Recently in the Workplace Category

By Barbara Kasoff


A few weeks ago I had the chance to spend some time talking to the people at MyHealthteams.  I began talking with them for a couple of reasons:  first, because of a series WIPP is doing on chronic disease, and second because in my family there are two members with chronic disease - autism and breast cancer.  I know first hand the loneliness, anxiety and frustration that so man people experience every day.  I asked them to tell me about their work, I took a tour of their sites and I was overwhelmed with what I saw.  Here's a blog I asked them to write sharing the information about MyHealthteams.  Let me know what you think!


Talk to anyone impacted by a chronic condition - autism, multiple sclerosis, breast cancer - whatever disease or condition, they will all tell you it's not easy.  It's not easy finding the support that best suits them.  It's not easy finding providers.  It's not easy period.  At MyHealthTeams we create social networks for chronic condition communities.  We believe that when you or a loved one are diagnosed with a disease it should be easy to connect with people just like you, who can share their daily experiences, and help you discover the best people around to help you.


Since we founded MyHealthTeams in 2010, we've launched three social networks - MyAutisimTeam, for parents of children with autism, MyBCTeam, for women facing breast cancer and MyMSTeam for those living with multiple sclerosis.


Each of the social networks we've built has been fully embraced by the communities we've addressed. Our flagship community, MyAutismTeam, has in less than 24 months, grown from 30 parents to more than 40,000 parents from across the U.S.  MyBCTeam already has roughly 4,000 women on the site since our launch in September 2012 and MyMSTeam will launch in the coming weeks. Users of all the social networks, share recommendations of local providers, openly discuss daily triumphs and issues, share tips, and gain access to local services.


Three major drivers behind the growth of our sites:


1. People crave connections with other people just like them - they just need a safe and reliable environment to do so.

2. The simplicity of our technology - our communities reflect aspects of social networks that our users are already familiar with (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, etc.) which provides for high user engagement.

3. The rapid word-of-mouth amongst these communities.


One in two Americans live with a chronic condition [1] and they are seeking support from not only their medical providers, but also from people like them.  In fact, for women with breast cancer, recent studies shown that having strong support improves outcomes [2].  Sharing with people who are in your shoes, offers a sense of community that can't be found elsewhere - these are people who know the language of your condition; they understand the daily frustrations and the small triumphs that can mean so much.


With the Affordable Care Act on the horizon, implementing and expanding wellness programs has taken on a new importance for companies. Organizations are seeking resources that not only help improve the quality of life for their employees, but also help control health care spending. Social networks, like the ones created by MyHealthTeams, allow employers to offer unique resources to their employees allowing them to create the support networks they need to get through to the next day.


For more information on the social networks created by MyHealthTeams, visit



[1] An Unhealthy America: The Economic Burden of Chronic Disease, Charting a New Course to Save Lives and Increase Productivity and Economic Growth, Milken Institute, By Ross DeVol and Armen Dedroussian, Oct 2007 )free download:


[2] Journal of Clinical Oncology, Social Networks, Social Support, and Survival After Breast Cancer Diagnosis, Candyce H. Kroenke, et al., March 1, 2006



Starting a business is job creation. Simple idea right? What's so painfully clear to us, especially those WIPP members who have built their businesses from the ground up, isn't so easily understood in Washington. But this is beginning to change. Earlier this year, the Department of Labor (DOL) released model guidance for states to implement a self-employment assistance (SEA) program.


SEA programs are an innovative way for unemployed Americans to use their skills to start a business. Instead of seeking employement through traditional means, SEA allows individuals to continue receiving unemployment insurance, while receiving business assistance to start their own business.


In order to encourage states to put SEA programs in place, the Department of Labor issued model language for states to follow and they will help pay for it. DOL has set aside $35 million in grant funding for states to tap into.


The task at hand is to convince lawmakers in state capitols, who must approve a plan to starrt a SEA program in their state, that starting a business is job creation. Alternatively, the governor of  a state can, via executive order, enter into a memorandum of understanding with DOL to put a program in place. Either way, it is imperative that we continue to build public awareness around self-employment assistance.


In an innovative effort to get a SEA program up and running in California, the California Association for Micro Enterprise Opportunity (CAMEO), a WIPP partner organization has launched a petition - Help Unemployed BYOB - Be Your Own Boss - calling on state leaders to implement and support a SEA program in California. California as had double-digit unemployment for more than three years. In this time of persistent high unemployment, any means of encouraging entrepreneurship and job creation is a win-win.


If California implements a program, it will be eligible to receive $5.3 million in grant money, which could benefit a potential 20,000 entrepreneurs. The SEA program would allow unemployed workers to continue to receive or maintain their unemployment insurance benefits while they start their own small business - a full time job in and of itself - without having to look for other full time work.


