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WA Summit: How Compassionate Workplaces are Healthier for Everyone

A summit at the University of Washington will focus on compassion and look at topics such as how to create more compassionate cities. (New Africa/Adobe Stock)
A summit at the University of Washington will focus on compassion and look at topics such as how to create more compassionate cities. (New Africa/Adobe Stock)
November 7, 2019

SEATTLE – Workplace and community leaders come together this week to focus on how compassion can play a bigger role in our lives.

The Compassion Leadership Summit is being held at the University of Washington, co-hosted by the school's Undergraduate Women in Business.

The two-day event features topics such as dignity for all, creating compassionate cities and how to support the next generation.

Martha Enson, artistic director for EnJoy Productions, one of the summit's presenters, says those at the summit also will discuss compassionate disagreement – an important tool during these contentious times. She says one goal is to realize you can't make people think a certain way.

"I can work on the tools that I carry in myself, which doesn't mean I roll over and believe what you say,” she states. “It simply means I can learn how to build bridges, I can learn how to listen. I can learn how to have appreciation for different perspectives."

Enson says summit-goers will share tools for creating more compassionate and mindful workplaces and communities. The summit is Friday and Saturday.

Alix Schwartz, executive director of compassionate global initiative for the Human Values Center, is part of the summit on youth. She says youth are being raised in a culture of fear right now, but have decided to stand up and have their voice heard.

Schwartz says more compassionate workplaces will encourage people to stay longer and be interested in their work, and we should think about how to create this place alongside youth.

"We need to hold space that's non-judgmental and that is safe for these youngsters to come in and share what they think is working, what they think is beneficial, what they think would impact in a positive way not only their community, but everything around them," she states.

Enson maintains the more compassion people can feed into the systems around them, the more they will thrive, and that has value for individuals as well.

"If we're all connected, then there is a value to creating a space that is more just, more loving, kinder, more filled with humor because it will impact me directly, because I am part of this whole ecosystem," she states.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - WA