the programme, have the option to complete a yearlong placement between years two and three and should undertake an individual wellness management research project in their final year.  Awareness of the breadth and diversity of the wellness sector and the roles and career paths within it was also important.

Validation of the programme provided another challenge and key milestone in the programme development.   A degree validation event involves scrutiny by a panel of internal and external academics and quality managers who consider the content and design of the proposal.External representation on a validation panel is an essential quality assurance requirement and finding an academic with appropriate subject knowledge and expertise was a challenge.  After a fairly long search, an experienced panel member was found who worked on health and wellbeing ethics programmes, who was also a holistic therapist.  The external panel member fitted the role well, and was able to provide guidance to internal representatives who were unsure of the subject of the proposal put forward.After a challenging day of rigorous questioning and stimulating debate, the programme was validated and approved for delivery from September 2016.  This moment was both exciting and daunting as it brought the next challenge of recruiting students to study the programme.

Unfortunately, the programme did not recruit a sufficient cohort to run in 2016 and so the start date was postponed until 2017.   Promoting the programme through traditional undergraduate progression routes of schools and colleges, to potential students who are 16 and 17 years old proved problematic.  The team found that students of that young age did not fully understand the concept of wellness or the career opportunities within the sector, when compared to the more established subjects of tourism, hospitality and spa management.  The team recognised that they had extensive work to do to educate potential students and those who advise them of study and career choices about the opportunities in this growing sector.   

The programme began in September 2017, with a small cohort of students.  Since then the team have been eagerly working to expose students to many different wellness modalities and practices. This has included liaising with local and international organizations regarding live projects, and taking students can on a number of visits.  Firstly, students visited a destination spa in the north west of England, where they learnt about the spa’s focus on wellness and their extensive workplace wellness scheme.  Students also delivered hand and head massages as part of a wellbeing event for teachers from across the east midlands region.  One very exciting project that student have just begun, is a live workplace wellness project, which involves them evaluating a company’s support for line manager in respect of staff mental wellbeing and making recommendations for how the company can take the work forward.  Students can be see below ready to undertake a factory tour to learn about the company and gain greater insight into the working environment.

The prospect of delivering this new programme and taking the subject area forward in UK higher education is very exciting.  The team are undertaking scholarly activity and research to inform their teaching and following the recent publication of their text book, Spa Management: Principles and Practices, colleagues within the department are working together with other likeminded individuals to produce an academic journal which aligns to the spa and wellness curriculum.

So the journey continues, moving forward the team aim to grow their student numbers and are working on a recruitment plan.  Further forward the team would relish working with like-minded institutions and individuals to establish a wellness organization within UK.

To find out more about the programme, please contact Louise Buxton, Programme Leader of the BSc (Hons) in Wellness Management, at visit the University of Derby’s website at

Louise BuxtonLouise Buxton is a Senior Lecturer in Spa and Wellness Management at the University of Derby in the United Kingdom.  Starting her career as a beauty therapist, Louise went on to study management, education, coaching, and mentoring at university. Louise holds an MA in Education, is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and an experienced therapist, coach, and mentor
Louise Buxton | BA (Hons) PGCE MA FHEA
Senior Lecturer | Link Tutor (Swiss Partners)
Department of Hotel, Resort and Spa Management | College of Business, Law and Social Sciences
University of Derby | LS/207 1 Devonshire Rd Buxton SK17 6RY
+44 (0)1332 594612
M: +44 (0) 7920478199


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Resilience — What it Means to Me

Posted By Elisabeth Wightman, Friday, November 2, 2018
Updated: Friday, November 2, 2018

Meningioma. Ever hear of it? Know someone who has it?
I am a trained Life/Wellness Coach and also have this condition.

Build resiliency and support others with meningioma.Have you been diagnosed with a serious illness? I want to share ways to address the trauma, shock, and overwhelming anxiety involved with a serious diagnosis and ways to offer empowerment and support.

I am designing a coaching program for those people diagnosed with meningioma and am asking for input. The coaching program I am working on is a combination of numerous international empowering and catalytic resources incorporating the Six Dimensions of Wellness and the Wheel of Wellness. I'm interested in working with people around the globe in support groups that have meningioma and are challenged by the reality involved.

