Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in the Washington State Employee Assistance Program July 2020 newsletter.
If you have medical coverage through SEBB or PEBB, the SmartHealth wellness platform is another free tool you can sue to help support your mental health and wellbeing. SmartHealth offers a wide variety of free activities that can help reduce stress, build resiliency and increase connections. And you’ll earn points for each activity you complete. if you earn 2,000 points by Nov. 30, you’ll qualify for the $125 wellness incentive (for most, a $125 deduction to your 2021 medical plan deductible).
For example, through the following SmartHealth activities you can earn 100 points and:
Build a mindfulness practice with the video series: A Beginners Guide to Mindfulness
Learn how to increase your happiness through “Offered by Yale: The Science of Well Being” course
Become more knowledgeable about COVID through “COVID Resources: Plan, Prepare, Respond”
a traumatic event or vicarious trauma leads to prolonged symptoms of re-experiencing (flashbacks, nightmares), avoidance (of thoughts, people, situations), negative thoughts and mood (shame, fear), and arousal & reactivity (irritable, angry, reckless, issues with concentration or sleep).
anxiety causes you to worry excessively in intensity, frequency, or amount of distress it causes, or when you find it difficult to control the worry (or stop worrying) once it starts.
you are feeling little interest or pleasure in doing things you once enjoyed, or you are feeling down, depressed, hopeless, or are having thoughts of suicide.
In the NCHS survey, Black and Latinx/Hispanic adults were more likely to report anxiety or depression than whites or Asians. This tragic yet unsurprising result makes sense, given the harsh realities and impacts of longstanding systemic racism in our country coupled with the disproportionate health and economic burden of COVID on BIPOC. Know that EAP is committed to and is actively working to dismantle oppression within our program and services. We wholeheartedly support your right to have a safe space in counseling, and you are welcome and encouraged to ask for a counselor who identifies as a person of color—we will do our best to accommodate your request.
Inclusive Presence, Effective Visuals in During Virtual Meetings Among Topics
The ICSEW will be hosting two virtual professional development workshops from 8:30 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, Aug 4.
The workshops, How to Use Visuals to Increase Engagement During Virtual Meetings, followed by The Power of Inclusive Presence, will be accessible via Zoom and Facebook Live. Note: Zoom attendance is limited to 300 and available by registering through Eventbrite. If the event is sold out on Eventbrite, please view on Facebook Live.
Register for the training through Eventbrite here.
Presentation 1: How to Use Visuals to Engage Virtual Meeting Participants
In the wake of COVID-19 while physical distancing measures prevent in person gatherings, virtual meetings have become the norm.
Perhaps you’ve thought, just because technology makes virtual meetings possible, it doesn’t mean it makes them easier or better.
Join professional visual facilitator, Lisa Arora, to learn how when the meeting must go on, you can use visual communication to increase engagement and improve the experience in virtual meetings.
In this workshop, you’ll explore common challenges in engaging participants in video conference meetings. She’ll get you thinking about the role visuals can play before, during and after your virtual gathering and leave you with tips, tools and practical strategies for delivering a better virtual event with the use of interactive visual communication.
About the Presenter:
Lisa Arora is a professional visual facilitator and mediator. For 12 years, she has served public sector, corporate and non-profit clients around the globe. She has hundreds and hundreds of visual meetings under her belt that span all industries, most of these in healthcare.
Arora’s specialties include: community consultations, public dialogue and cross-sector collaborations, executive strategy sessions, board retreats, strategic visioning sessions, scenario planning, teambuilding and performance improvement initiatives, and ideation and process improvement projects
Arora also speaks about visual methods at dispute resolution conferences and is the creator of Big Beginnings in Visual Mediation, the world’s first online program that teaches mediators online how to leverage the power of visuals to resolve disputes faster and easier. Arora has authored three industry best practices eGuides and guest authored chapters in two anthologies on visual facilitation.
Presentation 2: The Power of Inclusive Presence
As we wake up and become more aware of equity and the vastly different experiences and levels of access in our workplaces and in society, you may find yourself experiencing a wide range of uncomfortable feelings: frustration, despair, excitement or awkwardness. Are you holding back your full and authentic self out of fear or uncertainty? Learn simple embodied practices to become more grounded and confident enough to take risks, speak your truth and make authentic connections.
About the Presenter:
Larisa Benson is the host of The Government Joy Network, a movement of civic leaders transforming governance from the inside out. After a full career of exercising creative innovation in senior positions from inside the halls of government, Benson began teaching in a compassionate leadership program that was born inside Google and is now a global nonprofit leadership institute.
