Mad Men Zen Den
It’s one thing to be proactive about your own health. A local ad agency executive takes it one step further, becoming a health and wellness coach for her entire Encino office.
Written byEllie Batchiyska
As operations manager at Bullpen Integrated Marketing, Jeanne Verger is responsible for making sure the advertising agency runs smoothly. An important part of that equation, as she sees it, is having healthy employees. That’s why this past year, she approached her bosses about making a change.
“My intention was to brighten up the workplace,” Jeanne shares. “I wanted to bring together a closer bond between our employees and, at the same time, add lightness to the energy of the office.”
Much to her delight, co-owners Jordan Levy and Ricky Mintz were all ears. “We work in a high-stress, client-driven business, so was a perfect fit for our company,” Ricky explains.
Jeanne’s first task was to create a workplace health and wellbeing program for the firm’s 22 employees. After taking a year of health coaching classes, the 37-year-old blonde (who looks a decade younger) kicked off Bullpen’s program in January.
There are several components. First, there’s Jeanne’s office. The “Zen Den,” as she calls it, is decked out with Buddhas, candles, natural oils and fragrances. Employees are encouraged to come in, relax and sample.
In the office kitchen, Jeanne has dedicated an entire cabinet to natural medicines and remedies for employee use. A paper taped to the cabinet door reads “Jeanne’s Remedies for Treating a Cold.”
“It’s all about catching your illness right where it starts,” she says of her holistic approach. “I wanted to teach people how to heal themselves by using blends with apple cider vinegar, oregano oil, garlic oil.”
The cabinet also contains smoothie recipes and is stocked with superfoods, maca, protein and cacao powders. As part of the program, Bullpen provides fresh fruits and vegetables for employees to nosh on during the workday and hosts “Smoothie Week” once a month.
“I love the smoothie bar. It’s such a great alternative to coffee,” says Bullpen media assistant Noor El-Mohandes. “When we all hit the afternoon slump, we’ll bring each other smoothies.”
Exercise is also part of Jeanne’s program. She leads yoga and frequent 20-minute meditation sessions in the conference room. Even boss Ricky participates.
“I made time for meditation and loved it,” the CEO enthuses. “My daughter and I even started meditating at home together.”
The owners’ support is more than verbal. So far this year Bullpen has committed more than $3,000 to keep the program running. However, they feel it is worth it. There have been less sick days as well as improved communication at the firm.
“ builds community,” VP of finance Cherie Balousek states.
It appears to build loyalty, too. As Jordan Levy explains, “Our people get job offers all the time and this weighs in their decision because it says something about our corp-orate culture. We know about flexibility and balance in life.”OFFICE VISIT Jordan Levy, Jeanne Verger and Ricky Mintz at Bullpen Integrated Marketing