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Inside view: what it takes to become a quality of life changemaker


Quality of life Observer

- Global

- May 6 2015

An impressive group of leaders from sectors as varied as defense, healthcare, humanitarianism, and finance took the stage at the Conrad Hotel late Wednesday morning to explore views on what it takes to become a Quality of Life changemaker.


Arianna Huffington, one of the most influential figures in media today, opened the conversation by talking about what she calls the Third Metric – a sustainable and more humane definition of success. She said science demonstrates that taking care of ourselves is a performance issue and not a luxury. 

 

How we value success determines how we spend our days, and in the working world, she said, “we glamorize sleep deprivation.” We take better care of our cell phones than ourselves. “Everyone here knows how much battery remains in our smartphones.”

 

 

 

The supreme irony, she said, is that living this way doesn’t just make us unhealthier and unhappier, it makes us less productive. Leadership is noticing opportunities that others miss, and seeing icebergs before you run into them.

Huffington said that companies can help model new behavior. Some are starting to introduce stress reduction measures into the workplace. The German carmaker Daimler, for example, has a policy to ensure that employees don’t receive work emails while on vacation. 

 

She then invited the first set of panel members, Susan Frampton, Shannon Brown, and Dan Cockerell, onstage. Frampton is president of Planetree, a nonprofit that works to advance patient-centered healthcare practices. She described how her organization aims to slow down the prevalent “productivity model” through education on the evidence-based benefits of empathy and compassion to improve Quality of Life for patients and healthcare professionals alike.

 

Shannon Brown representing the Defense industry is Dean of Faculty and Academic Programs at the Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy. He explained that the school molds future leaders to shape the military’s evolving culture by combining strategic thinking with Quality of Life concerns. From the world of business and entertainment, Dan Cockerell, VP of Walt Disney’s Hollywood Studios, shared the company’s belief that taking care of the wellbeing of their thousands of “cast members” across the globe ensures unforgettable memories for guests.

 

Huffington then welcomed a second panel of changemakers: Sattar Bawany, Ron Oswald, Lionel Zinsou, and Erika Joergensen—again, a multinational group drawn from very different sectors.

 

As CEO of PAI Partners, a French private equity firm, Zinsou asserted that in the wake of the most recent economic crisis, profitability without responsibility is no longer an option. He also said that financial models must aim for Quality of Life outcomes that create sustainable value for pensioners and citizens, particularly in developing countries, thus doing away with the negative side effects of rapid growth.

 

Joergensen, Director of the UN World Food Programme’s New York office, explained that in addition to emergency response operations, the world’s largest NGOs is expanding its approach to eradicate hunger through more holistic, long-term solutions that involve local communities, governments and the private sector.

 

Oswald, who represents 10 million workers worldwide as General Secretary of the International Union of Food, emphasized the need to close the gap so that all employees can exercise their fundamental rights to join a union as benefit from collective bargaining. Under his leadership, several global companies (including Sodexo) have signed agreements with the IUF to this end.

 

And Bawany, CEO of the Centre for Executive Education in Singapore, coaches business leaders to create a climate of responsibility, transparency, fairness, and effectiveness at work. He spoke of the need for leaders to undergo “individual transformational change” and develop a climate of trust in their organizations in order to become authentic Quality of Life Changemakers.

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Inside view: what it takes to become a quality of life changemaker

An impressive group of leaders from sectors as varied as defense, healthcare, humanitarianism, and finance took the stage at the Conrad Hotel late Wednesday morning to explore views on what it takes to become a Quality of Life changemaker.

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