This month features Chantal Duke, Leadership Program Manager in Human Resources.
Welcome to Thriving Campus – a new addition to our Healthy UBC Newsletter featuring, testimonials, contributions and personal experiences from UBC staff, faculty and students.
What strategies do you use in your work life to help you thrive?
Disclaimer- I’m far from what most consider ‘thriving’. I’m currently and probably always will be a work in progress, as I navigate competing work priorities, professional development and personal needs. What I know is that in order to even begin to thrive, I need to be patient and flexible with myself, set boundaries, create and reevaluate goals, and vocalize what I need to keep healthy to those around me.
Thriving actually wouldn’t be my word of choice, but I have learned that to be successful and enjoy each day, I need to keep my mind and body healthy. I see many parallels between my work in Human Resources and how I try to thrive. I manage a program called Managing@UBC that supports managers across campus to work on various leadership and management responsibilities. The program honours that managers have a busy and stressful schedule, so we don’t force managers to sit in a room at learn about a topic that isn’t relevant or meaningful for them – we assign them a program advisor and allow them to articulate what they want to change/need support on and allow them tap into offerings that support their goals. Offerings involve access to a just-in-time portal for support, and face-to-face events to address questions that come up in a management role. Just like I do with Managing@UBC participants, in order to ‘thrive’, I need to ask myself “What am I seeking change in? What do I need to holistically be successful? And what offerings can I tap into to support this?” The key fact around the program as well as thriving is that you need to be your own advocate and find what is important and meaningful for you.
What has worked for me- Well, as much as I am involved in offering developmental opportunities, I often need to remind myself how important it is to continue my own development, as well as check that I do not have unnecessary stress in my life. How I create space for development is by carving out time in outlook (in advance) for two hours the day before I’m out of the office for an event, and two hours the morning I’m back – to give space for urgent items or last minute priorities. In regards to managing stress, a big plus for me is to work alongside some amazing people who make my workspace a healthy, stress busting area. Recently my colleague Arlene Decaire has been facilitating lunchtime yoga sessions in our office which I have welcomed as a distraction once a week; and the UBC Health Wellbeing and Benefits team who sit in close proximity host regular events such as the Pick your Peak Stair Challenge (our office walked nearly 70km of stairs in one month!). Despite having heaps of work to tend to, once challenged, the competitive edge in me came out and I did the stairs at least once a day.
What strategies do you use in your personal life to help you thrive?
Outside of work I love being outdoors – I try to swim as much as possible, hike the local mountains, and play soccer and volleyball with friends regularly. I also find that I am at my happiest when I am exploring new places globally, have had eight hours of sleep, and am spending time with my favourite people.
As Leadership Programs Manager, Chantal Duke is responsible for program management, marketing, planning, and development of the Managing@UBC Program offered through Organizational Development & Learning at UBC. Managing@UBC is a self-directed program designed to support formal managers, recognizing the significant responsibility they hold for employee performance, engagement and achievement of unit goals.