Chukky Okobi: Director of #SameHere Sports

#SameHere From Cavs Employees

#SameHere Sports Programs support either players’, employees’, fans’, and/or team stakeholders’ social/emotional well-being, sense of connection to each other, and/or their teammates, colleagues, managers, leaders, or HR, by bringing about a paradigm shift in the way in which they each think about and approach the topic of mental health. The program creates a cultural shift within locker rooms, front offices, fan bases, and/or business offices, where a safe space is created and fostered, allowing all who go through the programs to express themselves openly and communicate when they are dealing with various social/emotional challenges – whether the source of those challenges are genetic in nature, based on life challenges – stemming from on or off the playing surface, inside or outside of the office, or all of the above.  When all members of our teams/offices/fan bases are encouraged to openly share their challenges, without repercussions, there are fewer communication break-downs, greater support is offered, and there is a lift in social/emotional well-being – and when it’s player or employee-focused, specifically, it results in greater productivity, a reduction in office conflicts, and more clearly defined goals, expectations, and execution.

Monumental S&E Event

Together with your senior management teams (Business Office or Sports Front Office), we design a Culture-Setting “Launch” Meeting.  Based on the focus of your event, this meeting is coordinated for either: players, fans (group buyers), corporate partners, season ticket holders, or employees.  This session runs roughly two hours, and sets the tone in looking at mental health from a new angle – one where we acknowledge that life experiences we ALL face, affect everyone in (and out of/on and off of) the office, community, or playing surface, to varying levels, at different points in our lives.  These sessions are structured as a collaboration between our team and yours.  Beyond this culture-setting meeting, we offer break-out sessions focused on the following.

For Team/League Business Office Employees, Season Ticket Holders, or Corporate Partners, we:

The “Goalie Guild” Event

A) Teach various “STARR” (Stress & Trauma, Active Release & Rewiring) Exercises so that targeted attendees have coping skills and strategies to deal with stress. There are many exercises that attendees can learn to perform at their desks, in their offices, or in a separate room that your office designates, to allow them to “rest and digest.”  The time taken to perform these exercises is more than made-up for, in the health and greater productivity of your employees (or your partners’ employees) and the overall organization.  We teach attendees various techniques that they can “own” and make part of their daily routines.  We also have STARR Exercise Courses, for leaders in your group to learn directly, in a self-paced format from the top experts in mind/body science and modalities.  You can even access STARR Exercise Cards before we begin to work together.   With respect to building office culture, we have also helped teams and their partner companies design STARR Exercise “Gym for the Brain” rooms that employees can participate in, at structured times throughout the day, or when they feel necessary.

NBA League Office Employee Event

B) Equip managers with programs and activities to ensure they are taking the mental health of their staffs into consideration, in the most efficient way possible. The cat and mouse game between a manager and their staffers is not healthy.  By engaging in open dialogue and acknowledging that employees need short periods throughout each day to “exhaust” and release stress and anxiety, attendees establish policy and work on a communication strategy that show they’re taking their employees’ mental and overall health, and company’s productivity, all into consideration.  We equip managers with group/team activities they can use with their staffs to accomplish these goals.

Event with the Oakland A’s

C) Establish mental health and wellness policies for current and prospective employees: We help attendees establish parameters that can be communicated to the whole office and are endorsed by the organization’s top decision-makers around topics such as: acceptable time in and out of the office for weekly therapy sessions, mental health days off counting against the standard allotment of days off, where to turn and who to turn to in the office when uncomfortable feelings arise, letting employees know they can be open about their mental health bumps or complications without fear of termination or lost opportunities, etc.

D) Discuss the 10 factors that most affect employees’ mental health in aggregate.  While all of our research and programs have confirmed that all 10 can be influenced by changes made by senior management, five of the 10, specifically, can be positively influenced by employees themselves.  We do sessions with senior management teams to discuss any possible changes they may want to make to all 10, as well as sessions with employees to discuss how they can take the initiative in positively affecting the five they have influence over.

E) Use our programs as a basis to engage audiences for your corporate partners’ messages.  Because of how important the topic of mental health has become, and because of how many people are affected, teams and leagues have been using our programs and the celebs we bring to speak, as content plays, allowing their corporate partners to invite their key clients, stakeholders, or prospects, to creatively communicate an important message, offer, or program they are interested in promoting.

Celebs from The #SameHere Alliance

Coordinate break-outs with players to do a deeper dive into the life challenges they face, specifically – e.g., challenging upbringings, fans/partners not understanding them, the pressure of playing for contracts, the possibility of trades and moving their families to new markets and interacting with new teammates, the impact social media is having on them, their lives and careers after their playing days come to an end, finding and establishing a sense of purpose off of the playing surface.  For each of these sessions we bring a former professional athlete, who shares their own personal experience, and can best relate to your players. We end by showing all players that ridding themselves of emotional baggage they may not realize they’re holding on to, they can feel “lighter,” better able to handle the stresses of being a professional athlete, and perform at an even higher level.

Coordinate break-outs with coaches and front office management to first address their own mental health, and the balance they either are or aren’t finding, trying to balance the grind of their positions. We then discuss the topics mentioned above, related to players – so that 1) there is a common understanding as to some of the unique challenges today’s players may be dealing with, and 2) how to best pick up signs that a player is dipping mentally and/or emotionally, especially when they are choosing not to open up.

Your organization may choose to coordinate the Culture-Setting Launch Meeting alone, or any one, some, or all of the programs above (as well as others not listed here).  We have worked with pro sports teams and leagues all over the country, big and small, from Cleveland to Oakland, and even the NBA League Office. We look forward to the possibility of working with your team.

What people are saying!

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