Directions

Ingredients

Podcast Ep. 57: Building More Work/Life Wholeness with Jenn Cornelius, Chief People Officer at Ritual

In this episode

We’ve got a really special episode lined up this week. We’re kicking off our theme of the month—work/life wellness—with the amazing Jenn Cornelius, Chief People Officer of Ritual, an innovative personal wellness brand dedicated to transparency and science. Jenn has worked in leadership and organizational development at Apple, Pinterest, and Sweetgreen, and also as a private consultant. She’s passionate about helping organizations grow into people-first, values-driven places to work.

We’ve known Jenn and her family for years through our work with MaxLove Project. She’s a childhood cancer mom, a fierce advocate for families, and an all around amazing person.

We talk about Jenn’s professional journey, how she helps others build deep, trusting relationships at work, how we can bring our whole selves to work, and the tools and resources to care for our mental and emotional health across the work/life continuum.

Listen here

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Listen on Google Podcasts

Listen on Spotify

About our guest

Jenn Cornelius is the Chief People Officer at Ritual, an innovative personal wellness brand dedicated to transparency and science. Jenn has worked in leadership and organizational development at Apple, Pinterest, and Sweetgreen, and also as a private consultant. Her professional passion revolves around helping organizations grow into people-first, values-driven places to work.

Transcript highlights

Justin Wilford (JW)

I'll just say right out, right at the beginning that anybody who has listened to this podcast knows I am the controller. You know, in the radio business, I think they call it the driver and so I make sure everything kind of goes on time.

And then Audra is, I guess in the radio business, they call it the personality or the color.

Audra DiPadova (AD)

Justin just has a much stronger manager part that likes to manage the show.

JW

We'll talk about yeah, we'll talk about manager parts and so I'll try to keep us on track. But Audra is going to bring all of the personality and all of the color.

AD

And I'll derail it a bit.

JW

That's just how it how it works. But yeah, so this month the Yes Collective theme of the month we mulled over, like what words we were going to use, but we landed on something like work/life wellness. We were also playing around with work/life wholeness and just the basic idea being: what are the practices that we can bring into our life that will allow us to have more mental and emotional health and wellness throughout our entire life and that will help us bring more of ourselves to work and then also bring more of ourselves home at the end of the day.

So we're interested in all of this, and we're going to explore this with you, Jenn, and we're going to chop it up. But I guess before we dive into all of that, we want to find out more about you. Jenn, you've had an amazing career so far, and so I guess I just want to start with like when did you first know that you are interested in this people work in the world of people development? When did that first show up on your radar?

Jenn Cornelius (JC)

Yeah, you know, my very first job ever was at a clothing store and, you know, I'm an extrovert. And so I get my energy from other people. And I always knew that I liked working with people and I loved clothes and selling products. And so I think early on, you know, doing sales work was really fun.

But as I grew through the ranks and my very first company and became a manager, I got to experience what it was like to actually help support people in their careers and help give guidance and coaching. And so even back then, I don't think I knew it was going to turn into our work. But what I did know was that whether it was like doing the inventory or closing a till or leading a feedback conversation like the feedback conversation was the part that I really liked.

So I think there were early indicators of, of just the people dynamics being the part that's most fascinating. And what I, you know, what turned out to be where my gifts actually live.

JW

Yeah. So you so you saw that like the thing you loved most was the interactions was. Yeah, that those that yeah. The feedback and so I'm curious as you started to develop throughout your career, how do you look at what you do now? Like what, what, how would how would you describe what you do now from this people centric perspective?

JC

Yeah. So I'll, I'll continue that story just a bit. So I worked my way through the ranks in management roles and then eventually moved into more of a training role. Because I also found that I really enjoyed both learning about kind of frameworks and skills and things that could make me better as a human, but also discovered that I really like teaching that to other people too.

So that was my first kind of foray into our work, was working in kind of learning and development and and then eventually started doing other types of, you know, when you think about the, the employee lifecycle at work, there's all these different stages or seven of them. And, you know, I started to find that each of the interventions you get to have, whether it's like bringing somebody in as a candidate or onboarding them or developing their skills or giving feedback.

You know, that whole cycle was really interesting to me. And I also, you know, I knew that if you did it well and I could observe it because of some of the leaders that I worked with. But if you were good at it, it made people happier at work. It meant that they drove better performance. And so so for me, that was really cool because it was like, you know, there's tactical skills that you can deploy and like you could build something or, you know, I think back again to my kind of early stages of doing more labor type of work, but it was really just the human interaction pieces that were found to be, in my experience, most impactful, right?

And driving performance and driving revenue in a company. So I settled into that kind of pretty early on that I knew I wanted to work on the back side. I didn't need to be in the spotlight. I loved being sort of behind the scenes and working with people to feel better about how they showed up at work and the skills they were building and, you know, it's it's been really cool to get to see how, you know, as the world is changing and as people are changing, like there's still a ton of value in that work.

In fact, there's probably more value than ever in that work today given given the environment that they're in.

AD

I'm curious around that, Justin, you mentioned being able to witness like how how various things could help people be happier at work. And I have worked in a number of different environments before coming to being more self-employed. And I never I really don't think I were ever worked at a place that really considered people being happier at work.

That really was like there was a peripheral like, like, you know, maybe kind of priority, but not really high up. It was more sort of like the kind of managing a people's time and like accountability and making sure that people are at their desk and, you know, or whatever or, you know, parts of restaurant industry is different even from that.

So how did you how did you find your self in a I guess in a place where that is a priority? And then did you go from there to say, hey, I want to work in places that that that care about this? I care about, you know, employee development and their, like, well-being and their happiness.

JC

Yeah, it's a great question because I feel, you know, I look back on my career and feel really lucky because I think both I'll take credit. I did some hard work to get where I am, but I also made some good choices in the organizations that I joined. And so, you know, probably the first organization that sort of helped me understand what that looks like because I didn't even know what I didn't know back then.

But with Starbucks. So, you know, the training role that I talked about a few minutes ago that was at Starbucks and, you know, it was back at a time when Starbucks and I know they're going through a lot right now and I'm thinking about all those partners. I still want a partner, always a partner. But like, you know, it was the first place I'd ever worked for.

They genuinely cared about people and they focused a lot on selecting great leadership. And they were the first organization on a kind of larger scale that was doing part time benefits and things like that. So, you know, I got to sort of observe what it looks like because like you, you know, I'd worked for places where a job was kind of just a job, but it really wasn't the case there.

And the people were really passionate about what they were doing and they loved being a barista. And so, you know, I was lucky to get to work there for several years and got to work with leaders who I saw role model those behaviors and who genuinely cared about me. And that made a really big difference. And so when I made the decision to leave Starbucks and join Apple, it was actually because of a Starbucks leader that I had worked with.

So I, I left Starbucks because of the Starbucks leader that went on to Apple. And as it turned out, Apple was also and thankfully this leader had told me that. But she said, you know, Apple is also really employee centric. So, you know, again, very early on, it was cool to get a chance to be in places that really prioritize that.

And I got to learn a lot of the skills that I have now. And I think at a point in my career where I started to have bigger scope and responsibility as an h.r. Leader, and i had gotten to see what good looked like. It really it charged me to try to create that for others, you know, and I think a pivotal moment and kind of that journey that took it even paths just kind of being there for people and wanting to care about their happiness was when my own daughter got sick when I was at Apple, you know, Sinatra was diagnosed with leukemia.

And, you know, at the time I worked in a job where I got to live. And I look back on the experiences and how this sort of changed me. But I got to live this really cool, integrated work life. You talked about work life, wellness and work life balance. I always called it sort of my integrated work life because I've always had an office at home.

I had an office up in Cupertino. And, you know, when Sinatra was sick, I had an office in the hospital and, you know, and I worked between all three of those places to live this really integrated kind of work life, you know, and for me as a parent, going through that experience with my child and the rest of my family, you know, Apple is really great and said like, hey, you can take time off if you want to take time off.

If you want to work, you can work like it's up to you. Like, what do you need? How can we be here for you? And I had a very special leader who I. Well, I will call out. Her name is Stephanie Ferrer. She's still one of my favorite people on the planet. She heads up HR at united health care and is a really incredible leader.

But stephanie said to me, like, you do what you need to do, like we're here for you. And it was wonderful because I was able to sort of, you know, like I said, live that integrated work life and be present where I needed to be. And I was really trusted by the team. And, you know, that that helped me sustain, you know, the the experience throughout Sinatra's journey.

But, you know, I stayed at Apple for ten years because I knew I felt so supported and I did. I got to live this really cool life of getting to be in all the places that were important to me and got to to choose when. Right? Like as an adult, you want those choices. Like we worked our whole careers to be able to get to a place where you can make choices.

But sadly, there are still some organizations where, you know, they do what you talked about at the beginning, Audra, which is like, I need to see your butt in the seat. And now like you've worked really hard to be a grownup, but we're not actually going to treat you like a grown up. It's bizarre to me that that actually is a thing still.

JW

So I wanted to follow up there. So there are companies that are is there a better word than people centric? Because that's what I'm hearing. Jen, how would you call these companies that are doing it the right way? What's what's the right word for this?

JC

Yeah, I mean, I like people-centric. I like human-centric. I mean, I think that, you know, companies that understand that the people in their organizations are assets, not commodities, are the ones that are are getting it right. I think in organizations where you're prioritizing what you're producing over the people who are actually creating it, that comes at a cost, right?

JW

I love that phrasing, prioritizing what you're producing over the people doing the work. Yeah. So people centric or human centric. And so then there are these other companies that are, I think, much, you know, much more conventional that that are not so people-centric. So from your experience and I don't know if you can tell us a little bit about the research as well. Is there like a is there like a bottom line advantage to being people centric?

JC

I mean, absolutely. I think, you know, in my experience, if the human centric approach allows you to capitalize on the gifts of the humans. Right. And I think, you know, there's there's a lot that, you know, when you hire somebody, but there's also a lot you don't know how people's ability to adapt and be learning agile. That's one of the things I always look for when we're hiring is like somebody who can do well in a first time situation because, you know, if you if you find the right talent, then they're really adaptive and you want people who are adaptive to the environment, both other people in the environment, but processes and the structure and the tech and like all the dynamics of the org, you need the people to be able to work in the system.

And so, you know, I think that's it's really important. And for me, you know, as I learned that that was important and as I thought about my own career journey and even as I think about leading that out in organizations now, it's like you have to actually have real alignment around that at the leadership level. That makes a big difference. It's not enough, at least in my experience as a Chief People Officer. It can't just be me who has that thinking and that has it actually needs to be the executive team and the senior leadership across the organization. And I think, you know, so I work for Ritual Now, which is a really incredible personal health company.

And I when I met our founder, our values were really aligned. And that, you know, again, going back to sort of the gifts of the humans, like I knew the minute I met Kat that because we shared similar values about people and about work and about the world, weren't the same, but their sort of the spirit was grounded in the beliefs that the human gifts are the right gifts to focus on. I knew that we would get along really well, and I think and that's been really important as I felt, you know, for anybody who's looking to live a more integrated work life, I think it goes back to like what are the values and how do you match your values with those of the organization? And, you know, some people just want a job to be a job and that's totally cool.

Like there's nothing wrong with that. But some people want the job to be more than that and they are willing to give more than that, but only if it's worth it. Right. And if they feel like they're being seen and heard. And and so I think it's an important part to sort of understand what's your strategy around what what what do you need from the humans in that situation?

JW

Yeah. Yeah. Well, so I'm thinking, you know, this theme of work life wellness or work life wholeness, there is this other, you know, argument or there's yeah, there's this other perspective that, hey, this job is just a job. Like, I, you know, I don't I don't need to bring my whole self to work. I'm here to do this thing and so it's I guess I'm really curious about this perspective because what comes up for me, I have lived most of my life in academia and I chose to do that because I wanted some job that I could feel my whole self, like bring all of my passions and all of my interests and my whole self to it I didn't want to cut myself off.

What I wanted to really get at was, is this desire to just make work, work. You know, I don't want to bring my whole self to work. I don't want to worry about all that stuff. Is that a sign that maybe, maybe something's wrong like it? It feels to me that we spend so much time at work that it just makes sense that for just to lead a full, integrated life and an emotionally healthy life that we should want a workplace that supports and invites us to bring more of ourselves to work.

And then I'll just add one little thing. The more I'm assuming the more of ourselves we can bring to work, the more of us ourselves that we can bring home as well. So again, I would love to hear what you think about that.

JC

Yeah. I mean, I think it depends like I don't know, I guess I'm mean, this is the this is the me suspending judgment side of things where I think, again, going back to the gifts of the humans and understanding sort of where people are at and their life stages and what's important to them and valuing that, I think that comes at different points for people.

And so I think there are moments I certainly have experienced moments where I had a lot more capacity and willingness to want to give more. And then there are moments where I didn't and actually being able to voice that with a leader that trusts me and that I trust to be able to say like what I can give to you right now is just the work, and that's it.

And then other days being able to to do more, I think that's for me, that's that's the beauty of it. Right. And I think it comes back to setting first kind of forming deep trusting relationships, right, with who you're working with so you can have that kind of candid conversation, but then just managing each other's expectations. And I think that's again, like the beauty of the human dynamics is like it's always changing.

I mean, there's you guys might experience a storm this weekend and that might affect your ability to show up and do much of anything in the next four days. And then next week you might be really ready again. And so I think to to feel like it has to be one way all the time misses the point of of people being able to be who they are and and bring that wholeness.

And it inspires me to think back to Justin. We had a conversation of weeks ago around parts therapy, right? And parts work and like how do you allow the parts to be present, you know, when they're present? And and so I don't think it's a bad thing. I think it's it's good to be in tune, though. When I look at my own organization, I know there are people who are truly engaging and bringing their whole self to work a lot of the time.

And that shows up because they, you know, they're not just talking about the work, but they're participating in some of the additional kind of social things that we've got to offer and things that aren't related to their day to day. And they're really engaged and they they want that community. And then there are other other team members who are also really talented and super productive, who are showing up and doing the work.

But they, you know, they want to spend their extra time doing other things and that's totally okay, you know, so.

AD

I totally agree with that. And, and hearing, hearing that to Jen and what you're talking about, Justin, I feel like depends on the work environment, too. Depends on what you're doing. You know what I mean? I think it depends on what sort of work environment you're in because not bringing your whole self might be like really important boundary work depending on what it is.

You know, you're working in social services as a social worker for CPS. Like, you know, it might be the case that you, you know, you need to have some good boundaries there yourself. And for me, what comes up is as the employee, I want to be supported in bringing my whole self in as I want. When I like like it, it's more I guess maybe it's from working in an environment that didn't value that at all.

Yeah. And wanted only parts to come in, only want to, you know, wanted only the parts that were going to come in and do the specific job. I still feel like there's, it's the agency there, you know, and like being supported in that. And like you said, genders, ebbs and flows and being supported in those ebbs and flows and having being in an environment where there are open communications and the ability to do that.

So I, I see it more as being an issue if the employer or workplace isn't supportive of the whole person, which means their ebbs and flows and, you know, kind of like desire to just show up whole or partial, you know, depending on what they're going through. Yeah.

JW

So maybe some of this is the language that we're using as well, because I'm noticing from the from the approach the mental and emotional health approach that I'm bringing to the table. You know, I and with all of our experts, our therapists, our coaches, our psychologists and Yes Collective, our goal is to help people show up in their lives with their whole selves and so it's really about, you know, we see that, you know, for most of us and Jen, you mentioned parts work.

And so anybody who's who is been following the podcast or who is in Yes collective knows that we're really into this idea of parts-work that to to be in touch with our whole selves is to really start to open up to all different parts inside and all different parts of us. And so I'm curious like what does a workplace look like that is supportive of this?

And so Jen, you've been helping us pilot a program called Stepping Into Yes. And it's really about supporting emotional health. And we have when we talk about emotional health, we're talking about emotional intelligence, emotional resilience, emotional groundedness and emotional connectedness. And so we want to support this both in the workplace and outside. So I'm curious from from this perspective, why why would it be important for a workplace to support this type of wholeness? Like what is the advantage of this?

JC

Yeah. It's a I mean, it's a great question because I think to me it sort of feels like this inherent lie, like, of course we would want to support that. Why would like how do you get people to show up and be their whole self if there isn't a safe, you know, they have to feel psychologically safe, right?

And to show up and do your best work, you got to feel really safe. And so I think the challenge and what's been really fun about doing the pilot, too, is like, you know, there it's there are still and even though I've been sort of working in this space for a while and have really open, candid conversations and bring my whole self to work and have been for a long time.

There's a lot of people that I work with who haven't had that work environment like that where they talked about emotional health and wellbeing in general, or they created any sort of space for it. I mean, that's not typical, right? And so, you know, even just to create the space to say, you know, in the middle of the workday on a Friday, you know, we want to invite you to have this opportunity to participate in this this this coaching program that focuses on your emotional fitness and, you know, and that that's a priority.

You know, like that's that it's been really I mean, even talking to our team about it, like, it's it's just not something that they've ever gotten to experience right. And I think people people still as much as I think we're talking about mental wellbeing and mental health, you know, as a society. And there's, you know, many more celebrities are being really open about it.

Like people don't take time in the middle of the day to go see their therapist and or they do, but they're not talking about it. Right. And so I think what we're trying to do is say, like, it's okay to create that space in your integrated life. I mean, it's I think to allow people to get to the level of psychological safety at work where they can be really transparent around not just how they're feeling. And I think it's become more it's become more common, at least in my experience in organizations, to like start these virtual meetings with the check in, you know, and, and see more of that, which is really cool.

But then how you get people that to say something that's like really authentic and really if it's a tough day, like to get people to be okay saying that it's a tough day in a scenario like we're still working on that. Right. But to not only create that safety, but then, you know, I feel really grateful that we've gotten to participate in the pilot because we're not we're not just saying it's okay.

We're actually saying we want to provide you with resources to help you with. This is like even more nuanced, you know, and focused. But we know that, you know, if if our team feels connected and supported and see if they're going to be more willing to, you know, fully participate and bring their whole self to the work and, you know, it unlocks like you think about, you know, when you feel really safe, like unlocking the creativity that comes with that and being able to, you know, all that stuff just comes more natural, right?

When you're, you're really in tune with where you're at. So I think it's a really I mean, it's such a cool opportunity we've had to participate and to also create the space for our team to be like, no, we want to.

AD

Yeah. I wanted to ask a follow up to you. Do you think that we're in the midst of a paradigm shift like coming out of the professional workplace has been dominated by kind of like a control model of management that comes out of the Industrial Revolution. Do you think that we're in a paradigm shift and and that where the work that you're in represents a direction that hopefully we're growing into and headed into where people are truly valued?

It is for for for what they bring, for who they are. That human centered approach. Do you think we're in a paradigm shift or do you think that we're just going to be kind of like there was going to have different types of workplaces?

JC

No, I think I think we are in a paradigm shift. Like I think these changes are permanent now. I think it's like varying degrees of flexibility because that's really sort of still what it's about is like how flexible are you willing to be and how much trust are you willing to give? Those are sort of, I think, basic fundamental questions that executive leaders are probably asking themselves now.

And then the next layer deeper is like once you've made decisions about those two questions, like how do you actually operationalize it? Because you do have to do that. Like it's not enough just to say it. You actually have to take action to do the things to either support through technology or through behaviors and expectation setting. And, you know, in different spaces, like there is work in order to make that stuff real and to make it sustainable over time.

So yeah, I absolutely think there's a paradigm shifting and we're seeing more and more even what was like really traditional organizations that are shifting the ways of working and coming up with really cool programs to allow people to see the world and you know, and be able to, to do different things and like and trusting that, you know, yeah, you might be going away for a month to go live in city X, but like we know that you're getting your work done and so that's what matters and it makes you happier and so that that matters to us.

I was just going to say just we are seeing it, too, in retention as well. So as you said, employee retention and companies like people are making the decision to stay for organizations that are working to make the situation better and more flexible. So there's absolute advantage because turnover costs money. So you want people to stay. So the retention increases are great to see.

AD

Yeah. And along those lines, does that relate to generational values? Are you seeing that kind of younger people coming into the workforce have different expecting actions than maybe our generation, our parents generation?

JC

Oh, absolutely. And I feel like like this we've been sort of seeing for a little while. I mean, I think millennials started to bring the first wave of kind of thinking differently about their expectations, and then it's only kind of grown from there. So yeah, I mean, I think about it even with my own kids and, you know, as they, as, as my, you know, preteen in the next few years will embark on her own first job, like the decisions that she's already articulating about how she thinks about that is so much different than what I did, you know, I mean, I was like, can I make some money?

Like where I want to take my son? And I want to make some money? But she's like, No, I want to work in a place that really like does something cool that I can get excited about. And that makes me, you know, that brings me love, joy and some value. Like, I wasn't thinking about that. So I definitely feel like we're seeing it. I mean, I'm certainly experiencing it firsthand.

AD

Do you think that we can do a better job? Kind of just like in our society when we're orienting our our kids and our young people into entering the workforce, into understanding the landscape and and being able to identify a good fit for those values. Yeah, I hope so.

JC

I mean, I'm certainly thinking a lot about that in terms of what I control within my organization of like how do you paint a picture first for a candidate about what it's really like to work there? I mean, it goes beyond just, you know, these are the values of the company. And then here's a little bit about how we're organized.

It's like, how do you tell the story of what the experience is like? And it actually it's it's been it's a challenge because even now, trying to describe the experience of working in a hybrid way or remote way and what it is, what's it really feel like to be on a Zoom meeting for 8 hours? You know, it's like if you are like, I'm not so actually very focused on like scheduling my days for the most part in such a way where I have breaks to be able to go outside or to, you know, I'll take a Zoom meeting and then a phone meeting and, you know, but I have I feel agency to to curate my day. I think the challenge is in a lot of organizations, you know, unless you're leading or unless you've empowered your teams to feel like they can lead, they don't feel like they actually have a firm grasp on managing their day. And so if you're the person who's invited in to meetings all day, all of a sudden you've you've gotten yourself into a place where you're sitting 8 hours in Zoom meetings without a break, which, you know, that's not a good experience for anyone.

And so so there's something there around telling the story. And when I think about telling it for our organization, like making sure that people know that when they join, they have some agency and can be creative and thinking about like, what are the best ways that I or what are the ways that I can bring my best to work?

And so if you know that your limit is like 2 hours on a zoom call and then I'm shot, like how do we help people understand that part of being able to work is being able to say that and set those boundaries and say, you know what, actually, I want to take this phone later or I take a walk at lunch and just, you know, giving people the agency to make those choices and to talk about what they need.

Like that's what we're kind of going for. I think that's the only way this will sustain. But it's it's really hard. Like, how do you tell that story on a on a website, right, about like how, you know, this is the way that you can work in this organization and for it to feel real, you know, even a recruiter.

I mean, I do recruiting all the time in the as does my team and everyone's journey is very personal and our preferences are really different. So how do you lean into that instead of, you know, trying to create a picture that isn't accurate?

AD

Yeah, it sounds like self understanding for the employee or candidate is like a really important skill to have coming into this environment, in this new environment with a hybrid workplace which is so different than how things were for for you and I coming up. And one one thing that just came up for me is wondering, as a recruiter, Jen, this is taken me so many years of majority of my professional life to understand is there an energetic like do you tap into the energy of the is it just kind of like do you get a vibe like when you're recruiting, do you have like an intuition around people?

