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Deepa Sethu Discusses ‘Advocating for You’ and Importance of Workplace Mental Health

The Arc strategy director reflects on key takeaways from VivaWomen Mental Health Fall Conference

Earlier this fall, Deepa Sethu, Arc Strategy Director, was a panelist at a conference called “Advocating for You: A Discussion on the Importance of Workplace Mental Health,” hosted by VivaWomen, Publicis Groupe’s business resource group for women and their allies. The conference, organized by VivaWomen’s Devika Premsukh and Laure Stratford, revolved around mental and physical health advocacy, and demonstrated how working women are creating and maintaining a work-life balance in this current landscape.

Coming out of the conference, Deepa felt a sense of renewal and empowerment. She sat down with us to share her top three takeaways.

Monique Zapata-Kaufman, group Director at CJ Affiliates, set the stage by encouraging us to focus on the things we can control, which is at the center of our thoughts, attitudes and actions.

Learning WFH Styles
“At the conference, Nicole Waxenblatt (VP, Group Creative Directo at MRY) and I spoke about setting and managing boundaries while working from home. We discussed the 3 ‘R’s’ of boundary setting: RECOGNIZE, RESPOND and REMIND. Nicole and I talked about how we crafted and launched a survey for agency employees to determine their WFH style: segmentors or integrators. A segmenter is an employee who establishes firm boundaries between their personal and work lives, while an integrator is an employee who tends to blur the lines been work and home, switching back and forth between the two; most people fall somewhere between the two.

After assessing survey results, we gleaned useful tips from the DiSC assessment experts including Leo Burnett’s Nick Brown on how to manage ourselves and our mental health based on our DiSC type during this gruesome WFH period.”

Feelings and Intuition Prevail
“Jennifer Vianello of Zenith spoke about how we need to learn to express what we need and how to articulate it to avoid burnout or resentment. The trick is to not complain or let things fester, but to bring some facts and embrace solutions. Kelly Kokonas, EVP Global Director at Starcom, spoke about how focusing on yourself becomes a “radical” self-care practice that you can fully implement into your work and home life. There was one sentence Kelly said that stuck with me which was “there is nothing more important than how you feel.” We, as women, are biologically wired to nurture, but we often forget to nurture ourselves first. She also emphasized the importance of trusting and following our own intuition during this time.”

“See It and Be It!”
Solange Claudio, President and COO of Moxie, spoke about how to pave the way to allow others to breathe as well. Solange explained that she is very vocal and clear about taking ALL of her PTO and does so proudly. In our industry, the value we bring to our clients is based on our thinking and not the hours. The clearer the mind, the sharper the output will be. Share your personal examples so people see and learn. I tell people all the time, ‘SEE IT AND BE IT!’”

Overall, Deepa found the conference enlightening and empowering to have working women gather to emphasize the role of mental health. Her hope for all employees, as WFH orders are extended, is to equip themselves with the right tools via conversation.

Thank you for sharing your smarts and insights, Deepa!

December 1, 2020