Creating Wellness at Work and With Your Work

Written by: Team Welligence

May 19, 2022

At times, members of the Welligence team have the opportunity to be inspired by and appreciative of other organizations’ events. This past April, one of those opportunities presented itself with the Women’s Conference of Florida 2022 in Tampa. This was the organization’s sixth annual conference where the goal is to “offer professional women from across the state a platform to address the most important issues facing women… designed to empower women to positively influence the world around them.” And, without a doubt they hit the mark.

The theme of this year’s conference was Spark Strive Succeed and from the start, the planners had a stellar lineup. Led by a wide variety of recognized leaders, authors, and corporate executives, each session gave attendees ideas they could take back to their lives and apply immediately.

Here is the lineup of inspirational speakers from the conference:

  • Comedian Dr. Kerry Szymanski

  • Keynote Speaker and Author Erica Dhawan

  • Author Bridgett McGowen

  • Author and Keynote Speaker Mel Robbins

  • Strategy Consultant and Author Arika Pierce

Dr. Kerry Szymanski: Stand up comedy

The conference opened with stand-up comedy by a very funny and relatable Kerry Szymanski, Ph.D. Dr. Szymanski was actually doing double duty – serving as the sponsor representative from The Tampa Bay Women’s Business Centre where she is the group’s director. Her comedy expertly wove the sensitivity of the events of the last two years with the humor needed to start the day on a lighthearted, energetic note.

Erica Dhawan: Digital Body Language: How to Build Trust and Connection, No Matter the Distance

Then, things got really rolling. Erica Dhawan, keynote speaker and author of Digital Body Language: How to Build Trust and Connection, No Matter the Distance” was beyond what anyone expected. After all, when was the last time a keynote speaker led you and 1.000 others in a Bollywood-style dance to help drive home their point about body language? Truly, Dhawan’s message was timely, insightful, and valuable in the workplace today.

Dhawan started by inviting the audience to reflect on the recent past. What did you long for when we couldn’t be together? What didn’t you miss? What do you want to let go of? And, in a more direct path to work and career, she asked, how are you being agile? How are you bringing your best ways of being and seeing to work? How well are you bringing diverse ideas together to get big things done. How can you reimagine how to connect with others? The question that brought her into the core of her talking points was, “How can you use connectional intelligence at work?”

Dhawan’s  four principles of connectional intelligence—in the context of today’s digital and virtual world:

  1. Value visibly. Digital body language includes everything from length of emails to clarifying success and managing video meetings – especially if that meeting is a combination of in-person and virtual attendees. Dhawan states that using all caps in email or single letter abbreviations in texts is akin to a rude and abrupt tone of voice. She recommends assigning different meeting hosts at different points in a meeting to keep attendees’ attention and ensure a balance of voices between in-person and virtual attendees.

  2. Communicate carefully. Reading and writing carefully is important. You cannot always be brief and succinct. You do need to be clear—by ensuring due dates are established and the request is clear and precise. Giving a level of priority to projects and tasks is as important as creating norms within the team for response times and expectations.

  3. Collaborate confidently. Dhawan asserted that every company and team is encumbered with woefully outdated or ineffective processes. For her company, they instituted a “cut the crap” committee to correct inefficiencies. Anyone could go to the committee with the “crap” item at the top of their list and request to get it rectified. The catch? They were also required to offer a solution.

  4. Trust totally. This idea resonated with the Welligence team because it is so closely aligned with the message from Dee Olomajeye, Senti Biosciences, a speaker they heard at HR West just the month before. Dhawan advised the audience to give everyone the benefit of an open culture, one where they feel trusted and listened to, and one in which the team trusts what they are being told.

Having a keynote speaker that not only motivated and inspired—but also educated and informed—was valuable for the professional women in attendance and would be just as valuable for any audience of business professionals. Based on Dhawan’s keynote address, there is little doubt her book is a wealth of robust strategy and ideas that serve all populations in the corporate world.

Bridgett McGowen: Show Up and Show Out: Top Communication Habits and Secrets of the Most Confident Leaders

Bridgett McGowen, author of several books, demonstrated her ideas as much as she talked about them in this high-energy breakout session. She had members of the audience at the front of the room bouncing balls and back and forth, dancing to their favorite songs, and even walking on the catwalk. Each exercise fit perfectly with her theme of showing up and showing out.

McGowen has identified four communication and “seeking” styles of people. She admits there may be tons of variations of types, but showcasing these four captures a large majority of workplace styles.

