A Compassion Fatigue Summit for Nonprofit Professionals

Friday, Nov. 3, 2017 | 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. | San Antonio Area Foundation

This one-day Compassion Fatigue Summit gathered nonprofit professional caregivers working with children and adults with disabilities, seniors or animal serving-organizations and those impacted by disasters on Friday, Nov. 3.

Guest speaker, Amy Cunningham, Talent Management Consultant for CHRISTUS Health and certified Compassion Fatigue Educator talked about "Helping the Helper – Overcoming Compassion Fatigue, Stress, and Burnout." She helped participants learn how to recognize compassion fatigue, manage the symptoms and build resiliency, and establish a better work-life balance.

In the afternoon, attendess participated in interactive sessions learning about physical, mental, emotional and occupational self-care practices. Participants were asked to choose three of these four sessions to attend:

  • Using Mindfulness in Daily Life 

    Presenter: Dr. Lindsay Bira, LLC, Clinical Health Psychologist and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, UT Health Science Center San Antonio

  • Centering Yourself Through Change - Writing About What Matters to You 

    Presenter: Sheila Black, Executive Director, Gemini Ink
  • Building a Restorative Culture for Individuals and Organizations

    Presenter: Delise Crimmins, Founding Partner, Redline Leadership
  • Live Well to Be Well

    Presenter: Jan Tilley, MS and Registered Dietician, President and CEO, JTA Wellness

Registration is closed for this event

Registration is $75.

What is compassion fatigue?

Compassion fatigue occurs when nonprofit professionals care too much. As they open their hearts and minds to care for people and animals in distress over time the daily toll of witnessing those they serve deal with difficult challenges and chronic despair often takes a physical, emotional and spiritual toll.

Those with compassion fatigue may have difficulty concentrating and experience feelings of hopelessness. They may engage in unhealthy behaviors, experience tension at home and even fall into clinical depression. Some may have a reduced ability to feel empathy for those they serve and may begin to perform poorly at work. They may leave the nonprofit field altogether.

Making self-care a priority -- practicing healthy lifestyle habits, maintaining work-life balance and finding ways to recharge on a daily basis -- helps nonprofit professionals prevent or heal from the effects of compassion fatigue.

Afternoon workshop sessions

Using Mindfulness in Daily Life

Presenter: Dr. Lindsay Bira, LLC and Licensed Clinical Health Psychologist

Dr. Bira will discuss how mindfulness helps the brain function better and will lead practice groups focused on several different ways of using the skill. Mindfulness can be practiced formally and informally, and she will show attendees how to incorporate mindfulness into daily life for balance and health. Attendees will learn walking mindfulness as well as taste mindfulness, and will learn how to control the breath to reduce heart rate and better control emotions.  These skills can be applied to manage stress at work and in other areas of life.  


Centering Yourself Through Writing About What Matters to You

Presenter: Sheila Black, Executive Director, Gemini Ink

Sheila Black will lead participants through an exercise that encourages you to “map your heart” followed by exercises to encourage focused writing about joyful and painful memories and experiences.  The goal will be to develop a sense of where we are centered, where we come from and where we might go. Exercises will be designed to promote self-care and empathy by encouraging a “mapping approach” to our lives and loves.  Participants will understand the role image plays in crafting creative written pieces, what it means to assume or explore a different persona in a piece of writing and guided observation and visualizes as a creative writing tool and meditative practice.


Building a Restorative Culture for Individuals and Organizations

Presenter: Delise Crimmins, Founding Partner, Redline Leadership

In this workshop, participants will explore examples and options to bring individual and corporate energy to individuals and organizations.


Live Well to Be Well

Presenter: Jan Tilley, MS and Registered Dietician, President and CEO, JTA Wellness

Participants will be affirmed and encouraged to provide care for themselves first so that they are then equipped to care for others.  They will be given tools for how to apply healthy eating and fitness principles while maintaining very busy schedules both at home and work.  A healthy work-life balance is found by making wise decisions in the food, fitness, sleep and stress management habits we choose.  Attendees will embrace the reality that a healthy lifestyle an incredible power to heal, repair and maximize human potential.

