World of Work
Kathie Melocco is a multi award winning PR and Marketing practitioner, responsible for some of our most successful social justice campaigns. In 2018 she shifted gear, retrained and founded WOW – World of Work Chaplaincy. WOW’s first precinct chaplaincy service is located in Barangaroo which upon completion will be home to a workforce of some 23,000 people daily and is already establishing itself as an important financial precinct.
And no, before you get all paranoid about religious matters, Kathie makes clear it’s all about spirituality. She says, we all require spirituality for our own wellness. It is a critical plinth in mental wellness – mind, body, spirit. WOW she says is just like EAP only Kathie calls it CAPS – Chaplaincy Assistance Program for business.
So why is spirituality so important? Spirituality is at the core of our sense of self. Our sense of purpose, meaning and values and that is why it’s necessary for wellbeing. If you doubt her, read Victor Frankl’s seminal essay ‘In search of meaning.’ It’s best explained like this: For some spirituality could mean hanging with family, yoga for some, connecting with nature, our footy team, faith, it’s different for everyone. And it’s about respecting diversity and inclusion.
Kathie’s focus interest area is on Moral Injury. Originally identified in the armed services and confused with PTSD at the time, Moral Injury is often called a soul injury. It causes our sense of self to be disrupted and sometimes even broken with trauma. Currently international research is being undertaken into this important area by psychiatrists, psychologists, chaplains and more with the aim of identifying a holistic management solution to the problem. The jury is still out.
Early evidence however suggests it is a leadership issue. Simply put, if we fail in our duty of care to protect people when ethically and morally we have a responsibility to do so we cause injury. And it can be enduring.
Kathie regularly chaplains to victims of workplace bullying, sexual harassment, domestic and family abuse, gender equity and more. She says, we have to start putting the focus on safety and leadership. On understanding what it is to be human. This means protecting our children, our families, our workplaces in a much more holistic manner. It’s about the concept of being a ‘neighbour’ of caring for each other. It also means all of us being involved in the emerging AI ethics discussion from a community safety perspective.
As for Kathie, she says, everyone needs someone to talk with and as a first responder, that’s my job. Caring for people, wherever they may be in their life. Kathie is also known affectionately on LinkedIN as the LinkedIN Chaplain and chaplains regularly to members in crisis on safety at work, sexual harassment and domestic abuse.