  1. Connection seekers: These team members need a feeling of personal rapport and emotional acceptance. They consider others as humans first, and then coworkers.

  2. Honestly seekers: These are folks seeking honesty, and they need to know that what is being communicated is logical, accurate, and aligned with what they know.

  3. Results seekers: This group of people are focused on results and need to know what the bottom line is and how they use what is being discussed in their work. They want to know how the results shape their approach.

  4. Energy seekers: These are the team members who seek feelings of excitement and also want the thrill of discovery—importantly, they want to share that energy with others.

McGowen had ideas for every aspect of communication: word selection, tone of voice, pace of speech, demeanor of the person speaking, and even attire. To show up and show out, she recommends leading with a sincere smile and walking to the beat of your favorite song everywhere you go. Sounds fun, doesn’t it?

McGowen is a powerful speaker with clear ideas and a strong personal story. When listening to her, the audience was drawn to her energy. Her book, Show Up and Show Out: 52 Communication Habits to Make You Unforgettable, promises to be full of more actionable ideas that people at all levels can implement into their work lives.

Mel Robbins: The 5-second Rule: The Simple Science-backed Secret to Changing Anything

A woman as vibrant as Mel Robbins, who wears multi-colored, sequined pants couldn’t be bothered with the planned fireside chat. What started as a sit-down conversation, quickly erupted into an interactive, audience participation event that challenged everyone to break out of their comfort zones.

Robbins’ book, The 5-Second Rule, was at the heart of her talk and she had a huge following in the crowd right from the start. People clamored to get her attention during the Q&A portion and more than one attendee said they had traveled from as far as Minnesota and Georgia to hear her speak. She took her time answering everyone’s questions about topics such as taking action when scared, overcoming inhibitions that interrupt personal and professional growth, and figuring out what triggers fears.

Robbins talked about becoming a student of what you want to be and picking up the habits required to achieve a goal and acting accordingly. She encouraged attendees to remember a time when they felt happy in their lives and reflect on what was going on in that time. Robbins encouraged people to replicate the positive behaviors that feed happiness rather than falling into unproductive behaviors.

Robbins’ direct style of communication turned the afternoon slow-down into a high-energy session. She had people on their feet and the audience hooked on her every word. Her draw as a speaker was obvious. Even those in the audience who weren’t aware of her prior to the conference, left feeling a part of her world and motivated by her methods.

Akira Pierce: I Can. I Will. Watch Me. How Women Leaders can get What They Want, Need, and Deserve.

Akira Pierce’s first point struck everyone hard. Anyone who had ever spent time preparing for anything big in their lives woke up when she said “ready is an arbitrary goal.” Pierce says you have to tell yourself you are ready no matter what and do it even if you’re scared. She talked about removing the idea of having to be ready. Start before you are ready.

Pierce’s other points hit home just as much as her first idea. She talked about auditing your career to find the holes. Pierce advised the audience to look at their company, the people, the work, their lifestyles. Identify the gaps and barriers. Then, Pierce said to ask yourself how to limit the gaps and barriers so you can give yourself control, clarity, and confidence in your career.

Pierce then asked the audience who had their back? She said mentors are great, but sponsors are the real game changers. Sponsors amplify you at work and can help make things happen. To attract a sponsor, you need a combination of an action plan and visibility with your story, plus impact and results toward business goals. Then, when necessary, come out and ask someone. Pierce says sponsors are usually respected, influential and at a high-level in the organization. Plus, they are often interested in spotting and lifting-up talent.

Wellness at work and with your work comes from so many different places. For the audience of the Women’s Conference of Florida, it came from motivational speakers, energizing sessions, a power-packed day, and a room of 1500 peers that valued uplifting, action-oriented strategies they could apply to their careers and lives. And, there were amazing parts of the conference that simply couldn’t be captured here. This was a valuable experience and a great opportunity to celebrate the impact of women in the workplace.

Ready to learn more? At Welligence, we specialize in mental health training programs for the workplace. Our courses are designed to lead companies to overcome the stigma of mental health and reduce the decline in productivity that results from it by way of education and implementation of workplace wellness best practices. Find out how we can help you normalize the mental health conversation in your workplace.


Kimberly Schneiderman’s expertise includes, training, program, and content development for career intelligence—turning thought leadership into action. Kimberly creates and manages a wide range of career intelligence resources and programs for professionals, leaders, and the career coaches who work with them, and frequently presents strategic, research-based webinars. Kimberly loves to work remotely from her home in Florida and owns an endless collection of the comfiest sweatpants.