I feel like it's something that I it's taken me a really long time to learn to trust that. I mean, of course, we still have to deploy curiosity and, you know, obviously speak in a drive with people. But I definitely am learning to to honor that the the sense that I have of what it is to be with a person in terms of how not only how they're showing up, but I guess how we're showing up together.

Is there something is there an energetic component to recruitment?

JC

It's interesting that you say it because like my personal, I guess my instincts definitely feel what you're talking about. But I also, I guess my my practical and if I put my diversity, equity, inclusion lens on and also my generational lens on, really checking those biases becomes so important because I think about even like our kids are a perfect example.

You talked about how do we prepare kids for this type of environment? I think well, understanding is definitely one right of like getting really clear on what are the ways that that I show up at my best. Right. And how do I understand the things about myself that allow for that? But also also and thinking about, you know, many of our kids are on text message and so there's not human contact.

So if you take somebody who's primarily communicating with their friends and family on text message or maybe a face time here or there, and then all of a sudden you put them on 8 hours of Zoom meetings where they haven't been used to looking at themselves all day like it can cause people to show up really different and it's comfortable for everyone to be behind the screen.

And and it's tricky because I think, you know, I've certainly worked with leaders who feel like if somebody is not on camera, they're not engaged. And I just don't think that's true. And so there's all this other stuff that if you don't deploy your curiosity to dig in and really understand and give somebody a chance to articulate who they are through good questions, you're going to miss it. And so I try to check my gut like there's that old saying and first recruiting.

They used to say like, Oh, you know, in the first 2 minutes. And I actually push myself to say, like, if I think I know in the first 2 minutes I'm probably wrong because it probably means I have an bias. How could you possibly judge someone in 2 minutes?

I try to really dig dig in and ask the right questions and establish that psychological safety in such a short period of time, such that you can make a decision about if somebody is going to be successful in your company at its heart.

JW

Jenn, you mentioned a couple of things already that do to support your own mental and emotional health throughout the day. Something as simple as turning off self view on Zoom like that. I've started I've been doing that for gosh a year or two and I absolutely love it. I just love like when I'm when I don't see myself, I yes, I feel much more present.

I feel much more that I can be in the flow of a conversation. Okay. So I'm curious, what are some other things that you have learned that for you and things that have worked for other people as well that support their mental and emotional health throughout the workday?

JC

Yeah. I mean, I think that, you know, understanding and spending some time actually did a little bit of a study on myself right when the pandemic started around. How do I get into flow, you know, in this new environment and just sort of tracked for a week? Like where were the high moments? Where were the low moments?

Because I found that my my in-person energy hours actually turned out to be pretty different than my virtual energy hours. Like I used to be somebody who would get much more energized for like the deeper work in the afternoon when I was in person, because I had expended so much in the morning that by the time I got to the afternoon I could put my head down.

It was a good time. That's completely flip flopped for me. So now my deep thinking time really in a virtual environment like has to happen in the morning. So like, you know, starting with just sort of understanding what, you know, what are your peak energy moments like? How do you get into flow? When do you hit your outer limits and need to sort of dial it back and then what are the practical strategies that you can deploy throughout the day that keep you feeling good?

So one of the first decisions I made once I knew we were like I was going to be home potentially five days a week was I got a sit stand desk and I had it set so that and I have little triggers in my calendar of like, all right, I'm standing now and I'm sitting just to help manage my movement because again, if you're on camera all day, like you forget about that.

I also created a routine around how I spend my lunch time, so I always leave my desk at lunch. Like no matter what, I may decide to take a conversation or do a walk and have a conversation, or just sit downstairs and watch 30 minutes of Real Housewives and eat my lunch or something. But like taking some sort of a mental break is really important.

So I think sort of figuring out my flow throughout the week because not every day is the same. Also, I have I have kids who have after school schedules and a nanny. And so because I work in my home and my kids are home after school, their schedules have to be really integrated into mine, you know. So it is it takes a lot more planning.

I would like I sit on Sunday nights or Monday mornings and really think out my week and try to figure out how do I create a schedule that feels good, that balances the right amount of thinking time as well as work time and social time? Because I'm a social person, I love being able to get to see my girlfriends once a week, you know, and also husband date nights and things like that.

So it just, you know, it's a lot of it's a lot of planning. And then every day I sort of check in with, you know, how did it go yesterday? What do I need to do different today in order to to maintain it is as much as it does take a little bit more planning. And I have become more disciplined in my own schedule.

You know, I work out every day at 6 a.m. like that helps me sort of start the day. I'm so much happier. Like I cannot possibly imagine even if my office was down the street and I love seeing one person, but man like to get to do it this way and kind of on my terms, you know. And I get to go up and see my peers every Thursday, which I love.

Like, it's amazing. I feel so grateful to get to live this really integrated life.

JW

Beautiful. So I'm I'm also hearing a few things that you do outside of the workday that then helps support you feeling more emotionally and mentally connected in the work day. So it was working out at 6 a.m. things like making sure that you're hanging with friends, you got the date night. What are some other things that are that are outside of the workday that you do to support your your workday?

JC

Yeah. I mean, I, you know, getting outside for me is huge, like just making sure that I have some vitamin D, you know, take a take my dog over to the park to throw the ball, you know, like there's there's little stuff. And a lot of these things take 5 minutes. It's not it's not like I need to clear an hour, but it's just taking 5 minutes.

I actually I use a feature for any of you that use Google. There's a feature in the settings called Speedy Meetings, which essentially will just make sure that your your meetings are scheduled for 50 minutes instead of 60. And that's actually been really critical, too, because I'm not back to back to back, like there's nothing worse than I don't like being late I hate being late, really.

And so knowing that I have a little bit of a buffer in between, if it is a day where I have I'm stacked in meetings like I've got a little bit of a buffer to have a bio break or struggles or go outside, you know. So it's it's like all of the little things ultimately for me that that make a big impact.

You know, I meditate and, you know, so and that's one of my my coping strategies where if I know I'm having like a heavy like afternoon is my I feel like I just get more drained in the afternoon. And so that's usually when I'll bring in a meditation, just a quick 5 minutes, you know, using an app just to help give me a little bit of boost check in with and.

JW

Then I'll, I'll use this moment to plug the yes collective wellness reset five minute meditations that so good. Yeah.

AD

I have a curiosity and a follow up. Jen and this isn't this piece of advice. So I spent a lot of time working in higher education in very embattled environments where I mean, it's not psychologic, really safe. It's in fact psychologically super unsafe and very often combative. I mean, really, really difficult. And early on in my career, I, I had times of like depression, like deep unhappiness at work, not being supported in this way and feeling completely stuck.

Like I had no way out there was not. I mean, especially when you're in a job and, you know, your resume needs to show at least a year and you're super unhappy, you're in the wrong place and you have to weather another six, 12 months just to get another job, you know, like that type of thing. So what do you recommend for folks who are in an environment that doesn't support you in the way that, you know, ritual supports its employees?

Right. And for someone who's feeling unsafe or unstuck, are there some practices that and even thinking on like how to maybe communicate with the employer, communicate with a supervisor, like are there some practices that you can recommend to someone to really being able to somehow carve out that space to focus on one's mental health and well-being, getting through a period of time like that?

JC

Oh, my heart breaks. And I know that that's a real scenario for a lot of people. Right. And I think, you know, I think about some of those people in my life who do, you know, what to me feels like just really grueling and very, very difficult roles. But they do it because they derive like such great meaning and purpose from it.

And or to your point, like there's a North Star, right? There's a there's a goal. And so I think that's I mean, that's for me, sort of the one of the most important parts is reminding yourself of why you're here and why you're doing it. And reconnecting to that purpose can help bring a little bit of peace to your heart and to your mind when you're in the trenches of it.

But then I think when you're in it, I think to your point, you know, it is it's it's the little kind of subtle things and giving yourself some space and a break and figuring out what are the strategies that work well for you to be able to decompress. And, you know, everyone's got different preferences, right? And so some people just need to get it out and they need to vent.

And, you know, I've been there and I try to be there for my girlfriends, you know, when that work in those types of jobs and and just be there to listen and so like if you just need to get it all out, everything that happened in the last hour, you just need to get it out. I'm here for you.

I will listen to it. I won't say a word. I'll just be here so that I can be present for you. You know, I think other other things, like I mentioned that, you know, meditating, right. And taking a few minutes to meditate or if if you're somebody who needs to move or needs to just sort of sweat it out, like how can you figure out, going back to what you said before around deep self understanding of what are your coping mechanisms so that you can deploy them at the right time?

But, you know, there's also comes a point where if you're not finding that meaning and purpose anymore and the Northstar doesn't seem clear, I don't know, I having lost a child and having a broad perspective on, you know, for me now like what life really means, life is too short to spend time doing something that makes us really unhappy.

And so, you know, there's there's always a risk reward. Right. And maybe you want to get to that year, Mark, because you need that on your resume. But if it's coming at a cost to your health and wellbeing on a day to day basis, like I would ask yourself, is it worth it? You know, worth it?

AD

I think that's a great point. And and one thing I realized to going back to work after Max was diagnosed and is and then starting to do my own work, realizing like how much I perceived I was stuck because I thought I had to participate in the system and understanding I didn't have to participate in it, you know, and learning, starting to learn my own boundaries.

I had no concept of boundaries at that time. I had concept of the fact that like, I could simply do it differently, you know? And I don't have to be. Just because everyone else is in battle, does it mean I have to be? And so that was a really beautiful thing for me, is kind of losing the fear and losing some of that scarcity mindset around this is a way the shoulds, this is the way things have to be done or else this is going to happen.

And so I wonder how much of it this can be like seeking out support with some of the processing, some of the emotional work, you know, taking advantage a lot of the you know, a lot of employers do have give access to some type of mental health care and taking full advantage of it for me like this conversation if someone's listening and and and is in this situation to understand that I mean we're really trying to normalize mental health care.

Right. And mental wellness. And to say that going and getting help for this that that struggling at work is a reason to get support. You know, it's not just having, you know, a diagnosis or, you know, something something kind of like working on a deeper trauma is that's like that is more than enough reason to get help because you're right, life is so short.

And to be able to feel, know, caged in court and unsupported and unseen and unheard and not valued, we should have a limited bandwidth for that.

JC

100% agree could not have said that better.

JW

So I'm curious, Jen, from your perspective, everywhere you've been, you know, you have worked with some of the biggest companies in the world from now. Now, from your perspective, what do you think executive teams and managers need to do in order to support mental and emotional health in the workplace? What do you think are some of the things that they really need to start to consider?

AD

Yes, if you could wave your magic wand, Jen and Eric, you know, and this is going to be like this is going to be the next paradigm. And this is something that's you know what you see is fully actionable, right?

JC

Gosh. I mean, the first big step and if I could sprinkle the pixie dust on every leader I knew would to be make sure that everyone has really wonderful active listening skills. I think we very often get into a space where we're doing much more talking than we are listening. And like, that's the very first step is just keeping your ears open.

Because if you can create that, if you can keep your ears open and just start to create some space, it's amazing what comes into that space. And I'm always amazed that, you know, people like to fill the air like, I don't know about you, but when you're in conversations like people are really uncomfortable and silence and like the silence is actually like where the goodness is.

And if you can sit in it, especially as a leader and just be okay with like what might emerge, then you can start to listen. I just I think there's something there because, you know, again, that psychological safety is going to be the most important thing in order to, you know, as you look around and the good news is there is a ton of research now that's available and at our disposal. What about ways to build psychological safety in the four different stages of that?

And and so there's a lot there. And I go back to thinking about the training and the education. Like that's the stuff I get excited about. That's the stuff that we're educating our leaders about internally at ritual, but you know, helping leaders understand that, that, that psychological safety is really the unlock to building that trust and allowing people to bring their whole self to work.

And, and then everything sort of can, can grow from there, but it starts with just being present and being open.

JW

Yes. So, Jenn, I'll just say my my own emotional health journey has been one of learning how to listen. Audra, would you say that I've become a better listener? Well, I mean, coming from a really you know, this is a low bar to to become like I'm right. But one of the things that I learned about myself around listening was that, I mean, I so identify with this desire to fill the space in and that a lot of it is this desire to control and a fear that if I'm not controlling the conversation, if I'm not controlling where this is going, it's going to go off the rails something or that it's not going to go in a direction that I am comfortable with or that I wanted to go. So I'm wondering, you know, how much of this learning to listen is really about or is really maybe premised on leaders doing this deeper emotional work and coming into contact with this fear and this and this need for absolute control and what and I love what you said of like, you know, when when we listen and when we create that space, that good things happen, you know, and it's really the oh, yeah, good, good thing.

AD

Good things come in. Yeah.

JC

Yeah, yeah. The inner work is key, right. Because I think if you're not aware of those biases and your blind spots and to your point, if it's fear, if it's, you know, everyone's holding on to something, right? I mean, no one is immune. Like everyone's got something that's, you know, that they're holding on to in some way.

And and so yeah, I think figuring out, you know, at least first steps of like what's going on for me that's allowing me or preventing me from showing up in a way that I want to. Is really, really key. And I mean, again, goes back to like, no one's perfect. We're all humans. That's the beauty, right? But if you can be really open about that and even, you know, I've said this, you know, when I'm working on things, I generally will tell my team like, Hey, I'm working on this thing, right?

Like, I know that this has been a problem for me in the past or I knew I could be better at it and I'm working on it and I want you to hold me accountable and you see it, you know, and I did. That was beautiful in my career, beautiful areas.

JW

Jenn, I, that's so, that's so inspiring and that, I mean, to have that level of groundedness and confidence to say this is what I'm working on and like, here it is. Lay it out. Oh, wow. Is that something that you had to learn how to do to to be that vulnerable with with your team?

JC

Definitely. I mean, yeah, I've taken you know, I talked about some of the role models, but it's also taken many years of practice of just and reading great authors. I love Brené Brown. I mean, one of my favorite quotes is something I use all the time as clear as kind, right? But I think there's so much in vulnerability that helps unlock your potential that potential in others.

And so I think when you can just sort of let go of all of that stuff and be really honest and say like, I mean, again, no one's perfect. We're all working on something. If you if you name it, then you can at least share in it. Right? And, and that makes it so much safer and feels better.

I mean, I feel so much freer knowing that I can just show up and I really do. You know, I try to create the invitation for others by being really vulnerable myself. Right. And so I'll share my story or I'll share my and and I'm okay to lead that out because I know that my experience, like once you've done that, it's people are more apt to then respond, right? And so I'm okay to go first. I'm okay to get through the awkwardness and, and try to create that invitation for the vulnerability

JW

And again, I hope it's not speaking out of turn to say that the way you've shown up in the pilot, in the group sessions has been totally inspiring and totally beautiful. And it's like, Oh, wow, this is this is how a leader does it. It's been it's been really, really cool.

AD

Leadership. Yeah. Thank you. It's. It's such a beautiful change. Jenn, I wonder if you see this. I mean, I worked in leadership development for many years, and all of the literature, you know, at the time was on the ten steps to coerce or to motivate or, you know, all of the different things. And it never, never, never in any of those lists would you find you're in work as one of the steps in leadership, right?

Never. And it really wasn't Intel, Brené Brown. I mean, it wasn't I mean, I feel like she's for me anyway, maybe it's her generation. You know, she was definitely, you know, the one carrying the flag forward of change, beginning with vulnerability. And so I wonder if that's the next frontier for leadership is going. Is this like really, you know, digging deep within.

I hope so. Anyway, do you see this change happening in willingness?

JC

Yeah, I do. And yeah, absolutely. And I think about even, you know, even some of the skills or teaching. I went back to grad school a few years back and did a program around organizational development and the whole basis of it. And you're seeing this a lot in business schools now, especially when they're talking about leadership, like the that journey is shifting.

And I think the inner work, one of the first activities we did back then was like discovering your narrative, like taking a moment to just make sense of your life. What has happened, what did those moments mean and how did they impact you and how can you talk about them and and so I think it's really cool because I think people do that work naturally as a part of their their mental health journey with a therapist or a psychologist.

But to do that in a business context setting feels really different. And I've actually I've led that work in a business context with as a part of leadership development to have people go on that journey. And it's fun to see an organization evolve because those exercises typically start with people thinking about the milestones that you would put on your resume.

But then, right, comfortable, all of a sudden there's all this texture of all that happened in between, that in the life moments that actually made them make the choice about the resumé moment and that. And it's all those inner it's all those other parts, right? And, and that's when the stories kind of come to life and then that's where the vulnerability starts to happen.

So I do think, yes, it's absolutely that paradigm is shifting. I think all of the all of the dialog that we're having around mental health in general is really helping with that. We need to keep doing more of it. But I think practicing it and also, you know, like I said, we're creating that invitation and business context is something that we can do as leaders in organizations like it's very possible.

It's a part of the business strategy. It's not another thing. It's it's the thing because humans are the ones running the organization. So I think if you can get alignment, you know, within the leadership team to focus on it and then you get somebody who knows how to do it, it can be a really wonderful way to start to allow people to bring them to the work.

AD

Jenn is a part of that not being everything. I think a part of the old model is performance of leadership, not actual leadership. It's all this performative stuff of I am all knowing, all commanding, all everything to everyone, right? And is are we seeing a shift where folks are showing up with their strengths to say, listen, I like really feel great here.

This is what I feel like. I add and we are structuring this in a way to that. We're a well rounded team that, you know, we have complementary strength that we're bringing to the table. Not everyone has to be everything.

JC

I think that's a huge turnoff, by the way, not that you're out yet, man. I mean, nothing gets me more fired up. When somebody doesn't demonstrate any level of humility like that. I will feel that that person will not will not do well and sort of my life, I think about sort of growth mindset and I think about again, being adaptive to business needs and stuff like that.

I think it is good for people to have some self-confidence and to know what they're good at. And I think that, you know, again, that also comes from the inner work just as much as knowing the blind spots, but also just being open to learning and to changing. And, you know, I think that's just critical. And I and in most organizations like that's what they're talking about.

I mean, humility is absolutely a key competency in most organizations now, because we are I mean, I think about my day to day job in the last two and a half years, like we're charting unknown all the time. And so there's no way that we could all know anything about anything, frankly. So, I mean, I you know, I said to you guys earlier today, you know, the change for me is the fun part, because if you can come into a scenario and realize that you don't know everything, like there are some things, you know, that help create an opinion that you might have or some assumptions you might make.

But there's a whole other part of the story that you probably don't know. And if you aren't courageous enough to say that, then you're going to miss out on somebody else potentially being able to fill that gap. And so, yeah, it does take courage to say, I don't know, but I'll find out or I'm going to, you know, let's find out together.

But the solution is always so much better, you know? I mean, like I said, it's it's never no one likes a no at all. Like, let's be honest, nobody does.

JW

Oh, my gosh. Yes. So absolutely, I'm going to take control of the wheel again and I'm going to land this plane. Jen, with our last three questions that we ask everybody. And so the first one is, if you could put a big Post-it note on everyone's fridge tomorrow morning, what would it say?

JC

I'm going to steal this shamelessly from my incredible yoga teacher because it's so good. But it would say, what can you do for yourself today? And that's because everyone is all I mean, you know, again, like with belief in the human values and gifts, like we're all trying to serve everyone else, right? And one another. And so if you if you can't stop and ask, answer the question for yourself like once a day, then you're probably not serving really the person who's most important, which is you.

So, you know, taking a taking a minute to just think about like, what can you do for yourself today I think is really beautiful.

JW

And then the last comment that that changed the way you think or feel is something that you read, maybe a movie, a song.

JC

Oh, it's every day. I mean, you know, the one that sort of guides me all the time is inspired by my daughter, but, you know, is "To be the things you love most in the person you lost." And it's interesting that quote has inspired me since she passed away to sort of role model the things that she did so well.

But it also guides me now, five years later, to think about, like when I see gifts in someone, how do they how do I honor them by doing those things to beautiful, you know, and by like taking a witness from someone and really thinking about how I can bring that to the world as well.

AD

Thank you so much for sharing that that that is really, really impactful to me. I love that framing. I don't think I had heard that before. Like that's really just a beautiful way to, to to just allow that spirit to live on in the world. Yeah. Yeah. So the third, third and final question is what's one thing that's giving you hope right now?

JC

As there's many, I mean the two of you are one shameless plug for you and for the collective. But I think, you know, figuring out how do we tackle like there's, you know, these big meaty problems in the world. And I think having people who have the energy to get in and try to solve them and keep talking about them.

And, you know, that's inspiring to me. It's it's certainly, you know, energy depleting, you know, to live in like the doom and gloom side of things. And I know we all we all go there sometimes, but I think that giving me hope is having conversations like this and thinking about how do we keep working to make ourselves better and so that we can be better for others.

And I mean, that's why I love honestly, why I love going to work every day is because I think about like what are the kinds of what are the kinds of conversations I can have? How can I leave people feeling better than when we started? And if I can just do a little bit of that every day, then I know that I'm like doing the good work, right?

AD

Got chills like, like everywhere kind of truly when you hear about like that, what a gorgeous, like vision of your role and what I mean that gives me hope to think of every company having that type of support. It's almost like a it's almost like an internal like a like a like a healer, like a, you know, people have like internal their internal legal and marketing teams and all of that.

But I mean, what about that heart and and what you're bringing and nurturing and supporting and and loving and caring for the people that generate all of this, you know, and bring all of us to the world like that is awesome.

JC

You know, I mean, I think it's one of the coolest jobs. I mean, there are many, many jobs I expect to have in my lifetime because there's so much still to learn. But to get to do work like this, where, I mean, truly, like my job is just making sure that people are feeling seen, heard, valued, respected, and that we're unlocking their gifts.

Right. And that they can come to work every day and deploy them. Like how? I don't know what job is better than that, frankly. Like, I'm super lucky.

Podcast Ep. 57: Building More Work/Life Wholeness with Jenn Cornelius, Chief People Officer at Ritual

Close
Theme icon

Podcast /

Content /

Connect

Podcast Ep. 57: Building More Work/Life Wholeness with Jenn Cornelius, Chief People Officer at Ritual

Chief People Officer of Ritual, Jenn Cornelius, joins Audra and Justin to talk about to build deep, trusting relationships at work, how to bring your whole self to work, and so much more.

Join the Yes Collective and download the mobile app today

JOIN TODAY

Key takeaways

1

2

3

Low hassle, high nutrition

Fierce Food: Easy

Fierce Food: Easy

50/50 mixes of powerful veggies and starchy favorites

Fierce Food: Balance

Fierce Food: Balance

Maximize nutrients, minimize sugar and starch

Fierce Food: Power

Fierce Food: Power

Ingredients

Kitchen Equipment

Ingredient Replacement

View replacement list (PDF)

Reading time:

2 minutesf

In this episode

We’ve got a really special episode lined up this week. We’re kicking off our theme of the month—work/life wellness—with the amazing Jenn Cornelius, Chief People Officer of Ritual, an innovative personal wellness brand dedicated to transparency and science. Jenn has worked in leadership and organizational development at Apple, Pinterest, and Sweetgreen, and also as a private consultant. She’s passionate about helping organizations grow into people-first, values-driven places to work.

We’ve known Jenn and her family for years through our work with MaxLove Project. She’s a childhood cancer mom, a fierce advocate for families, and an all around amazing person.

We talk about Jenn’s professional journey, how she helps others build deep, trusting relationships at work, how we can bring our whole selves to work, and the tools and resources to care for our mental and emotional health across the work/life continuum.

