WellFest speaker spotlight: Claire Sanderson, editor-in-chief, Women’s Health
Claire Sanderson is the editor-in-chief of Women’s Health, published by Hearst. She is responsible for the strategy and direction of the whole brand. She is an outspoken advocate for more open conversation around mental health and passionately believes that a holistic approach to health, including exercise, is crucial for mental wellness. Claire is the only media representative on the government’s Women’s Health Taskforce, which aims to improve the health outcomes of the female population.
Claire joins us at WellFest for our headline session, a conversation with the singer and mental health activist Will Young. Read on to find out how Claire and her employers actively encourage wellbeing at work.
Why are you taking part in WellFest?
As a manager I’m very aware of how a team can thrive when their wellbeing is acknowledged, encouraged and valued.
I hope I can contribute to the day constructively but also take away actionable advice that will benefit my hardworking staff.
Why do you think workplace wellbeing is important?
A happy, motivated team is essential for commercial success. Investment by companies in wellbeing should be standard, but sadly it isn’t. I’m proud companies like Hearst are taking the lead.
What are you and your organisation doing to promote good wellbeing?
I lead my team by example. I leave on time and expect them to do the same. I’m very accommodating to flexible working requests and everybody is entitled to take their lunch break. If that needs to be longer than an hour to go to the gym, I trust my staff to manage their own workload. Hearst has many wellbeing initiatives, such as yoga classes and a choir, and it has a culture of valuing its staff with clear communication from the top down and a positive, empowering working environment.
Using only three words, describe work.
Challenging, rewarding, fun.
Getting away from your desk. Discuss.
Endless meetings and sometimes getting to the gym.
What place does emotion have in decision-making?
You have to involve emotion in decision making. In my opinion, the best editors are the most emotionally intelligent. But sometimes tough decisions have to be made.
Are you better at what you do, because you work where you work?
Absolutely. Hearst allows me the time to be a mum, go the gym which benefits my mental health and be an editor-in-chief.
Who was your greatest ever colleague and why? What about them, if anything, do you bring to your work and team?
Alun Williams, managing director for sport and wellness at Hearst. He gave me my big break at Women’s Health. He proves you can be an all-round nice person and still be a brilliant manager with a brain that is always switched on.
Does the reward reflect the work put in?
Yes. I get to head up a successful brand that embodies my personal, long-held passion for wellness.
Diverse teams make stronger teams. Discuss.
Diversity brings different perspectives. How can you cater for your audience unless your staff is made up of the cross-section of people you are creating content for?