Benson weaves together leadership presencing practices, human centered design thinking and the latest neuroscientific research about othering, being and belonging in different communities. Serving as faculty in the University of Washington’s Executive MPA and Lean Six-Sigma certification programs has granted her the honor of teaching and mentoring hundreds of leaders throughout the region. She can often be found wandering forest trails and rivers on the homelands of the Nisqually and other Coast Salish peoples in the Pacific Northwest.
Virtual Celebration Will Be Tuesday, July 21 on Zoom and Facebook Live
Dr. Karen Johnson, Equity and Inclusion Administrator for the Washington State Department of Corrections, will be the keynote speaker for the Interagency Committee of State Employed Women’s 2020 transition celebration. The event will be held virtually place from 8:30 a.m. to noon. July 21 via Zoom and Facebook Live.
Registration Information: Zoom attendees must register through EventBrite. After registering through EventBrite, attendees will receive a confirmation email with the Zoom meeting link. Zoom is limited to 300 attendees. The ICSEW will also live stream the event on its Facebook page.
The transition celebration is one of the ICSEW’s largest events of the year. It celebrates the committee’s accomplishments over the past year and also serves as a way for the general public and perspective members to learn about the committee’s work. The event is filled with inspirational speakers and professional development presentations. Current Perspective ICSEW members are encouraged to attend. Current a members are encouraged to attend and invite guests and their agency sponsors.
The meeting will also contain a short ceremony recognizing outstanding work of current members and thanking members whose terms of service are ending for their contributions. ICSEW executive board members will also welcome newly-appointed ICSEW representatives and alternate representatives.
Jasmine Pippin-Timco and Debra Lefing, co-chairs for the ICSEW’s Public Outreach subcommittee will also announce the recipient organizations for its annual charity drive. Each year the ICSEW Public Outreach Subcommittee coordinates a statewide charity project for a Washington State Combined Fund Drive charity. This year, the subcommittee will be collecting gift cards and supplies for organizations that offer shelter, support and other resources for victims of domestic violence.
About Dr. Karen Johnson
As part of the DOC’s team devoted to diversity, equity, inclusion and respect, Johnson says she feels blessed to be in a space that aligns her professional and personal passions. DOC’s mission is to improve public safety by positively changing lives, and its goal is to prepare incarcerated individuals to successfully return to their communities. Working for fairness and equity fuels her.
EAP is offering webinars on a variety of COVID-19 related topics to support emotional and mental health and wellbeing. Register for an upcoming live session or view a pre-recorded session on-demand below. More sessions will be added regularly.
In our ever changing world, learning how to navigate change is an essential skill—one that can be developed. In this webinar we’ll talk about the impact of change, actions you can take to navigate change based on your unique response to stress, and resources available to support you.
How to Build Resilience When Your Job Involves Helping Others in Crisis
This webinar is intended for those who are supporting others in crisis e.g. customers, clients, students, employees/staff. During this webinar you will learn how your mind and body responds to stress, possible impacts on your emotional and physical well-being, strategies to build resilience, and supports and resources available to you.
New Child Care Center Will be Located on Capitol Campus
From the Department of Enterprise Services:
Construction begins the week of June 22 for a new Capitol Campus child care center that will serve state workers in Olympia. The Department of Enterprise Services is overseeing construction of the center which is located on the corner of Maple Park Avenue Southeast and Capitol Way South.
Construction activities for the week of June 22 include:
Installing the building’s foundation.
Removing five trees, one of which is in poor health.
Removing another tree, a large sugar maple at the intersection, to make room for new curb ramps for pedestrian safety at the crosswalk.
Construction is expected to be noisy at times and may intermittently impact vehicle and pedestrian traffic. Work will take place approximately between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. The construction plan meets the safety guidelines under Gov. Jay Inslee’s Safe Start Washington direction. Sign up for updates on construction impacts here.
Get updates on child care center operations
DES is overseeing the process to hire an operator for the center. Steps include issuing a request for proposal, selecting an apparent successful bidder, and then signing a contract. Sign up to receive updates on the hiring of an operator for the new child care center. You will be notified when a waiting list for child admissions has been established.
More information about the child care center
The future single-story, 9,600 square-foot building will become the southern gateway to the Capitol Campus. The Legislature funded the $10 million project in 2019.
The center will be built with an eco-friendly design that focuses on conserving resources, ensuring air and water quality and reducing waste. Ultimately, this project will add 37 new trees to Capitol Campus. The mix of deciduous and flowering species are in addition to the 100 new trees being planted on campus in association with a National Association of State Foresters Centennial Challenge.