Listen here

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Listen on Google Podcasts

Listen on Spotify

About our guest

Jenn Cornelius is the Chief People Officer at Ritual, an innovative personal wellness brand dedicated to transparency and science. Jenn has worked in leadership and organizational development at Apple, Pinterest, and Sweetgreen, and also as a private consultant. Her professional passion revolves around helping organizations grow into people-first, values-driven places to work.

Transcript highlights

Justin Wilford (JW)

I'll just say right out, right at the beginning that anybody who has listened to this podcast knows I am the controller. You know, in the radio business, I think they call it the driver and so I make sure everything kind of goes on time.

And then Audra is, I guess in the radio business, they call it the personality or the color.

Audra DiPadova (AD)

Justin just has a much stronger manager part that likes to manage the show.

JW

We'll talk about yeah, we'll talk about manager parts and so I'll try to keep us on track. But Audra is going to bring all of the personality and all of the color.

AD

And I'll derail it a bit.

JW

That's just how it how it works. But yeah, so this month the Yes Collective theme of the month we mulled over, like what words we were going to use, but we landed on something like work/life wellness. We were also playing around with work/life wholeness and just the basic idea being: what are the practices that we can bring into our life that will allow us to have more mental and emotional health and wellness throughout our entire life and that will help us bring more of ourselves to work and then also bring more of ourselves home at the end of the day.

So we're interested in all of this, and we're going to explore this with you, Jenn, and we're going to chop it up. But I guess before we dive into all of that, we want to find out more about you. Jenn, you've had an amazing career so far, and so I guess I just want to start with like when did you first know that you are interested in this people work in the world of people development? When did that first show up on your radar?

Jenn Cornelius (JC)

Yeah, you know, my very first job ever was at a clothing store and, you know, I'm an extrovert. And so I get my energy from other people. And I always knew that I liked working with people and I loved clothes and selling products. And so I think early on, you know, doing sales work was really fun.

But as I grew through the ranks and my very first company and became a manager, I got to experience what it was like to actually help support people in their careers and help give guidance and coaching. And so even back then, I don't think I knew it was going to turn into our work. But what I did know was that whether it was like doing the inventory or closing a till or leading a feedback conversation like the feedback conversation was the part that I really liked.

So I think there were early indicators of, of just the people dynamics being the part that's most fascinating. And what I, you know, what turned out to be where my gifts actually live.

JW

Yeah. So you so you saw that like the thing you loved most was the interactions was. Yeah, that those that yeah. The feedback and so I'm curious as you started to develop throughout your career, how do you look at what you do now? Like what, what, how would how would you describe what you do now from this people centric perspective?

JC

Yeah. So I'll, I'll continue that story just a bit. So I worked my way through the ranks in management roles and then eventually moved into more of a training role. Because I also found that I really enjoyed both learning about kind of frameworks and skills and things that could make me better as a human, but also discovered that I really like teaching that to other people too.

So that was my first kind of foray into our work, was working in kind of learning and development and and then eventually started doing other types of, you know, when you think about the, the employee lifecycle at work, there's all these different stages or seven of them. And, you know, I started to find that each of the interventions you get to have, whether it's like bringing somebody in as a candidate or onboarding them or developing their skills or giving feedback.

You know, that whole cycle was really interesting to me. And I also, you know, I knew that if you did it well and I could observe it because of some of the leaders that I worked with. But if you were good at it, it made people happier at work. It meant that they drove better performance. And so so for me, that was really cool because it was like, you know, there's tactical skills that you can deploy and like you could build something or, you know, I think back again to my kind of early stages of doing more labor type of work, but it was really just the human interaction pieces that were found to be, in my experience, most impactful, right?

And driving performance and driving revenue in a company. So I settled into that kind of pretty early on that I knew I wanted to work on the back side. I didn't need to be in the spotlight. I loved being sort of behind the scenes and working with people to feel better about how they showed up at work and the skills they were building and, you know, it's it's been really cool to get to see how, you know, as the world is changing and as people are changing, like there's still a ton of value in that work.

In fact, there's probably more value than ever in that work today given given the environment that they're in.

AD

I'm curious around that, Justin, you mentioned being able to witness like how how various things could help people be happier at work. And I have worked in a number of different environments before coming to being more self-employed. And I never I really don't think I were ever worked at a place that really considered people being happier at work.

That really was like there was a peripheral like, like, you know, maybe kind of priority, but not really high up. It was more sort of like the kind of managing a people's time and like accountability and making sure that people are at their desk and, you know, or whatever or, you know, parts of restaurant industry is different even from that.

So how did you how did you find your self in a I guess in a place where that is a priority? And then did you go from there to say, hey, I want to work in places that that that care about this? I care about, you know, employee development and their, like, well-being and their happiness.

JC

Yeah, it's a great question because I feel, you know, I look back on my career and feel really lucky because I think both I'll take credit. I did some hard work to get where I am, but I also made some good choices in the organizations that I joined. And so, you know, probably the first organization that sort of helped me understand what that looks like because I didn't even know what I didn't know back then.

But with Starbucks. So, you know, the training role that I talked about a few minutes ago that was at Starbucks and, you know, it was back at a time when Starbucks and I know they're going through a lot right now and I'm thinking about all those partners. I still want a partner, always a partner. But like, you know, it was the first place I'd ever worked for.

They genuinely cared about people and they focused a lot on selecting great leadership. And they were the first organization on a kind of larger scale that was doing part time benefits and things like that. So, you know, I got to sort of observe what it looks like because like you, you know, I'd worked for places where a job was kind of just a job, but it really wasn't the case there.

And the people were really passionate about what they were doing and they loved being a barista. And so, you know, I was lucky to get to work there for several years and got to work with leaders who I saw role model those behaviors and who genuinely cared about me. And that made a really big difference. And so when I made the decision to leave Starbucks and join Apple, it was actually because of a Starbucks leader that I had worked with.

So I, I left Starbucks because of the Starbucks leader that went on to Apple. And as it turned out, Apple was also and thankfully this leader had told me that. But she said, you know, Apple is also really employee centric. So, you know, again, very early on, it was cool to get a chance to be in places that really prioritize that.

And I got to learn a lot of the skills that I have now. And I think at a point in my career where I started to have bigger scope and responsibility as an h.r. Leader, and i had gotten to see what good looked like. It really it charged me to try to create that for others, you know, and I think a pivotal moment and kind of that journey that took it even paths just kind of being there for people and wanting to care about their happiness was when my own daughter got sick when I was at Apple, you know, Sinatra was diagnosed with leukemia.

And, you know, at the time I worked in a job where I got to live. And I look back on the experiences and how this sort of changed me. But I got to live this really cool, integrated work life. You talked about work life, wellness and work life balance. I always called it sort of my integrated work life because I've always had an office at home.

I had an office up in Cupertino. And, you know, when Sinatra was sick, I had an office in the hospital and, you know, and I worked between all three of those places to live this really integrated kind of work life, you know, and for me as a parent, going through that experience with my child and the rest of my family, you know, Apple is really great and said like, hey, you can take time off if you want to take time off.

If you want to work, you can work like it's up to you. Like, what do you need? How can we be here for you? And I had a very special leader who I. Well, I will call out. Her name is Stephanie Ferrer. She's still one of my favorite people on the planet. She heads up HR at united health care and is a really incredible leader.

But stephanie said to me, like, you do what you need to do, like we're here for you. And it was wonderful because I was able to sort of, you know, like I said, live that integrated work life and be present where I needed to be. And I was really trusted by the team. And, you know, that that helped me sustain, you know, the the experience throughout Sinatra's journey.

But, you know, I stayed at Apple for ten years because I knew I felt so supported and I did. I got to live this really cool life of getting to be in all the places that were important to me and got to to choose when. Right? Like as an adult, you want those choices. Like we worked our whole careers to be able to get to a place where you can make choices.

But sadly, there are still some organizations where, you know, they do what you talked about at the beginning, Audra, which is like, I need to see your butt in the seat. And now like you've worked really hard to be a grownup, but we're not actually going to treat you like a grown up. It's bizarre to me that that actually is a thing still.

JW

So I wanted to follow up there. So there are companies that are is there a better word than people centric? Because that's what I'm hearing. Jen, how would you call these companies that are doing it the right way? What's what's the right word for this?

JC

Yeah, I mean, I like people-centric. I like human-centric. I mean, I think that, you know, companies that understand that the people in their organizations are assets, not commodities, are the ones that are are getting it right. I think in organizations where you're prioritizing what you're producing over the people who are actually creating it, that comes at a cost, right?

JW

I love that phrasing, prioritizing what you're producing over the people doing the work. Yeah. So people centric or human centric. And so then there are these other companies that are, I think, much, you know, much more conventional that that are not so people-centric. So from your experience and I don't know if you can tell us a little bit about the research as well. Is there like a is there like a bottom line advantage to being people centric?

JC

I mean, absolutely. I think, you know, in my experience, if the human centric approach allows you to capitalize on the gifts of the humans. Right. And I think, you know, there's there's a lot that, you know, when you hire somebody, but there's also a lot you don't know how people's ability to adapt and be learning agile. That's one of the things I always look for when we're hiring is like somebody who can do well in a first time situation because, you know, if you if you find the right talent, then they're really adaptive and you want people who are adaptive to the environment, both other people in the environment, but processes and the structure and the tech and like all the dynamics of the org, you need the people to be able to work in the system.

And so, you know, I think that's it's really important. And for me, you know, as I learned that that was important and as I thought about my own career journey and even as I think about leading that out in organizations now, it's like you have to actually have real alignment around that at the leadership level. That makes a big difference. It's not enough, at least in my experience as a Chief People Officer. It can't just be me who has that thinking and that has it actually needs to be the executive team and the senior leadership across the organization. And I think, you know, so I work for Ritual Now, which is a really incredible personal health company.

And I when I met our founder, our values were really aligned. And that, you know, again, going back to sort of the gifts of the humans, like I knew the minute I met Kat that because we shared similar values about people and about work and about the world, weren't the same, but their sort of the spirit was grounded in the beliefs that the human gifts are the right gifts to focus on. I knew that we would get along really well, and I think and that's been really important as I felt, you know, for anybody who's looking to live a more integrated work life, I think it goes back to like what are the values and how do you match your values with those of the organization? And, you know, some people just want a job to be a job and that's totally cool.

Like there's nothing wrong with that. But some people want the job to be more than that and they are willing to give more than that, but only if it's worth it. Right. And if they feel like they're being seen and heard. And and so I think it's an important part to sort of understand what's your strategy around what what what do you need from the humans in that situation?

JW

Yeah. Yeah. Well, so I'm thinking, you know, this theme of work life wellness or work life wholeness, there is this other, you know, argument or there's yeah, there's this other perspective that, hey, this job is just a job. Like, I, you know, I don't I don't need to bring my whole self to work. I'm here to do this thing and so it's I guess I'm really curious about this perspective because what comes up for me, I have lived most of my life in academia and I chose to do that because I wanted some job that I could feel my whole self, like bring all of my passions and all of my interests and my whole self to it I didn't want to cut myself off.

What I wanted to really get at was, is this desire to just make work, work. You know, I don't want to bring my whole self to work. I don't want to worry about all that stuff. Is that a sign that maybe, maybe something's wrong like it? It feels to me that we spend so much time at work that it just makes sense that for just to lead a full, integrated life and an emotionally healthy life that we should want a workplace that supports and invites us to bring more of ourselves to work.

And then I'll just add one little thing. The more I'm assuming the more of ourselves we can bring to work, the more of us ourselves that we can bring home as well. So again, I would love to hear what you think about that.

JC

Yeah. I mean, I think it depends like I don't know, I guess I'm mean, this is the this is the me suspending judgment side of things where I think, again, going back to the gifts of the humans and understanding sort of where people are at and their life stages and what's important to them and valuing that, I think that comes at different points for people.

And so I think there are moments I certainly have experienced moments where I had a lot more capacity and willingness to want to give more. And then there are moments where I didn't and actually being able to voice that with a leader that trusts me and that I trust to be able to say like what I can give to you right now is just the work, and that's it.

And then other days being able to to do more, I think that's for me, that's that's the beauty of it. Right. And I think it comes back to setting first kind of forming deep trusting relationships, right, with who you're working with so you can have that kind of candid conversation, but then just managing each other's expectations. And I think that's again, like the beauty of the human dynamics is like it's always changing.

I mean, there's you guys might experience a storm this weekend and that might affect your ability to show up and do much of anything in the next four days. And then next week you might be really ready again. And so I think to to feel like it has to be one way all the time misses the point of of people being able to be who they are and and bring that wholeness.

And it inspires me to think back to Justin. We had a conversation of weeks ago around parts therapy, right? And parts work and like how do you allow the parts to be present, you know, when they're present? And and so I don't think it's a bad thing. I think it's it's good to be in tune, though. When I look at my own organization, I know there are people who are truly engaging and bringing their whole self to work a lot of the time.

And that shows up because they, you know, they're not just talking about the work, but they're participating in some of the additional kind of social things that we've got to offer and things that aren't related to their day to day. And they're really engaged and they they want that community. And then there are other other team members who are also really talented and super productive, who are showing up and doing the work.

But they, you know, they want to spend their extra time doing other things and that's totally okay, you know, so.

AD

I totally agree with that. And, and hearing, hearing that to Jen and what you're talking about, Justin, I feel like depends on the work environment, too. Depends on what you're doing. You know what I mean? I think it depends on what sort of work environment you're in because not bringing your whole self might be like really important boundary work depending on what it is.

You know, you're working in social services as a social worker for CPS. Like, you know, it might be the case that you, you know, you need to have some good boundaries there yourself. And for me, what comes up is as the employee, I want to be supported in bringing my whole self in as I want. When I like like it, it's more I guess maybe it's from working in an environment that didn't value that at all.

Yeah. And wanted only parts to come in, only want to, you know, wanted only the parts that were going to come in and do the specific job. I still feel like there's, it's the agency there, you know, and like being supported in that. And like you said, genders, ebbs and flows and being supported in those ebbs and flows and having being in an environment where there are open communications and the ability to do that.

So I, I see it more as being an issue if the employer or workplace isn't supportive of the whole person, which means their ebbs and flows and, you know, kind of like desire to just show up whole or partial, you know, depending on what they're going through. Yeah.

JW

So maybe some of this is the language that we're using as well, because I'm noticing from the from the approach the mental and emotional health approach that I'm bringing to the table. You know, I and with all of our experts, our therapists, our coaches, our psychologists and Yes Collective, our goal is to help people show up in their lives with their whole selves and so it's really about, you know, we see that, you know, for most of us and Jen, you mentioned parts work.

And so anybody who's who is been following the podcast or who is in Yes collective knows that we're really into this idea of parts-work that to to be in touch with our whole selves is to really start to open up to all different parts inside and all different parts of us. And so I'm curious like what does a workplace look like that is supportive of this?

And so Jen, you've been helping us pilot a program called Stepping Into Yes. And it's really about supporting emotional health. And we have when we talk about emotional health, we're talking about emotional intelligence, emotional resilience, emotional groundedness and emotional connectedness. And so we want to support this both in the workplace and outside. So I'm curious from from this perspective, why why would it be important for a workplace to support this type of wholeness? Like what is the advantage of this?

JC

Yeah. It's a I mean, it's a great question because I think to me it sort of feels like this inherent lie, like, of course we would want to support that. Why would like how do you get people to show up and be their whole self if there isn't a safe, you know, they have to feel psychologically safe, right?

And to show up and do your best work, you got to feel really safe. And so I think the challenge and what's been really fun about doing the pilot, too, is like, you know, there it's there are still and even though I've been sort of working in this space for a while and have really open, candid conversations and bring my whole self to work and have been for a long time.

There's a lot of people that I work with who haven't had that work environment like that where they talked about emotional health and wellbeing in general, or they created any sort of space for it. I mean, that's not typical, right? And so, you know, even just to create the space to say, you know, in the middle of the workday on a Friday, you know, we want to invite you to have this opportunity to participate in this this this coaching program that focuses on your emotional fitness and, you know, and that that's a priority.

You know, like that's that it's been really I mean, even talking to our team about it, like, it's it's just not something that they've ever gotten to experience right. And I think people people still as much as I think we're talking about mental wellbeing and mental health, you know, as a society. And there's, you know, many more celebrities are being really open about it.

Like people don't take time in the middle of the day to go see their therapist and or they do, but they're not talking about it. Right. And so I think what we're trying to do is say, like, it's okay to create that space in your integrated life. I mean, it's I think to allow people to get to the level of psychological safety at work where they can be really transparent around not just how they're feeling. And I think it's become more it's become more common, at least in my experience in organizations, to like start these virtual meetings with the check in, you know, and, and see more of that, which is really cool.

But then how you get people that to say something that's like really authentic and really if it's a tough day, like to get people to be okay saying that it's a tough day in a scenario like we're still working on that. Right. But to not only create that safety, but then, you know, I feel really grateful that we've gotten to participate in the pilot because we're not we're not just saying it's okay.

We're actually saying we want to provide you with resources to help you with. This is like even more nuanced, you know, and focused. But we know that, you know, if if our team feels connected and supported and see if they're going to be more willing to, you know, fully participate and bring their whole self to the work and, you know, it unlocks like you think about, you know, when you feel really safe, like unlocking the creativity that comes with that and being able to, you know, all that stuff just comes more natural, right?

When you're, you're really in tune with where you're at. So I think it's a really I mean, it's such a cool opportunity we've had to participate and to also create the space for our team to be like, no, we want to.

AD

Yeah. I wanted to ask a follow up to you. Do you think that we're in the midst of a paradigm shift like coming out of the professional workplace has been dominated by kind of like a control model of management that comes out of the Industrial Revolution. Do you think that we're in a paradigm shift and and that where the work that you're in represents a direction that hopefully we're growing into and headed into where people are truly valued?

It is for for for what they bring, for who they are. That human centered approach. Do you think we're in a paradigm shift or do you think that we're just going to be kind of like there was going to have different types of workplaces?

JC

No, I think I think we are in a paradigm shift. Like I think these changes are permanent now. I think it's like varying degrees of flexibility because that's really sort of still what it's about is like how flexible are you willing to be and how much trust are you willing to give? Those are sort of, I think, basic fundamental questions that executive leaders are probably asking themselves now.

And then the next layer deeper is like once you've made decisions about those two questions, like how do you actually operationalize it? Because you do have to do that. Like it's not enough just to say it. You actually have to take action to do the things to either support through technology or through behaviors and expectation setting. And, you know, in different spaces, like there is work in order to make that stuff real and to make it sustainable over time.

So yeah, I absolutely think there's a paradigm shifting and we're seeing more and more even what was like really traditional organizations that are shifting the ways of working and coming up with really cool programs to allow people to see the world and you know, and be able to, to do different things and like and trusting that, you know, yeah, you might be going away for a month to go live in city X, but like we know that you're getting your work done and so that's what matters and it makes you happier and so that that matters to us.

I was just going to say just we are seeing it, too, in retention as well. So as you said, employee retention and companies like people are making the decision to stay for organizations that are working to make the situation better and more flexible. So there's absolute advantage because turnover costs money. So you want people to stay. So the retention increases are great to see.

AD

Yeah. And along those lines, does that relate to generational values? Are you seeing that kind of younger people coming into the workforce have different expecting actions than maybe our generation, our parents generation?

JC

Oh, absolutely. And I feel like like this we've been sort of seeing for a little while. I mean, I think millennials started to bring the first wave of kind of thinking differently about their expectations, and then it's only kind of grown from there. So yeah, I mean, I think about it even with my own kids and, you know, as they, as, as my, you know, preteen in the next few years will embark on her own first job, like the decisions that she's already articulating about how she thinks about that is so much different than what I did, you know, I mean, I was like, can I make some money?

Like where I want to take my son? And I want to make some money? But she's like, No, I want to work in a place that really like does something cool that I can get excited about. And that makes me, you know, that brings me love, joy and some value. Like, I wasn't thinking about that. So I definitely feel like we're seeing it. I mean, I'm certainly experiencing it firsthand.

AD

Do you think that we can do a better job? Kind of just like in our society when we're orienting our our kids and our young people into entering the workforce, into understanding the landscape and and being able to identify a good fit for those values. Yeah, I hope so.

JC

I mean, I'm certainly thinking a lot about that in terms of what I control within my organization of like how do you paint a picture first for a candidate about what it's really like to work there? I mean, it goes beyond just, you know, these are the values of the company. And then here's a little bit about how we're organized.

It's like, how do you tell the story of what the experience is like? And it actually it's it's been it's a challenge because even now, trying to describe the experience of working in a hybrid way or remote way and what it is, what's it really feel like to be on a Zoom meeting for 8 hours? You know, it's like if you are like, I'm not so actually very focused on like scheduling my days for the most part in such a way where I have breaks to be able to go outside or to, you know, I'll take a Zoom meeting and then a phone meeting and, you know, but I have I feel agency to to curate my day. I think the challenge is in a lot of organizations, you know, unless you're leading or unless you've empowered your teams to feel like they can lead, they don't feel like they actually have a firm grasp on managing their day. And so if you're the person who's invited in to meetings all day, all of a sudden you've you've gotten yourself into a place where you're sitting 8 hours in Zoom meetings without a break, which, you know, that's not a good experience for anyone.

And so so there's something there around telling the story. And when I think about telling it for our organization, like making sure that people know that when they join, they have some agency and can be creative and thinking about like, what are the best ways that I or what are the ways that I can bring my best to work?

And so if you know that your limit is like 2 hours on a zoom call and then I'm shot, like how do we help people understand that part of being able to work is being able to say that and set those boundaries and say, you know what, actually, I want to take this phone later or I take a walk at lunch and just, you know, giving people the agency to make those choices and to talk about what they need.

Like that's what we're kind of going for. I think that's the only way this will sustain. But it's it's really hard. Like, how do you tell that story on a on a website, right, about like how, you know, this is the way that you can work in this organization and for it to feel real, you know, even a recruiter.

I mean, I do recruiting all the time in the as does my team and everyone's journey is very personal and our preferences are really different. So how do you lean into that instead of, you know, trying to create a picture that isn't accurate?

AD

Yeah, it sounds like self understanding for the employee or candidate is like a really important skill to have coming into this environment, in this new environment with a hybrid workplace which is so different than how things were for for you and I coming up. And one one thing that just came up for me is wondering, as a recruiter, Jen, this is taken me so many years of majority of my professional life to understand is there an energetic like do you tap into the energy of the is it just kind of like do you get a vibe like when you're recruiting, do you have like an intuition around people?

I feel like it's something that I it's taken me a really long time to learn to trust that. I mean, of course, we still have to deploy curiosity and, you know, obviously speak in a drive with people. But I definitely am learning to to honor that the the sense that I have of what it is to be with a person in terms of how not only how they're showing up, but I guess how we're showing up together.

Is there something is there an energetic component to recruitment?

JC

It's interesting that you say it because like my personal, I guess my instincts definitely feel what you're talking about. But I also, I guess my my practical and if I put my diversity, equity, inclusion lens on and also my generational lens on, really checking those biases becomes so important because I think about even like our kids are a perfect example.

You talked about how do we prepare kids for this type of environment? I think well, understanding is definitely one right of like getting really clear on what are the ways that that I show up at my best. Right. And how do I understand the things about myself that allow for that? But also also and thinking about, you know, many of our kids are on text message and so there's not human contact.

