Mastering Corporate Wellbeing with Brigid Walsh

Corporate Diversity Pathways spoke with Brigid Walsh, General Manager of the Golden Door Health Retreat, to get her insights on why corporate leaders take time out for their wellbeing and the positive benefits they experience that keep them at the top of their profession.

Brigid Walsh - photo.jpg

CDP:  You have been at the Golden Door in both QLD and NSW, in the beautiful Hunter Valley, as General Manager for more than 10 years.  During that time you have personally met tens of thousands of guests, many of them taking time out from very busy work lives.  What is the primary reason people take time out to attend your 3, 5, 7 day programs? 

People come to Golden Door for many reasons, however if we were to group them into some broad themes, these would be the key reasons;

o    Time out/ rest

o    Dealing with stress/anxiety/depression

o    Kick start health and wellbeing behaviours

o    Loss of a loved one, colleague, relationship, job

o    At a cross roads in career or life

CDP: In 2014 the Golden Door introduced the Corporate Wellbeing Program.  Why did you decide this was important for corporate Australia and how does it differ from other programs?

10 years ago we had the owners of a sports retail company send 52 of their staff to Golden Door over a 12 month period.  It was a big investment by the owners and it delivered excellent results in terms of staff motivation, retention and personal wellbeing goals.  

Based on this we decided to develop a more specific corporate wellbeing program for individuals and/or small teams which includes a wellbeing survey (optional) for baseline results, mindfulness training and wellness coaching. Corporate wellbeing guests can participate in seminars on nutrition, sleep, resilience, movement and behaviour change as well as participate in a range of mind/body classes.  It is a one stop shop delivered by a professional team in a short space of time. 

We know Corporate Australia is still driven by a culture of long hours and poor work/life balance, despite the evidence suggesting it hampers performance. The offsite immersive experience at Golden Door offers corporates a new perspective, enables better lifestyle choices and is the ideal setting to learn life-long tools for a more balanced life which can provide significant professional advantages.               

CDP: What do you believe is the single greatest benefit for Leaders from experiencing an immersive program focusing on their wellbeing?

Getting offsite gives perspective. When you remove yourself from the regular grind, daily habits and influences you can start to see life through a new, clearer lens. Our aim is to break the burnout pattern and enable a new era of healthy sustainable leaders.

CDP: What is your recommendation for sustainability of wellbeing in work and life?

  • Sustainability is about building rituals and habits. Don’t rely on motivation alone.

  • Prioritise the most important things first…

  • Accountability.  Work with a mentor or coach to keep yourself on track.

  • Writing down the changes you want to see. Making a written commitment or vision statement.

    CDP: Do you mind sharing any feedback you have had from corporate leaders who have decided to embrace greater wellbeing and how this has benefitted them in their life and work?

“It is almost a week since I left Golden Door & I have not stopped thinking about the learning I now have. It's fair to say I arrived with some trepidation, after a mate suggested a five day corporate wellness package would be good for me. A little weird at first but I soon settled in and felt comfortable that it was OK to put myself first for a week. It really is excellent value for money when you consider all delicious meals, superior accommodation and some extras are covered. The quality of the program is exceptional as is the calibre of the staff.

I leave there as a changed person, noting that incremental changes in habit can make an incredible difference to my outlook, stress and wellbeing.”

Peter Wheen
Ocean Nourishment Corporation

 “The Golden Door Corporate Wellness experience gave me the opportunity to regroup, rebalance and accept myself and my life.  Giving my staff the same opportunity and experience was rewarding on many levels”.


Jenny Zeuschner – Founder and Creative Director of Vigorella

Case Study:

A group of 9 senior managers from Menzies Aviation participated in our 3 day Corporate Wellness program. 12 weeks after their stay, the team had sustained some fantastic results. We asked Menzies’ Regional Senior Vice President about its lasting effect on his team.

“Every member of the team describes their Golden Door retreat as a life-changing experience,” he told us. “The one-to-one session we had with the Golden Door team were particularly impactful.”

“Collectively, we have lost 62kgs in weight – with one member of the group alone losing 21kgs – and have made a range of lifestyle changes such as cutting down on coffee or alcohol, and improving our diet. As a team, we think a great deal more about health and wellbeing.”

If you would like learn more about wellbeing in the workplace for leaders, please click here.