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Shifting the Narrative of Wellbeing in Wisconsin:

Our Collective Courage is the Power for Change

There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.

– Margaret J. Wheatley

As the processes, environments, and experiences of our organizations and communities continue to change exponentially this year, employee wellbeing has unquestionably been identified as a paramount and strategic responsibility for employers. If there’s any optimistic opportunity that can come from heavy societal challenges such as a global pandemic and the rising social justice movement, it’s the shared raw, unparalleled, and unscripted experiences of collective and enduring stress across our communities, our workforce, our peers and families, and ourselves that has revealed how essential it is to widen the scope of how we support the wellbeing of our people.

Over the years, the WCWI community has been a leading contributor to the expansion of the scope of employee wellness. Whether it’s our statewide engaged employers in seven Well City and Well County projects for over fifteen years, or expanding the definition of how individuals experience wellness, or our innovative Wisconsin wellbeing leaders learning and growing together in WCWI’s TECH Training – our lens of wellness has evolved for the better. 

But with this widening scope, comes more responsibility for those of us that work to improve the wellness of others. Wellbeing is not achieved in a silo. Now, perhaps more than ever, we are aware of just how interconnected we all are and therefore how important it is to work in collective pursuit to shift the narrative of employee wellbeing in Wisconsin. And most importantly, acknowledging the current state of the world, it’s our priority to be courageous in leading the next paradigm of wellbeing strategies.

It is courage that will be the underlying attribute for us, as wellness leaders and teams, to lean into the challenge of supporting employee wellbeing among the complexities that this year has brought about. The courage to be curious, to be creative, and to explore what’s possible for wellbeing through lenses that we haven’t yet examined. WCWI is committed to leading our membership community in strategy and action and over the next several weeks, we’ll be exploring concepts and ideas to begin exploring how we can collectively impact wellbeing for our people and our organizations. 

We’re on this courageous and unprecedented journey together and we have the power of community on our side, as connected employers who are transforming Wisconsin’s workforce. Brené Brown describes perfectly what’s possible, when we are collectively courageous: 

Courage is contagious. A critical mass of brave leaders is the foundation of an intentionally courageous culture. Every time we are brave, we make the people around us a little braver and our organizations bolder and stronger.”


Marissa Kalkman

Marissa Kalkman, MS, MCHES
Executive Director
Learn more about me.

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