So if you take somebody who's primarily communicating with their friends and family on text message or maybe a face time here or there, and then all of a sudden you put them on 8 hours of Zoom meetings where they haven't been used to looking at themselves all day like it can cause people to show up really different and it's comfortable for everyone to be behind the screen.

And and it's tricky because I think, you know, I've certainly worked with leaders who feel like if somebody is not on camera, they're not engaged. And I just don't think that's true. And so there's all this other stuff that if you don't deploy your curiosity to dig in and really understand and give somebody a chance to articulate who they are through good questions, you're going to miss it. And so I try to check my gut like there's that old saying and first recruiting.

They used to say like, Oh, you know, in the first 2 minutes. And I actually push myself to say, like, if I think I know in the first 2 minutes I'm probably wrong because it probably means I have an bias. How could you possibly judge someone in 2 minutes?

I try to really dig dig in and ask the right questions and establish that psychological safety in such a short period of time, such that you can make a decision about if somebody is going to be successful in your company at its heart.

JW

Jenn, you mentioned a couple of things already that do to support your own mental and emotional health throughout the day. Something as simple as turning off self view on Zoom like that. I've started I've been doing that for gosh a year or two and I absolutely love it. I just love like when I'm when I don't see myself, I yes, I feel much more present.

I feel much more that I can be in the flow of a conversation. Okay. So I'm curious, what are some other things that you have learned that for you and things that have worked for other people as well that support their mental and emotional health throughout the workday?

JC

Yeah. I mean, I think that, you know, understanding and spending some time actually did a little bit of a study on myself right when the pandemic started around. How do I get into flow, you know, in this new environment and just sort of tracked for a week? Like where were the high moments? Where were the low moments?

Because I found that my my in-person energy hours actually turned out to be pretty different than my virtual energy hours. Like I used to be somebody who would get much more energized for like the deeper work in the afternoon when I was in person, because I had expended so much in the morning that by the time I got to the afternoon I could put my head down.

It was a good time. That's completely flip flopped for me. So now my deep thinking time really in a virtual environment like has to happen in the morning. So like, you know, starting with just sort of understanding what, you know, what are your peak energy moments like? How do you get into flow? When do you hit your outer limits and need to sort of dial it back and then what are the practical strategies that you can deploy throughout the day that keep you feeling good?

So one of the first decisions I made once I knew we were like I was going to be home potentially five days a week was I got a sit stand desk and I had it set so that and I have little triggers in my calendar of like, all right, I'm standing now and I'm sitting just to help manage my movement because again, if you're on camera all day, like you forget about that.

I also created a routine around how I spend my lunch time, so I always leave my desk at lunch. Like no matter what, I may decide to take a conversation or do a walk and have a conversation, or just sit downstairs and watch 30 minutes of Real Housewives and eat my lunch or something. But like taking some sort of a mental break is really important.

So I think sort of figuring out my flow throughout the week because not every day is the same. Also, I have I have kids who have after school schedules and a nanny. And so because I work in my home and my kids are home after school, their schedules have to be really integrated into mine, you know. So it is it takes a lot more planning.

I would like I sit on Sunday nights or Monday mornings and really think out my week and try to figure out how do I create a schedule that feels good, that balances the right amount of thinking time as well as work time and social time? Because I'm a social person, I love being able to get to see my girlfriends once a week, you know, and also husband date nights and things like that.

So it just, you know, it's a lot of it's a lot of planning. And then every day I sort of check in with, you know, how did it go yesterday? What do I need to do different today in order to to maintain it is as much as it does take a little bit more planning. And I have become more disciplined in my own schedule.

You know, I work out every day at 6 a.m. like that helps me sort of start the day. I'm so much happier. Like I cannot possibly imagine even if my office was down the street and I love seeing one person, but man like to get to do it this way and kind of on my terms, you know. And I get to go up and see my peers every Thursday, which I love.

Like, it's amazing. I feel so grateful to get to live this really integrated life.

JW

Beautiful. So I'm I'm also hearing a few things that you do outside of the workday that then helps support you feeling more emotionally and mentally connected in the work day. So it was working out at 6 a.m. things like making sure that you're hanging with friends, you got the date night. What are some other things that are that are outside of the workday that you do to support your your workday?

JC

Yeah. I mean, I, you know, getting outside for me is huge, like just making sure that I have some vitamin D, you know, take a take my dog over to the park to throw the ball, you know, like there's there's little stuff. And a lot of these things take 5 minutes. It's not it's not like I need to clear an hour, but it's just taking 5 minutes.

I actually I use a feature for any of you that use Google. There's a feature in the settings called Speedy Meetings, which essentially will just make sure that your your meetings are scheduled for 50 minutes instead of 60. And that's actually been really critical, too, because I'm not back to back to back, like there's nothing worse than I don't like being late I hate being late, really.

And so knowing that I have a little bit of a buffer in between, if it is a day where I have I'm stacked in meetings like I've got a little bit of a buffer to have a bio break or struggles or go outside, you know. So it's it's like all of the little things ultimately for me that that make a big impact.

You know, I meditate and, you know, so and that's one of my my coping strategies where if I know I'm having like a heavy like afternoon is my I feel like I just get more drained in the afternoon. And so that's usually when I'll bring in a meditation, just a quick 5 minutes, you know, using an app just to help give me a little bit of boost check in with and.

JW

Then I'll, I'll use this moment to plug the yes collective wellness reset five minute meditations that so good. Yeah.

AD

I have a curiosity and a follow up. Jen and this isn't this piece of advice. So I spent a lot of time working in higher education in very embattled environments where I mean, it's not psychologic, really safe. It's in fact psychologically super unsafe and very often combative. I mean, really, really difficult. And early on in my career, I, I had times of like depression, like deep unhappiness at work, not being supported in this way and feeling completely stuck.

Like I had no way out there was not. I mean, especially when you're in a job and, you know, your resume needs to show at least a year and you're super unhappy, you're in the wrong place and you have to weather another six, 12 months just to get another job, you know, like that type of thing. So what do you recommend for folks who are in an environment that doesn't support you in the way that, you know, ritual supports its employees?

Right. And for someone who's feeling unsafe or unstuck, are there some practices that and even thinking on like how to maybe communicate with the employer, communicate with a supervisor, like are there some practices that you can recommend to someone to really being able to somehow carve out that space to focus on one's mental health and well-being, getting through a period of time like that?

JC

Oh, my heart breaks. And I know that that's a real scenario for a lot of people. Right. And I think, you know, I think about some of those people in my life who do, you know, what to me feels like just really grueling and very, very difficult roles. But they do it because they derive like such great meaning and purpose from it.

And or to your point, like there's a North Star, right? There's a there's a goal. And so I think that's I mean, that's for me, sort of the one of the most important parts is reminding yourself of why you're here and why you're doing it. And reconnecting to that purpose can help bring a little bit of peace to your heart and to your mind when you're in the trenches of it.

But then I think when you're in it, I think to your point, you know, it is it's it's the little kind of subtle things and giving yourself some space and a break and figuring out what are the strategies that work well for you to be able to decompress. And, you know, everyone's got different preferences, right? And so some people just need to get it out and they need to vent.

And, you know, I've been there and I try to be there for my girlfriends, you know, when that work in those types of jobs and and just be there to listen and so like if you just need to get it all out, everything that happened in the last hour, you just need to get it out. I'm here for you.

I will listen to it. I won't say a word. I'll just be here so that I can be present for you. You know, I think other other things, like I mentioned that, you know, meditating, right. And taking a few minutes to meditate or if if you're somebody who needs to move or needs to just sort of sweat it out, like how can you figure out, going back to what you said before around deep self understanding of what are your coping mechanisms so that you can deploy them at the right time?

But, you know, there's also comes a point where if you're not finding that meaning and purpose anymore and the Northstar doesn't seem clear, I don't know, I having lost a child and having a broad perspective on, you know, for me now like what life really means, life is too short to spend time doing something that makes us really unhappy.

And so, you know, there's there's always a risk reward. Right. And maybe you want to get to that year, Mark, because you need that on your resume. But if it's coming at a cost to your health and wellbeing on a day to day basis, like I would ask yourself, is it worth it? You know, worth it?

AD

I think that's a great point. And and one thing I realized to going back to work after Max was diagnosed and is and then starting to do my own work, realizing like how much I perceived I was stuck because I thought I had to participate in the system and understanding I didn't have to participate in it, you know, and learning, starting to learn my own boundaries.

I had no concept of boundaries at that time. I had concept of the fact that like, I could simply do it differently, you know? And I don't have to be. Just because everyone else is in battle, does it mean I have to be? And so that was a really beautiful thing for me, is kind of losing the fear and losing some of that scarcity mindset around this is a way the shoulds, this is the way things have to be done or else this is going to happen.

And so I wonder how much of it this can be like seeking out support with some of the processing, some of the emotional work, you know, taking advantage a lot of the you know, a lot of employers do have give access to some type of mental health care and taking full advantage of it for me like this conversation if someone's listening and and and is in this situation to understand that I mean we're really trying to normalize mental health care.

Right. And mental wellness. And to say that going and getting help for this that that struggling at work is a reason to get support. You know, it's not just having, you know, a diagnosis or, you know, something something kind of like working on a deeper trauma is that's like that is more than enough reason to get help because you're right, life is so short.

And to be able to feel, know, caged in court and unsupported and unseen and unheard and not valued, we should have a limited bandwidth for that.

JC

100% agree could not have said that better.

JW

So I'm curious, Jen, from your perspective, everywhere you've been, you know, you have worked with some of the biggest companies in the world from now. Now, from your perspective, what do you think executive teams and managers need to do in order to support mental and emotional health in the workplace? What do you think are some of the things that they really need to start to consider?

AD

Yes, if you could wave your magic wand, Jen and Eric, you know, and this is going to be like this is going to be the next paradigm. And this is something that's you know what you see is fully actionable, right?

JC

Gosh. I mean, the first big step and if I could sprinkle the pixie dust on every leader I knew would to be make sure that everyone has really wonderful active listening skills. I think we very often get into a space where we're doing much more talking than we are listening. And like, that's the very first step is just keeping your ears open.

Because if you can create that, if you can keep your ears open and just start to create some space, it's amazing what comes into that space. And I'm always amazed that, you know, people like to fill the air like, I don't know about you, but when you're in conversations like people are really uncomfortable and silence and like the silence is actually like where the goodness is.

And if you can sit in it, especially as a leader and just be okay with like what might emerge, then you can start to listen. I just I think there's something there because, you know, again, that psychological safety is going to be the most important thing in order to, you know, as you look around and the good news is there is a ton of research now that's available and at our disposal. What about ways to build psychological safety in the four different stages of that?

And and so there's a lot there. And I go back to thinking about the training and the education. Like that's the stuff I get excited about. That's the stuff that we're educating our leaders about internally at ritual, but you know, helping leaders understand that, that, that psychological safety is really the unlock to building that trust and allowing people to bring their whole self to work.

And, and then everything sort of can, can grow from there, but it starts with just being present and being open.

JW

Yes. So, Jenn, I'll just say my my own emotional health journey has been one of learning how to listen. Audra, would you say that I've become a better listener? Well, I mean, coming from a really you know, this is a low bar to to become like I'm right. But one of the things that I learned about myself around listening was that, I mean, I so identify with this desire to fill the space in and that a lot of it is this desire to control and a fear that if I'm not controlling the conversation, if I'm not controlling where this is going, it's going to go off the rails something or that it's not going to go in a direction that I am comfortable with or that I wanted to go. So I'm wondering, you know, how much of this learning to listen is really about or is really maybe premised on leaders doing this deeper emotional work and coming into contact with this fear and this and this need for absolute control and what and I love what you said of like, you know, when when we listen and when we create that space, that good things happen, you know, and it's really the oh, yeah, good, good thing.

AD

Good things come in. Yeah.

JC

Yeah, yeah. The inner work is key, right. Because I think if you're not aware of those biases and your blind spots and to your point, if it's fear, if it's, you know, everyone's holding on to something, right? I mean, no one is immune. Like everyone's got something that's, you know, that they're holding on to in some way.

And and so yeah, I think figuring out, you know, at least first steps of like what's going on for me that's allowing me or preventing me from showing up in a way that I want to. Is really, really key. And I mean, again, goes back to like, no one's perfect. We're all humans. That's the beauty, right? But if you can be really open about that and even, you know, I've said this, you know, when I'm working on things, I generally will tell my team like, Hey, I'm working on this thing, right?

Like, I know that this has been a problem for me in the past or I knew I could be better at it and I'm working on it and I want you to hold me accountable and you see it, you know, and I did. That was beautiful in my career, beautiful areas.

JW

Jenn, I, that's so, that's so inspiring and that, I mean, to have that level of groundedness and confidence to say this is what I'm working on and like, here it is. Lay it out. Oh, wow. Is that something that you had to learn how to do to to be that vulnerable with with your team?

JC

Definitely. I mean, yeah, I've taken you know, I talked about some of the role models, but it's also taken many years of practice of just and reading great authors. I love Brené Brown. I mean, one of my favorite quotes is something I use all the time as clear as kind, right? But I think there's so much in vulnerability that helps unlock your potential that potential in others.

And so I think when you can just sort of let go of all of that stuff and be really honest and say like, I mean, again, no one's perfect. We're all working on something. If you if you name it, then you can at least share in it. Right? And, and that makes it so much safer and feels better.

I mean, I feel so much freer knowing that I can just show up and I really do. You know, I try to create the invitation for others by being really vulnerable myself. Right. And so I'll share my story or I'll share my and and I'm okay to lead that out because I know that my experience, like once you've done that, it's people are more apt to then respond, right? And so I'm okay to go first. I'm okay to get through the awkwardness and, and try to create that invitation for the vulnerability

JW

And again, I hope it's not speaking out of turn to say that the way you've shown up in the pilot, in the group sessions has been totally inspiring and totally beautiful. And it's like, Oh, wow, this is this is how a leader does it. It's been it's been really, really cool.

AD

Leadership. Yeah. Thank you. It's. It's such a beautiful change. Jenn, I wonder if you see this. I mean, I worked in leadership development for many years, and all of the literature, you know, at the time was on the ten steps to coerce or to motivate or, you know, all of the different things. And it never, never, never in any of those lists would you find you're in work as one of the steps in leadership, right?

Never. And it really wasn't Intel, Brené Brown. I mean, it wasn't I mean, I feel like she's for me anyway, maybe it's her generation. You know, she was definitely, you know, the one carrying the flag forward of change, beginning with vulnerability. And so I wonder if that's the next frontier for leadership is going. Is this like really, you know, digging deep within.

I hope so. Anyway, do you see this change happening in willingness?

JC

Yeah, I do. And yeah, absolutely. And I think about even, you know, even some of the skills or teaching. I went back to grad school a few years back and did a program around organizational development and the whole basis of it. And you're seeing this a lot in business schools now, especially when they're talking about leadership, like the that journey is shifting.

And I think the inner work, one of the first activities we did back then was like discovering your narrative, like taking a moment to just make sense of your life. What has happened, what did those moments mean and how did they impact you and how can you talk about them and and so I think it's really cool because I think people do that work naturally as a part of their their mental health journey with a therapist or a psychologist.

But to do that in a business context setting feels really different. And I've actually I've led that work in a business context with as a part of leadership development to have people go on that journey. And it's fun to see an organization evolve because those exercises typically start with people thinking about the milestones that you would put on your resume.

But then, right, comfortable, all of a sudden there's all this texture of all that happened in between, that in the life moments that actually made them make the choice about the resumé moment and that. And it's all those inner it's all those other parts, right? And, and that's when the stories kind of come to life and then that's where the vulnerability starts to happen.

So I do think, yes, it's absolutely that paradigm is shifting. I think all of the all of the dialog that we're having around mental health in general is really helping with that. We need to keep doing more of it. But I think practicing it and also, you know, like I said, we're creating that invitation and business context is something that we can do as leaders in organizations like it's very possible.

It's a part of the business strategy. It's not another thing. It's it's the thing because humans are the ones running the organization. So I think if you can get alignment, you know, within the leadership team to focus on it and then you get somebody who knows how to do it, it can be a really wonderful way to start to allow people to bring them to the work.

AD

Jenn is a part of that not being everything. I think a part of the old model is performance of leadership, not actual leadership. It's all this performative stuff of I am all knowing, all commanding, all everything to everyone, right? And is are we seeing a shift where folks are showing up with their strengths to say, listen, I like really feel great here.

This is what I feel like. I add and we are structuring this in a way to that. We're a well rounded team that, you know, we have complementary strength that we're bringing to the table. Not everyone has to be everything.

JC

I think that's a huge turnoff, by the way, not that you're out yet, man. I mean, nothing gets me more fired up. When somebody doesn't demonstrate any level of humility like that. I will feel that that person will not will not do well and sort of my life, I think about sort of growth mindset and I think about again, being adaptive to business needs and stuff like that.

I think it is good for people to have some self-confidence and to know what they're good at. And I think that, you know, again, that also comes from the inner work just as much as knowing the blind spots, but also just being open to learning and to changing. And, you know, I think that's just critical. And I and in most organizations like that's what they're talking about.

I mean, humility is absolutely a key competency in most organizations now, because we are I mean, I think about my day to day job in the last two and a half years, like we're charting unknown all the time. And so there's no way that we could all know anything about anything, frankly. So, I mean, I you know, I said to you guys earlier today, you know, the change for me is the fun part, because if you can come into a scenario and realize that you don't know everything, like there are some things, you know, that help create an opinion that you might have or some assumptions you might make.

But there's a whole other part of the story that you probably don't know. And if you aren't courageous enough to say that, then you're going to miss out on somebody else potentially being able to fill that gap. And so, yeah, it does take courage to say, I don't know, but I'll find out or I'm going to, you know, let's find out together.

But the solution is always so much better, you know? I mean, like I said, it's it's never no one likes a no at all. Like, let's be honest, nobody does.

JW

Oh, my gosh. Yes. So absolutely, I'm going to take control of the wheel again and I'm going to land this plane. Jen, with our last three questions that we ask everybody. And so the first one is, if you could put a big Post-it note on everyone's fridge tomorrow morning, what would it say?

JC

I'm going to steal this shamelessly from my incredible yoga teacher because it's so good. But it would say, what can you do for yourself today? And that's because everyone is all I mean, you know, again, like with belief in the human values and gifts, like we're all trying to serve everyone else, right? And one another. And so if you if you can't stop and ask, answer the question for yourself like once a day, then you're probably not serving really the person who's most important, which is you.

So, you know, taking a taking a minute to just think about like, what can you do for yourself today I think is really beautiful.

JW

And then the last comment that that changed the way you think or feel is something that you read, maybe a movie, a song.

JC

Oh, it's every day. I mean, you know, the one that sort of guides me all the time is inspired by my daughter, but, you know, is "To be the things you love most in the person you lost." And it's interesting that quote has inspired me since she passed away to sort of role model the things that she did so well.

But it also guides me now, five years later, to think about, like when I see gifts in someone, how do they how do I honor them by doing those things to beautiful, you know, and by like taking a witness from someone and really thinking about how I can bring that to the world as well.

AD

Thank you so much for sharing that that that is really, really impactful to me. I love that framing. I don't think I had heard that before. Like that's really just a beautiful way to, to to just allow that spirit to live on in the world. Yeah. Yeah. So the third, third and final question is what's one thing that's giving you hope right now?

JC

As there's many, I mean the two of you are one shameless plug for you and for the collective. But I think, you know, figuring out how do we tackle like there's, you know, these big meaty problems in the world. And I think having people who have the energy to get in and try to solve them and keep talking about them.

And, you know, that's inspiring to me. It's it's certainly, you know, energy depleting, you know, to live in like the doom and gloom side of things. And I know we all we all go there sometimes, but I think that giving me hope is having conversations like this and thinking about how do we keep working to make ourselves better and so that we can be better for others.

And I mean, that's why I love honestly, why I love going to work every day is because I think about like what are the kinds of what are the kinds of conversations I can have? How can I leave people feeling better than when we started? And if I can just do a little bit of that every day, then I know that I'm like doing the good work, right?

AD

Got chills like, like everywhere kind of truly when you hear about like that, what a gorgeous, like vision of your role and what I mean that gives me hope to think of every company having that type of support. It's almost like a it's almost like an internal like a like a like a healer, like a, you know, people have like internal their internal legal and marketing teams and all of that.

But I mean, what about that heart and and what you're bringing and nurturing and supporting and and loving and caring for the people that generate all of this, you know, and bring all of us to the world like that is awesome.

JC

You know, I mean, I think it's one of the coolest jobs. I mean, there are many, many jobs I expect to have in my lifetime because there's so much still to learn. But to get to do work like this, where, I mean, truly, like my job is just making sure that people are feeling seen, heard, valued, respected, and that we're unlocking their gifts.

Right. And that they can come to work every day and deploy them. Like how? I don't know what job is better than that, frankly. Like, I'm super lucky.

In this episode

We’ve got a really special episode lined up this week. We’re kicking off our theme of the month—work/life wellness—with the amazing Jenn Cornelius, Chief People Officer of Ritual, an innovative personal wellness brand dedicated to transparency and science. Jenn has worked in leadership and organizational development at Apple, Pinterest, and Sweetgreen, and also as a private consultant. She’s passionate about helping organizations grow into people-first, values-driven places to work.

We’ve known Jenn and her family for years through our work with MaxLove Project. She’s a childhood cancer mom, a fierce advocate for families, and an all around amazing person.

We talk about Jenn’s professional journey, how she helps others build deep, trusting relationships at work, how we can bring our whole selves to work, and the tools and resources to care for our mental and emotional health across the work/life continuum.

Listen here

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Listen on Google Podcasts

Listen on Spotify

About our guest

Jenn Cornelius is the Chief People Officer at Ritual, an innovative personal wellness brand dedicated to transparency and science. Jenn has worked in leadership and organizational development at Apple, Pinterest, and Sweetgreen, and also as a private consultant. Her professional passion revolves around helping organizations grow into people-first, values-driven places to work.

Transcript highlights

Justin Wilford (JW)

I'll just say right out, right at the beginning that anybody who has listened to this podcast knows I am the controller. You know, in the radio business, I think they call it the driver and so I make sure everything kind of goes on time.

And then Audra is, I guess in the radio business, they call it the personality or the color.

Audra DiPadova (AD)

Justin just has a much stronger manager part that likes to manage the show.

JW

We'll talk about yeah, we'll talk about manager parts and so I'll try to keep us on track. But Audra is going to bring all of the personality and all of the color.

AD

And I'll derail it a bit.

JW

That's just how it how it works. But yeah, so this month the Yes Collective theme of the month we mulled over, like what words we were going to use, but we landed on something like work/life wellness. We were also playing around with work/life wholeness and just the basic idea being: what are the practices that we can bring into our life that will allow us to have more mental and emotional health and wellness throughout our entire life and that will help us bring more of ourselves to work and then also bring more of ourselves home at the end of the day.

So we're interested in all of this, and we're going to explore this with you, Jenn, and we're going to chop it up. But I guess before we dive into all of that, we want to find out more about you. Jenn, you've had an amazing career so far, and so I guess I just want to start with like when did you first know that you are interested in this people work in the world of people development? When did that first show up on your radar?

Jenn Cornelius (JC)

Yeah, you know, my very first job ever was at a clothing store and, you know, I'm an extrovert. And so I get my energy from other people. And I always knew that I liked working with people and I loved clothes and selling products. And so I think early on, you know, doing sales work was really fun.

