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For Your Well Being: A Day FOR Change

May 31, 2007, Vol. V Issue 11

Dear Friends,

Have you ever had the experience of reading something and it was exactly what you needed at the time? Well, it was exactly a year ago that I went off on a bit of a tangent in this e-news and wrote about being introduced to a book called Change the Way You See Everything, via lunch with the wife of my husband’s college classmate. I loved the book and simply wrote about the impression it had on me – no mention about the author speaking!

Shortly after that e-news publication, I received an email from Mary Jane Reichart, Executive Director for ProHealth Care’s Women’s Center in Waukesha, WI. She thought it was a perfect topic for their 2007 women’s retreat. I tracked down the author, Kathryn D. Cramer, PhD, and was happy to discover that she IS a speaker! In fact, she was the founder of The Stress Center at St. Louis University Medical Center, and is definitely both an excellent speaker and a change-maker, who is working with companies like Microsoft and Starbucks.

What she offers is a way to both prevent and manage stress. “The mind and mindset are the keys to leading a rewarding, creative life – staying pro-active, creating the reality you want to live in at home and at work,” Kathy says. “Asset-based thinking drives optimism, resilience, creativity and pro-active, rewarding living.” It counters the constant barrage of doom and gloom in our culture that rob us of our sense of hope and confidence, drain our energy, tax our immune system, strain our relationships and reduce our productivity. A small shift into Asset-Based Thinking can make a seismic difference. And when that happens one woman at a time, the results of one women’s retreat can be truly monumental.

Women’s Retreat Is A Day FOR Change

ProHealth Care, Waukesha, Wisconsin, held their second annual Women’s Retreat, April 20 at the Abbey Resort on Lake Geneva, about 45 minutes from their nearest hospital. It was sponsored by The Women’s Center and the Center for Breast Health. The all-day event drew 200 women to learn how to bias their focus in favor of opportunities, not problems, strengths over weaknesses, and what can be done rather than what can’t be done.

“We planned this as a destination retreat to offer women an opportunity to get away for the day and take care of themselves,” Sarah Dahlke, education specialist, told me. “Our observation is that women want practical tips that they can take home and implement in their day-to-day lives. Many of the women are taking a day off of work or finding a babysitter so they want to know that the day and content will be well worth their time and want to feel pampered and special throughout the day.”

What they got is a new viewpoint. It’s a revolutionary and refreshingly simple concept called Asset-Based Thinking – a practical approach to taking the positive side of life’s ledger and using it to full advantage in everything you do. Asset-Based Thinking calls for small shifts in the way people absorb, perceive, filter and interpret information. It changes the way we see everything, leading to dramatic improvements in the way we live and work.

“It was extraordinary,” according to Mary Jane Reichart, Executive Director of The Women’s Center. “The message that everyone left with – knowing there are certain things they can do in making changes in their own lives — was very inspiring. Kathy showed us three applications and we tried them out during the day: Change the way you see yourself, change the way you see others, and change the way you see situations. People left with one or two things they could definitely see differently, and the tools to apply the information at home and at work.”

“I commend ProHealth and the audience,” Kathy told me. “When I was at the Medical Center at St. Louis University, stress and wellness topics were a hard sell. This retreat was evidence that wellness is a proven concept that works.” Kathy’s programs are highly interactive and she told me the audience was very willing to play and they were energetic and involved for the entire day. “I observed Ah-ha’s going off all over the place,” she said.

“We gave everyone a nice healthy breakfast, lunch, and snacks throughout the day. We also gave everyone a copy of Kathy’s book as their gift for attending,” Sarah said. “In addition, we gave women the opportunity to try new things, like Qi Gong, that they might not otherwise have the opportunity to experience. Also, during lunch, we had dieticians roam the tables to answer any nutrition related questions. This was a nice extra touch the women seemed to appreciate.

“We are also finding that women want options throughout the day. They like a variety of speakers and activities. Women like to participate and have an interactive component to the day. They like to get moving! We offered a guided nature walk as well as the  Qi Gong as our movement activities and they were a huge success.”

Goals for the event included providing a destination retreat that focused on wellness rather than disease, to carry through wellness messages from 2004 – 2006 and to provide women with an opportunity to link into ongoing support, classes, and services at their facilities after the retreat, to assist in behavior modification.

“One thing we’re trying to accomplish with this event in the future is to look for ways we can track downstream revenue back to our clinical services,” Laura Armstrong, education specialist, told me. “This year we attempted to do that through a card we included in each participant’s folder where they could just check the services, screenings, and referrals they would like us to call them back on, i.e. schedule a mammogram, find a physician, osteoporosis screening, bladder health screening, heart risk assessment, etc. We don’t have a huge number of cards returned yet, but we’re anxious to see the revenue attached to the referrals made. We’re planning to track this for the next 12-24 months.”

Since the retreat, Mary Jane has been giving the book, Change the Way You See Everything, as a gift to award recipients, friends and as the opening to challenging conversations, and now she has people buying copies to pass along to their friends and co-workers. “It was inspiring for leadership, to see how we can see things differently in our personal and work lives. I highly recommend Kathy Cramer. She’s great to work with – a fun person.”

Dr. Cramer is a licensed psychologist and founder of The Cramer Institute in St. Louis. She specializes in organizational change consulting, leadership and team development and executive coaching. Click here to find out more about Dr. Kathy Cramer, or give me a call at 503-699-5031.  If you’d like a full description of Kathy’s keynote, reply to this email and write CHANGE in the subject line.


Now, it so happens, exactly one year later, I’ll be seeing my husband’s friend’s wife, Denise, who was the literary agent for Change the Way You See Everything, again and meeting her husband for the first time this weekend at their Princeton class reunion in New Jersey. My husband is very excited to share the Princeton campus and this piece of his life with me. I’m looking forward to it and curious about who I might meet . . . ?

And, speaking of impact, I have an earthquake of information coming your way on transforming your relationships with men. Interested? It seems to me relationships within our homes, families, schools and workplaces pretty much involve the opposite sex, and what could be more important to our mental, social and emotional health than getting along better? This is REALLY good stuff. Stay tuned.

Until next time, be good to yourself for your good health and those you love.

Yours truly in good health,

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