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Leveraging Stretch@KP to Turn a Passion Project into a KP National Resource


mindful hub.jpg

Sanjay Kapoor is the Director of Marketing in the National Proposal Development department of Kaiser, who he has been with for the past 17 years. Outside of normal work, Sanjay is a strong advocate for mental health awareness and is certified to lead guided meditations. His passion for sharing his practice grew into a partnership with Lori Borenstein and Rebecca Maxwell from Burbank Wellness Committee whereby they facilitated meditation drop-in sessions in their building. Soon after, Anissa Valdez joined to add restorative yoga to the offerings. Receiving an overwhelmingly positive response locally, Sanjay was motivated to create an organization-wide inclusive meditation and mindfulness program.

Meanwhile, Vivian Hermiz joined Kaiser in 2016 as a Compliance Consultant. Also, a Certified Mindfulness Facilitator, she began to search for what sort of mindfulness programs were being offered across the organization so that she could plug into the community of practice at KP. Vivian encountered several ad hoc activities being offered within specific teams, but nothing being shared more broadly. As she was connecting with colleagues who were sharing mindfulness programs, she met Sanjay. The two shared the same enthusiasm of expanding reach to all KP employees. Together they began to build out their common vision of providing an easy and accessible tool for their colleagues to practice Mindfulness techniques and to tap into the existing depth of skill that already existed within KP.

    They began to build out their common vision of providing an easy and accessible tool for their colleagues to practice Mindfulness techniques. 

While passionate about taking on this huge endeavor, the two soon realized they were in dire need of more resources. They turned to the Stretch@KP team, who thought-partnered with them to turn their concept into a “Stretch Project” and soon posted an open role for a skilled program manager. With the hopes of getting just one person, they quickly got five qualified applicants! Vivian says, “The beautiful thing about Stretch@KP is how flexible it is. We liked all the candidates and were able to add roles to accommodate all the passionate people who wanted to bring our vision to life.” Ly Rivera, Markus Ott, Leslie Ellen Hopkins, Sylviann Baldwin and Shilpa Shah joined the project to bring the Mindfulness & Meditation program enterprise-wide. 

Bringing together employees from six different departments and three different regions, the diversity of the team made it easy to mitigate various technical challenges that came up along the way. “I was pleasantly surprised how quickly we were able to overcome limitations,” says Vivian. “Everyone was able to leverage a resource or connection they had or use their expertise. Each person brought something new and different to the table and we all learned how we could help each other in the pursuit of this offering. It was awesome to be embodying the mission of being One KP.” Meeting weekly via Teams, the group conducted research, managed timelines, centralized existing efforts, created and executed a plan to scale up the program, and even acquired a leadership sponsor.

It was awesome to be embodying the
mission of being One KP.

Within six months, the team successfully implemented an enterprise wide program that helps employees incorporate Mindfulness & Meditation into their daily lives and showcases Kaiser Permanente as leading the charge in mindfulness at work. “With the help of Stretch@KP, I was able to connect with a community of like-minded, enthusiastic and driven people to bring this passion project to life” says Sanjay, “The engagement levels of our team members were well beyond my expectations and I’m moved by the amount of energy all the participants put in.” The Mindful Hub had over 1K unique visitors within a couple weeks of launching! Sanjay says, “The growth has been exponential and our Stretch@KP participants were the key to achieving this success - they did the heavy lifting and deserve all the recognition. With this project, we were able to connect with these amazing people that we may have never met in our daily work routines. 
Sanjay said this experience has helped him grow as a leader and proves that if you put people first, the work will get done. “It was more than just a project, it was about building relationships and the team getting satisfaction from creating something bigger than themselves.” Vivian says this Stretch@KP project was the high point of her day. “It was so enriching to build these relationships and share what I’m passionate about. Having this experience outside my normal scope of work, actually kept me more engaged in my current work. Additionally, I’m so inspired and moved by the amount of energy all the participants put in. Create something people are passionate about and the returns are in the work.” 

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