But as I grew through the ranks and my very first company and became a manager, I got to experience what it was like to actually help support people in their careers and help give guidance and coaching. And so even back then, I don't think I knew it was going to turn into our work. But what I did know was that whether it was like doing the inventory or closing a till or leading a feedback conversation like the feedback conversation was the part that I really liked.

So I think there were early indicators of, of just the people dynamics being the part that's most fascinating. And what I, you know, what turned out to be where my gifts actually live.

JW

Yeah. So you so you saw that like the thing you loved most was the interactions was. Yeah, that those that yeah. The feedback and so I'm curious as you started to develop throughout your career, how do you look at what you do now? Like what, what, how would how would you describe what you do now from this people centric perspective?

JC

Yeah. So I'll, I'll continue that story just a bit. So I worked my way through the ranks in management roles and then eventually moved into more of a training role. Because I also found that I really enjoyed both learning about kind of frameworks and skills and things that could make me better as a human, but also discovered that I really like teaching that to other people too.

So that was my first kind of foray into our work, was working in kind of learning and development and and then eventually started doing other types of, you know, when you think about the, the employee lifecycle at work, there's all these different stages or seven of them. And, you know, I started to find that each of the interventions you get to have, whether it's like bringing somebody in as a candidate or onboarding them or developing their skills or giving feedback.

You know, that whole cycle was really interesting to me. And I also, you know, I knew that if you did it well and I could observe it because of some of the leaders that I worked with. But if you were good at it, it made people happier at work. It meant that they drove better performance. And so so for me, that was really cool because it was like, you know, there's tactical skills that you can deploy and like you could build something or, you know, I think back again to my kind of early stages of doing more labor type of work, but it was really just the human interaction pieces that were found to be, in my experience, most impactful, right?

And driving performance and driving revenue in a company. So I settled into that kind of pretty early on that I knew I wanted to work on the back side. I didn't need to be in the spotlight. I loved being sort of behind the scenes and working with people to feel better about how they showed up at work and the skills they were building and, you know, it's it's been really cool to get to see how, you know, as the world is changing and as people are changing, like there's still a ton of value in that work.

In fact, there's probably more value than ever in that work today given given the environment that they're in.

AD

I'm curious around that, Justin, you mentioned being able to witness like how how various things could help people be happier at work. And I have worked in a number of different environments before coming to being more self-employed. And I never I really don't think I were ever worked at a place that really considered people being happier at work.

That really was like there was a peripheral like, like, you know, maybe kind of priority, but not really high up. It was more sort of like the kind of managing a people's time and like accountability and making sure that people are at their desk and, you know, or whatever or, you know, parts of restaurant industry is different even from that.

So how did you how did you find your self in a I guess in a place where that is a priority? And then did you go from there to say, hey, I want to work in places that that that care about this? I care about, you know, employee development and their, like, well-being and their happiness.

JC

Yeah, it's a great question because I feel, you know, I look back on my career and feel really lucky because I think both I'll take credit. I did some hard work to get where I am, but I also made some good choices in the organizations that I joined. And so, you know, probably the first organization that sort of helped me understand what that looks like because I didn't even know what I didn't know back then.

But with Starbucks. So, you know, the training role that I talked about a few minutes ago that was at Starbucks and, you know, it was back at a time when Starbucks and I know they're going through a lot right now and I'm thinking about all those partners. I still want a partner, always a partner. But like, you know, it was the first place I'd ever worked for.

They genuinely cared about people and they focused a lot on selecting great leadership. And they were the first organization on a kind of larger scale that was doing part time benefits and things like that. So, you know, I got to sort of observe what it looks like because like you, you know, I'd worked for places where a job was kind of just a job, but it really wasn't the case there.

And the people were really passionate about what they were doing and they loved being a barista. And so, you know, I was lucky to get to work there for several years and got to work with leaders who I saw role model those behaviors and who genuinely cared about me. And that made a really big difference. And so when I made the decision to leave Starbucks and join Apple, it was actually because of a Starbucks leader that I had worked with.

So I, I left Starbucks because of the Starbucks leader that went on to Apple. And as it turned out, Apple was also and thankfully this leader had told me that. But she said, you know, Apple is also really employee centric. So, you know, again, very early on, it was cool to get a chance to be in places that really prioritize that.

And I got to learn a lot of the skills that I have now. And I think at a point in my career where I started to have bigger scope and responsibility as an h.r. Leader, and i had gotten to see what good looked like. It really it charged me to try to create that for others, you know, and I think a pivotal moment and kind of that journey that took it even paths just kind of being there for people and wanting to care about their happiness was when my own daughter got sick when I was at Apple, you know, Sinatra was diagnosed with leukemia.

And, you know, at the time I worked in a job where I got to live. And I look back on the experiences and how this sort of changed me. But I got to live this really cool, integrated work life. You talked about work life, wellness and work life balance. I always called it sort of my integrated work life because I've always had an office at home.

I had an office up in Cupertino. And, you know, when Sinatra was sick, I had an office in the hospital and, you know, and I worked between all three of those places to live this really integrated kind of work life, you know, and for me as a parent, going through that experience with my child and the rest of my family, you know, Apple is really great and said like, hey, you can take time off if you want to take time off.

If you want to work, you can work like it's up to you. Like, what do you need? How can we be here for you? And I had a very special leader who I. Well, I will call out. Her name is Stephanie Ferrer. She's still one of my favorite people on the planet. She heads up HR at united health care and is a really incredible leader.

But stephanie said to me, like, you do what you need to do, like we're here for you. And it was wonderful because I was able to sort of, you know, like I said, live that integrated work life and be present where I needed to be. And I was really trusted by the team. And, you know, that that helped me sustain, you know, the the experience throughout Sinatra's journey.

But, you know, I stayed at Apple for ten years because I knew I felt so supported and I did. I got to live this really cool life of getting to be in all the places that were important to me and got to to choose when. Right? Like as an adult, you want those choices. Like we worked our whole careers to be able to get to a place where you can make choices.

But sadly, there are still some organizations where, you know, they do what you talked about at the beginning, Audra, which is like, I need to see your butt in the seat. And now like you've worked really hard to be a grownup, but we're not actually going to treat you like a grown up. It's bizarre to me that that actually is a thing still.

JW

So I wanted to follow up there. So there are companies that are is there a better word than people centric? Because that's what I'm hearing. Jen, how would you call these companies that are doing it the right way? What's what's the right word for this?

JC

Yeah, I mean, I like people-centric. I like human-centric. I mean, I think that, you know, companies that understand that the people in their organizations are assets, not commodities, are the ones that are are getting it right. I think in organizations where you're prioritizing what you're producing over the people who are actually creating it, that comes at a cost, right?

JW

I love that phrasing, prioritizing what you're producing over the people doing the work. Yeah. So people centric or human centric. And so then there are these other companies that are, I think, much, you know, much more conventional that that are not so people-centric. So from your experience and I don't know if you can tell us a little bit about the research as well. Is there like a is there like a bottom line advantage to being people centric?

JC

I mean, absolutely. I think, you know, in my experience, if the human centric approach allows you to capitalize on the gifts of the humans. Right. And I think, you know, there's there's a lot that, you know, when you hire somebody, but there's also a lot you don't know how people's ability to adapt and be learning agile. That's one of the things I always look for when we're hiring is like somebody who can do well in a first time situation because, you know, if you if you find the right talent, then they're really adaptive and you want people who are adaptive to the environment, both other people in the environment, but processes and the structure and the tech and like all the dynamics of the org, you need the people to be able to work in the system.

And so, you know, I think that's it's really important. And for me, you know, as I learned that that was important and as I thought about my own career journey and even as I think about leading that out in organizations now, it's like you have to actually have real alignment around that at the leadership level. That makes a big difference. It's not enough, at least in my experience as a Chief People Officer. It can't just be me who has that thinking and that has it actually needs to be the executive team and the senior leadership across the organization. And I think, you know, so I work for Ritual Now, which is a really incredible personal health company.

And I when I met our founder, our values were really aligned. And that, you know, again, going back to sort of the gifts of the humans, like I knew the minute I met Kat that because we shared similar values about people and about work and about the world, weren't the same, but their sort of the spirit was grounded in the beliefs that the human gifts are the right gifts to focus on. I knew that we would get along really well, and I think and that's been really important as I felt, you know, for anybody who's looking to live a more integrated work life, I think it goes back to like what are the values and how do you match your values with those of the organization? And, you know, some people just want a job to be a job and that's totally cool.

Like there's nothing wrong with that. But some people want the job to be more than that and they are willing to give more than that, but only if it's worth it. Right. And if they feel like they're being seen and heard. And and so I think it's an important part to sort of understand what's your strategy around what what what do you need from the humans in that situation?

JW

Yeah. Yeah. Well, so I'm thinking, you know, this theme of work life wellness or work life wholeness, there is this other, you know, argument or there's yeah, there's this other perspective that, hey, this job is just a job. Like, I, you know, I don't I don't need to bring my whole self to work. I'm here to do this thing and so it's I guess I'm really curious about this perspective because what comes up for me, I have lived most of my life in academia and I chose to do that because I wanted some job that I could feel my whole self, like bring all of my passions and all of my interests and my whole self to it I didn't want to cut myself off.

What I wanted to really get at was, is this desire to just make work, work. You know, I don't want to bring my whole self to work. I don't want to worry about all that stuff. Is that a sign that maybe, maybe something's wrong like it? It feels to me that we spend so much time at work that it just makes sense that for just to lead a full, integrated life and an emotionally healthy life that we should want a workplace that supports and invites us to bring more of ourselves to work.

And then I'll just add one little thing. The more I'm assuming the more of ourselves we can bring to work, the more of us ourselves that we can bring home as well. So again, I would love to hear what you think about that.

JC

Yeah. I mean, I think it depends like I don't know, I guess I'm mean, this is the this is the me suspending judgment side of things where I think, again, going back to the gifts of the humans and understanding sort of where people are at and their life stages and what's important to them and valuing that, I think that comes at different points for people.

And so I think there are moments I certainly have experienced moments where I had a lot more capacity and willingness to want to give more. And then there are moments where I didn't and actually being able to voice that with a leader that trusts me and that I trust to be able to say like what I can give to you right now is just the work, and that's it.

And then other days being able to to do more, I think that's for me, that's that's the beauty of it. Right. And I think it comes back to setting first kind of forming deep trusting relationships, right, with who you're working with so you can have that kind of candid conversation, but then just managing each other's expectations. And I think that's again, like the beauty of the human dynamics is like it's always changing.

I mean, there's you guys might experience a storm this weekend and that might affect your ability to show up and do much of anything in the next four days. And then next week you might be really ready again. And so I think to to feel like it has to be one way all the time misses the point of of people being able to be who they are and and bring that wholeness.

And it inspires me to think back to Justin. We had a conversation of weeks ago around parts therapy, right? And parts work and like how do you allow the parts to be present, you know, when they're present? And and so I don't think it's a bad thing. I think it's it's good to be in tune, though. When I look at my own organization, I know there are people who are truly engaging and bringing their whole self to work a lot of the time.

And that shows up because they, you know, they're not just talking about the work, but they're participating in some of the additional kind of social things that we've got to offer and things that aren't related to their day to day. And they're really engaged and they they want that community. And then there are other other team members who are also really talented and super productive, who are showing up and doing the work.

But they, you know, they want to spend their extra time doing other things and that's totally okay, you know, so.

AD

I totally agree with that. And, and hearing, hearing that to Jen and what you're talking about, Justin, I feel like depends on the work environment, too. Depends on what you're doing. You know what I mean? I think it depends on what sort of work environment you're in because not bringing your whole self might be like really important boundary work depending on what it is.

You know, you're working in social services as a social worker for CPS. Like, you know, it might be the case that you, you know, you need to have some good boundaries there yourself. And for me, what comes up is as the employee, I want to be supported in bringing my whole self in as I want. When I like like it, it's more I guess maybe it's from working in an environment that didn't value that at all.

Yeah. And wanted only parts to come in, only want to, you know, wanted only the parts that were going to come in and do the specific job. I still feel like there's, it's the agency there, you know, and like being supported in that. And like you said, genders, ebbs and flows and being supported in those ebbs and flows and having being in an environment where there are open communications and the ability to do that.

So I, I see it more as being an issue if the employer or workplace isn't supportive of the whole person, which means their ebbs and flows and, you know, kind of like desire to just show up whole or partial, you know, depending on what they're going through. Yeah.

JW

So maybe some of this is the language that we're using as well, because I'm noticing from the from the approach the mental and emotional health approach that I'm bringing to the table. You know, I and with all of our experts, our therapists, our coaches, our psychologists and Yes Collective, our goal is to help people show up in their lives with their whole selves and so it's really about, you know, we see that, you know, for most of us and Jen, you mentioned parts work.

And so anybody who's who is been following the podcast or who is in Yes collective knows that we're really into this idea of parts-work that to to be in touch with our whole selves is to really start to open up to all different parts inside and all different parts of us. And so I'm curious like what does a workplace look like that is supportive of this?

And so Jen, you've been helping us pilot a program called Stepping Into Yes. And it's really about supporting emotional health. And we have when we talk about emotional health, we're talking about emotional intelligence, emotional resilience, emotional groundedness and emotional connectedness. And so we want to support this both in the workplace and outside. So I'm curious from from this perspective, why why would it be important for a workplace to support this type of wholeness? Like what is the advantage of this?

JC

Yeah. It's a I mean, it's a great question because I think to me it sort of feels like this inherent lie, like, of course we would want to support that. Why would like how do you get people to show up and be their whole self if there isn't a safe, you know, they have to feel psychologically safe, right?

And to show up and do your best work, you got to feel really safe. And so I think the challenge and what's been really fun about doing the pilot, too, is like, you know, there it's there are still and even though I've been sort of working in this space for a while and have really open, candid conversations and bring my whole self to work and have been for a long time.

There's a lot of people that I work with who haven't had that work environment like that where they talked about emotional health and wellbeing in general, or they created any sort of space for it. I mean, that's not typical, right? And so, you know, even just to create the space to say, you know, in the middle of the workday on a Friday, you know, we want to invite you to have this opportunity to participate in this this this coaching program that focuses on your emotional fitness and, you know, and that that's a priority.

You know, like that's that it's been really I mean, even talking to our team about it, like, it's it's just not something that they've ever gotten to experience right. And I think people people still as much as I think we're talking about mental wellbeing and mental health, you know, as a society. And there's, you know, many more celebrities are being really open about it.

Like people don't take time in the middle of the day to go see their therapist and or they do, but they're not talking about it. Right. And so I think what we're trying to do is say, like, it's okay to create that space in your integrated life. I mean, it's I think to allow people to get to the level of psychological safety at work where they can be really transparent around not just how they're feeling. And I think it's become more it's become more common, at least in my experience in organizations, to like start these virtual meetings with the check in, you know, and, and see more of that, which is really cool.

But then how you get people that to say something that's like really authentic and really if it's a tough day, like to get people to be okay saying that it's a tough day in a scenario like we're still working on that. Right. But to not only create that safety, but then, you know, I feel really grateful that we've gotten to participate in the pilot because we're not we're not just saying it's okay.

We're actually saying we want to provide you with resources to help you with. This is like even more nuanced, you know, and focused. But we know that, you know, if if our team feels connected and supported and see if they're going to be more willing to, you know, fully participate and bring their whole self to the work and, you know, it unlocks like you think about, you know, when you feel really safe, like unlocking the creativity that comes with that and being able to, you know, all that stuff just comes more natural, right?

When you're, you're really in tune with where you're at. So I think it's a really I mean, it's such a cool opportunity we've had to participate and to also create the space for our team to be like, no, we want to.

AD

Yeah. I wanted to ask a follow up to you. Do you think that we're in the midst of a paradigm shift like coming out of the professional workplace has been dominated by kind of like a control model of management that comes out of the Industrial Revolution. Do you think that we're in a paradigm shift and and that where the work that you're in represents a direction that hopefully we're growing into and headed into where people are truly valued?

It is for for for what they bring, for who they are. That human centered approach. Do you think we're in a paradigm shift or do you think that we're just going to be kind of like there was going to have different types of workplaces?

JC

No, I think I think we are in a paradigm shift. Like I think these changes are permanent now. I think it's like varying degrees of flexibility because that's really sort of still what it's about is like how flexible are you willing to be and how much trust are you willing to give? Those are sort of, I think, basic fundamental questions that executive leaders are probably asking themselves now.

And then the next layer deeper is like once you've made decisions about those two questions, like how do you actually operationalize it? Because you do have to do that. Like it's not enough just to say it. You actually have to take action to do the things to either support through technology or through behaviors and expectation setting. And, you know, in different spaces, like there is work in order to make that stuff real and to make it sustainable over time.

So yeah, I absolutely think there's a paradigm shifting and we're seeing more and more even what was like really traditional organizations that are shifting the ways of working and coming up with really cool programs to allow people to see the world and you know, and be able to, to do different things and like and trusting that, you know, yeah, you might be going away for a month to go live in city X, but like we know that you're getting your work done and so that's what matters and it makes you happier and so that that matters to us.

I was just going to say just we are seeing it, too, in retention as well. So as you said, employee retention and companies like people are making the decision to stay for organizations that are working to make the situation better and more flexible. So there's absolute advantage because turnover costs money. So you want people to stay. So the retention increases are great to see.

AD

Yeah. And along those lines, does that relate to generational values? Are you seeing that kind of younger people coming into the workforce have different expecting actions than maybe our generation, our parents generation?

JC

Oh, absolutely. And I feel like like this we've been sort of seeing for a little while. I mean, I think millennials started to bring the first wave of kind of thinking differently about their expectations, and then it's only kind of grown from there. So yeah, I mean, I think about it even with my own kids and, you know, as they, as, as my, you know, preteen in the next few years will embark on her own first job, like the decisions that she's already articulating about how she thinks about that is so much different than what I did, you know, I mean, I was like, can I make some money?

Like where I want to take my son? And I want to make some money? But she's like, No, I want to work in a place that really like does something cool that I can get excited about. And that makes me, you know, that brings me love, joy and some value. Like, I wasn't thinking about that. So I definitely feel like we're seeing it. I mean, I'm certainly experiencing it firsthand.

AD

Do you think that we can do a better job? Kind of just like in our society when we're orienting our our kids and our young people into entering the workforce, into understanding the landscape and and being able to identify a good fit for those values. Yeah, I hope so.

JC

I mean, I'm certainly thinking a lot about that in terms of what I control within my organization of like how do you paint a picture first for a candidate about what it's really like to work there? I mean, it goes beyond just, you know, these are the values of the company. And then here's a little bit about how we're organized.

It's like, how do you tell the story of what the experience is like? And it actually it's it's been it's a challenge because even now, trying to describe the experience of working in a hybrid way or remote way and what it is, what's it really feel like to be on a Zoom meeting for 8 hours? You know, it's like if you are like, I'm not so actually very focused on like scheduling my days for the most part in such a way where I have breaks to be able to go outside or to, you know, I'll take a Zoom meeting and then a phone meeting and, you know, but I have I feel agency to to curate my day. I think the challenge is in a lot of organizations, you know, unless you're leading or unless you've empowered your teams to feel like they can lead, they don't feel like they actually have a firm grasp on managing their day. And so if you're the person who's invited in to meetings all day, all of a sudden you've you've gotten yourself into a place where you're sitting 8 hours in Zoom meetings without a break, which, you know, that's not a good experience for anyone.

And so so there's something there around telling the story. And when I think about telling it for our organization, like making sure that people know that when they join, they have some agency and can be creative and thinking about like, what are the best ways that I or what are the ways that I can bring my best to work?

And so if you know that your limit is like 2 hours on a zoom call and then I'm shot, like how do we help people understand that part of being able to work is being able to say that and set those boundaries and say, you know what, actually, I want to take this phone later or I take a walk at lunch and just, you know, giving people the agency to make those choices and to talk about what they need.

Like that's what we're kind of going for. I think that's the only way this will sustain. But it's it's really hard. Like, how do you tell that story on a on a website, right, about like how, you know, this is the way that you can work in this organization and for it to feel real, you know, even a recruiter.

I mean, I do recruiting all the time in the as does my team and everyone's journey is very personal and our preferences are really different. So how do you lean into that instead of, you know, trying to create a picture that isn't accurate?

AD

Yeah, it sounds like self understanding for the employee or candidate is like a really important skill to have coming into this environment, in this new environment with a hybrid workplace which is so different than how things were for for you and I coming up. And one one thing that just came up for me is wondering, as a recruiter, Jen, this is taken me so many years of majority of my professional life to understand is there an energetic like do you tap into the energy of the is it just kind of like do you get a vibe like when you're recruiting, do you have like an intuition around people?

I feel like it's something that I it's taken me a really long time to learn to trust that. I mean, of course, we still have to deploy curiosity and, you know, obviously speak in a drive with people. But I definitely am learning to to honor that the the sense that I have of what it is to be with a person in terms of how not only how they're showing up, but I guess how we're showing up together.

Is there something is there an energetic component to recruitment?

JC

It's interesting that you say it because like my personal, I guess my instincts definitely feel what you're talking about. But I also, I guess my my practical and if I put my diversity, equity, inclusion lens on and also my generational lens on, really checking those biases becomes so important because I think about even like our kids are a perfect example.

You talked about how do we prepare kids for this type of environment? I think well, understanding is definitely one right of like getting really clear on what are the ways that that I show up at my best. Right. And how do I understand the things about myself that allow for that? But also also and thinking about, you know, many of our kids are on text message and so there's not human contact.

So if you take somebody who's primarily communicating with their friends and family on text message or maybe a face time here or there, and then all of a sudden you put them on 8 hours of Zoom meetings where they haven't been used to looking at themselves all day like it can cause people to show up really different and it's comfortable for everyone to be behind the screen.

And and it's tricky because I think, you know, I've certainly worked with leaders who feel like if somebody is not on camera, they're not engaged. And I just don't think that's true. And so there's all this other stuff that if you don't deploy your curiosity to dig in and really understand and give somebody a chance to articulate who they are through good questions, you're going to miss it. And so I try to check my gut like there's that old saying and first recruiting.

They used to say like, Oh, you know, in the first 2 minutes. And I actually push myself to say, like, if I think I know in the first 2 minutes I'm probably wrong because it probably means I have an bias. How could you possibly judge someone in 2 minutes?

I try to really dig dig in and ask the right questions and establish that psychological safety in such a short period of time, such that you can make a decision about if somebody is going to be successful in your company at its heart.

JW

Jenn, you mentioned a couple of things already that do to support your own mental and emotional health throughout the day. Something as simple as turning off self view on Zoom like that. I've started I've been doing that for gosh a year or two and I absolutely love it. I just love like when I'm when I don't see myself, I yes, I feel much more present.

I feel much more that I can be in the flow of a conversation. Okay. So I'm curious, what are some other things that you have learned that for you and things that have worked for other people as well that support their mental and emotional health throughout the workday?

JC

Yeah. I mean, I think that, you know, understanding and spending some time actually did a little bit of a study on myself right when the pandemic started around. How do I get into flow, you know, in this new environment and just sort of tracked for a week? Like where were the high moments? Where were the low moments?

