P'Elizabeth Koelker

by P'Elizabeth Koelker

Principal, Director - Healthcare & Higher Ed Studio

What Do You Bring to The Table? M+A Hosts First Columbus Foundation "Big Table" Event

  • AUGUST 30, 2019
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This past Wednesday, leadership provided by the Columbus Foundation offered M+A the opportunity to host our first “Big Table” event, with a room full of diverse professionals sharing a common goal of driving positive change in our city.

At one of our Tables, a western medicine practitioner sat next to an acupuncturist, joined in conversation by the Mayor of Grandview, with questions facilitated by a self-proclaimed “introverted” engineer, leading to an in-depth discussion of integrative solutions.

Opportunities where many different types of people representing a diverse range of perspectives gather with a common purpose, leading them to discuss the possibility of potential solutions to ongoing and complex challenges, are too rare. This event introduced the first step towards a solution-driven future, with these brilliant people committed to driving the change.

These professionals, different in many ways, gathered with one great uniter - an interest in improving the mental health of our community. Led by a passion to find solutions, this group worked to be proactive, innovative, and practical, finding ways to provide help and hope for the Columbus community by making mental wellness a priority, innovating specific ideas to improve people’s lives.

Below you will find the key takeaways from all six of the tables, each comprised of eight to ten enthusiastic participants, each bringing something unique to The Table.

Event attendees talking in small groups

Table 1:
With a bulk majority of our days spent at the workplace, it’s imperative we focus on creating an environment that promotes mental wellness. Physical factors, like recognizing and honoring the importance of natural light are key ways to create healthy spaces.

A professional mindset shift is crucial, remember to not valorize work. By valuing teleworking, flexibility, and balance, as defined by individual employees, company’s are able to lead loudly in promoting the space for mental wellness.

Identify change champions that can lead change, both in workplace practice and having brave conversations that drive change.

Table 2:
Recognize, “It starts with me”. You can make changes, big or small, to move the needle.

Taking the time to disconnect, to find human connections, implementing this concept by not being in front of devices constantly, choosing instead to actually interacting with others.

Think back to your days in the neighboorhood as a child; playing freely and exploring until it got dark outside. Readopting the neighborhood mentality is an idea for self-awareness, allowing time to think and be bored, taking the time to play.

Table 3:
Mentorship and community are key. With the community to support people struggling, and recognition they’re going through a tough time, they can be brought out of a dark time.

Education around recognizing the signs of mental illness. In this, it’s important to recognize it’s not for us to solve the problem, but the recognize it, provide empathy and help them find those professionally trained to help address the current needs.

It’s important to be proactive, as opposed to reactive. Making it socially acceptable to say it’s okay to be uncomfortable or have uncomfortable difficult times, you’re breaking the social stigma surrounding mental health. In doing so, people are able to raise their hand when their bodies are whispering, so they don’t have to scream.

Table 4:
A focus on prevention; finding the areas of health and wellness we’re not getting and supplementing it with physical wellness, nutrition, safety, and disconnecting.

Unaddressed trauma is an area of development that needs to be addressed, in order to be released. By recognizing and dealing with past traumas, the process allows growth and resilience.

Slow is the new fast. Honor yourself and set a standard of being by recognizing you don’t always have to go at lightning speed, and by slowing down, you gain a connection with people.

Participants listening

Table 5:
Shifting the mindset of competition to community. In our modern world there are so many stressors, so much time trying to get ahead, instead of coming alive. It’s time we refocuse on our humanity and next up, and a lot of that points to local solutions.

It’s important we set the future up for success. Our children need to go into the world with an adjusted perception of what reality really is. Photoshopped social media images can’t depict the rawness of real life, and by giving them opportunities to develop perspective, we’re giving them the gift of a realistic reality.

Finding ways to empower ourselves, and others, to not be afraid to be out of our current situation. If someone is in a really toxic situation, let’s find support to help them refocus on trying to find a way out of it.

Table 6:
Facts fade, stories stick. Show up authentically, be present, and remain empathetic and embrace vulnerability. When we make meaningful connections with people, that’s when we can move the needle.

Recognize growth looks different. By trading judgment for understanding, you can create a safe space for people to share in the capacity that feels comfortable for them at that point in their journey. What might be a huge share for some, could seem like something small to others, but instead of comparing, recognize the courage it took to share at all. Those are the small victories worth celebrating in life.

It’s so important to make resources more available to people who need them. Often times amidst a struggle, those battling don’t have the bandwidth to spend time researching resources, and often times don’t even know they exist. It’s important to shine the light on these resources, letting people know there is help, and in turn, hope.

P'Elizabeth Koelker

by P'Elizabeth Koelker

Principal, Director - Healthcare & Higher Ed Studio

P'Liz enjoys opportunities to help organizations achieve their goals functionally, financially and culturally, and feels privileged as an architect to help facilitate those efforts. She loves traveling to places she's never been before.