California State University, Sacramento

Based on real user feedback and statistics, no longer supports Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.

Skip to Main Content


Story Content

Wisdom Studio live brings together local leaders, artists, and academics to offer insight into employee well-being

Organizations and businesses adjusting to a post-pandemic normal are putting greater emphasis on mental health and well-being, and a new series of videos produced by Sacramento State’s Wisdom Studio offers key insights from some of the region’s top leaders.

In May, Wisdom Studio recorded a live studio discussion on employee well-being featuring Roseville Deputy City Manager Megan Scheid, B Street Theatre Artistic Director Lyndsay Burch, Interim Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Carlos Nevarez, and Joseph VanVo, a Sac State adjunct professor and industrial/organizational consultant.

Hosted by College of Business Professor Hakan Ozcelik and actor and director Elisabeth Nunziato, it was the Wisdom Studio’s first in-person event since the pandemic.

“Our goal is wisdom-oriented leadership,” Ozcelik said. “Well-being has become a huge topic not only for organizations, but for our students and the larger public as well. There’s a huge gap between what people expect and what organizations provide.

“We’ve got these great organizational leaders from different sectors, so we’re bringing them together to hear their stories.”

Included are stories such as how Burch took over the B Street Theatre after its longtime artistic director, Buck Busfield, retired in January 2021 and successfully led Sacramento’s beloved performing arts company through the pandemic.

“We create conversations, almost like we’re sitting around the dinner table.” --  Hakan Ozcelik, College of Business professor

She hired an organizational therapist to help the theater company transition from 18 months of virtual programming to reopening to live audiences. By then, many employees had left the company.

“So, we were rebuilding our team, and I just got this sense that something was different about the energy of the organization,” Burch said. “People were struggling.

“I want to be a leader who centers on the well-being of the organization as well as the success of the organization. An organization that looks successful from the outside is not always healthy internally. So how do we ensure those two things go together?”

The organizational therapist conducted various group sessions and met with individual staff members.

“It changed a lot of things for us in a positive way,” Burch said.

She also engaged an employee working toward a master’s degree in nonprofit administration to study whether the theater is competitive in the job market.

“Many folks running businesses and organizations are having difficulty hiring people, especially in entry-level positions,” Burch said. “We wanted to learn where we are in the job market, not just salary but also what our organization can offer an employee beyond just getting paid. What do people care about? What causes them to invest in an organization and stay with an organization?”

Sac State’s College of Business launched the Wisdom Studio in 2017, bringing together artists, academics, executives, and employees to explore issues and help enhance society’s health, happiness, and performance.

“We create conversations, almost like we’re sitting around the dinner table,” Ozcelik said.

Their conversations are recorded in front of a live studio audience and edited into a series of roughly 15-minute videos, which are uploaded to Wisdom Studio’s YouTube channel.

The first video in the latest series, recorded in May, is expected to be released this summer.

During the pandemic, Ozcelik and Nunziato produced videos through Zoom, offering tips for dealing with loneliness and isolation as the world sheltered in place.

Roseville’s Scheid said her city is trying to combine what leaders learned about working remotely with being back together.

“You can’t only operate from an academic, knowledge-based viewpoint in order to provide services to human beings,” Scheid said. “You have to know the other human beings you’re working with and be able to have a comfort level to have honest conversations.”

Like the B Street Theatre, many Roseville city employees retired during the pandemic.

“How do we welcome people into our organization and transfer knowledge?” Scheid asked. “We’re still in the upheaval of it. There are surveys of people who appreciate the flexibility of (working remotely) and also appreciate getting together more.”

So far, Wisdom Studio, which was featured in an Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business article, has produced 30 episodes. The episodes have been viewed by more than 12,000 people from all over the world.

Ozcelik and his students also are working with computer science students to engage more viewers by revamping the studio’s website and creating 1-minute video segments on Instagram.

Share This Story

url copied!

About Jennifer K. Morita

Jennifer K. Morita joined Sacramento State in 2022. A former newspaper reporter for the Sacramento Bee, she spent several years juggling freelance writing with being a mom. When she isn’t chauffeuring her two daughters, she enjoys reading mysteries, experimenting with recipes, and Zumba.

Editor's Pick

Media Resources

Faculty/Staff Resources

Looking for a Faculty Expert?

Contact University Communications
(916) 217-8366