I have had 2 surgeries to remove my tumor and am currently recovering from facial palsy, double vision and changes that are requiring rehabilitation at a center twice a week. I have the greatest empathy beyond my training to be able to present ways to really reach deep — accessing an individual’s inner strength and facilitate the vulnerabilities into tools of resiliency.

There will be no charge for this program; with members meeting one to three times a month. At the beginning of the month, the topic of focus is sent out as are resources and transformation processes. There are worksheets and access to more tools and resources with each month’s focus.  

The monthly focuses I am contemplating and currently designing are stress management, resiliency, mindfulness, neuroplasticity, nutrition, heart congruence, the interconnection between the 3 brains, the heart, brain and the gut, becoming a witness, breathing, and holistic nourishment. I have many more ideas which I’m formulating into introductory information packets with accompanying coaching questions used in the group. My webinar plans are being designed and I will be ready to share what I’m doing in a follow-up article. I am also contacting global speakers to ask that they appear as a guest speaker periodically.

I am assembling all my training and life experiences, which have empowered me and built my resiliency to support others with the condition of meningioma. I plan to give access to other people as time goes on. I would appreciate any suggestions or direction to be better prepared.

Elisabeth Wightman is a Professional Life Coach in Australia with an accompanying Wellness Certificate and an International NWI member. She earned a New Zealand Bachelor of Health Science, is ICF credentialed, Heart Math trained, and a licensed coach. She is currently working on her Doctorate of Natural Medicine to support previous Naturopathy training. She can be reached via email, 

Tags:  Coaching  Meningioma  Resiliency 

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Coaching Leaders in Brazil for Improved Wellness Outcomes

Posted By Cecilia Negrini, Monday, October 29, 2018

Founder and CEO of the company: Cecilia Negrini — Consulting and Advice for the Health Area

runner in brazilWhen we think of wellness for a third world country we must first consider basic principles of human dignity such as security, food, education and health.

Brazil is currently going through a very serious crisis of trust of its political leaders. In a little more than a year President Dilma Roussef was impeached and a few months later we found out that the current president Michel Temer was also involved in serious acts of corruption. These facts have made worse the economic crisis, increased unemployment and especially aggravated the revolution against authority and violence in our country.

In 3 years, the number of unemployed people has more than doubled, rising to 13.7% in the first quarter of 2017, according to the data released on April 31, 2017 by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), through the PNAD survey. The latest data provided in August showed an improvement of this statistic of less than 1%, decreasing to 12.8% in the quarter ending July 2017. This improvement was due to informal work.That is, people who went about developing something on their own, empowering themselves with their personal skills and abilities and not waiting to be hired but becoming self-employed.

brazil neighborhoodThe economic crisis together with the crisis of a lack of trust in the government generates a sense of outrage in the population. The Brazilian population lack inspiring leaders and this has brought about bad consequences in several sectors of our society. We are in a chain effect that has had the consequence of creating great losses in personal wellness and quality of life. The economy is one of the main sectors affected and that brings consequences such as the increase of unemployment, insecurity and outrage, raising considerably the crime rate in Brazil.

Servant leadership has as a principle, the leader being an example of character, justice, and an inspiration for their population. "Be an example of a human being wherever you are, be it in your family, church, community or company. Develop yourself as a leader who has a sense of community and personal values that are fair and guided by what is right to do." Coaching is a tool to help people develop and pursue their goals with their own skills and abilities.

I believe that servant leadership, together with a coaching methodology can promote powerful actions for the promotion of wellness in countries like Brazil where it is common to find leaders with poor regard of person values.

This article aims to clarify how the combination of servant leadership and coaching can help develop Brazilian society by promoting wellness through better individual behaviors and, consequently, generate a more productive, peaceful, and happy society.

Servant Leadership

Servant Leadership was first proposed in a 1970 essay by Robert K. Greenleaf, "Servant as Leader" which was inspired by his experience with institutions and the short reading of Herman Hesse's novel, "Journey to the East." That story is told in the first person by H.H., a musician and member of a brotherhood, who decides to take a long journey. The group followed a servant, esteemed by all, called Leo who was wise, faithful, kind and handsome. At one point Leo disappears and the group falls quickly into a spirit of disorder and he leaves the group. Years later the narrator finds out that despite being seen as a servant, Leo was the chief and spiritual guide of the religious order they belonged to. It was through this reading that Greenleaf solidified that what makes the greatness of a leader is ‘the attitude of first serving others’.

