Mental health has a major impact on how we relate to each other and our world. It drives our ability to physically and emotionally thrive and create meaningful contributions at work and in our communities. If there is anything the pandemic taught us, it’s that our people-first values mean little if they aren’t in practice. This is why SEI considers mental health a priority beyond just boosting productivity. We believe that we need to ‘fill our own cup first’ to provide exceptional service to our clients, colleagues, and communities in healthy and sustainable ways.
As employee-owners, everybody at SEI has the autonomy to collaborate not only within their office but also across offices to raise issues important to them and start initiatives.
Here’s what employee-owners have to say about our commitment to mental health:
Natalie Maldonado, SEI Miami
The weekly yoga sessions are a brainchild of Sarah Reilly and were initially intended to provide some dedicated time for a small group of SEI women to connect, slow down, unwind during a busy weekday and practice mindfulness. We have since expanded it to include the full SEI Miami team, as some of the Miami men expressed an interest in practicing yoga.
I have personally appreciated the opportunity to get up from my workstation, move my body, stretch, and focus on creating a positive intention for the day. It’s also nice to see some of the other SEI women I haven’t met or gotten to work with yet.
Kevin Reilly, SEI Cincinnati
No matter how much you prepare & study up, becoming first-time parents is intimidating. We were excited but also very nervous. I was fortunate enough to spend the first four weeks of my daughter’s life at home, side-by-side with my wife, as we embarked on the new journey of parenthood.
It was a unique time being able to have 100% focus on our daughter, learn on the job, and create long-lasting memories that we will never forget.
From a mental health perspective, to have the flexibility of a 4-week paternity leave and truly disconnect from work is something my wife and I are forever grateful for.
Maria Korengel, SEI Services
This means more to me than most people know. All my life, I’ve lived with an anxiety disorder. I have managed the illness successfully while raising a family and building a career with SEI. However, the pandemic tested all my typical coping strategies, and the struggle became exceedingly heavy.
I was able to be open with my struggle with the SEI family. Everyone rallied to offer support, love, understanding, and kindness. After 28 years with SEI, I knew a change to bring more balance into my life was necessary, and SEI is standing by me. We jointly worked through a transition plan for the Services team, and I feel so confident moving into a new role that will bring more balance into my life.
I felt lost and hopeless, but the support I received gave me an opportunity to stay with the company I love.
Kathryn Cornelius, SEI Phoenix
The start of the pandemic pretty much coincided with my start at SEI. With both my background in change management and teaching meditation, I felt inspired to support my fellow colleagues and offer online weekly mindfulness sessions as a respite for the tumultuous period we were all enduring. It was wonderful to receive the green light from leadership for this initiative, and it personally felt good to be of service to my new SEI family.
Throughout May, LOCs organized events to educate and raise awareness about the focus on mental health.
- SEI D.C. is embracing the benefits of both mid-day breaks and art. In May, they checked out the latest exhibit at the Renwick Gallery, part of the Smithsonian and right across from the office.
- SEI Cincinnati is organizing monthly wellness events varying from yoga to urban hikes and group Kayaking to focus on team engagement outside of the office through physical activity
- SEI New York participated in learning a meditation and breathwork practice during a meeting to quickly de-stress, shift emotions, and focus their energy – a practice that can be done walking down the streets of Manhattan, waiting for a subway, or just as easily during a Zoom call.
- SEI Phoenix regularly holds social events for a mental reprieve outside of work, from full moon hikes to social dinners and this month’s in-person and virtual bowling event. Part of their Staff Meeting is dedicated to hosting an interactive discussion on mental health and finding ways to support each other.
- SEI Boston has held several Courageous Conversations focused on mental health topics such as ‘Mental Health, Anxiety and Finding Support in the Workplace and Beyond’, ‘Dealing with Terminal/Chronic Illness’, and ‘Navigating the Holidays’.
SEI’s Growing Commitment to Mental Health and Wellness
Over the last year, leadership has received feedback that wellness initiatives are top of mind for its consultant-owners. Taking input from our annual employee experience survey and the continued enthusiasm of our employee-owners to innovate and collaborate on these activities, we’ve committed to offering a nationally provided resource. SEI has chosen to engage a women-owned wellness company based in our NYC community, Golden, to provide mental, emotional, and physical health opportunities for all employees online and in real-time.
As we navigate the ever-evolving landscape of our inner and outer lives – our families, communities, clients, and each other – we aim to apply the practices we offer our clients to ourselves: listening, empathy, innovation, collaborative problem-solving, and continuous improvement towards a shared vision where the workplace is both a place to give our best and receive the support we all need to make a meaningful impact.