School Business Affairs November 2020 SCHOOL BUSINESS AFFAIRS | NOVEMBER 2020 5 W ellness is our theme for School Business Affairs this month, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the reminder. We have been leading at top speed for the past seven to eight months, but we need to slow down and take care of ourselves so we have the capacity to take care of those around us. In their recent Harvard Business Review article “To Take Care of Others, Start by Taking Care of Yourself,” executive coaches Whitney Johnson and Amy Humble share four basic principles for staying mentally and physi- cally strong as we live with the longer-term impacts of isolation and stress. 1. Start with self-care. Slow down to recharge and ask yourself,” How am I doing? Am I getting enough sleep, eating well, and exercising? Or am I drinking more than I used to?” Set a routine. Schedule exercise to get endorphin levels up. I’ve never been known for my athleticism, but I learned that playing loud music and dancing in the living room energizes me. I have added meditation to my daily routine. Having a watch that tells me to take a minute or two to breath during the day reduces stress. 2. Ask for help when you need it. This is probably one of the hardest steps for this Baby Boomer, but, when I fail to ask for help, I find myself taking it out on those closest to me. How many times have I wished I hadn’t given my husband a grumpy response when my real issue was stress from work? It’s also important to reciprocate, to be a good listener when oth- ers reach out for support. 3. Ask others, “How are you?” We have missed the check-ins we usually do when we run into each other in the hallway. In our Biz & Ops leader meeting last month, we started with small-group breakout video conferences to check in with each other, to listen to and talk about our challenges. 4. Look for the positive and say it aloud. Calling out excellence in the presence of peers and in one-to-one meetings to show appre- ciation for those who do so much each day encourages everyone. Expressions of gratitude and appreciation reenergize all of us. We have been responding to the real fears expressed by our parents and staff. They worry about their own health, the health of their families, and how to survive the new cir- cumstances of our daily lives. We help them by establishing strong communication networks and sharing information. We remind staff of our employee assistance programs and take time to listen to those who have experienced the loss of a loved one. We lead by showing our vulnerabilities. We let our coworkers know we share their fears and have experienced stressful moments. We model how to take care of ourselves: taking a walk during the day, doing mindful minutes at the start of a meeting, or simply taking a few moments to debrief some of our hardest work meetings. In late August, we lost actor Chadwick Boseman to colon cancer. In his 2018 Howard University commencement speech, Boseman shared: “Purpose is an essential element of you. It is the reason you are on the planet at this particular time in history. Your very existence is wrapped up in the things you are here to fulfill. Whatever you choose for a career path, remember, the struggles along the way are only meant to shape you for your purpose.” Our purpose as SBOs has never been clearer. I thank each of you for the work you are doing as we lead our communities through some of the most difficult circumstances we have ever known. The Human Factor By Claire Hertz, CSBA, SFO president’s message Claire Hertz, CSBA, SFO Deputy Superintendent, Business &Operations Portland (Oregon) Public Schools Tom Wohlleber, CSRM Immediate Past President Marvin Dereef Jr., SFO Director through 2020 Bill Sutter, SFO Director through 2020 2020 Board of Directors Ed Chabal Vice President David Ginsberg Director through 2022 Susan Harkin, SFO Director through 2021 Ryan Stechschulte Director through 2022 John Hutchison, CPA, SFO Director through 2021 David J. Lewis Executive Director