Because I found that my my in-person energy hours actually turned out to be pretty different than my virtual energy hours. Like I used to be somebody who would get much more energized for like the deeper work in the afternoon when I was in person, because I had expended so much in the morning that by the time I got to the afternoon I could put my head down.

It was a good time. That's completely flip flopped for me. So now my deep thinking time really in a virtual environment like has to happen in the morning. So like, you know, starting with just sort of understanding what, you know, what are your peak energy moments like? How do you get into flow? When do you hit your outer limits and need to sort of dial it back and then what are the practical strategies that you can deploy throughout the day that keep you feeling good?

So one of the first decisions I made once I knew we were like I was going to be home potentially five days a week was I got a sit stand desk and I had it set so that and I have little triggers in my calendar of like, all right, I'm standing now and I'm sitting just to help manage my movement because again, if you're on camera all day, like you forget about that.

I also created a routine around how I spend my lunch time, so I always leave my desk at lunch. Like no matter what, I may decide to take a conversation or do a walk and have a conversation, or just sit downstairs and watch 30 minutes of Real Housewives and eat my lunch or something. But like taking some sort of a mental break is really important.

So I think sort of figuring out my flow throughout the week because not every day is the same. Also, I have I have kids who have after school schedules and a nanny. And so because I work in my home and my kids are home after school, their schedules have to be really integrated into mine, you know. So it is it takes a lot more planning.

I would like I sit on Sunday nights or Monday mornings and really think out my week and try to figure out how do I create a schedule that feels good, that balances the right amount of thinking time as well as work time and social time? Because I'm a social person, I love being able to get to see my girlfriends once a week, you know, and also husband date nights and things like that.

So it just, you know, it's a lot of it's a lot of planning. And then every day I sort of check in with, you know, how did it go yesterday? What do I need to do different today in order to to maintain it is as much as it does take a little bit more planning. And I have become more disciplined in my own schedule.

You know, I work out every day at 6 a.m. like that helps me sort of start the day. I'm so much happier. Like I cannot possibly imagine even if my office was down the street and I love seeing one person, but man like to get to do it this way and kind of on my terms, you know. And I get to go up and see my peers every Thursday, which I love.

Like, it's amazing. I feel so grateful to get to live this really integrated life.

JW

Beautiful. So I'm I'm also hearing a few things that you do outside of the workday that then helps support you feeling more emotionally and mentally connected in the work day. So it was working out at 6 a.m. things like making sure that you're hanging with friends, you got the date night. What are some other things that are that are outside of the workday that you do to support your your workday?

JC

Yeah. I mean, I, you know, getting outside for me is huge, like just making sure that I have some vitamin D, you know, take a take my dog over to the park to throw the ball, you know, like there's there's little stuff. And a lot of these things take 5 minutes. It's not it's not like I need to clear an hour, but it's just taking 5 minutes.

I actually I use a feature for any of you that use Google. There's a feature in the settings called Speedy Meetings, which essentially will just make sure that your your meetings are scheduled for 50 minutes instead of 60. And that's actually been really critical, too, because I'm not back to back to back, like there's nothing worse than I don't like being late I hate being late, really.

And so knowing that I have a little bit of a buffer in between, if it is a day where I have I'm stacked in meetings like I've got a little bit of a buffer to have a bio break or struggles or go outside, you know. So it's it's like all of the little things ultimately for me that that make a big impact.

You know, I meditate and, you know, so and that's one of my my coping strategies where if I know I'm having like a heavy like afternoon is my I feel like I just get more drained in the afternoon. And so that's usually when I'll bring in a meditation, just a quick 5 minutes, you know, using an app just to help give me a little bit of boost check in with and.

JW

Then I'll, I'll use this moment to plug the yes collective wellness reset five minute meditations that so good. Yeah.

AD

I have a curiosity and a follow up. Jen and this isn't this piece of advice. So I spent a lot of time working in higher education in very embattled environments where I mean, it's not psychologic, really safe. It's in fact psychologically super unsafe and very often combative. I mean, really, really difficult. And early on in my career, I, I had times of like depression, like deep unhappiness at work, not being supported in this way and feeling completely stuck.

Like I had no way out there was not. I mean, especially when you're in a job and, you know, your resume needs to show at least a year and you're super unhappy, you're in the wrong place and you have to weather another six, 12 months just to get another job, you know, like that type of thing. So what do you recommend for folks who are in an environment that doesn't support you in the way that, you know, ritual supports its employees?

Right. And for someone who's feeling unsafe or unstuck, are there some practices that and even thinking on like how to maybe communicate with the employer, communicate with a supervisor, like are there some practices that you can recommend to someone to really being able to somehow carve out that space to focus on one's mental health and well-being, getting through a period of time like that?

JC

Oh, my heart breaks. And I know that that's a real scenario for a lot of people. Right. And I think, you know, I think about some of those people in my life who do, you know, what to me feels like just really grueling and very, very difficult roles. But they do it because they derive like such great meaning and purpose from it.

And or to your point, like there's a North Star, right? There's a there's a goal. And so I think that's I mean, that's for me, sort of the one of the most important parts is reminding yourself of why you're here and why you're doing it. And reconnecting to that purpose can help bring a little bit of peace to your heart and to your mind when you're in the trenches of it.

But then I think when you're in it, I think to your point, you know, it is it's it's the little kind of subtle things and giving yourself some space and a break and figuring out what are the strategies that work well for you to be able to decompress. And, you know, everyone's got different preferences, right? And so some people just need to get it out and they need to vent.

And, you know, I've been there and I try to be there for my girlfriends, you know, when that work in those types of jobs and and just be there to listen and so like if you just need to get it all out, everything that happened in the last hour, you just need to get it out. I'm here for you.

I will listen to it. I won't say a word. I'll just be here so that I can be present for you. You know, I think other other things, like I mentioned that, you know, meditating, right. And taking a few minutes to meditate or if if you're somebody who needs to move or needs to just sort of sweat it out, like how can you figure out, going back to what you said before around deep self understanding of what are your coping mechanisms so that you can deploy them at the right time?

But, you know, there's also comes a point where if you're not finding that meaning and purpose anymore and the Northstar doesn't seem clear, I don't know, I having lost a child and having a broad perspective on, you know, for me now like what life really means, life is too short to spend time doing something that makes us really unhappy.

And so, you know, there's there's always a risk reward. Right. And maybe you want to get to that year, Mark, because you need that on your resume. But if it's coming at a cost to your health and wellbeing on a day to day basis, like I would ask yourself, is it worth it? You know, worth it?

AD

I think that's a great point. And and one thing I realized to going back to work after Max was diagnosed and is and then starting to do my own work, realizing like how much I perceived I was stuck because I thought I had to participate in the system and understanding I didn't have to participate in it, you know, and learning, starting to learn my own boundaries.

I had no concept of boundaries at that time. I had concept of the fact that like, I could simply do it differently, you know? And I don't have to be. Just because everyone else is in battle, does it mean I have to be? And so that was a really beautiful thing for me, is kind of losing the fear and losing some of that scarcity mindset around this is a way the shoulds, this is the way things have to be done or else this is going to happen.

And so I wonder how much of it this can be like seeking out support with some of the processing, some of the emotional work, you know, taking advantage a lot of the you know, a lot of employers do have give access to some type of mental health care and taking full advantage of it for me like this conversation if someone's listening and and and is in this situation to understand that I mean we're really trying to normalize mental health care.

Right. And mental wellness. And to say that going and getting help for this that that struggling at work is a reason to get support. You know, it's not just having, you know, a diagnosis or, you know, something something kind of like working on a deeper trauma is that's like that is more than enough reason to get help because you're right, life is so short.

And to be able to feel, know, caged in court and unsupported and unseen and unheard and not valued, we should have a limited bandwidth for that.

JC

100% agree could not have said that better.

JW

So I'm curious, Jen, from your perspective, everywhere you've been, you know, you have worked with some of the biggest companies in the world from now. Now, from your perspective, what do you think executive teams and managers need to do in order to support mental and emotional health in the workplace? What do you think are some of the things that they really need to start to consider?

AD

Yes, if you could wave your magic wand, Jen and Eric, you know, and this is going to be like this is going to be the next paradigm. And this is something that's you know what you see is fully actionable, right?

JC

Gosh. I mean, the first big step and if I could sprinkle the pixie dust on every leader I knew would to be make sure that everyone has really wonderful active listening skills. I think we very often get into a space where we're doing much more talking than we are listening. And like, that's the very first step is just keeping your ears open.

Because if you can create that, if you can keep your ears open and just start to create some space, it's amazing what comes into that space. And I'm always amazed that, you know, people like to fill the air like, I don't know about you, but when you're in conversations like people are really uncomfortable and silence and like the silence is actually like where the goodness is.

And if you can sit in it, especially as a leader and just be okay with like what might emerge, then you can start to listen. I just I think there's something there because, you know, again, that psychological safety is going to be the most important thing in order to, you know, as you look around and the good news is there is a ton of research now that's available and at our disposal. What about ways to build psychological safety in the four different stages of that?

And and so there's a lot there. And I go back to thinking about the training and the education. Like that's the stuff I get excited about. That's the stuff that we're educating our leaders about internally at ritual, but you know, helping leaders understand that, that, that psychological safety is really the unlock to building that trust and allowing people to bring their whole self to work.

And, and then everything sort of can, can grow from there, but it starts with just being present and being open.

JW

Yes. So, Jenn, I'll just say my my own emotional health journey has been one of learning how to listen. Audra, would you say that I've become a better listener? Well, I mean, coming from a really you know, this is a low bar to to become like I'm right. But one of the things that I learned about myself around listening was that, I mean, I so identify with this desire to fill the space in and that a lot of it is this desire to control and a fear that if I'm not controlling the conversation, if I'm not controlling where this is going, it's going to go off the rails something or that it's not going to go in a direction that I am comfortable with or that I wanted to go. So I'm wondering, you know, how much of this learning to listen is really about or is really maybe premised on leaders doing this deeper emotional work and coming into contact with this fear and this and this need for absolute control and what and I love what you said of like, you know, when when we listen and when we create that space, that good things happen, you know, and it's really the oh, yeah, good, good thing.

AD

Good things come in. Yeah.

JC

Yeah, yeah. The inner work is key, right. Because I think if you're not aware of those biases and your blind spots and to your point, if it's fear, if it's, you know, everyone's holding on to something, right? I mean, no one is immune. Like everyone's got something that's, you know, that they're holding on to in some way.

And and so yeah, I think figuring out, you know, at least first steps of like what's going on for me that's allowing me or preventing me from showing up in a way that I want to. Is really, really key. And I mean, again, goes back to like, no one's perfect. We're all humans. That's the beauty, right? But if you can be really open about that and even, you know, I've said this, you know, when I'm working on things, I generally will tell my team like, Hey, I'm working on this thing, right?

Like, I know that this has been a problem for me in the past or I knew I could be better at it and I'm working on it and I want you to hold me accountable and you see it, you know, and I did. That was beautiful in my career, beautiful areas.

JW

Jenn, I, that's so, that's so inspiring and that, I mean, to have that level of groundedness and confidence to say this is what I'm working on and like, here it is. Lay it out. Oh, wow. Is that something that you had to learn how to do to to be that vulnerable with with your team?

JC

Definitely. I mean, yeah, I've taken you know, I talked about some of the role models, but it's also taken many years of practice of just and reading great authors. I love Brené Brown. I mean, one of my favorite quotes is something I use all the time as clear as kind, right? But I think there's so much in vulnerability that helps unlock your potential that potential in others.

And so I think when you can just sort of let go of all of that stuff and be really honest and say like, I mean, again, no one's perfect. We're all working on something. If you if you name it, then you can at least share in it. Right? And, and that makes it so much safer and feels better.

I mean, I feel so much freer knowing that I can just show up and I really do. You know, I try to create the invitation for others by being really vulnerable myself. Right. And so I'll share my story or I'll share my and and I'm okay to lead that out because I know that my experience, like once you've done that, it's people are more apt to then respond, right? And so I'm okay to go first. I'm okay to get through the awkwardness and, and try to create that invitation for the vulnerability

JW

And again, I hope it's not speaking out of turn to say that the way you've shown up in the pilot, in the group sessions has been totally inspiring and totally beautiful. And it's like, Oh, wow, this is this is how a leader does it. It's been it's been really, really cool.

AD

Leadership. Yeah. Thank you. It's. It's such a beautiful change. Jenn, I wonder if you see this. I mean, I worked in leadership development for many years, and all of the literature, you know, at the time was on the ten steps to coerce or to motivate or, you know, all of the different things. And it never, never, never in any of those lists would you find you're in work as one of the steps in leadership, right?

Never. And it really wasn't Intel, Brené Brown. I mean, it wasn't I mean, I feel like she's for me anyway, maybe it's her generation. You know, she was definitely, you know, the one carrying the flag forward of change, beginning with vulnerability. And so I wonder if that's the next frontier for leadership is going. Is this like really, you know, digging deep within.

I hope so. Anyway, do you see this change happening in willingness?

JC

Yeah, I do. And yeah, absolutely. And I think about even, you know, even some of the skills or teaching. I went back to grad school a few years back and did a program around organizational development and the whole basis of it. And you're seeing this a lot in business schools now, especially when they're talking about leadership, like the that journey is shifting.

And I think the inner work, one of the first activities we did back then was like discovering your narrative, like taking a moment to just make sense of your life. What has happened, what did those moments mean and how did they impact you and how can you talk about them and and so I think it's really cool because I think people do that work naturally as a part of their their mental health journey with a therapist or a psychologist.

But to do that in a business context setting feels really different. And I've actually I've led that work in a business context with as a part of leadership development to have people go on that journey. And it's fun to see an organization evolve because those exercises typically start with people thinking about the milestones that you would put on your resume.

But then, right, comfortable, all of a sudden there's all this texture of all that happened in between, that in the life moments that actually made them make the choice about the resumé moment and that. And it's all those inner it's all those other parts, right? And, and that's when the stories kind of come to life and then that's where the vulnerability starts to happen.

So I do think, yes, it's absolutely that paradigm is shifting. I think all of the all of the dialog that we're having around mental health in general is really helping with that. We need to keep doing more of it. But I think practicing it and also, you know, like I said, we're creating that invitation and business context is something that we can do as leaders in organizations like it's very possible.

It's a part of the business strategy. It's not another thing. It's it's the thing because humans are the ones running the organization. So I think if you can get alignment, you know, within the leadership team to focus on it and then you get somebody who knows how to do it, it can be a really wonderful way to start to allow people to bring them to the work.

AD

Jenn is a part of that not being everything. I think a part of the old model is performance of leadership, not actual leadership. It's all this performative stuff of I am all knowing, all commanding, all everything to everyone, right? And is are we seeing a shift where folks are showing up with their strengths to say, listen, I like really feel great here.

This is what I feel like. I add and we are structuring this in a way to that. We're a well rounded team that, you know, we have complementary strength that we're bringing to the table. Not everyone has to be everything.

JC

I think that's a huge turnoff, by the way, not that you're out yet, man. I mean, nothing gets me more fired up. When somebody doesn't demonstrate any level of humility like that. I will feel that that person will not will not do well and sort of my life, I think about sort of growth mindset and I think about again, being adaptive to business needs and stuff like that.

I think it is good for people to have some self-confidence and to know what they're good at. And I think that, you know, again, that also comes from the inner work just as much as knowing the blind spots, but also just being open to learning and to changing. And, you know, I think that's just critical. And I and in most organizations like that's what they're talking about.

I mean, humility is absolutely a key competency in most organizations now, because we are I mean, I think about my day to day job in the last two and a half years, like we're charting unknown all the time. And so there's no way that we could all know anything about anything, frankly. So, I mean, I you know, I said to you guys earlier today, you know, the change for me is the fun part, because if you can come into a scenario and realize that you don't know everything, like there are some things, you know, that help create an opinion that you might have or some assumptions you might make.

But there's a whole other part of the story that you probably don't know. And if you aren't courageous enough to say that, then you're going to miss out on somebody else potentially being able to fill that gap. And so, yeah, it does take courage to say, I don't know, but I'll find out or I'm going to, you know, let's find out together.

But the solution is always so much better, you know? I mean, like I said, it's it's never no one likes a no at all. Like, let's be honest, nobody does.

JW

Oh, my gosh. Yes. So absolutely, I'm going to take control of the wheel again and I'm going to land this plane. Jen, with our last three questions that we ask everybody. And so the first one is, if you could put a big Post-it note on everyone's fridge tomorrow morning, what would it say?

JC

I'm going to steal this shamelessly from my incredible yoga teacher because it's so good. But it would say, what can you do for yourself today? And that's because everyone is all I mean, you know, again, like with belief in the human values and gifts, like we're all trying to serve everyone else, right? And one another. And so if you if you can't stop and ask, answer the question for yourself like once a day, then you're probably not serving really the person who's most important, which is you.

So, you know, taking a taking a minute to just think about like, what can you do for yourself today I think is really beautiful.

JW

And then the last comment that that changed the way you think or feel is something that you read, maybe a movie, a song.

JC

Oh, it's every day. I mean, you know, the one that sort of guides me all the time is inspired by my daughter, but, you know, is "To be the things you love most in the person you lost." And it's interesting that quote has inspired me since she passed away to sort of role model the things that she did so well.

But it also guides me now, five years later, to think about, like when I see gifts in someone, how do they how do I honor them by doing those things to beautiful, you know, and by like taking a witness from someone and really thinking about how I can bring that to the world as well.

AD

Thank you so much for sharing that that that is really, really impactful to me. I love that framing. I don't think I had heard that before. Like that's really just a beautiful way to, to to just allow that spirit to live on in the world. Yeah. Yeah. So the third, third and final question is what's one thing that's giving you hope right now?

JC

As there's many, I mean the two of you are one shameless plug for you and for the collective. But I think, you know, figuring out how do we tackle like there's, you know, these big meaty problems in the world. And I think having people who have the energy to get in and try to solve them and keep talking about them.

And, you know, that's inspiring to me. It's it's certainly, you know, energy depleting, you know, to live in like the doom and gloom side of things. And I know we all we all go there sometimes, but I think that giving me hope is having conversations like this and thinking about how do we keep working to make ourselves better and so that we can be better for others.

And I mean, that's why I love honestly, why I love going to work every day is because I think about like what are the kinds of what are the kinds of conversations I can have? How can I leave people feeling better than when we started? And if I can just do a little bit of that every day, then I know that I'm like doing the good work, right?

AD

Got chills like, like everywhere kind of truly when you hear about like that, what a gorgeous, like vision of your role and what I mean that gives me hope to think of every company having that type of support. It's almost like a it's almost like an internal like a like a like a healer, like a, you know, people have like internal their internal legal and marketing teams and all of that.

But I mean, what about that heart and and what you're bringing and nurturing and supporting and and loving and caring for the people that generate all of this, you know, and bring all of us to the world like that is awesome.

JC

You know, I mean, I think it's one of the coolest jobs. I mean, there are many, many jobs I expect to have in my lifetime because there's so much still to learn. But to get to do work like this, where, I mean, truly, like my job is just making sure that people are feeling seen, heard, valued, respected, and that we're unlocking their gifts.

Right. And that they can come to work every day and deploy them. Like how? I don't know what job is better than that, frankly. Like, I'm super lucky.

In this episode

We’ve got a really special episode lined up this week. We’re kicking off our theme of the month—work/life wellness—with the amazing Jenn Cornelius, Chief People Officer of Ritual, an innovative personal wellness brand dedicated to transparency and science. Jenn has worked in leadership and organizational development at Apple, Pinterest, and Sweetgreen, and also as a private consultant. She’s passionate about helping organizations grow into people-first, values-driven places to work.

We’ve known Jenn and her family for years through our work with MaxLove Project. She’s a childhood cancer mom, a fierce advocate for families, and an all around amazing person.

We talk about Jenn’s professional journey, how she helps others build deep, trusting relationships at work, how we can bring our whole selves to work, and the tools and resources to care for our mental and emotional health across the work/life continuum.

Listen here

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Listen on Google Podcasts

Listen on Spotify

About our guest

Jenn Cornelius is the Chief People Officer at Ritual, an innovative personal wellness brand dedicated to transparency and science. Jenn has worked in leadership and organizational development at Apple, Pinterest, and Sweetgreen, and also as a private consultant. Her professional passion revolves around helping organizations grow into people-first, values-driven places to work.

Transcript highlights

Justin Wilford (JW)

I'll just say right out, right at the beginning that anybody who has listened to this podcast knows I am the controller. You know, in the radio business, I think they call it the driver and so I make sure everything kind of goes on time.

And then Audra is, I guess in the radio business, they call it the personality or the color.

Audra DiPadova (AD)

Justin just has a much stronger manager part that likes to manage the show.

JW

We'll talk about yeah, we'll talk about manager parts and so I'll try to keep us on track. But Audra is going to bring all of the personality and all of the color.

AD

And I'll derail it a bit.

JW

That's just how it how it works. But yeah, so this month the Yes Collective theme of the month we mulled over, like what words we were going to use, but we landed on something like work/life wellness. We were also playing around with work/life wholeness and just the basic idea being: what are the practices that we can bring into our life that will allow us to have more mental and emotional health and wellness throughout our entire life and that will help us bring more of ourselves to work and then also bring more of ourselves home at the end of the day.

So we're interested in all of this, and we're going to explore this with you, Jenn, and we're going to chop it up. But I guess before we dive into all of that, we want to find out more about you. Jenn, you've had an amazing career so far, and so I guess I just want to start with like when did you first know that you are interested in this people work in the world of people development? When did that first show up on your radar?

Jenn Cornelius (JC)

Yeah, you know, my very first job ever was at a clothing store and, you know, I'm an extrovert. And so I get my energy from other people. And I always knew that I liked working with people and I loved clothes and selling products. And so I think early on, you know, doing sales work was really fun.

But as I grew through the ranks and my very first company and became a manager, I got to experience what it was like to actually help support people in their careers and help give guidance and coaching. And so even back then, I don't think I knew it was going to turn into our work. But what I did know was that whether it was like doing the inventory or closing a till or leading a feedback conversation like the feedback conversation was the part that I really liked.

So I think there were early indicators of, of just the people dynamics being the part that's most fascinating. And what I, you know, what turned out to be where my gifts actually live.

JW

Yeah. So you so you saw that like the thing you loved most was the interactions was. Yeah, that those that yeah. The feedback and so I'm curious as you started to develop throughout your career, how do you look at what you do now? Like what, what, how would how would you describe what you do now from this people centric perspective?

JC

Yeah. So I'll, I'll continue that story just a bit. So I worked my way through the ranks in management roles and then eventually moved into more of a training role. Because I also found that I really enjoyed both learning about kind of frameworks and skills and things that could make me better as a human, but also discovered that I really like teaching that to other people too.

So that was my first kind of foray into our work, was working in kind of learning and development and and then eventually started doing other types of, you know, when you think about the, the employee lifecycle at work, there's all these different stages or seven of them. And, you know, I started to find that each of the interventions you get to have, whether it's like bringing somebody in as a candidate or onboarding them or developing their skills or giving feedback.

You know, that whole cycle was really interesting to me. And I also, you know, I knew that if you did it well and I could observe it because of some of the leaders that I worked with. But if you were good at it, it made people happier at work. It meant that they drove better performance. And so so for me, that was really cool because it was like, you know, there's tactical skills that you can deploy and like you could build something or, you know, I think back again to my kind of early stages of doing more labor type of work, but it was really just the human interaction pieces that were found to be, in my experience, most impactful, right?

