May is Mental Health Awareness Month. With companies and individuals looking for ways to improve their peace of mind, there’s no better time than the present to take a look inward. Nadene Cherry (she/her), Executive Account Manager at CDW, found meditation during a dark period in her life when she was looking for answers. In 2009 her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, and she felt more urgently than ever that life truly was short. After her mom got through cancer, Nadene was looking for a way to experience life through the lens of the present moment, and that’s when she discovered meditation. Now she shares her practice with CDW coworkers as well as companies such as Cisco, Salesforce, and Vital Proteins through guided meditations, panel moderations, and group presentations.
The focus on the present moment is central to mindfulness and meditation, but Nadene didn’t immediately find her way to the practice. She decided she wanted to feel all of the moments in life— the ups and the downs. And she recalled that it was as if she was putting something out there into the universe by having that realization. “People started talking to me about meditation out of the blue and I decided to look into it.” Once she started practicing, she noticed that she felt better. Things started slowing down, but she was getting more accomplished. This allowed her to expand the way she thought, connect the dots, and form deeper connections with her colleagues. And, as a side effect of this practice, her sales doubled. She knew she was onto something and decided it was time to share her experience with a broader community.
Nadene started leading meditations in a boardroom at CDW and things grew from there. She led more than 40 people during practices, but soon the COVID-19 pandemic began and everything transitioned over to a virtual platform. During a time where participation could be dropping off, it grew instead. “With the pandemic, people are desperate to connect with other people,” Nadene said. The format of her practice begins with a topic that she talks about for 10 or 15 minutes— this could be a mindfulness or gratitude topic or an interview with someone in the meditation community. For the remaining 15-20 minutes, she leads a meditation.
I have a lot of favorite moments,” she said, but I believe the favorite of favorites is when I decided it was time to show up as myself and bring my very personal meditation and mindfulness practice to the business community.
Nadene said that for a long time she didn’t feel confident or comfortable bringing her truest self to the workplace. But she has found that doing so creates a safe space for others as it allows them to do the same. Feedback from meditation participants has been overwhelmingly positive. “I hear they love it,” Nadene said. She said participants benefit from feeling connected to a larger community, more relaxed and less stressed after a session. They are in a better space to experience their day in a more mindful manner.
Currently an Executive Account Manager at CDW, Nadene’s days are jam-packed; however, she believes it is foundational to her success both personally and professionally to make her well-being a priority.
For people who are interested in practicing mindfulness and meditation in their own personal and professional life, Nadene suggested starting small.
For anyone who is struggling to fit meditation into an already busy day, Nadene shared this advice, “This is a practice that oftentimes finds us when we’re ready to receive it.” Unlike certain sports or hobbies, meditation doesn’t require a base level of mental or physical fitness; participants can truly start where they are and bring their true selves to their practice. “It shouldn’t be one more thing to add to your already busy plate,” Nadene said, “It should feel like something you want to do. So, you’ll know when the time is right to start.”
At CDW, we understand the importance of our coworkers' health and well-being, so we partner with Modern Health to offer a free, comprehensive mental wellness resource. Modern Health is a personalized platform that thoughtfully matches coworkers with the right level of care for their needs — whether that's 1-on-1 mental health coaching, clinical therapy, or digital program courses and meditations. Learn more about our benefits.
– CDW Team