Spanista » Self Care Rituals, Reflections & Resources for Joyful Living by Ginny Shiverdecker

Good News Monday: NYTimes Article CEO’s Management Mantra


Dear Wellness Seekers,

Good News Monday: NYTimes Article CEO’s Management Mantra by David Gelles is a welcome breath of fresh air for Spanista. It tells the story of the pioneering Chief Executive Officer of Aetna Health Insurance Company, Mark T. Bertolini, who experienced a life changing skiing accident a few years ago, that opened his mind to think differently about achieving wellbeing. For him, like many others, he realized traditional medical methods were helpful to a point. Living with prolonged discomfort post accident, affected the quality of life he had long taken for granted. It beckoned him to seek new solutions to address his own unresolvable pain points that were not just about the physical dis-stress, but also the emotional toll.

In the “A CEO’s Management By Mantra” article in the Sunday NYTimes, it tells the story of  how Mark’s quest lead him to research various pathways reported to deliver real results including ancient approaches to mind management. Thank goodness there is a growing body of evidence published by credible institutions on these topics in western medicine as our scientific experts have been slow to accept. Mark’s exploratory of alternatives encouraged him to adopt a new holistic lifestyle philosophy to wellbeing that has gone beyond the personal, to shaping a new culture at the large health insurance company he leads. As these practices generated positive results personally, he had an epiphany, one that lead him to inspire his organization to embrace trials of both meditation and yoga. But it took some convincing even of his own medical staff. In the end clinical evidence won the day, and great results are being reported internally.


AETNA is one of the top 100 companies in America.  This kind of leadership take courage. Having worked in large companies I appreciate the boldness of a visionary. They are rare and I applaud him. The moves he is making to lead the company’s employees into an enlightened  wellness culture appears to also be helping enhance the financial wellness of the corporation.  Now this is really big news.  The article states that: Under Mark Bertolini’s leadership, the company has record enrollment and the stock price has increased three fold. These positive results stem primarily from the programs inclusive of meditation classes and yoga classes. More than one quarter of the companies workforce of 50,000 have participated in at least one class, and those that have report, on average, a 28 percent reduction in stress levels, a 20 percent improvement in sleep quality and a 19 percent reduction in pain. They also become more effective on the job, gaining an average of 62 minutes per week of productivity each, which AETNA estimates is worth $3,000 an employee per year. Demand for the programs are on the rise as results are shared employees; every class is overbooked.

“We have this groundswell inside the company of people wanting to take classes,”  Mr. Bertolini said. “It has been pretty magical.”


Spanista Takeaway:  A more holistic approach to wellbeing is long overdue in the corporate world and Spanista applauds the efforts of Mr. Bertolini. This CEO even wears his enlightened commitment for everyone to see with an engraved amulet that is engraved with the Sandskrit character “sohum” – “A Devine Connection to the Universe”. Spanista encourages any positive steps taken to self awareness – especially when it comes to understand our emotional fitness and wellbeing practices. I do hope that soon the idea and practice of Self Care will be encouraged by more CEO’s. Only they can set an example of better ways to live that offer more joyful lifestyles. Soon I hope massage therapy will become part of an integrated solution when people make the connection and benefits on a higher level.

What do you think of Mark Bertolin’s efforts – are they exemplary?

Would love to hear your comments – please share them below.

To Your Self Care Journey To Joy,


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