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Liesel Mertes

 

About

Liesel Mertes is an acclaimed workplace empathy expert. Having experienced her own loss and struggle, Liesel emerged with a deep understanding of what employees need to feel supported at work after a disruptive life event. As the Founder of Handle with Care, Liesel works with groups that want to boost employee satisfaction as well as attract and retain better talent.

Liesel works with companies spanning industries, from RV manufacturers to diplomats to tech companies, both locally and internationally. Her favorite clients are forward-thinking organizations who know the value in supporting their employees with empathy and compassion.

Her expertise is broad—loss, returning to work, cultivating resilience, change and compassion fatigue, how empathy impacts the brain—and no disruption is considered less significant. On these topics, Liesel is a dedicated speaker, writer, consultant, and host of the Handle With Care podcast.

Liesel earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a Master’s degree in Business Administration. She has worked in Nairobi, consulted in Fiji and led cohorts in Ghana. Her adventures brought her to Indiana, where she is a proud mother, wife and lover of time spent on the water.

Through her actionable strategies, real life stories and passionate commitment, Liesel helps people survive, stabilize and thrive in the aftermath of adversity.

She is a commissioner for the New Mexico State Personnel Review Board, a board advisor for EDGE, and a member of the Washington DC region Metro Transit Police Investigative Review Panel.

Topics

1. Keynote Training: How to Create a Culture of Empathy at Work

  • Delivered in an interactive presentation format (virtual)
  • 60-90 minutes
  • Includes Culture of Care PDF Handbook for continued, self-paced learning
  • Pre and Post-Session Surveys (SurveyMonkey)

When an employee or client receives news of a death, a divorce, a disturbing headline, or a diagnosis, they need meaningful support. However, most co-workers and managers have little idea of what to do or say. Instead of offering impactful and relevant support, many default to silence or toss out a tired cliché.

A recent report on workplace empathy showed that 76% of employees directly linked productivity to the presence (or absence!) of empathy. How your organization supports people in the midst of hard times matters; it drives retention, helps to attract talent, alters brain chemistry, and lets people know that you truly care.

What is you could feel empowered to competently care for yourself and those around you at work? Through a range of offerings, workplace empathy expert Liesel Mertes empowers people to be workplace first responders, offering empathy and compassion when it matters most.

This type of engagement is best for organizations who: Provide a foundational framework for compassionate engagement and equip employees with basic skills of empathy.

2. Keynote Training: Survive, Stabilize, Thrive: Combatting Change and Compassion Fatigue at Work

  • Delivered in an interactive presentation format (virtual)
  • 60-90 minutes
  • Includes Change Fatigue PDF Handbook for continued, self-paced learning
  • Pre and Post-Session Surveys (SurveyMonkey)

How do we build cultures of care when we feel personally exhausted and overwhelmed? The unrelenting stress of COVID and rising inflation, coupled with client demands, is leading to change fatigue and exhaustion at work. This partners with compassion fatigue, the emotional residue of exposure to the grief or trauma of others, and inhibits our ability to connect.

What if you could feel equipped to meaningfully combat change/compassion fatigue in the face of unrelenting demands? In this interactive and inspirational session, workplace empathy expert Liesel Mindrebo Mertes will equip you with strategies to boost mental health and combat both change and compassion fatigue.

This type of engagement is best for organizations who: Promote mental wellness at work and equip employees to interact sustainably with coworkers and clients

3. Keynote Training: Empathy and Hard Conversations

  • Delivered in an interactive presentation format (virtual)
  • 60-90 minutes
  • Includes Hard Conversations PDF Handbook for continued, self-paced learning
  • Pre and Post-Session Surveys (SurveyMonkey)

The need for empathy at work has never been more urgent. Employees are experiencing unprecedented levels of disruption related to COVID-19, general uncertainty, and a contentious cycle of inflammatory outrage in the news cycle.

Events of the US news cycle platform the unrest, drawing necessary attention to the generational trauma suffered by Black and Brown men, women, and children. Meanwhile, many find it hard to talk about race, bias, and identity at work.

Building on a foundation of the culture of care session, this keynote equips participants on how to enter into hard conversations along a range of hot-button issues at work. We will cover what makes a good (and bad!) apology, how to use imagination and perspective taking to increase communication, and potential interpersonal landmines to avoid.

This type of engagement is best for organizations who: Equip participants to successfully navigate hard conversations with conviction, empathy and courtesy

4. Keynote Training: Making Meaning After Loss

  • Delivered in an interactive presentation format (virtual)
  • 60-90 minutes
  • Includes Meaning Making PDF Handbook for continued, self-paced learning
  • Pre and Post-Session Surveys (SurveyMonkey)

The last three years are marked by loss: lost opportunities, lost relationships, and a lost sense of stability. As the seasons change, continued uncertainty is contributing to wide-spread compassion-and-change fatigue.

How can we make meaning in the aftermath of disruption? Meaning making is both a personal as well as a communal act. Human connection and support matter and yet, many of us struggle to know what to do or say to someone experiencing disruption.

Workplace Empathy Expert Liesel Mindrebo Metes is no stranger to loss. In 2011, as a graduate student at the Kelley School of Business, her young daughter, Mercy Joan, died. Liesel went on to found Handle with Care Consulting, where she helps businesses and individuals to survive, stabilize, and thrive through seasons of disruption.

In this interactive, story-based session, Liesel will address common misconceptions about grief, give actionable tips to integrate loss (instead of just getting over it), and help you connect better to those in your life who are living through disruptive life events.

