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Annual Balanced Dukes Conference

Join us on May 2, 2023 for a day filled with a variety of sessions covering all dimensions of wellness!

Space is limited for many of our sessions, so be sure to register soon! REGISTER HERE

Please see below for session information:

9:45 a.m. - 10:45 a.m. Sessions
Aligning Employee Affinity with Recruitment & Retention in THIS Economy

Eggs and fuel are high-priced; the average 40-year old person in 2023 has had seven professional roles. These two points tell us that institutions in all sectors must behave differently in order to recruit and retain talent. This presentation will explore the topic of employee affinity and employee resources as tools for recruitment and retention. Presented by Malika Carter-Hoyt.

Your Spending & Savings Plan

Everyone needs a budget. When you learn how to manage your money matters you can spend Within your comfort zone and still save. Budgeting isn't about restriction, it's about freedom. Join our upcoming session. Learn more about financial wellness and the Benefits of Atlantic Union Bank, including financial education with in-depth lessons to help You dive into the financial topics you care about most. Presented by Jennifer Huffman.

Back to Work After Baby: Navigating the 5th Trimester without Losing Your Mind

Parenthood “can be joyful, exhausting, confusing, wondrous, and isolating all at the same time. Now try going back to work. ” –Brigid Schulte, bestselling author. Navigating this change yourself as a new parent returning to work from leave can be tough. Trying to get through your work to-do list during a season of sleep deprivation can be tough. Struggling to get through the day without missing your baby can be tough. This is a rough transition full of emotions, so the goal of this presentation is to make this transition a bit easier. You'll get an overview of big takeaways from Lauren Smith Brody’s The Fifth Trimester, which is full of amazing lessons and tips for parents returning to work after parental leave. We’ll cover topics from pumping in the office to getting over the “I want to quit” phase to talking with your child-less boss about flextime. Join us as we support each other through this process! This is designed for new parents, soon-to-be parents, or even well-seasoned parents who have some tips on loan! Presented by Katie Sensabaugh.

11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Sessions
Invest for Success: 5 Principles You Need to Know

No matter where you are in your career journey, this workshop can help you understand the key principles of investing for retirement. From compounding to taxes to choosing investments, you’ll learn that how you invest for retirement is just as important as how much you save. We’ll talk about how you can: Take advantage of time, make use of tax-advantaged savings options, commit to regular contributions and stick to them, choose an appropriate investment mix, and review your strategy and investments regularly. Presented by Jay Colligan.

Introduction to Gentle Yoga and Pranayama

In this low key presentation we introduce some basic yoga postures and breathing exercises to help stretch and relax. Presented by Ravi Shankar.

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High

Whether at work or in your personal life, when emotions run high, relationships are significant, and results are important you are about to have a crucial conversation. You need the tools to effectively communicate your issues, your feelings, and your hope for the future outcome. This session will help you acquire the skills to improve engagement, efficiency, equity and more. Based on the book, 'Crucial Conversations,' by authors Joseph Grenny, Kerry Patterson, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler, and Emily Gregory. Presented by Michael McCleve & Gabe Driver.

Losing It: Reducing Weight Bias in Ourselves and the Workplace

This presentation aims to describe what weight bias is and how it shows up in the world. Information regarding how weight bias and anti-fat stigma shows up in the workplace will be provided, in addition to how to combat weight bias when it shows up in ourselves and our work environments. After the presentation, participants will work through a self-compassion exercise. Presented by Kate Bailey & Kim Hughes.

1:15 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Sessions
Tarot and Journaling: Tools for Self-Reflection

Reading tarot is a simple and creative way to get in touch with your intuition and emotions. This workshop will offer simple education on tarot and guidance on how to journal on the readings you receive. Includes readings for everyone, tips on reading for yourself, and journal prompts related to tarot spreads that will help you expand on your feelings and the nudges you receive from the cards. Presented by Rachel Saum.

Raise the Bar on Fitness

Have you been telling yourself that you need to exercise more, but simply don’t? Do you exercise sometimes but don’t see or feel results? If you answered ‘yes’ to those questions, then this session is for you! There are things you can do while sitting at your desk that you may not have considered. There are free resources on JMU’s campus that you may not know about. Even if you just need someone to light a spark under you to get you motivated, come join this session! Presented by Ann Wallace.

2:15 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. Sessions
Recharge: Find the Energy You Need

A sensible approach to life recognizes work and rest as complementary. Good rest acknowledges that the nature of our fatigue goes beyond lack of sleep. Join CommonHealth to reframe rest...not in the negative, like “not working”, but in the positive, as an important part of a healthy, balanced life. Come away from our interactive session with a personalized roadmap to more energy. Presented by Kristina Hall.

The Environment, Sustainability, and Us

The environmental health dimension entails

  • understanding how the health of the environments in which you live can positively or negatively affect you;
  • protecting yourself from hazards in your own environment;
  • working to preserve, protect, and improve environmental conditions for everyone.


This session will focus on the third aspect. Christy Bradburn will provide a brief overview of environmental stewardship and sustainability at JMU. Participants will watch the short (52 minutes long) documentary, “The Power of One Voice Film, A 50-Year Perspective on the Life of Rachel Carson”, and will reflect on how environmental stewardship is and can be incorporated in our lives. A marine biologist and nature writer, Rachel Carson's 1962 book “Silent Spring” played a significant role in the environmental movement. After the Balanced Dukes event, participants are invited to visit the exhibit: “Echoes of Silent Spring: 50 Years of Environmental Awareness (1962-2012)” in King and EnGeo Halls through May 5, 2023. Presented by Christy Bradburn.

3:30 - 4:40 Sessions
Zen Meditation Sampler

Curious about Zen meditation? “Beginner’s mind is the best mind,” says Roshi Shunryu Suzuki! Come learn about a few of the ideas underlying Zen, and try out a sampling of meditation techniques inspired by Zen principles and practice. These practices are relevant for people of diverse religions, or no religion. Attendees will be invited to try sitting meditation, standing meditation, and (if space is available) walking meditation. The session will conclude with ideas for integrating practice into one’s work day. Presented by Jody Fagan.

The Power of Wellness in Spiritual Disciplines

In this presentation, participants will explore how the 6 core areas of spiritual discipline of prayer, meditation, fasting, study, worship, and fellowship are a powerhouse of overall wellness for the body, mind, and soul. Additionally, the benefits of spiritual disciplines in contribution to the cycles of daily life, rest, contemplation, and celebration will be discussed. Presented by Katherine Richardson-Archibold.

3:50 - 4:30pm: East Campus Hillside Tour

Formerly a traditionally manicured grass area, the East Campus Hillside in front of King Hall has been transformed into an outdoor educational ecosystem that provides students and faculty with an outdoor learning and research resource and demonstrates JMU's commitment to environmental stewardship. The multi-phase project features a 1.6 acre meadow containing 29 native plant species, a two-acre tree planting area home to 25 different tree species, 1000 feet of restored stream channel and associated riparian buffer, beehives, a solar array, and a food forest. The tour is an outdoor walking tour.  Participants should expect to walk on stairs, small hills, slopes, and grass.  Please wear appropriate clothing and shoes.  Participants will walk to King Hall from the Festival, and the group will assemble at the President James Madison statue in front of King Hall at 3:50 pm. Presented by Professor Wayne Teel, PhD.

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