Resilience Is Not Just an Inside Job

In her Convening Leaders 2023 session, Arianna Galligher will give participants tips for building their own resilience and on how to support their colleagues.

Author: Barbara Palmer       

Arianna Galligher

“Our goal is to equip the workforce with the skills necessary to maintain themselves and support their colleagues,” said Arianna Galligher, associate director of the Stress, Trauma and Resilience (STAR) Program at Ohio State University.

Resilience “is a big buzzword right now,” said Arianna Galligher, who will present “Coping with Stress, Trauma and Building a Culture of Resilience” at Convening Leaders 2023, Jan. 8-11 in Columbus, Ohio. Galligher is a clinical social worker and director of the Gabbe Health & Well-Being Program and associate director of the Stress, Trauma and Resilience (STAR) Program at the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State University (OSU) in Columbus.

“A lot of people are actually pretty sick of hearing about [resilience],” added Galligher, who works with health-care professionals, faculty, and staff at OSU. That’s especially true, she said, “when the responsibility for resilience gets overly placed on the individual — especially if the environment is such that it would be impossible for them to do so.” For example, “I’m working with nurses, let’s say, and the recommendation is to take a mindfulness break,” she said. Their reaction is: “‘Oh, that’s great. I don’t have time to go to the bathroom in my 12-hour shift. What are you talking about, take a break?’ There has to be some institutional support — there have to be some system changes.”

In her work in the STAR program, Galligher and her colleagues take a two-pronged approach in working with OSU health-care professionals, faculty, and staff. “The training is aimed at equipping people across the organization, regardless of their roles, with some tools and skills to be able to recognize the impact of stress and trauma in the workplace and to be able to engage in self-care and self-maintenance.”

And secondly, through STAR’s Brief Emotional Support Teams (BEST) program, they train staff to recognize and intervene appropriately when someone they work with is adversely affected by day-to-day stress. “We focus on interventions both at the individual/department/unit level and at the system level,” Galligher said. “Our goal is to equip the workforce with the skills necessary to maintain themselves and support their colleagues, while also creating the proper institutional support structure that makes it possible for folks to incorporate these skills into their work.”

To date, the BEST program has trained more than 850 faculty, staff, and health-care professionals at OSU through the program, and recently developed a monthly “refresh and support” forum for ongoing conversation.

Wellbeing: 3 Things to Know

When Convene surveyed meeting professionals last April, we asked planners and suppliers to share how two-plus years of working during the uncertainties of the pandemic has affected their wellbeing:

  • More than one-third of planners and three out of 10 suppliers say they are anxious or burned out.
  • Work/life balance is the biggest source of burnout for planners and suppliers alike.
  • Two out of five planners said they have added content related to workplace mental health and work/life balance to their educational program and have changed the design of their in-person event to add more wellness elements.

Register Now for Convening Leaders

In her Convening Leaders session, Arianna Galligher will share tips to cultivate individual resilience, and how to support colleagues to build resilience in your teams. Register today at

Barbara Palmer is deputy editor at Convene.

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