The new child care center does not replace the existing care center on Perry Street (5 Cs), which will continue its operations at that location.
Renee Smith, founder of A Human Workplace and past ICSEW conference presenter has a few virtual gatherings this week on Working Alone Together. One of the webinars is geared to those who identify as women and ‘Standing Together for Love and Justice’ focuses on leaning into the work of overturning racial injustices.
From Renee Smith:
Take time this week for self-compassion and connection
We are each facing a lot, holding so much…The pandemic. Opening the economy. Grief over the attrocities of racial injustice. We want to take wise actions, to listen and learn, to figure out what we can do.
Our nervous systems, bodies, minds, emotions are overloaded. I know I’m feeling it – I am guessing you are too?
To stay present and strong for ourselves and for those who depend on us, it’s a good time for self-compassion, for community and human connection.
Join us to connect with others, lower your cortisol, recover your energy and mental focus while experiencing practices you can use again and again.
Working Alone Together – for anyone: June 9 • 9:00 – 11:00 AM PDT
Hosted by Lori Heffelfinger and James Jackman. Learn more here.
Women Working Alone Together – for those identifying as women: June 10 • 9:00 – 11:00 AM PDT
Hosted by Shannon Patterson and Gina Lavery. Learn more here.
Standing Togther for Love and Justice – for anyone: June 11 • 1-2:30 PM PDT
Hosted by Derick Carter, Greg Flynn and Renee Smith. Learn more here.
Next Week: More Human Now begins. Join us!
This new 6-part series will help you move intentionally through the grief and overwhelm of these times by cultivating human skills, using evidence based practices for well-being, and moving toward qualities you care about – now.
June 16, 23, 30, July 7, 14, 21 • 1:00 – 2:30 PM
Hosted by Renee Smith and Greg Flynn. Learn more here.
ICSEW is deeply honored to share the message below from the Blacks United in Leadership and Diversity (BUILD) business resource group, many of whom are part of the ICSEW community. BUILD exists to improve the experiences of current and future Black employees, increase the representation of Black people in leadership positions, give voice to Black perspectives in policy decisions about Washington communities, and build each other up as we move forward.
We, as the ICSEW community and as individuals, have a responsibility to find ways to eradicate racism, discrimination and disparate outcomes not only within the organizations where we work, but in our daily lives. It may seem overwhelming – but small, concrete actions, like speaking up and not being silent in the face of racism, can make real change happen.
ICSEW is committed to building an environment of opportunity and equity for all. Included on BUILD’s webpage is a list of resources that can further support our friends and colleagues.
Thank you to BUILD for moving Washington forward.
Amal Joury, ICSEW Chair
A Message from BUILD
Blacks United in Leadership and Diversity (BUILD) brings you a special message from our Leadership. For more information, support, and resources, visit our website: BUILDWA.org
We are not okay. How could we be? Continued acts of violence toward members of the black community have shaken our souls, left ineffaceable images in our minds, and fractured our hearts. Within our community, there is fear as we wonder who among us is next? Anger as we contemplate why these acts continue to happen. Sadness as we reckon with the fact each atrocity reaffirms that all people are clearly not created equal. At the intersection of all of our emotions is the realization that the existence of racism has yet to be openly acknowledged. A mere utterance of the word solicits cringe-worthy responses by those who attempt to justify the motives behind the actions that create injury within the black community; while giving rise to discomfort in others who would rather it remain a secret locked deep in the bowels of our social structure where it has no impact upon them. Continued denial of what is so clearly obvious is both shameful and disgusting and continues to perpetuate the disenfranchisement of a people.
No longer can we sit silently idle while our communities are subjected to the racial contract that has plagued our country. To continue to deny that racism exists in our culture would be comparable to denying oneself of the nutrients that are essential for survival. Abstinence in the short-term is possible, however, long-term deprivation would result in catastrophic injury and suffering. The deprivation of equality and the preservation of racist ideals have caused catastrophic injury and suffering to the black community for far too long. We can no longer elect to occasionally treat the symptoms of racism in our society. This disease must be eradicated completely. A remedy, however, cannot be achieved without the admission that racism still exists. As Dr. King (1968) posited in his speech at Grosse Point High School:
We will never solve the problem of racism until there is a recognition of the fact that racism still stands at the center of so much of our nation and we must see racism for what it is. It is the nymph of an inferior people. It is the notion that one group has all of the knowledge, all of the insights, all of the work, all of the purity, all of the dignity. And another group is worthless, or on a lower level of humanity, inferior. To put it in philosophical language, racism is not based on some empirical generalization which, after some studies, would come to conclusion that these people are behind because of environmental conditions. Racism is based on an ontological affirmation. It is the notion that the very being of a people is inferior.