"Caring for people who are more capable and less able to serve one another is the rock upon which a society is built"
– Greenleaf

But it was with James C. Hunter that the concept of servant leadership gained greater prominence in Brazil. Initially named "The Servant," the book "The Monk and the Executive" has already sold more than 3 million copies in Brazil alone and has been on the list of bestselling books for ten years. The author also published two more books about leadership.

While Greenleaf uses the servant Leo as the inspiration for the novel Journey to the East, Hunter quotes Jesus Christ as the greatest example of a servant leader in his book "The Servant". Hunter defines leadership in the book "How to become a servant leader" as: "The ability to influence people to work enthusiastically toward common goals, inspiring confidence through strength of character.”

James C. Hunter defends the thesis that leaders must have character, a very strong spiritual basis and the awareness that leadership is not power but authority, conquered with love, dedication and respect for people.

The author shows that it is necessary to practice every day the skills of the servant leadership so that they become a habit. Simply engage in a process of continuous improvement, accept feedback from subordinates, and be willing to take the risks to eliminate the gap between who you are and what you need to change to become a truly effective leader.

In the writings of servant leadership mentioned above, there is a prominence of some key words that define the characteristics of the servant leader. In analyzing them one by one, note the alignment of coaching posture with that of the servant leadership:

Character - In the process of coaching you do not have to convince, deceive, impress or please anyone. It is the time to be truetoyourself.

Very strong spiritual base - In a process of coaching, beliefs and values always appear as guides or saboteurs of success. Beliefs and structured values in favor of the goals make the expected results closer;

Continuous Improvement - The coaching process aims to help achieve the high performance of people willing to develop;

Accept feedback - Only accepts feedback those who are committed to their personal development and focused on themselves and not seeking justifications for failures in the external environment;

Leadership is not power but authority - Authority belongs to people who know how to listen attentively to the opinion, knowledge and experience of others. That they have respect differences and do not make judgment without knowing the facts in depth;

Love - If you want to become a better person, you have a clear goal and actions to follow, is because there is love for something or someone;

Dedication - In a coaching process the sessions must take place weekly and the actions developed must have an agreed day, time, place to start and finish. The results depend entirely on the coachee's dedication;

Respect - Not judging, questioning what is right or wrong, listening attentively to others are basic principles of coaching and they demonstrate respect for the history, experience, knowledge and learning of the other.

For you to become someone better you will have to use your own resources, because nobody gives what they do not have. The greatest expectation about a leader is not their technical knowledge, but their ability to inspire the team to use the knowledge that is in favor of a common goal. Coaching in this process can be highly effective as it leads to the necessary questioning for the leader to find their essence and inspire others. Is 10% the best you can get? What about the other 90%?

A lot of personal knowledge is stored waiting to be used, but on a day-to-day basis the lack of purpose and clear goals can lead to one’s own resources remaining stacked away. Coaching can help the person to seek within the unused 90%.

The servant leader invites the person to be better. To understand that to lead is to evolve continuously.

The principles of servant leadership can be learned and applied by those who have the will and intention to change, grow and improve. What most leaders seek is to find new knowledge to better perform their tasks. But if research indicates that one uses only 10% of what one learns, what about the other 90%? Accessing and utilizing some or all of that 90% can boost the potential to face the difficult challenges of today's leaders. Coaching methodology has the potential to empower the leader to achieve this.

It is possible and advisable to obtain knowledge about a subject by reading a book or by taking part in a course, but application and practice are fundamental. The exercise of leadership is what leads to development.

There should be willingness to review old behaviors, identifying and altering what is judged to be necessary to achieve good results. The crucial difference in applying the coaching methodology is that the person knows what it is they are looking for. Coaching methodology involves self setting a clear goal and always ends with a personal action plan. Knowledge is not filed; it is sought for the execution of something that brings the person closer to their goal.

Considering that information, the leader must answer these questions:

1. On a scale of 0 to 10 how much am I engaged in a process of continuous improvement and becoming a more inspiring leader?

2. What else can I do to become a better leader?

3. What would the best leader I have ever known say to me to do besides everything that has been mentioned above?

4. From the above list of key characteristics of a Servant leader, which of these actions will I carry out now to bring me closer to my goal?

