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5 Core Values at Work for 2016

As an HR professional who has worked in various industries over the past 25 years, my life has revolved around employee matters (positive and negative) and organizational successes and failures.  I have seen employees challenged with career decisions, personal obligations, family responsibilities, loss of employment and health issues. I have seen employees devote everything to their work. Many neglected to take care of their mind, their body, and to nurture relationships with friends and family. When they experienced failure at work, they had no support system to fall back upon. It was devastating.

My personal core values overlap with MIND’s organizational core values!

All of those experiences made me realize how important it is to live a balanced and enriching life.  I don’t want to be defined by one portion of my life. Life experiences should contribute to and be valued in other aspects of my life. 

Early in my career, I developed core values that allow me to achieve success and balance in my personal and professional lives.  As the VP of HR and Talent at MIND Research Institute, I take responsibility for supporting similar core values and for developing related policies, programs and initiatives. When we place core values first, we are building a long-term structure and plan that will enable the life-long success of our colleagues.

I believe the following core values are the foundation for managing health and happiness.


People come from different cultures, job experiences, education, travel adventures, talents, hobbies, and personal interests. It’s really important to be respected and valued for all the things that made you who you are today.

  • The respect for who I am and what I contribute is very rewarding and provides purpose!
  • Flexible time arrangement and time off allow MIND colleagues to continue to develop experiences and fulfill commitments outside of work.
  • We encourage colleagues to contribute to projects beyond their job scope if they have interest or related past experiences.


I have so many things to do and I can only accomplish them with flexibility.  A full time career, five animals (which require three separate dog walks), two kids, workout sessions, family time and “me” time.  That’s stressful.  But knowing I can get it all done because I have autonomy not only takes the stress away but gives me a great sense of accomplishment each day. A culture that extends this to all employees can be very powerful.

  • I don’t work long hours; I work efficiently and if I don’t get to whatever was last on my list, then it wasn’t enough of a priority to make it happen quite yet.
  • I do several weekend getaways and use my vacations to recuperate.


Finding support from others builds deep connections between people who might not otherwise work closely together. 

  • Since I transitioned to an unprocessed diet, I spend a lot of time planning my meals. A colleague who follows the same diet has supported me with advice and reading material recommendations. We’re building a relationship even when not directly working on any projects together.
  • MIND provides fresh fruits and healthy subsided snacks in the vending machine. It’s a constant reminder to eat healthy, as well as a place for people to gather and start conversations.
  • Fresh air and sun is a must for creativity, so my manager, MIND CEO Matthew Peterson, and I always schedule walking meetings which eventually get us to a food truck with yummy food!


Providing digital and physical spaces and opportunities for colleagues to collaborate on work-related and non-work-related projects is key to creating an innovative and creative environment.

  • Our internal Yammer wellness group allows colleagues to share recipes, tips, books, ideas and challenges.
  • On a quarterly basis, we participate in group physical challenges or activities. In the past, we have done stand up paddleboarding, rock climbing, a 5k run and a walking competition. 

Continuous learning

There seems to be a new study, idea or challenge every day.  Every new source of information gets me excited to try something new!

  • This year at MIND, we are introducing a monthly MINDfulness series. We have an in house expert who is willing to share his expertise with colleagues.
  • Through our Open MINDs program which encourages colleagues to spend 5% of their time involved in broader organizational projects or community volunteer opportunities, my colleagues and I have volunteered at various nonprofits. The Habitat for Humanity day was quite scary as the extent of my construction skills are really limited to changing a light bulb, but on that day I did really hard construction work. A real arm workout! But the most powerful health benefit is the feeling you have knowing you contributed to someone in need.

I try to act as an example to my colleagues and as an instigator to instill new ideas and opportunities. Ultimately, every person has to take personal responsibility in managing their health and happiness. Core values are different for every organization and every individual. This year, I challenge you to think about and define your personal core values. I wish you well on sustaining this long-term commitment to your health and happiness!

Learn more about MIND's mission

Kathy Naylor

About the Author

Kathy Naylor was VP, HR and Talent at MIND Research Institute. She is a mother to two kids and five animals, yoga and meditation practitioner, hiker, kayaker, stand-up paddleboarder, avid international traveler and master of not responding to emails while on vacation in Maui.


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