His words maintain their relevance in American culture some 52 years later. Violent acts of racism have eroded the hope of a nation at a time where the strength of togetherness held remarkable value. The uncertainty of our current circumstance coupled with the global pandemic amplifies the intensity of the times. Now more than ever we call upon those who can speak truth into power, bravely denouncing the oppressive acts that have created dissension within our communities. We must be willing to display a courageous vulnerability as we share with others how these tragedies have impacted our lives. We must engage in a unified dialogue not to cast blame on a villain; rather partner in a collaborative fashion to generate ways in which we can raise awareness, educate others, and reconstruct the social agreement around race in our communities. In the words of Fredrick Douglas, “the feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the priority of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against man must be proclaimed and denounced” (Douglas, F., 1852).
To our community, Blacks United In Leadership and Diversity stands with you. Our hearts are fractured along with yours. We see you, we love you, and honor you. With open arms, we welcome you to join us as we continue this dialogue at our next general membership meeting June 18th (calendar appointment linked below). You are not alone…we are not alone. Together we will let every voice be heard. Together we will continue to persevere. Together we will prepare to rise united and meet this moment.
The Washington State Blacks United in Leadership and Diversity business resource group exists to improve the experiences of current and future Black state employees, increase the representation of Black people in leadership positions, give voice to the Black perspective in policy discussions about Washington communities, and build each other up as we move forward.
Please share this information and encourage your colleagues and state-employed family and friends to attend and get involved! We are a formal, enterprise-wide resource group conducting official state business. Participants are not required to take leave to participate. If you experience any challenges to participating, please let us know.
The women of our grandmothers’ time lived in a very small and narrow sphere, but civilization has advanced by many leaps and bounds. Now Washington can prove to the world the greatness of our evergreen state is not determined by the number of acres it contains or its population, but by the characters of its men and women who today are extending to all women of America the privilege of the a ballot.
–Frances Haskell, first women elected to Washington State House of Representatives on ratification of the 19th amendment granting women’s right to vote
Secretary of State Kim Wyman was moved to tears as she read the quote by Frances Haskell, the first woman elected to Washington State’s House of Representatives during the ICSEW’s first ever virtual meeting May 19.
“It gets me teary every time I read that quote because it was those powerhouse women who got to serve in the legislature because the men and women in Washington state in 1910 had the foresight to say, ‘you know what? Women should have the right to vote,’” Wyman said. “Women have held almost every elected position in the state because of Frances Haskell.
ICSEW members attended the meeting via Zoom and Facebook live. In addition to talking about women’s suffrage in Washington state, Wyman also answered questions submitted via Zoom Chat and Facebook Live. She talked about the address confidentiality program, which keeps addresses of victims of domestic violence, stalking, trafficking and sexual assault from public records.
Wyman also talked about innovations Washington state has taken in a vote-by-mail system. Wyman noted that Washington is one of only five states in the nation that is entirely vote by mail and the Secretary of State’s Office has worked with partner agencies such as the FBI and Homeland security to ensure the integrity and protection of the elections as critical infrastructure.
Wyman also answered questions about who were ‘powerhouse women’ who have inspired her career. She talked about her maternal and paternal grandmothers. They were both single mothers in the 1940s who had been in abusive relationships. They both got divorced. “They were single women in a time when women were not single,” Wyman said.
“They both realized this was not the future they wanted for their children….They had the fortitude to work hard and instill that in their children and grandchildren. When I look back on those foundational elements and tie it back in with people li9ke Billie Jean King and Title IX, Title IX taught me to compete and gave me the keys to the workforce. I’m very proud of that family.”
After the presentation, Mentorship Subcommittee Chair Josefina Magana gave an update on the ICSEW mentorship pilot. The subcommittee is exploring virtual ways to proceed with the mentorship program, in light of the governor’s Stay, Home Stay Healthy Order. She said the mentorship subcommittee is still looking for around ten state employees to serve as mentors to other state employees in the pilot. If you are interested send an email to Stacy Hiatt by June 5, 2020. email@example.com. For more information, please visit the Mentorship Pilot Program page.
The Washington State Employee Assistance Program is offering webinars on a variety of COVID-19 related topics to support emotional and mental health and wellbeing. Register today for these upcoming live webinars:
*New* Couples: Managing Your Way through COVID-19 (live)