Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC) welcomed more than 80 people to campus on Sept. 22 for the “Healthy KC Networking Forum: Appreciation in Action.” Held from 7:30-9 a.m., it focused on the impact of gratitude in the workplace, and in our daily lives.
Organized by the KC Chamber along with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, Healthy KC is a regional health and wellness program. It also received support from business, medical, philanthropic and community health organizations. The goal of the group is to promote health and wellness in the Greater Kansas City area.
The moderator for the forum was Dr. Michelle Robin, a chiropractor and 1991 CUKC alumna. Featured panelists were Stacie Engelmann, with Lockton Companies, Darwin Pennye, with Urban Youth Academy, and Dr. Dale Marrant, vice president of human resources and organizational development at CUKC.
During a Q&A session, Robin and the panelists discussed the benefits that can be realized through living a life of gratitude. They shared personal and professional accounts, along with points of wisdom they’ve learned during their lives that have made an impact on them.
Pennye reflected on his appreciation for the opportunities he has been given in life, and he revealed how he tries to help the growth of the children with whom he works, but also the members of his organization.
“We celebrate birthdays among each other, and then each week we also try to have somebody take on a different role of leadership and fostering how we show respect, and how we show encouragement to one another,” Pennye said. “We can get very busy in our schedule and in trying to make sure the children have what they need, but it’s important for us to foster that among our employees as well.”
Pennye stressed that it’s crucial to remind people daily about the great job they do. He tries to take the lead on that, to encourage them and to say thank you for the effort they put forth.
Some of the workplace benefits that can result from gratitude shown in the office include employees finding greater meaning in their work. A workplace culture where gratitude is the norm decreases stress and contributes to reduced employee turnover.
Marrant believes we all know that showing gratitude is important, but life is busy, and we don’t always slow down and take the time to share what we’re feeling. Events like the Healthy KC forum are a great opportunity to help people and organizations develop themselves to achieve better success in the office.
“Building strong relationships in the workplace is an important task because we often spend more time with our colleagues than we do with our own families,” Marrant said. “Feeling appreciated and helping others feel valued not only helps unleash the greatness that each person possesses, but also helps one’s organization grow and prosper.”
In addition to hearing from members of the panel, Robin asked attendees to share examples of how gratitude plays a beneficial role in their work environment or personal life. The attendees also enjoyed a light breakfast, and had time before the presentation for networking with other health-minded individuals in the Kansas City metro.
The KC Chamber, formerly known as the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, has more than 2,500 members from the 15-county Kansas City area.