5. How will I do them? When? (Date/time) Where? (Local / Environment) Who with?

These questions will cause the leader to seek the responsibility for their own development and thus find solutions to overcome the difficulties that exist in the current socio-political and economic scenario of Brazil. Moving from being a victim to be the main character of their life while developing a more just and transforming community. These actions will generate self-esteem, human dignity and inspire admiration and respect, infecting the environment in which they live with progress and continuous actions of personal and social development assisting in the construction of a society that Brazilians can be proud of — a society and culture depicting the rightness of character and growth by honest work.

The aforementioned process of coaching servant leaders has been implemented in hospitals, clinics and medical centers which are clients of our company and the results validate the effectiveness of the methodology. Both health professionals and their patients report that they have a higher quality of life. In a future article I will explain in detail the statistical results of the present program.

Cecelia NegriniCecilia Negrini is business Consultant, businesswoman, coach and speaker.

She is founder and owner of the company Cecilia Negrini – Consulting and Advice for the Health Area.  She had more than 10 years of experience in assisting health professionals. A personal coach by SLAC – Sociedade Latino Americana  deCoaching  and she is affiliated in Institute of Coaching by Harvard and affiliated in National Welness Institute – USA. She is specialist in Linguistics from UNESP – UniversidadeEstadualPaulista and she did MBA in Marketing for Health and  MBA in Business Management from FGV – FundaçãoGetúlio Vargas. She  works like facilitor in training about servant leadearshi by FórmulaTreinamentos and James Hunter – author  of the book The Servant and others.



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Workplace Wellness Ireland: Review of Our First Meet Up

Posted By Brian Crooke, Thursday, October 11, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Dublin, IrelandOn Tuesday September 4th we held the inaugural meet up of the Workplace Wellness Ireland community at the Bank of Ireland in Grand Canal Square in Dublin. I was blown away by the attendance and by the positive feedback following the event. The atmosphere and energy in the room was something I had hoped for so it was extremely pleasing to see my expectations not only met but exceeded on the night. Thanks to everyone that came along and contributed to the positivity.


Brian CrookeI kicked things off by discussing the buzz surrounding workplace wellness in Ireland. My aim with the Workplace Wellness Ireland group is to ensure that we are not looking back in 10 years time and remembering wellness as a ‘fad’ in Irish workplaces. What a missed opportunity that would be? By bringing people together to share experiences and lessons learned I believe we can improve all of our services, we can demonstrate real value for Irish businesses and for the people in those businesses and eliminate any future talk of a workplace wellness fad.

I also mentioned the fact that one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to workplace wellness. The bad news is, it’s not an exact science. The good news is that there are simple strategies that can be followed to significantly increase the chances that wellness initiatives will be successful. This is the type of information I want to promote and share at our meetups and in the online community.


I then introduced the values I’ve created to the community. I would love if we can adopt these at our future events and in any online interactions. The Workplace Wellness Ireland values are:

  1. Share without expecting anything in return
  2. Have fun and respect everyone
  3. Make friends, not contacts *
    *Thank you to Startup Grind for inspiring me on the third value ;)

Jim KirwanJim Kirwan:

‘Workplace Wellbeing Lessons Learned’

The first speaker on the evening was best selling author, international speaker, and health and wellbeing coach Jim Kirwan. Jim started his talk linking saying goodbye to his daughter at Dublin airport, last Christmas, to the value of time and the importance of our health and wellbeing. He then explained why what he does is so important to him by telling us his dad's story; he died very suddenly at 47 of a massive heart attack when Jim was only 20. He described this as 43 lost years and said he does not want this to happen to you.

Jim then introduced us to the 6 Key Ingredients of Effective Strategic Wellbeing which he refers to as FIT-CEO.


F - First: CEO and all executives and managers have to walk the talk.

I - Involve: Increase employee involvement and engagement will follow.

T - Transform: Wellbeing is a great opportunity to transform your organisation with BHAG's (Big Hairy Audacious Goals).

C - Culture: Wellbeing is at the top of your organisation values.

E - Excellent: There is no other way!

O - Outcome: Clear vision of results you want to achieve in short, medium and long term.

Lessons Learned

Jim also introduced his top four lessons based on his experience of working with Irish companies.

Lesson 1

In Company A only 25 people out of 150 employees showed up for his wellness week talk; everyone else was too busy. Company B (which was of a similar size to Company A) had to hold two separate sessions to accommodate the numbers that wanted to see and hear the talk.


What was the difference? The CEO, executives, and managers from Company B promoted and attended his talk(s)!

