At ZS, we believe in supporting professional and personal development by living our core values of “treat people right, get it right and do the right thing,” and by making the well-being of our people a top priority. To enhance this culture of belonging and support, we have ZSer-led programs like HealthyMindZS that strive for positive mental health for all ZSers. We sat down with Mark Rayward-Smith, the office managing principal in Cambridge, to share the story of HealthyMindZS and the ways ZS supports the mental health journeys of its people.
Where passion changes lives
Mark first joined ZS as an associate in our London office. During his 17-plus years at ZS, he relocated to the U.S. and returned to the U.K., where he eventually became the office managing principal in Cambridge and a leader on the team that supports one of our largest pharma clients.
A few years ago, Mark had the epiphany of starting HealthyMindZS. “One of my team members came to me and opened up to me about their mental health,” Mark says. “They wanted guidance on how to navigate a tough situation, and I didn’t know how to respond. It made me feel inadequate, knowing that I was ill-equipped to support this person as well as I wanted to. That feeling shook me up a bit and got me thinking about what I could do to ensure that all ZSers are equipped to look after their mental health and that of their colleagues.”
Mark connected with London ZSers Felicity Toon, a regional human resources lead, Emma Sherling, a strategy, insights and planning consultant and Cory Hemming, a professional development and coaching specialist, to develop what would become HealthyMindZS. What started as a small initiative in London quickly gained momentum in other ZS offices in Europe and across the globe. Leadership is working to advance HealthyMindZS to all offices to ensure every ZSer has a connection to the tools and resources they need to support their well-being.
“The point of this initiative is to make sure ZS is as good an employer as it can be for the mental health of our people,” Mark says. “The vision we are pursuing is well-being for all ZSers at all times. To accomplish this, we focus on three things: awareness, empowerment and resources.”
Awareness represents the aim to help all ZSers develop an understanding of the drivers of mental health. This is accomplished through companywide informational events, like the one ZS hosted this year with Ashley Whillans, assistant professor at Harvard Business School. We invited all ZSers to join a Zoom call where Ashley talked about scientific strategies to reclaim time and live a happier life.
Empowerment is about breaking the residual stigma associated with mental health. HealthyMindZS works to ensure that all ZSers feel empowered to take care of their mental health and that of others, without fear of discrimination or judgement. “We try to achieve this through open dialogue, training and openly sharing the steps taken by people across ZS to care for their mental health,” says Mark. A lot of this is done through mental health stories. This initiative, founded by HealthyMindZS, encourages people to bravely share their mental health journeys—either anonymously or with their names disclosed—to help normalize conversations about mental health.
Lastly, resources represent the work of HealthyMindZS and human resources to enhance and amplify the comprehensive services that support ZSers’ mental health, and to ensure that all our people are aware of those services and know how to access them. “If you have a broken arm, you look after it. If you have a mental health condition, you should look after it. You need to take care of your mind, just like you take care of your body,” says Mark.
To find your passion and join a company that prioritizes your mental health, explore our open roles.
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