Currently, there are seven states that have implemented SEA programs. That's means that there are 43 states missing out on the opportunity to encourage entrepreneurship and assist people starting a business and creating a job for themselves and others in their communities. I'm excited about the work CAMEO is doing in California and I encourage you to reach out to your state legislators about a SEA program in your state.


For more information on the Self-Employment Assistance, check out the Department of Labor's website here.


For more information on CAMEO's Help Unemployed BYOB - Be Yourn Own Boss campaign, click here.


One of the key aspects to running a successful business is staffing - the team you hire can make or break your business. The following article illustrates why it's important for women business owners to ensure that mid-level managers get the experience they need to continue moving up in the company; this is often a problem particularly for women, and business owners need to be aware of it when they make hiring and promotion decisions.

With that in mind, I want to share the following article by Becky Sheetz-Runkle from (original post:

Female executives are more than twice as likely to leave their jobs as men. This includes both voluntarily and involuntarily departures. Yesterday I was interviewed by a reporter writing for CareerBuilder on negotiating for women in business, and the data from a study by John Becker-Blease of Oregon State University, and his colleagues from Loyola Marymount University and Trinity College, came to mind. They analyzed data from Standard & Poor's 1500 firms to reach their conclusions. The researchers determined if departures were voluntary or involuntary based on evaluating public news accounts of each executive.

They determined that 7.2% of women executives in the survey left their jobs, compared to 3.8% of men. Based on their analysis, voluntary rates were 4.3% for women and 2.8% for men, and involuntary rates were 2.9% for women and 0.9% for men.

As reported in U.S. News, Becker-Blease said, "We really had to dig deep to tease out any systematic patterns behind these departures. . . We did find that women were slightly more likely to leave smaller firms, and firms with more male-dominated boards, but this was a small effect size."

For those women dismissed from their jobs, they suggest that mid-level managers may not be getting the opportunities and support that they need to advance. "Intriguing evidence suggesting that while the market may seem to perceive women as less capable business leaders, the disparity isn't really about gender, but about the experience those women bring to the table, " Becker-Blease said.

The researchers concluded that gender discrimination didn't rear its ugly head "at an obvious level."

Based on my research for Sun Tzu for Women, I think there's more to the story when it comes to women choosing to leave executive positions, and I'll be blogging about that very soon. Until next time...

Special Guest Blog by Lisa Gable, Executive Director, Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation

It started with 41 food companies, trade associations and non-governmental organizations coming together to help reduce obesity, especially childhood obesity. After a year, the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation has taken a look at what we have achieved and what we plan to achieve in the near future, in our annual report.

The 41 founding members have grown into more than 135 organizations, united to develop practical solutions to America's obesity problem by promoting healthy, active lifestyles. These organizations - including retailers, food and beverage manufacturers, sporting goods and insurance companies, restaurants, a professional sports association, trade associations, NGOs, professional athletes and the U.S. Army - talk to millions of people every day, focusing enormous attention on the problem of obesity.

We have been pursuing our mission in schools, the workplace, and the marketplace.
• Energy Balance 101, available for free online and at more than half our nation's elementary schools, provides valuable teaching tools to help young people achieve a healthy weight.
• Member companies - joined by First Lady Michelle Obama - pledged to reduce 1.5 trillion annual calories by the end of 2015 through new lower-calorie options, reduced calorie content of current products, or reducing portion sizes of existing single-serve products.
• Members began to comprehensively measure their wellness programs on an annual basis.

Over the next year, member companies will bolster programs in all of these areas through social media aimed at encouraging and supporting families to pursue healthy lifestyles that help curb and prevent obesity.

In the Foundation's first year, we've found enormous willingness to work together to address the critical national problem of obesity. This spirit of cooperation is the biggest asset we bring to meeting the challenge.

Lisa Gable is executive director of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, a first-of-its kind coalition aimed at addressing the challenge of obesity - especially childhood obesity.

I recently read an article featured in the Huffington Post by Susan Solovic, CEO/Co-Founder of titled "Workplace Stereotyping: A Silent Productivity Destroyer", and it made me contemplate stereotyping factors in the workplace. One initially thinks of more obvious factors such as: race, gender, religion - but in reality: workplace diversity is much broader.

Additional factors in the workplace could include:

- Single vs. Married

- Children vs. No Children

- Baby Boomer vs. Generation Y

- Women - Married and Marginalized

- Domestic Lifestyle Choice

Stereotypes result in a damaging work environment - and all of the above factors listed could potentially harm your ability to work with others. As a business owner myself (WIPP), I pride myself on creating an open and productive work environment, where my employees can respect the diversity of everyone in the organization.

To read Susan's complete article, click here.





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