work life balance
“Cultivating a work environment where laughter and smiles are genuine, and happen often, is a huge part of my day”
By Guest Contributor on April 5, 2017
Thriving Campus features testimonials, contributions and personal experiences linked to health and wellbeing from UBC staff members. This month we feature Lynn Santiago, residence dining room manager of Open Kitchen and Hero Café + Market in Orchard Commons.
How do you thrive at work?
I am passionate about what I do and am incredibly fortunate to have found my “calling” very early in my career. It’s highly rewarding to relate to people about something as personal as food, and to see those familiar faces returning to dine at Open Kitchen over and over again.
Being part of the dynamic food program at UBC makes me highly motivated to take quality and food values to new levels, and to be part of the evolution of tearing down the “institutional cafeteria” stereotype. This includes introducing fresh new things to people’s palates and also learning from their dining experiences. Working closely with the culinary team, I contribute healthy and appealing menu ideas. In particular, I focus on being able to bring variety to guests with dietary needs.
Cultivating a work environment where laughter, smiles and “pleases” and “thank yous” are genuine and happen often is a huge part of my day. I am inspired whenever the wheels keep moving forward in a positive direction, exploring unchartered territory!
I thrive on lists. Honestly, I would be lost without my written notes and phone notepad. Another important technique I use is to keep a flexible schedule and set early deadlines, allowing for the constant detours that happen in my day.
For me, eating healthy isn’t an option, it’s a necessity. Open Kitchen Vegetarian Curry Chickpea Bowl and the Fruit Parfait Bar are my staples, and a beautifully crafted cappuccino at Hero Café is my daily treat.
How do you thrive at home?
My work week is very energy consuming and people focused, so my down-time is about self-nourishment and pressing the reset button. I tend to push myself so I am careful to listen to my body and get rest when I need it.
Wandering food shops and foraging for new ingredients to play with is my happy place. I devour books, lose myself in movies and connect with my people to stay grounded. Being out discovering and supporting owner/chef-run restaurants and travel feeds my constant curiosity of what’s going on in the culinary scene. I seek balance through travel, hiking, kayaking and camping – and embracing spontaneity keeps things fun and entertaining.
Lynn Santiago is the residence dining room manager of Open Kitchen and Hero Café + Market in Orchard Commons. A food and beverage management professional and entrepreneur, she is a graduate of Hospitality Administration at Vancouver Community College. Going into her 24th career-year, she has a diverse resumé that includes working with Starwood Hotels and Resorts, Marriott International, Kimpton Hotels and Diva at the Met with Iron Chef Michael Noble and Pastry Chef Thomas Haas. She has also offered consulting services and owned a specialty food store and an award-winning restaurant.
Lynn has competed at the national level in ball hockey and was a member of the 2011 Women’s Floorball Team Canada.
By Miranda Massie on September 15, 2015
Thriving Faculty is a monthly column that highlights UBC faculty members who exemplify the integration of health and wellbeing into their classrooms, research, departments and communities.
What are central challenges you face in your role as Faculty?
Balance is the main challenge for me. As a new faculty member, there have been many opportunities to work on exciting studies, connect with like-minded researchers and talented students. It’s difficult to say no to things and to not take work home with me regularly.
Based on your experiences, please describe the relationship between student mental health & wellbeing and learning.
Mental and overall health is integral to academic success and learning. As a faculty member, it’s important to emphasize the importance of time/stress management to students, to be supportive and a resource. In the past, my department (School of Population and Public Health) has held pet therapy sessions where students could pet and play with a therapy dog to help combat increased stress during exams. Even though this may seem like a small initiative, it helps increase the visibility of mental health and wellness and contributes to the larger conversation about student health.
Describe the role of your own mental health and wellbeing in your teaching, research and service to the community.
My research is focused on healthy eating to promote wellbeing, healthy body weight and to prevent chronic disease. It’s important for me to practice what I preach. I really enjoy cooking. It’s a great way to unwind, try new things and gives me a sense of accomplishment. I also fit physical activity into every day. It helps me stay centered and some of my best ideas have come while walking my dog or running on the seawall. At the end of the day being healthy makes me a more engaged and thoughtful teacher, mentor and colleague.
What strategies do you use in your own life, that help you thrive as Faculty?
I put time aside for the things that are important, personally and professionally. I block out time in my calendar and stick to it. For example, if I have a grant due I will schedule time to write and find the best environment for me to accomplish that, whether it’s at my office, in the library or in a coffee shop. I also give myself incentives; if I finish writing the introduction to this paper then I can take a short break to read the newspaper. I’m a good self-motivator!
In your role as faculty, what is your experience balancing work-life commitments? Is there a metaphor that depicts this relationship?
I think cooking is a great metaphor. Sometimes things are hectic with seemingly dozens of items scattered around but you end up with a great meal. Other times the best laid plans can end up with a burnt meal even if you only neglect something for a moment (or ten). You get better with practice, more adept at timing and multi-tasking and in the end, hopefully a masterpiece that everyone loves.
Dr. Rachel Murphy recently joined UBC as an Assistant Professor in the Centre of Excellence in Cancer Prevention within the School of Population and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine. Dr. Murphy’s research focuses on nutrition, obesity, and chronic disease prevention. She studies how to reduce the risk of cancer through modifiable factors, such as diet, body weight, and physical activity with a particular interest in older populations. She aims to identify factors to prevent chronic disease, particularly cancer, and translate this information into targeted interventions. Dr. Murphy received her PhD in nutrition and metabolism from the University of Alberta, completed postdoctoral work at the National Institute on Aging in the US and worked at DSM Nutritional Products.
By Colin Hearne on October 29, 2014
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.