Let’s Reset: Workplace Wellbeing
We talk to media entrepreneur and proud Hertfordshire resident Suki Thompson about mental health, wellbeing and success.
The phrase ‘fingers in many pies’ could have been created for Suki Thompson. This Berkhamsted resident has set up a headhunting business, gin company, two media consultancies (Haystack and Oystercatchers); is on the board of Centaur Media, and has an honorary doctorate from Coventry University.
This superwoman-style-multitasker has now switched her focus to wellbeing in the workplace, with a book (created with no less than fashion photographer, Rankin) on the mental health and wellbeing journeys of influential business figures. Thompson herself was diagnosed with cancer ten-years-ago and is still receiving treatment.
Read on for our Q & A with this inspirational local business woman.
What’s in the book?
It’s very visual. We took three shots of each contributor, symbolising different ways we can be happier and more productive. These photographs are not what you normally see of business leaders – they represent the real person.
We interviewed all 82 individually, found out what they were doing to increase their wellbeing and resilience at work, and we also featured important and also personal stories. For example, we featured Noah Bernard, Creative Director at Samsung, who has Tourette’s Syndrome and Facebook Director, Steve Hatch, who had a psychotic episode when he was 28.
(and how did you end up working with Rankin?!)
I’d been working with Rankin on a book around creativity and I mentioned Let’s Reset. He was obsessed with mental health and the impact of particularly social media and so wanted to get involved.
The words self care and wellbeing are thrown around a lot today – what do they mean to you?
Self care is taking care of your own wellness. Thinking about what you eat and drink, how much you sleep, attitudes to socialising and social media, or even taking a holiday.
Put self care in your diary. In the same way you diarise time for emails or strategy meetings, you need to put in time to look after yourself. I walk between meetings; I’ll go and see a friend for a coffee; or I might work in a different environment for the day.
Was there a difficult stage of your life/career where you had to re assess your own wellbeing?
I had cancer for the first time ten years ago. I had started my business and had this devastating moment where I had breast cancer and I had chemo and radiation treatment. I then had a melanoma on my foot and two more on my legs. I have then been scanned every three months for the last six years. Last year I started a new immunotherapy trial to cure me of cancer.
Immunotherapy is amazing. I do get a bit tired, so I’m a little more careful of myself than I would be normally.
If you think you are going to die, living becomes more precious and you work out what your priorities are. I think I’m better at working out my priorities.
What’s your perfect weekend in Berko?
My perfect Saturday in Berko starts with going to the gym with my girlfriends, before having breakfast at Black Goo. Then I would take my daughter’s lovely dog, beany, for a walk in Pancake Woods, before seeing a film at The Rex. And then we would go to the Copper House and have cocktails and stay there or go to Tabure. A lot of eating and drinking… with as many of my friends and family as possible!