And driving performance and driving revenue in a company. So I settled into that kind of pretty early on that I knew I wanted to work on the back side. I didn't need to be in the spotlight. I loved being sort of behind the scenes and working with people to feel better about how they showed up at work and the skills they were building and, you know, it's it's been really cool to get to see how, you know, as the world is changing and as people are changing, like there's still a ton of value in that work.

In fact, there's probably more value than ever in that work today given given the environment that they're in.

AD

I'm curious around that, Justin, you mentioned being able to witness like how how various things could help people be happier at work. And I have worked in a number of different environments before coming to being more self-employed. And I never I really don't think I were ever worked at a place that really considered people being happier at work.

That really was like there was a peripheral like, like, you know, maybe kind of priority, but not really high up. It was more sort of like the kind of managing a people's time and like accountability and making sure that people are at their desk and, you know, or whatever or, you know, parts of restaurant industry is different even from that.

So how did you how did you find your self in a I guess in a place where that is a priority? And then did you go from there to say, hey, I want to work in places that that that care about this? I care about, you know, employee development and their, like, well-being and their happiness.

JC

Yeah, it's a great question because I feel, you know, I look back on my career and feel really lucky because I think both I'll take credit. I did some hard work to get where I am, but I also made some good choices in the organizations that I joined. And so, you know, probably the first organization that sort of helped me understand what that looks like because I didn't even know what I didn't know back then.

But with Starbucks. So, you know, the training role that I talked about a few minutes ago that was at Starbucks and, you know, it was back at a time when Starbucks and I know they're going through a lot right now and I'm thinking about all those partners. I still want a partner, always a partner. But like, you know, it was the first place I'd ever worked for.

They genuinely cared about people and they focused a lot on selecting great leadership. And they were the first organization on a kind of larger scale that was doing part time benefits and things like that. So, you know, I got to sort of observe what it looks like because like you, you know, I'd worked for places where a job was kind of just a job, but it really wasn't the case there.

And the people were really passionate about what they were doing and they loved being a barista. And so, you know, I was lucky to get to work there for several years and got to work with leaders who I saw role model those behaviors and who genuinely cared about me. And that made a really big difference. And so when I made the decision to leave Starbucks and join Apple, it was actually because of a Starbucks leader that I had worked with.

So I, I left Starbucks because of the Starbucks leader that went on to Apple. And as it turned out, Apple was also and thankfully this leader had told me that. But she said, you know, Apple is also really employee centric. So, you know, again, very early on, it was cool to get a chance to be in places that really prioritize that.

And I got to learn a lot of the skills that I have now. And I think at a point in my career where I started to have bigger scope and responsibility as an h.r. Leader, and i had gotten to see what good looked like. It really it charged me to try to create that for others, you know, and I think a pivotal moment and kind of that journey that took it even paths just kind of being there for people and wanting to care about their happiness was when my own daughter got sick when I was at Apple, you know, Sinatra was diagnosed with leukemia.

And, you know, at the time I worked in a job where I got to live. And I look back on the experiences and how this sort of changed me. But I got to live this really cool, integrated work life. You talked about work life, wellness and work life balance. I always called it sort of my integrated work life because I've always had an office at home.

I had an office up in Cupertino. And, you know, when Sinatra was sick, I had an office in the hospital and, you know, and I worked between all three of those places to live this really integrated kind of work life, you know, and for me as a parent, going through that experience with my child and the rest of my family, you know, Apple is really great and said like, hey, you can take time off if you want to take time off.

If you want to work, you can work like it's up to you. Like, what do you need? How can we be here for you? And I had a very special leader who I. Well, I will call out. Her name is Stephanie Ferrer. She's still one of my favorite people on the planet. She heads up HR at united health care and is a really incredible leader.

But stephanie said to me, like, you do what you need to do, like we're here for you. And it was wonderful because I was able to sort of, you know, like I said, live that integrated work life and be present where I needed to be. And I was really trusted by the team. And, you know, that that helped me sustain, you know, the the experience throughout Sinatra's journey.

But, you know, I stayed at Apple for ten years because I knew I felt so supported and I did. I got to live this really cool life of getting to be in all the places that were important to me and got to to choose when. Right? Like as an adult, you want those choices. Like we worked our whole careers to be able to get to a place where you can make choices.

But sadly, there are still some organizations where, you know, they do what you talked about at the beginning, Audra, which is like, I need to see your butt in the seat. And now like you've worked really hard to be a grownup, but we're not actually going to treat you like a grown up. It's bizarre to me that that actually is a thing still.

JW

So I wanted to follow up there. So there are companies that are is there a better word than people centric? Because that's what I'm hearing. Jen, how would you call these companies that are doing it the right way? What's what's the right word for this?

JC

Yeah, I mean, I like people-centric. I like human-centric. I mean, I think that, you know, companies that understand that the people in their organizations are assets, not commodities, are the ones that are are getting it right. I think in organizations where you're prioritizing what you're producing over the people who are actually creating it, that comes at a cost, right?

JW

I love that phrasing, prioritizing what you're producing over the people doing the work. Yeah. So people centric or human centric. And so then there are these other companies that are, I think, much, you know, much more conventional that that are not so people-centric. So from your experience and I don't know if you can tell us a little bit about the research as well. Is there like a is there like a bottom line advantage to being people centric?

JC

I mean, absolutely. I think, you know, in my experience, if the human centric approach allows you to capitalize on the gifts of the humans. Right. And I think, you know, there's there's a lot that, you know, when you hire somebody, but there's also a lot you don't know how people's ability to adapt and be learning agile. That's one of the things I always look for when we're hiring is like somebody who can do well in a first time situation because, you know, if you if you find the right talent, then they're really adaptive and you want people who are adaptive to the environment, both other people in the environment, but processes and the structure and the tech and like all the dynamics of the org, you need the people to be able to work in the system.

And so, you know, I think that's it's really important. And for me, you know, as I learned that that was important and as I thought about my own career journey and even as I think about leading that out in organizations now, it's like you have to actually have real alignment around that at the leadership level. That makes a big difference. It's not enough, at least in my experience as a Chief People Officer. It can't just be me who has that thinking and that has it actually needs to be the executive team and the senior leadership across the organization. And I think, you know, so I work for Ritual Now, which is a really incredible personal health company.

And I when I met our founder, our values were really aligned. And that, you know, again, going back to sort of the gifts of the humans, like I knew the minute I met Kat that because we shared similar values about people and about work and about the world, weren't the same, but their sort of the spirit was grounded in the beliefs that the human gifts are the right gifts to focus on. I knew that we would get along really well, and I think and that's been really important as I felt, you know, for anybody who's looking to live a more integrated work life, I think it goes back to like what are the values and how do you match your values with those of the organization? And, you know, some people just want a job to be a job and that's totally cool.

Like there's nothing wrong with that. But some people want the job to be more than that and they are willing to give more than that, but only if it's worth it. Right. And if they feel like they're being seen and heard. And and so I think it's an important part to sort of understand what's your strategy around what what what do you need from the humans in that situation?

JW

Yeah. Yeah. Well, so I'm thinking, you know, this theme of work life wellness or work life wholeness, there is this other, you know, argument or there's yeah, there's this other perspective that, hey, this job is just a job. Like, I, you know, I don't I don't need to bring my whole self to work. I'm here to do this thing and so it's I guess I'm really curious about this perspective because what comes up for me, I have lived most of my life in academia and I chose to do that because I wanted some job that I could feel my whole self, like bring all of my passions and all of my interests and my whole self to it I didn't want to cut myself off.

What I wanted to really get at was, is this desire to just make work, work. You know, I don't want to bring my whole self to work. I don't want to worry about all that stuff. Is that a sign that maybe, maybe something's wrong like it? It feels to me that we spend so much time at work that it just makes sense that for just to lead a full, integrated life and an emotionally healthy life that we should want a workplace that supports and invites us to bring more of ourselves to work.

And then I'll just add one little thing. The more I'm assuming the more of ourselves we can bring to work, the more of us ourselves that we can bring home as well. So again, I would love to hear what you think about that.

JC

Yeah. I mean, I think it depends like I don't know, I guess I'm mean, this is the this is the me suspending judgment side of things where I think, again, going back to the gifts of the humans and understanding sort of where people are at and their life stages and what's important to them and valuing that, I think that comes at different points for people.

And so I think there are moments I certainly have experienced moments where I had a lot more capacity and willingness to want to give more. And then there are moments where I didn't and actually being able to voice that with a leader that trusts me and that I trust to be able to say like what I can give to you right now is just the work, and that's it.

And then other days being able to to do more, I think that's for me, that's that's the beauty of it. Right. And I think it comes back to setting first kind of forming deep trusting relationships, right, with who you're working with so you can have that kind of candid conversation, but then just managing each other's expectations. And I think that's again, like the beauty of the human dynamics is like it's always changing.

I mean, there's you guys might experience a storm this weekend and that might affect your ability to show up and do much of anything in the next four days. And then next week you might be really ready again. And so I think to to feel like it has to be one way all the time misses the point of of people being able to be who they are and and bring that wholeness.

And it inspires me to think back to Justin. We had a conversation of weeks ago around parts therapy, right? And parts work and like how do you allow the parts to be present, you know, when they're present? And and so I don't think it's a bad thing. I think it's it's good to be in tune, though. When I look at my own organization, I know there are people who are truly engaging and bringing their whole self to work a lot of the time.

And that shows up because they, you know, they're not just talking about the work, but they're participating in some of the additional kind of social things that we've got to offer and things that aren't related to their day to day. And they're really engaged and they they want that community. And then there are other other team members who are also really talented and super productive, who are showing up and doing the work.

But they, you know, they want to spend their extra time doing other things and that's totally okay, you know, so.

AD

I totally agree with that. And, and hearing, hearing that to Jen and what you're talking about, Justin, I feel like depends on the work environment, too. Depends on what you're doing. You know what I mean? I think it depends on what sort of work environment you're in because not bringing your whole self might be like really important boundary work depending on what it is.

You know, you're working in social services as a social worker for CPS. Like, you know, it might be the case that you, you know, you need to have some good boundaries there yourself. And for me, what comes up is as the employee, I want to be supported in bringing my whole self in as I want. When I like like it, it's more I guess maybe it's from working in an environment that didn't value that at all.

Yeah. And wanted only parts to come in, only want to, you know, wanted only the parts that were going to come in and do the specific job. I still feel like there's, it's the agency there, you know, and like being supported in that. And like you said, genders, ebbs and flows and being supported in those ebbs and flows and having being in an environment where there are open communications and the ability to do that.

So I, I see it more as being an issue if the employer or workplace isn't supportive of the whole person, which means their ebbs and flows and, you know, kind of like desire to just show up whole or partial, you know, depending on what they're going through. Yeah.

JW

So maybe some of this is the language that we're using as well, because I'm noticing from the from the approach the mental and emotional health approach that I'm bringing to the table. You know, I and with all of our experts, our therapists, our coaches, our psychologists and Yes Collective, our goal is to help people show up in their lives with their whole selves and so it's really about, you know, we see that, you know, for most of us and Jen, you mentioned parts work.

And so anybody who's who is been following the podcast or who is in Yes collective knows that we're really into this idea of parts-work that to to be in touch with our whole selves is to really start to open up to all different parts inside and all different parts of us. And so I'm curious like what does a workplace look like that is supportive of this?

And so Jen, you've been helping us pilot a program called Stepping Into Yes. And it's really about supporting emotional health. And we have when we talk about emotional health, we're talking about emotional intelligence, emotional resilience, emotional groundedness and emotional connectedness. And so we want to support this both in the workplace and outside. So I'm curious from from this perspective, why why would it be important for a workplace to support this type of wholeness? Like what is the advantage of this?

JC

Yeah. It's a I mean, it's a great question because I think to me it sort of feels like this inherent lie, like, of course we would want to support that. Why would like how do you get people to show up and be their whole self if there isn't a safe, you know, they have to feel psychologically safe, right?

And to show up and do your best work, you got to feel really safe. And so I think the challenge and what's been really fun about doing the pilot, too, is like, you know, there it's there are still and even though I've been sort of working in this space for a while and have really open, candid conversations and bring my whole self to work and have been for a long time.

There's a lot of people that I work with who haven't had that work environment like that where they talked about emotional health and wellbeing in general, or they created any sort of space for it. I mean, that's not typical, right? And so, you know, even just to create the space to say, you know, in the middle of the workday on a Friday, you know, we want to invite you to have this opportunity to participate in this this this coaching program that focuses on your emotional fitness and, you know, and that that's a priority.

You know, like that's that it's been really I mean, even talking to our team about it, like, it's it's just not something that they've ever gotten to experience right. And I think people people still as much as I think we're talking about mental wellbeing and mental health, you know, as a society. And there's, you know, many more celebrities are being really open about it.

Like people don't take time in the middle of the day to go see their therapist and or they do, but they're not talking about it. Right. And so I think what we're trying to do is say, like, it's okay to create that space in your integrated life. I mean, it's I think to allow people to get to the level of psychological safety at work where they can be really transparent around not just how they're feeling. And I think it's become more it's become more common, at least in my experience in organizations, to like start these virtual meetings with the check in, you know, and, and see more of that, which is really cool.

But then how you get people that to say something that's like really authentic and really if it's a tough day, like to get people to be okay saying that it's a tough day in a scenario like we're still working on that. Right. But to not only create that safety, but then, you know, I feel really grateful that we've gotten to participate in the pilot because we're not we're not just saying it's okay.

We're actually saying we want to provide you with resources to help you with. This is like even more nuanced, you know, and focused. But we know that, you know, if if our team feels connected and supported and see if they're going to be more willing to, you know, fully participate and bring their whole self to the work and, you know, it unlocks like you think about, you know, when you feel really safe, like unlocking the creativity that comes with that and being able to, you know, all that stuff just comes more natural, right?

When you're, you're really in tune with where you're at. So I think it's a really I mean, it's such a cool opportunity we've had to participate and to also create the space for our team to be like, no, we want to.

AD

Yeah. I wanted to ask a follow up to you. Do you think that we're in the midst of a paradigm shift like coming out of the professional workplace has been dominated by kind of like a control model of management that comes out of the Industrial Revolution. Do you think that we're in a paradigm shift and and that where the work that you're in represents a direction that hopefully we're growing into and headed into where people are truly valued?

It is for for for what they bring, for who they are. That human centered approach. Do you think we're in a paradigm shift or do you think that we're just going to be kind of like there was going to have different types of workplaces?

JC

No, I think I think we are in a paradigm shift. Like I think these changes are permanent now. I think it's like varying degrees of flexibility because that's really sort of still what it's about is like how flexible are you willing to be and how much trust are you willing to give? Those are sort of, I think, basic fundamental questions that executive leaders are probably asking themselves now.

And then the next layer deeper is like once you've made decisions about those two questions, like how do you actually operationalize it? Because you do have to do that. Like it's not enough just to say it. You actually have to take action to do the things to either support through technology or through behaviors and expectation setting. And, you know, in different spaces, like there is work in order to make that stuff real and to make it sustainable over time.

So yeah, I absolutely think there's a paradigm shifting and we're seeing more and more even what was like really traditional organizations that are shifting the ways of working and coming up with really cool programs to allow people to see the world and you know, and be able to, to do different things and like and trusting that, you know, yeah, you might be going away for a month to go live in city X, but like we know that you're getting your work done and so that's what matters and it makes you happier and so that that matters to us.

I was just going to say just we are seeing it, too, in retention as well. So as you said, employee retention and companies like people are making the decision to stay for organizations that are working to make the situation better and more flexible. So there's absolute advantage because turnover costs money. So you want people to stay. So the retention increases are great to see.

AD

Yeah. And along those lines, does that relate to generational values? Are you seeing that kind of younger people coming into the workforce have different expecting actions than maybe our generation, our parents generation?

JC

Oh, absolutely. And I feel like like this we've been sort of seeing for a little while. I mean, I think millennials started to bring the first wave of kind of thinking differently about their expectations, and then it's only kind of grown from there. So yeah, I mean, I think about it even with my own kids and, you know, as they, as, as my, you know, preteen in the next few years will embark on her own first job, like the decisions that she's already articulating about how she thinks about that is so much different than what I did, you know, I mean, I was like, can I make some money?

Like where I want to take my son? And I want to make some money? But she's like, No, I want to work in a place that really like does something cool that I can get excited about. And that makes me, you know, that brings me love, joy and some value. Like, I wasn't thinking about that. So I definitely feel like we're seeing it. I mean, I'm certainly experiencing it firsthand.

AD

Do you think that we can do a better job? Kind of just like in our society when we're orienting our our kids and our young people into entering the workforce, into understanding the landscape and and being able to identify a good fit for those values. Yeah, I hope so.

JC

I mean, I'm certainly thinking a lot about that in terms of what I control within my organization of like how do you paint a picture first for a candidate about what it's really like to work there? I mean, it goes beyond just, you know, these are the values of the company. And then here's a little bit about how we're organized.

It's like, how do you tell the story of what the experience is like? And it actually it's it's been it's a challenge because even now, trying to describe the experience of working in a hybrid way or remote way and what it is, what's it really feel like to be on a Zoom meeting for 8 hours? You know, it's like if you are like, I'm not so actually very focused on like scheduling my days for the most part in such a way where I have breaks to be able to go outside or to, you know, I'll take a Zoom meeting and then a phone meeting and, you know, but I have I feel agency to to curate my day. I think the challenge is in a lot of organizations, you know, unless you're leading or unless you've empowered your teams to feel like they can lead, they don't feel like they actually have a firm grasp on managing their day. And so if you're the person who's invited in to meetings all day, all of a sudden you've you've gotten yourself into a place where you're sitting 8 hours in Zoom meetings without a break, which, you know, that's not a good experience for anyone.

And so so there's something there around telling the story. And when I think about telling it for our organization, like making sure that people know that when they join, they have some agency and can be creative and thinking about like, what are the best ways that I or what are the ways that I can bring my best to work?

And so if you know that your limit is like 2 hours on a zoom call and then I'm shot, like how do we help people understand that part of being able to work is being able to say that and set those boundaries and say, you know what, actually, I want to take this phone later or I take a walk at lunch and just, you know, giving people the agency to make those choices and to talk about what they need.

Like that's what we're kind of going for. I think that's the only way this will sustain. But it's it's really hard. Like, how do you tell that story on a on a website, right, about like how, you know, this is the way that you can work in this organization and for it to feel real, you know, even a recruiter.

I mean, I do recruiting all the time in the as does my team and everyone's journey is very personal and our preferences are really different. So how do you lean into that instead of, you know, trying to create a picture that isn't accurate?

AD

Yeah, it sounds like self understanding for the employee or candidate is like a really important skill to have coming into this environment, in this new environment with a hybrid workplace which is so different than how things were for for you and I coming up. And one one thing that just came up for me is wondering, as a recruiter, Jen, this is taken me so many years of majority of my professional life to understand is there an energetic like do you tap into the energy of the is it just kind of like do you get a vibe like when you're recruiting, do you have like an intuition around people?

I feel like it's something that I it's taken me a really long time to learn to trust that. I mean, of course, we still have to deploy curiosity and, you know, obviously speak in a drive with people. But I definitely am learning to to honor that the the sense that I have of what it is to be with a person in terms of how not only how they're showing up, but I guess how we're showing up together.

Is there something is there an energetic component to recruitment?

JC

It's interesting that you say it because like my personal, I guess my instincts definitely feel what you're talking about. But I also, I guess my my practical and if I put my diversity, equity, inclusion lens on and also my generational lens on, really checking those biases becomes so important because I think about even like our kids are a perfect example.

You talked about how do we prepare kids for this type of environment? I think well, understanding is definitely one right of like getting really clear on what are the ways that that I show up at my best. Right. And how do I understand the things about myself that allow for that? But also also and thinking about, you know, many of our kids are on text message and so there's not human contact.

So if you take somebody who's primarily communicating with their friends and family on text message or maybe a face time here or there, and then all of a sudden you put them on 8 hours of Zoom meetings where they haven't been used to looking at themselves all day like it can cause people to show up really different and it's comfortable for everyone to be behind the screen.

And and it's tricky because I think, you know, I've certainly worked with leaders who feel like if somebody is not on camera, they're not engaged. And I just don't think that's true. And so there's all this other stuff that if you don't deploy your curiosity to dig in and really understand and give somebody a chance to articulate who they are through good questions, you're going to miss it. And so I try to check my gut like there's that old saying and first recruiting.

They used to say like, Oh, you know, in the first 2 minutes. And I actually push myself to say, like, if I think I know in the first 2 minutes I'm probably wrong because it probably means I have an bias. How could you possibly judge someone in 2 minutes?

I try to really dig dig in and ask the right questions and establish that psychological safety in such a short period of time, such that you can make a decision about if somebody is going to be successful in your company at its heart.

JW

Jenn, you mentioned a couple of things already that do to support your own mental and emotional health throughout the day. Something as simple as turning off self view on Zoom like that. I've started I've been doing that for gosh a year or two and I absolutely love it. I just love like when I'm when I don't see myself, I yes, I feel much more present.

I feel much more that I can be in the flow of a conversation. Okay. So I'm curious, what are some other things that you have learned that for you and things that have worked for other people as well that support their mental and emotional health throughout the workday?

JC

Yeah. I mean, I think that, you know, understanding and spending some time actually did a little bit of a study on myself right when the pandemic started around. How do I get into flow, you know, in this new environment and just sort of tracked for a week? Like where were the high moments? Where were the low moments?

Because I found that my my in-person energy hours actually turned out to be pretty different than my virtual energy hours. Like I used to be somebody who would get much more energized for like the deeper work in the afternoon when I was in person, because I had expended so much in the morning that by the time I got to the afternoon I could put my head down.

It was a good time. That's completely flip flopped for me. So now my deep thinking time really in a virtual environment like has to happen in the morning. So like, you know, starting with just sort of understanding what, you know, what are your peak energy moments like? How do you get into flow? When do you hit your outer limits and need to sort of dial it back and then what are the practical strategies that you can deploy throughout the day that keep you feeling good?

So one of the first decisions I made once I knew we were like I was going to be home potentially five days a week was I got a sit stand desk and I had it set so that and I have little triggers in my calendar of like, all right, I'm standing now and I'm sitting just to help manage my movement because again, if you're on camera all day, like you forget about that.

I also created a routine around how I spend my lunch time, so I always leave my desk at lunch. Like no matter what, I may decide to take a conversation or do a walk and have a conversation, or just sit downstairs and watch 30 minutes of Real Housewives and eat my lunch or something. But like taking some sort of a mental break is really important.

So I think sort of figuring out my flow throughout the week because not every day is the same. Also, I have I have kids who have after school schedules and a nanny. And so because I work in my home and my kids are home after school, their schedules have to be really integrated into mine, you know. So it is it takes a lot more planning.

I would like I sit on Sunday nights or Monday mornings and really think out my week and try to figure out how do I create a schedule that feels good, that balances the right amount of thinking time as well as work time and social time? Because I'm a social person, I love being able to get to see my girlfriends once a week, you know, and also husband date nights and things like that.

So it just, you know, it's a lot of it's a lot of planning. And then every day I sort of check in with, you know, how did it go yesterday? What do I need to do different today in order to to maintain it is as much as it does take a little bit more planning. And I have become more disciplined in my own schedule.