Meet our speakers

Dr. Lindsay Bira
School of Medicine, UT Health Science Center San Antonio

Bira is a TEDx speaker, clinical health psychologist, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and health and wellness influencer.  She received her Ph.D. in clinical health psychology from University of Miami, was a clinical fellow for Harvard Medical School and Boston University School of Medicine and completed an additional 2-year fellowship in trauma psychology.  Her clinical research relates to treating posttraumatic stress disorder in the military as well as issues related to managing chronic pain and daily stress.  She also treats a range of issues in private practice.  She is particularly passionate about bridging the gap between the complex but important research world and the public; she speaks to wide audiences about how stress influences wellbeing and how we can take control of our brains in unexpected ways and through using mindfulness to override problematic patterns.  Dr. Bira has been featured by Women’s Health Magazine, Texas Public Radio, KSAT and more for her work in mindfulness, brain health, and wellbeing.  


Sheila Black
Gemini Ink

Sheila Black is Executive Director of Gemini Ink, an independent literary arts center in San  Antonio, Texas. She is the author of House of Bone, Love/Iraq (both CW Press), Wen Kroy (Dream Horse Press), and Iron, Ardent (Educe Press, 2017).  She is a co-editor with Jennifer Bartlett and Michael Northen of Beauty is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability, (Cinco Puntos Press), named a 2012 Notable Book for Adults by the American Library Association. She recently co-edited an anthology of disability fiction, The Right Way to be Crippled and Naked, forthcoming in fall 2016. In 2012, she received a Witter Bynner Fellowship from the Library of Congress for which she was selected by Philip Levine.


Delise Crimmins
Redline Leadership

Delise Crimmins is a founding partner at Peoplelink in Albuquerque, Redline Leadership Associates and Optin Experts in San Antonio and writes curriculum for Swift HR Solutions in Seattle. Delise has been a leader in the area of organizational and people development for more than 25 years. She has successfully helped shape organizations in Panama, Chile, Switzerland and Mexico, in addition to numerous organizations in the U.S. Her dynamic style and extensive experience have produced exceptional corporate cultures and leaders at companies such as Southwest Airlines, Office Depot, JetBlue Airways, Los Alamos Laboratories, Methodist Healthcare Ministries, the Humane Society of San Antonio and many others.

Amy Cunningham
CHRISTUS Health

Amy Cunningham is a sought-after speaker and trainer who inspires individuals to live a life of compassion, empathy, passion and purpose. She spent the last 18 years working with nonprofits and mental health organizations. As a certified Dream Manager, she coaches employees to live a purposeful life, and to strategically accomplish their dreams. Amy currently serves as a Talent Management Consultant for CHRISTUS Health. CHRISTUS Health is an international nonprofit healthcare system with more than 35,000 employees. Amy serves on a team dedicated to the implementation and planning of all leadership development programs for the CHRISTUS Health System. Amy is a certified Compassion Fatigue Educator through Green Cross Traumatology, and has traveled throughout the nation advocating a balance between work, life and taking care of oneself. She has developed and implemented several assistance programs for organizations to enhance the care of their associates, and recently delivered her TEDx San Antonio Talk, Drowning in Empathy: The Cost of Vicarious Trauma.


Jan Tilley
JTA Wellness

Jan Tilley, President and CEO of JTA Wellness, is a registered dietitian and national leader in nutrition counseling, wellness and chronic disease management. 

Her private practice, JTA Wellness, includes a team of professionals who works with patients using an evidence-based approach to wellness. Holding an MS in nutrition, Jan has over 20 years of experience in the food and nutrition industry. In 2014, Jan received the National Association of Women Business Owners Entrepreneurial Spirit Award. Jan has written numerous books, including Getting Your Second Wind and Healthy Meals for Hurried Families. Eat Well to Be Well, her third book, focuses on empowering readers to live their best life through the power of embracing an anti-inflammatory lifestyle by making wise choices in eating, sleeping, exercising and managing stress. 


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