This type of engagement is best for organizations who: Realize that grief and loss take a toll and that creating moments of shared learning around this topic builds connection and stability at work

5. Keynote Training: How to Cultivate Resilience on Your Team

  • Delivered in an interactive presentation format (virtual)
  • 60-90 minutes
  • Includes Cultivating Resilience PDF Handbook for continued, self-paced learning
  • Pre and Post-Session Surveys (SurveyMonkey)

Resilience is essential to meet the constant change, challenge and uncertainty, of our current moment. But resilience is more than a pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps mindset. Resilience emerges out of healthy communities of support to partner with embodied practices that help us overcome challenges.

How can we move from surviving stress to stabilizing our response patterns and, eventually, thriving in the midst of hard times? In this interactive session, Liesel Mertes delves into resilience: what is it and how do you cultivate this capacity in your own life? What is your dominant narrative? Is all stress bad? What are actionable steps to build a positive, resilient outlook? Drawing on years of client stories and her own history of loss, this session is a personalized follow-up to the foundation of workplace empathy practices.

This type of engagement is best for organizations who: Want to give participants the embodied, community-oriented tools to be resilient at work and in life

6. Keynote Training: Maximizing Performance Reviews to Boost Connection and Productivity

  • Delivered in an interactive presentation format (virtual)
  • 60-90 minutes
  • Includes Maximizing Performance Reviews PDF Handbook for continued, self-paced learning
  • Pre and Post-Session Surveys (SurveyMonkey)

All too often, organizations promote individual performers to management positions without giving them focused training on how to manage people. This leads to frustration and sets up valuable employees to fail in their new roles.

Good management is a skill that can and should be taught and performance reviews are a meaningful moment in the life of both the employee and the manager. How can you avoid common performance review pitfalls and, instead, maximize the time to inspire, boost connection, and create raving fans?

In this interactive session, Liesel will lead participants through best practices to maximize conversations and participants will have a chance to role-play and optimize conversations as well as share best practices.

This type of engagement is best for organizations who: Want to give participants the embodied, community-oriented tools to be resilient at work and in life

7. Keynote Training: Listen to Your Body: “How ‘No Pain, No Gain’ Left Me Burned Out and Sick

  • Delivered in an interactive presentation format (virtual)
  • 60-90 minutes
  • Includes PDF Handbook for continued, self-paced learning
  • Pre and Post-Session Surveys (SurveyMonkey)

It is easy to glorify the grind, charging hard in our health and in our relationships to achieve maximum results in the minimal amount of time. But our bodies and our energy are not limitless: without meaningful rhythms of rest and productivity, we are on a path towards burnout.

Liesel Mindrebo Mertes is no stranger to these questions. Over the course of a decade, she pounded her way into a place of exhaustion and burnout through outdated, damaging narratives of what success looked like.

In this session, Liesel will introduce participants to a more sustainable way of engaging with both work and rest. Participants will learn about what it means to listen to their bodies and how to cultivate a more holistic view of health and work.

This type of engagement is best for organizations who: Want to give help participants embrace integrated, physical wellness to thrive at work and in life

8. Keynote Training: Empathy and Parenting : How to Help Our Children in and Through Times of Disruption

  • Delivered in an interactive presentation format (virtual)
  • 60-90 minutes
  • Includes PDF Handbook for continued, self-paced learning
  • Pre and Post-Session Surveys (SurveyMonkey)

When tragedy impacts in the life of a child, it can be difficult for adults to know how to help. And this impacts our workplaces. Many of us (or our coworkers) are walking alongside children that are experiencing profound disruption.

During this interactive session, participants will learn how they, as parents and as adults in community with children, can help young people encounter disruption in healthy ways? What does a resilient, growth mindset look like? How do we honor the process of grieving and, in turn, help our children learn to extend empathy to themselves and to others during disruption?

This type of engagement is best for organizations who: Want to come alongside working parents, equipping them with the emotional and relational tools to survive, stabilize, and thrive after their children go through loss

9. Bundled Pricing Option

  • Pairs together keynote offerings and assets (surveys, consultations, and handbook)

This type of engagement is best for organizations who: Want to maximize cost savings and invest in creating habits of empathy across the organization

10. Empathy at Work Certificate Program: Comprehensive Training

  • 12 hours of total training
  • 8 hours of team coaching
  • Official Culture of Caring Certification and promotional materials
  • Pre and post-session surveys (delivered via SurveyMonkey)
  • Empathy at Work Certificate PDF Handbook with self-paced learning materials
  • Each certificate session is 2-3 hours
  • Certificate sessions will cover
  • Empathy avatars: identifying (and adapting) your go-to responses to pain and stress
  • Practices for change and compassion fatigue
  • Emotional intelligence: utilizing imagination, decoding body language, and how to regulate big emotions
  • What to say/not to say: practical tips to improve communication (includes content on Hard Conversations)
  • How to practice empathy in client interactions
  • Support during the critical first day/week/month: creating replicable support systems at work
  • Putting it all together: building an organizational empathy action plan and personal statement

This type of engagement is best for organizations who: Integrate empathy into all levels of their organization, improving communication patterns and empowering participants through role-playing and equipping them for the most common types of disruption

OUTCOMES:

  1. 1. Equip managers to lead well through uncertainty and disruption
  2. 2. Increase teamwork by boosting employee engagement and mental well-being
  3. 3. Empower team members to respond with empathy
  4. 4. Help disrupted team members return to a place of thriving
  5. 5. Improved communication as employees embrace hard conversations on race, inclusion, and differing expectations with meaningful words and gestures
  6. 6. Boost mental wellness

Hire Liesel For

Keynote, Speaker, panelist

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