Lesson 2

Your wellbeing initiatives should focus on the majority of employees, not a minority.

Lesson 3

Most one-off wellbeing talks are not effective; think PROJECTS with a beginning, middle, and end which can measure results and change behaviour over time.

Lesson 4

Your wellbeing initiatives should be fun, enjoyable and sustainable. Sustainable means that employees can make changes that last!

Left to right: Robert Carley, Jim Kirwan, Brian Crooke, and Caroline McGuigan

Left to right: Robert Carley, Jim Kirwan, Brian Crooke, and Caroline McGuigan

Caroline McGuigan and Robert Carley: ‘Mental Health But Not As You Know It’ After a short break for some tea and chatting Caroline McGuigan and Robert Carley of Suicide or Survive (SOS) took centre stage. SOS works with individuals and businesses to educate, inform and inspire people to cultivate good mental health and reduce stigma.I’m fortunate enough in that this is not the first time I’ve heard Caroline and Robert speak and they never fail to inspire me and make me laugh.

A key message from their talk was that we all have mental health. Forget about the traditional statistics. Everyone has mental health issues at certain times according to Caroline and Robert.

Caroline discussed her own inspiring story and the obstacles she has overcome and continues to overcome. She introduced herself as a mum first and foremost. She also happens to be a psychotherapist, mental health advocate and the founder and CEO of Suicide or Survive.

Highs and Lows

We all have highs and lows. Robert gave a heartfelt example from his own life. This week in September is an emotional one for Robert and his family as they remember the sudden passing of his wife seven years ago. This September he also learned that he’s going to be a granddad again.

We can all relate to certain highs and lows in our own lives. Even from day to day and week to week there will be highs and lows that impact us. Caroline and Robert are on a mission to highlight the need to start conversations on mental health in Irish companies, to reduce the stigma and create work environments that are supportive of speaking up if you happen to be going through one of those lows.

Dublin, Ireland


It really was an inspiring and engaging talk and no exaggeration to say that those present were close to tears one minute then roaring with laughter the next. The audience played their part too, as we were first encouraged to turn to the person beside us to tell them they had mental health issues, then stretching our hands in the air as high as we could (and then a little higher….and a little higher….) to squeezing a fist together as tightly as we could then slowly releasing it and letting all the tension escape.

From Now On…

I didn’t expect Hugh Jackman to feature at our inaugural meet up, however Caroline and Robert had everyone standing together at the end of their talk to join in on the chorus of a song from The Greatest Showman movie: From Now On...From Now On.

Like you care about your dental health, care about your mental health — we all have it!

Dublin, IrelandOur People

The meet up was just as much about meeting new people as it was about hearing from the wonderful speakers. There was a great energy in the room before we kicked off on Tuesday and this was repeated during a short interval between speakers and again as we wrapped up for the evening with lots of people staying back to chat and ask questions.

Most people I’ve spoken with since have mentioned the really interesting people they met at the event, which is yet another expectation of mine which was exceeded on the night.

The energy and atmosphere was supported by our brilliant food exhibitors: Fiona’s Food For Life, Skinny Malinkys Juices and The Fruit People who kept everyone fuelled on the night.

One of the values I introduced was ‘Make Friends, Not Contacts’ and this certainly seems to have been the case on Tuesday.

Future Events

As I discussed on the evening, I want the group to tackle different areas and perspectives in workplace wellness. There’s a great mix of organisations and industry sectors represented in the community, and also companies of different sizes. Some are at different stages of the wellness journey, with some businesses quite experienced in this area and some only starting out.

At future meetups I want to hear from these differing perspectives. While there will be differences from company to company, there will also be similarities that we can all learn from. I’d also love to hear from you the community as to what topics you would like to see addressed in the future. Drop me a line and let me know.

Our next meet up is scheduled for November 13th, again at the Bank of Ireland at Grand Canal Square and again from 6 pm to 8 pm. Get the date in your diary!

Thanks, everyone and see you on November 13th!



Brian CrookeBrian Crooke is a wellness consultant, speaker and trainer specialising in the auditing, development and delivery of workplace wellness initiatives for Irish companies through his Office Worker Health business. He is the founder of the Workplace Wellness Ireland community and meet up. In his spare time Brian is trying to bring free resistance training to every county and community in Ireland with his parkHIIT project. Contact Brian to find out more:

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