You know, I work out every day at 6 a.m. like that helps me sort of start the day. I'm so much happier. Like I cannot possibly imagine even if my office was down the street and I love seeing one person, but man like to get to do it this way and kind of on my terms, you know. And I get to go up and see my peers every Thursday, which I love.

Like, it's amazing. I feel so grateful to get to live this really integrated life.

JW

Beautiful. So I'm I'm also hearing a few things that you do outside of the workday that then helps support you feeling more emotionally and mentally connected in the work day. So it was working out at 6 a.m. things like making sure that you're hanging with friends, you got the date night. What are some other things that are that are outside of the workday that you do to support your your workday?

JC

Yeah. I mean, I, you know, getting outside for me is huge, like just making sure that I have some vitamin D, you know, take a take my dog over to the park to throw the ball, you know, like there's there's little stuff. And a lot of these things take 5 minutes. It's not it's not like I need to clear an hour, but it's just taking 5 minutes.

I actually I use a feature for any of you that use Google. There's a feature in the settings called Speedy Meetings, which essentially will just make sure that your your meetings are scheduled for 50 minutes instead of 60. And that's actually been really critical, too, because I'm not back to back to back, like there's nothing worse than I don't like being late I hate being late, really.

And so knowing that I have a little bit of a buffer in between, if it is a day where I have I'm stacked in meetings like I've got a little bit of a buffer to have a bio break or struggles or go outside, you know. So it's it's like all of the little things ultimately for me that that make a big impact.

You know, I meditate and, you know, so and that's one of my my coping strategies where if I know I'm having like a heavy like afternoon is my I feel like I just get more drained in the afternoon. And so that's usually when I'll bring in a meditation, just a quick 5 minutes, you know, using an app just to help give me a little bit of boost check in with and.

JW

Then I'll, I'll use this moment to plug the yes collective wellness reset five minute meditations that so good. Yeah.

AD

I have a curiosity and a follow up. Jen and this isn't this piece of advice. So I spent a lot of time working in higher education in very embattled environments where I mean, it's not psychologic, really safe. It's in fact psychologically super unsafe and very often combative. I mean, really, really difficult. And early on in my career, I, I had times of like depression, like deep unhappiness at work, not being supported in this way and feeling completely stuck.

Like I had no way out there was not. I mean, especially when you're in a job and, you know, your resume needs to show at least a year and you're super unhappy, you're in the wrong place and you have to weather another six, 12 months just to get another job, you know, like that type of thing. So what do you recommend for folks who are in an environment that doesn't support you in the way that, you know, ritual supports its employees?

Right. And for someone who's feeling unsafe or unstuck, are there some practices that and even thinking on like how to maybe communicate with the employer, communicate with a supervisor, like are there some practices that you can recommend to someone to really being able to somehow carve out that space to focus on one's mental health and well-being, getting through a period of time like that?

JC

Oh, my heart breaks. And I know that that's a real scenario for a lot of people. Right. And I think, you know, I think about some of those people in my life who do, you know, what to me feels like just really grueling and very, very difficult roles. But they do it because they derive like such great meaning and purpose from it.

And or to your point, like there's a North Star, right? There's a there's a goal. And so I think that's I mean, that's for me, sort of the one of the most important parts is reminding yourself of why you're here and why you're doing it. And reconnecting to that purpose can help bring a little bit of peace to your heart and to your mind when you're in the trenches of it.

But then I think when you're in it, I think to your point, you know, it is it's it's the little kind of subtle things and giving yourself some space and a break and figuring out what are the strategies that work well for you to be able to decompress. And, you know, everyone's got different preferences, right? And so some people just need to get it out and they need to vent.

And, you know, I've been there and I try to be there for my girlfriends, you know, when that work in those types of jobs and and just be there to listen and so like if you just need to get it all out, everything that happened in the last hour, you just need to get it out. I'm here for you.

I will listen to it. I won't say a word. I'll just be here so that I can be present for you. You know, I think other other things, like I mentioned that, you know, meditating, right. And taking a few minutes to meditate or if if you're somebody who needs to move or needs to just sort of sweat it out, like how can you figure out, going back to what you said before around deep self understanding of what are your coping mechanisms so that you can deploy them at the right time?

But, you know, there's also comes a point where if you're not finding that meaning and purpose anymore and the Northstar doesn't seem clear, I don't know, I having lost a child and having a broad perspective on, you know, for me now like what life really means, life is too short to spend time doing something that makes us really unhappy.

And so, you know, there's there's always a risk reward. Right. And maybe you want to get to that year, Mark, because you need that on your resume. But if it's coming at a cost to your health and wellbeing on a day to day basis, like I would ask yourself, is it worth it? You know, worth it?

AD

I think that's a great point. And and one thing I realized to going back to work after Max was diagnosed and is and then starting to do my own work, realizing like how much I perceived I was stuck because I thought I had to participate in the system and understanding I didn't have to participate in it, you know, and learning, starting to learn my own boundaries.

I had no concept of boundaries at that time. I had concept of the fact that like, I could simply do it differently, you know? And I don't have to be. Just because everyone else is in battle, does it mean I have to be? And so that was a really beautiful thing for me, is kind of losing the fear and losing some of that scarcity mindset around this is a way the shoulds, this is the way things have to be done or else this is going to happen.

And so I wonder how much of it this can be like seeking out support with some of the processing, some of the emotional work, you know, taking advantage a lot of the you know, a lot of employers do have give access to some type of mental health care and taking full advantage of it for me like this conversation if someone's listening and and and is in this situation to understand that I mean we're really trying to normalize mental health care.

Right. And mental wellness. And to say that going and getting help for this that that struggling at work is a reason to get support. You know, it's not just having, you know, a diagnosis or, you know, something something kind of like working on a deeper trauma is that's like that is more than enough reason to get help because you're right, life is so short.

And to be able to feel, know, caged in court and unsupported and unseen and unheard and not valued, we should have a limited bandwidth for that.

JC

100% agree could not have said that better.

JW

So I'm curious, Jen, from your perspective, everywhere you've been, you know, you have worked with some of the biggest companies in the world from now. Now, from your perspective, what do you think executive teams and managers need to do in order to support mental and emotional health in the workplace? What do you think are some of the things that they really need to start to consider?

AD

Yes, if you could wave your magic wand, Jen and Eric, you know, and this is going to be like this is going to be the next paradigm. And this is something that's you know what you see is fully actionable, right?

JC

Gosh. I mean, the first big step and if I could sprinkle the pixie dust on every leader I knew would to be make sure that everyone has really wonderful active listening skills. I think we very often get into a space where we're doing much more talking than we are listening. And like, that's the very first step is just keeping your ears open.

Because if you can create that, if you can keep your ears open and just start to create some space, it's amazing what comes into that space. And I'm always amazed that, you know, people like to fill the air like, I don't know about you, but when you're in conversations like people are really uncomfortable and silence and like the silence is actually like where the goodness is.

And if you can sit in it, especially as a leader and just be okay with like what might emerge, then you can start to listen. I just I think there's something there because, you know, again, that psychological safety is going to be the most important thing in order to, you know, as you look around and the good news is there is a ton of research now that's available and at our disposal. What about ways to build psychological safety in the four different stages of that?

And and so there's a lot there. And I go back to thinking about the training and the education. Like that's the stuff I get excited about. That's the stuff that we're educating our leaders about internally at ritual, but you know, helping leaders understand that, that, that psychological safety is really the unlock to building that trust and allowing people to bring their whole self to work.

And, and then everything sort of can, can grow from there, but it starts with just being present and being open.

JW

Yes. So, Jenn, I'll just say my my own emotional health journey has been one of learning how to listen. Audra, would you say that I've become a better listener? Well, I mean, coming from a really you know, this is a low bar to to become like I'm right. But one of the things that I learned about myself around listening was that, I mean, I so identify with this desire to fill the space in and that a lot of it is this desire to control and a fear that if I'm not controlling the conversation, if I'm not controlling where this is going, it's going to go off the rails something or that it's not going to go in a direction that I am comfortable with or that I wanted to go. So I'm wondering, you know, how much of this learning to listen is really about or is really maybe premised on leaders doing this deeper emotional work and coming into contact with this fear and this and this need for absolute control and what and I love what you said of like, you know, when when we listen and when we create that space, that good things happen, you know, and it's really the oh, yeah, good, good thing.

AD

Good things come in. Yeah.

JC

Yeah, yeah. The inner work is key, right. Because I think if you're not aware of those biases and your blind spots and to your point, if it's fear, if it's, you know, everyone's holding on to something, right? I mean, no one is immune. Like everyone's got something that's, you know, that they're holding on to in some way.

And and so yeah, I think figuring out, you know, at least first steps of like what's going on for me that's allowing me or preventing me from showing up in a way that I want to. Is really, really key. And I mean, again, goes back to like, no one's perfect. We're all humans. That's the beauty, right? But if you can be really open about that and even, you know, I've said this, you know, when I'm working on things, I generally will tell my team like, Hey, I'm working on this thing, right?

Like, I know that this has been a problem for me in the past or I knew I could be better at it and I'm working on it and I want you to hold me accountable and you see it, you know, and I did. That was beautiful in my career, beautiful areas.

JW

Jenn, I, that's so, that's so inspiring and that, I mean, to have that level of groundedness and confidence to say this is what I'm working on and like, here it is. Lay it out. Oh, wow. Is that something that you had to learn how to do to to be that vulnerable with with your team?

JC

Definitely. I mean, yeah, I've taken you know, I talked about some of the role models, but it's also taken many years of practice of just and reading great authors. I love Brené Brown. I mean, one of my favorite quotes is something I use all the time as clear as kind, right? But I think there's so much in vulnerability that helps unlock your potential that potential in others.

And so I think when you can just sort of let go of all of that stuff and be really honest and say like, I mean, again, no one's perfect. We're all working on something. If you if you name it, then you can at least share in it. Right? And, and that makes it so much safer and feels better.

I mean, I feel so much freer knowing that I can just show up and I really do. You know, I try to create the invitation for others by being really vulnerable myself. Right. And so I'll share my story or I'll share my and and I'm okay to lead that out because I know that my experience, like once you've done that, it's people are more apt to then respond, right? And so I'm okay to go first. I'm okay to get through the awkwardness and, and try to create that invitation for the vulnerability

JW

And again, I hope it's not speaking out of turn to say that the way you've shown up in the pilot, in the group sessions has been totally inspiring and totally beautiful. And it's like, Oh, wow, this is this is how a leader does it. It's been it's been really, really cool.

AD

Leadership. Yeah. Thank you. It's. It's such a beautiful change. Jenn, I wonder if you see this. I mean, I worked in leadership development for many years, and all of the literature, you know, at the time was on the ten steps to coerce or to motivate or, you know, all of the different things. And it never, never, never in any of those lists would you find you're in work as one of the steps in leadership, right?

Never. And it really wasn't Intel, Brené Brown. I mean, it wasn't I mean, I feel like she's for me anyway, maybe it's her generation. You know, she was definitely, you know, the one carrying the flag forward of change, beginning with vulnerability. And so I wonder if that's the next frontier for leadership is going. Is this like really, you know, digging deep within.

I hope so. Anyway, do you see this change happening in willingness?

JC

Yeah, I do. And yeah, absolutely. And I think about even, you know, even some of the skills or teaching. I went back to grad school a few years back and did a program around organizational development and the whole basis of it. And you're seeing this a lot in business schools now, especially when they're talking about leadership, like the that journey is shifting.

And I think the inner work, one of the first activities we did back then was like discovering your narrative, like taking a moment to just make sense of your life. What has happened, what did those moments mean and how did they impact you and how can you talk about them and and so I think it's really cool because I think people do that work naturally as a part of their their mental health journey with a therapist or a psychologist.

But to do that in a business context setting feels really different. And I've actually I've led that work in a business context with as a part of leadership development to have people go on that journey. And it's fun to see an organization evolve because those exercises typically start with people thinking about the milestones that you would put on your resume.

But then, right, comfortable, all of a sudden there's all this texture of all that happened in between, that in the life moments that actually made them make the choice about the resumé moment and that. And it's all those inner it's all those other parts, right? And, and that's when the stories kind of come to life and then that's where the vulnerability starts to happen.

So I do think, yes, it's absolutely that paradigm is shifting. I think all of the all of the dialog that we're having around mental health in general is really helping with that. We need to keep doing more of it. But I think practicing it and also, you know, like I said, we're creating that invitation and business context is something that we can do as leaders in organizations like it's very possible.

It's a part of the business strategy. It's not another thing. It's it's the thing because humans are the ones running the organization. So I think if you can get alignment, you know, within the leadership team to focus on it and then you get somebody who knows how to do it, it can be a really wonderful way to start to allow people to bring them to the work.

AD

Jenn is a part of that not being everything. I think a part of the old model is performance of leadership, not actual leadership. It's all this performative stuff of I am all knowing, all commanding, all everything to everyone, right? And is are we seeing a shift where folks are showing up with their strengths to say, listen, I like really feel great here.

This is what I feel like. I add and we are structuring this in a way to that. We're a well rounded team that, you know, we have complementary strength that we're bringing to the table. Not everyone has to be everything.

JC

I think that's a huge turnoff, by the way, not that you're out yet, man. I mean, nothing gets me more fired up. When somebody doesn't demonstrate any level of humility like that. I will feel that that person will not will not do well and sort of my life, I think about sort of growth mindset and I think about again, being adaptive to business needs and stuff like that.

I think it is good for people to have some self-confidence and to know what they're good at. And I think that, you know, again, that also comes from the inner work just as much as knowing the blind spots, but also just being open to learning and to changing. And, you know, I think that's just critical. And I and in most organizations like that's what they're talking about.

I mean, humility is absolutely a key competency in most organizations now, because we are I mean, I think about my day to day job in the last two and a half years, like we're charting unknown all the time. And so there's no way that we could all know anything about anything, frankly. So, I mean, I you know, I said to you guys earlier today, you know, the change for me is the fun part, because if you can come into a scenario and realize that you don't know everything, like there are some things, you know, that help create an opinion that you might have or some assumptions you might make.

But there's a whole other part of the story that you probably don't know. And if you aren't courageous enough to say that, then you're going to miss out on somebody else potentially being able to fill that gap. And so, yeah, it does take courage to say, I don't know, but I'll find out or I'm going to, you know, let's find out together.

But the solution is always so much better, you know? I mean, like I said, it's it's never no one likes a no at all. Like, let's be honest, nobody does.

JW

Oh, my gosh. Yes. So absolutely, I'm going to take control of the wheel again and I'm going to land this plane. Jen, with our last three questions that we ask everybody. And so the first one is, if you could put a big Post-it note on everyone's fridge tomorrow morning, what would it say?

JC

I'm going to steal this shamelessly from my incredible yoga teacher because it's so good. But it would say, what can you do for yourself today? And that's because everyone is all I mean, you know, again, like with belief in the human values and gifts, like we're all trying to serve everyone else, right? And one another. And so if you if you can't stop and ask, answer the question for yourself like once a day, then you're probably not serving really the person who's most important, which is you.

So, you know, taking a taking a minute to just think about like, what can you do for yourself today I think is really beautiful.

JW

And then the last comment that that changed the way you think or feel is something that you read, maybe a movie, a song.

JC

Oh, it's every day. I mean, you know, the one that sort of guides me all the time is inspired by my daughter, but, you know, is "To be the things you love most in the person you lost." And it's interesting that quote has inspired me since she passed away to sort of role model the things that she did so well.

But it also guides me now, five years later, to think about, like when I see gifts in someone, how do they how do I honor them by doing those things to beautiful, you know, and by like taking a witness from someone and really thinking about how I can bring that to the world as well.

AD

Thank you so much for sharing that that that is really, really impactful to me. I love that framing. I don't think I had heard that before. Like that's really just a beautiful way to, to to just allow that spirit to live on in the world. Yeah. Yeah. So the third, third and final question is what's one thing that's giving you hope right now?

JC

As there's many, I mean the two of you are one shameless plug for you and for the collective. But I think, you know, figuring out how do we tackle like there's, you know, these big meaty problems in the world. And I think having people who have the energy to get in and try to solve them and keep talking about them.

And, you know, that's inspiring to me. It's it's certainly, you know, energy depleting, you know, to live in like the doom and gloom side of things. And I know we all we all go there sometimes, but I think that giving me hope is having conversations like this and thinking about how do we keep working to make ourselves better and so that we can be better for others.

And I mean, that's why I love honestly, why I love going to work every day is because I think about like what are the kinds of what are the kinds of conversations I can have? How can I leave people feeling better than when we started? And if I can just do a little bit of that every day, then I know that I'm like doing the good work, right?

AD

Got chills like, like everywhere kind of truly when you hear about like that, what a gorgeous, like vision of your role and what I mean that gives me hope to think of every company having that type of support. It's almost like a it's almost like an internal like a like a like a healer, like a, you know, people have like internal their internal legal and marketing teams and all of that.

But I mean, what about that heart and and what you're bringing and nurturing and supporting and and loving and caring for the people that generate all of this, you know, and bring all of us to the world like that is awesome.

JC

You know, I mean, I think it's one of the coolest jobs. I mean, there are many, many jobs I expect to have in my lifetime because there's so much still to learn. But to get to do work like this, where, I mean, truly, like my job is just making sure that people are feeling seen, heard, valued, respected, and that we're unlocking their gifts.

Right. And that they can come to work every day and deploy them. Like how? I don't know what job is better than that, frankly. Like, I'm super lucky.

Enjoying this article? Subscribe to the Yes Collective for more expert emotional wellness just for parents.

Discover Nourish

See more
Podcast Ep. 57: Building More Work/Life Wholeness with Jenn Cornelius, Chief People Officer at Ritual

Podcast

Condimentum eu tortor bibendum.

By

Jackie Kovic

Podcast Ep. 57: Building More Work/Life Wholeness with Jenn Cornelius, Chief People Officer at Ritual

Podcast

Condimentum eu tortor bibendum.

By

Jackie Kovic

Podcast

Condimentum eu tortor bibendum.

By

Jackie Kovic

Podcast Ep. 60: Bringing "Woo" Into Therapy with Janell Cox, LMFT

Podcast

Podcast Ep. 60: Bringing "Woo" Into Therapy with Janell Cox, LMFT

By

Yes Collective Podcast

Podcast Ep. 59: The Power of Woo for Mental and Emotional Health with Jenny Walters, LMFT

Podcast

Podcast Ep. 59: The Power of Woo for Mental and Emotional Health with Jenny Walters, LMFT

By

Yes Collective

Podcast Ep. 58: Creating a Work/Life Wellness Culture with Organizational Psychologist, Avina Gupta, PhD

Podcast

Podcast Ep. 58: Creating a Work/Life Wellness Culture with Organizational Psychologist, Avina Gupta, PhD

By

Yes Collective Podcast

Podcast Ep. 57: Building More Work/Life Wholeness with Jenn Cornelius, Chief People Officer at Ritual

Podcast

Podcast Ep. 57: Building More Work/Life Wholeness with Jenn Cornelius, Chief People Officer at Ritual

By

Yes Collective Podcast

Podcast Ep. 56: Waking Up to Trauma and Healing as a Parent, Partner, and Person, with Tanner Wallace, PhD

Podcast

Podcast Ep. 56: Waking Up to Trauma and Healing as a Parent, Partner, and Person, with Tanner Wallace, PhD

By

Yes Collective Podcast

Podcast Ep. 55: Recovering from trauma with therapist and trauma-sensitive yoga facilitator Ruthie Duran Deffley, LCSW

Podcast

Podcast Ep. 55: Recovering from trauma with therapist and trauma-sensitive yoga facilitator Ruthie Duran Deffley, LCSW

By

Yes Collective Podcast

Podcast Ep. 53: How to find and nurture deep friendships with executive matchmaker, Sophy Singer

Podcast

Podcast Ep. 53: How to find and nurture deep friendships with executive matchmaker, Sophy Singer

By

The Yes Collective Podcast

Podcast Ep. 52: Friendship & Emotional Health with Blake Blankenbecler, LPC and Jenny Walters, LMFT

Podcast

Podcast Ep. 52: Friendship & Emotional Health with Blake Blankenbecler, LPC and Jenny Walters, LMFT

By

The Yes Collective

Podcast Ep. 51 - "Best of Yes" with Sleep Scientist, Kate Simon, PhD

Podcast

Podcast Ep. 51 - "Best of Yes" with Sleep Scientist, Kate Simon, PhD

By

The Yes Collective Podcast

Podcast Ep. 50 - Healing heart & mind through the body with somatic psychotherapist Betsy Powers

Podcast

Podcast Ep. 50 - Healing heart & mind through the body with somatic psychotherapist Betsy Powers

By

Yes Collective

Podcast Ep. 60: Bringing "Woo" Into Therapy with Janell Cox, LMFT

Podcasts

Podcast Ep. 60: Bringing "Woo" Into Therapy with Janell Cox, LMFT

By

Yes Collective Podcast

Podcast Ep. 59: The Power of Woo for Mental and Emotional Health with Jenny Walters, LMFT

Podcasts

Podcast Ep. 59: The Power of Woo for Mental and Emotional Health with Jenny Walters, LMFT

By

Yes Collective

Podcast Ep. 58: Creating a Work/Life Wellness Culture with Organizational Psychologist, Avina Gupta, PhD

Podcasts

Podcast Ep. 58: Creating a Work/Life Wellness Culture with Organizational Psychologist, Avina Gupta, PhD

By

Yes Collective Podcast

Podcast Ep. 57: Building More Work/Life Wholeness with Jenn Cornelius, Chief People Officer at Ritual

Podcasts

Podcast Ep. 57: Building More Work/Life Wholeness with Jenn Cornelius, Chief People Officer at Ritual

By

Yes Collective Podcast

Podcast Ep. 56: Waking Up to Trauma and Healing as a Parent, Partner, and Person, with Tanner Wallace, PhD

Podcasts

Podcast Ep. 56: Waking Up to Trauma and Healing as a Parent, Partner, and Person, with Tanner Wallace, PhD

By

Yes Collective Podcast

Podcast Ep. 55: Recovering from trauma with therapist and trauma-sensitive yoga facilitator Ruthie Duran Deffley, LCSW

Podcasts

Podcast Ep. 55: Recovering from trauma with therapist and trauma-sensitive yoga facilitator Ruthie Duran Deffley, LCSW

By

Yes Collective Podcast

Podcast Ep. 53: How to find and nurture deep friendships with executive matchmaker, Sophy Singer

Podcasts

Podcast Ep. 53: How to find and nurture deep friendships with executive matchmaker, Sophy Singer

By

The Yes Collective Podcast

Podcast Ep. 52: Friendship & Emotional Health with Blake Blankenbecler, LPC and Jenny Walters, LMFT

Podcasts

Podcast Ep. 52: Friendship & Emotional Health with Blake Blankenbecler, LPC and Jenny Walters, LMFT

By

The Yes Collective

Podcast Ep. 51 - "Best of Yes" with Sleep Scientist, Kate Simon, PhD

Podcasts

Podcast Ep. 51 - "Best of Yes" with Sleep Scientist, Kate Simon, PhD

By

The Yes Collective Podcast

Podcast Ep. 50 - Healing heart & mind through the body with somatic psychotherapist Betsy Powers

Podcasts

Podcast Ep. 50 - Healing heart & mind through the body with somatic psychotherapist Betsy Powers

By

Yes Collective

Subscribe to get all the goods

Join the app
Login