Chapter News

Who Should Champion Employee Wellness?

Author: Dana Johnston, CMP | Director of Corporate Strategic Partnerships | American Gastroenterological Association

August is National Wellness Month.

How would you rate your wellness? If you are like most event and meeting professionals, you might not pay attention to rating it at all and you’re not alone. Only 17% of employees say they feel supported by their employer in managing their well-being while a meager 24% feel their employers are empathetic towards them. (Zippia. “22 Telling Employee Wellness Statistics [2023]: How Many Companies Have Wellness Programs” Nov. 14, 2022,

I found myself at zero in 2020. Working as an association planner and transitioning our 12,000 attendee event to a virtual experience for the first time was one of the greatest challenges I faced. In addition, I was responsible for maintaining relationships and revenue in my corporate relations role on the team while helping to insure a successful attendee and supporter experience and navigating the uncertainty of the pandemic each and every one of us had thrust upon us.

Similar pressure was felt by many in the industry and continues to this day. In general, meeting and event professionals are expected to outperform at every subsequent event often with no time between competing priorities. Innovation, creativity, and process improvement are key performance indicators for success. 

Achieving them is made more difficult by the narrative many articulate around overwork and long days without meals or mental well-being breaks. These circumstances create problems for leaders and require new leadership skills. There are many questions we could be asking:

  • Are our teams properly staffed?
  • Is the workload manageable? 
  • As leaders, are we empowering team members to solve problems and make decisions? 
  • Is a culture of taking breaks to rest and recharge celebrated? 

Individuals can focus on the solutions within our own control. Pursuing radical self-care and awareness can help us perform and exceed expectations. Investing in ourselves through knowledge-based development and a robust understanding of what makes humans happy is the antidote I champion. It is our personal responsibility to seek wellness in our own lives.

Eating nutritious food, drinking enough water, moving our bodies, resting and getting adequate sleep, making time for the people and hobbies that bring us joy, and giving back to our communities are proven happiness and well-being boosters. Gratitude and a positive mindset also support wellness. We are so much more than our professional lives. When we realize our worth exceeds the success of our last event, we will begin to care for ourselves in ways that fuel our joy. Our inner light will shine brighter, be reflected in everything, and everyone we influence.

Event Minds Matter is a community and movement in our industry that is building brave spaces to amplify the conversation on mental health and wellness. I proudly serve as a founding member with colleagues and friends who are event and meeting professionals dedicated to supporting the industry with knowledge, content, and empathy. You are invited to follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram for weekly content focused on stories from like-minded professionals across the globe, mental fitness strategies, initiatives, and educational resources that provide solutions for anyone anywhere. 

Creating impactful events that gather communities and promote engagement to move industries forward requires a commitment to mental fitness and work-life balance that starts inside each of us.

About the Author 
Dana Johnston, CMP is the bestselling author of Shine Bright: Seeking Daylight in the Darkness and works as the Director of Corporate Strategic Partnerships with the American Gastroenterological Association. She is the past chair of the PCMA Capital Chapter Emerging Professionals Committee, a founding member of Event Minds Matter, and leadership advisory board member of the Professionals for Association Revenue (PAR). She is currently pursuing her MS in leadership, management, marketing, and brand management at George Washington University.

nmbevangelistaWho Should Champion Employee Wellness?