TD Bank Morning Star Speaker Series: Fostering a workplace community with the help of Christine Porath

Christine Porath, an accomplished author, and tenured Georgetown business professor, joined the Greater Washington Board of Trade and our guests for on Friday, Oct. 28, as part of the TD Bank Morning Star Speaker Series that gives local business and organization leaders great insight about how to grow and foster success.  

Porath discussed details and actionable steps from her newest book ‘Mastering Community: The Surprising Ways Coming Together Moves us from Surviving to Thriving.’ Her speech and discussion with the audience really helped business leaders in attendance understand how to foster community and a feeling of compassion in the workplace.  

Porath shared a variety of examples about how businesses, organizations, and sports teams she has worked with were able to come together and bond through fostering community.  

“If you can create community, I really do believe it’s a cure for people, whether they’re struggling in some way, which we know all too many are,” said Porath about how 81 percent of employees are more focused and likely to perform well when there is a community atmosphere within their job.  

Porath shared that there are four pillars – self-awareness, physical well-being, mindset, and recovery — to creating happier workplaces and happier employees who want to build and be a part of a thriving workplace community. And emphasized that workplace leaders should know that self-awareness is the most overlooked of these steps. And that recovery is a huge part of keeping workforces engaged when they need to work, but also keeping them from feeling “burned-out,” which she pointed to as an even greater issue since the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted work conditions across the globe.  

Questions that Porath answered from the audience included how to create community via employees wanting to work from home more often, how to engage employees to work together that are of different ages, and how to foster community when the people in your community are very diverse and come from different perspectives and backgrounds.  

The energy in the room with Porath and our guests really allowed for these questions, and the ones asked by moderator Rosie Allen-Herring, to sink in when she spoke about solutions and obstacles to the concerns business and organization leaders face with their workforces.  

One thing that Porath left the room with that Friday morning was that if you are a business leader that leads workforces, you must “walk the walk” as much as you “talk the talk.” And that talking about fostering community in an organization is needed, but if you don’t take actionable steps to make it happen, employees won’t just go along with the idea.  

“I’ve talked about the idea of unleashing people and that really gets at giving people choice or autonomy, decision-making discretion … when people feel like their leaders, care about them, and respect them, you know, they feel valued, appreciated, heard, it makes all the difference. That actually is the number one driver of what motivates people at work, like how they perform well,” said Porath. 

Christine Porath has worked with countless businesses and sports teams to understand how community and workplace success go hand in hand through white at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. Her newest book, ‘Mastering Community,’ followed her book, ‘Mastering Civility,’ which she spoke about in a TED Talks discussion at the University of Nevada.  

The moderator for this TD Bank Morning Star Speaker Series event, Rosie Allen-Herring, president and CEO of United Way of the National Capital Area, allowed our guests to feel truly engaged. Her more than 30 years of experience in the areas of corporate finance, strategic leadership, public and private partnerships, corporate philanthropy, and community investment, was invaluable for the discussion.  

A huge thank you to our sponsor for this event TD Bank and its regional president, Terry Kenny, for helping the Greater Washington Board of Trade help grow workforce solutions and promote success for business in our region.