In this interview, Corporate Wellness Magazine speaks with Mary Toland Shaw, a leading health coach and a recent graduate of the Certified Corporate Wellness Specialist (CCWS) Program about the future of corporate wellness. The CCWS program was developed by the Corporate Wellness Association to equip industry stakeholders with the right tools and resources to build the most effective corporate wellness programs.
Q: How important is well-being to you personally?
My personal well-being is extraordinarily important to me; health is the greatest wealth a person can have. Our vibrational energy is our gift back out to others, and we can serve and give back only from the wellspring we have nourished in our own personal well-being. Eating a plant-based diet, enjoying exercise outdoors, spending time with beloved ones, and nourishing my emotional and spiritual well-being with practices like HeartMath, prayer, and meditation are all key.
Q: What change have you noticed over the last year with corporate wellness?
There is a stronger need than ever to make the workplace more "human-friendly". The great resignation has shown us a shift: that we must value people in their wholeness, creating a sense of belonging, respect for work-life balance, and acknowledgment that emotional health and social well-being matter.
Programs that enhance this sense of connection will thrive in the near future. Admittedly, the pandemic and now the war in Ukraine have created dense, fear-based energy, thus, leaders must help our people stay grounded in all that is good and decent and create that sense of vision so that we keep the engagement of our employees' hearts, letting them know we care.
Q: Where do you see the industry headed?
I believe the industry can have a huge impact by staying focused on nutrition. The food industry bombards us with advertising to purchase processed, unhealthy foods that deplete our energy and contribute significantly to obesity and chronic illnesses. Helping to encourage our employees to try new recipes that are colorful with fresh vegetables and fruits and to expand their palate with curiosity just one step at a time toward a more plant-based diet can be incredibly important.
We must be advocates for getting to the heart of chronic illnesses, which is that we are what we eat, and we need to get back to basics. I believe a movement in this regard can be really powerful to the well-being and productivity of the American workforce as a whole. To me, there is no more important issue in wellness and one the corporate wellness industry can help to sculpt.
Q: What are the most important focus areas for you in corporate wellness for the upcoming year?
I'm a heart-centered, well-being coach; much of my practice focuses on sharing HeartMath Techniques to help my clients with their personal resilience and life joy. I have found the practice of these techniques to be easy, in-the-moment, and life transformative. I also take time to always discuss with my clients their nutrition and the profound impact it can have on their sense of well-being and their vitality for life.
Q: If you could give our readers one piece of advice in regards to wellness programs, what would it be?
Make employee well-being part of your corporate values, and walk the talk. Ensure that your programs address all facets of a human being: their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. More important than ever before is to give employees through your wellness initiatives a chance to feel a sense of belonging and a variety of different approaches to improving their lives. Nutrition must be a key component as it is foundational.
Q: Why did you go through the Certified Corporate Wellness Specialist program?
I found the readings to be thoughtful, challenging, and relevant. I wanted to get a certification that equipped me for the "real life" issues you encounter in being a wellness advocate and to provide me with a full plate of different creative ideas from which to learn. It was a wonderful experience for me and is still serving me well in my practice.
Q: What was the most valuable takeaway of the corporate wellness certification program for you?
All of the wonderful ideas that others with the same passion as me have tried in corporate settings and the learning they have had.
Mary has more than 20 years of experience as an HR Executive with fast-growing SaaS companies and now serves in her own heart-centered, well-being coaching practice.