Who We Work With.
Our research explores two kinds of work-related wellbeing: happiness (what makes work fun or enjoyable) and thriving (what makes work profoundly meaningful or purposeful). We examine dimensions of each, how they influence each other, and how together they may create what we call flourishing.
The initial focus of our studies is people in the helping and caring professions-those working with the threatened, the vulnerable, and the marginalized.
Why We Need More Wellbeing.
According to Gallup’s World Poll, 63% of the global workforce is “checked out” and “sleepwalking through their workday.” The Wall Street Journal notes that more than half of American workers are less content with their jobs than they were 30 years ago in nearly every individual measure—from wages and retirement plans to vacation policies and commutes. This staggering and high level of employee dissatisfaction can also suggest a “steady erosion of trust and loyalty between employers and employees” says Rebecca Ray.
At a time when worker satisfaction is in decline, there is a large discrepancy between what we want from work and our actual work experience—this disconnect creates unhappy workers. And not surprisingly, unhappy workers act out their unhappiness at work. Our research will enable us understand what factors drive this unhappiness, as well as which factors contribute to wellbeing and flourishing in the workplace.
- Dimensions of Happiness
- Chronic daily moods and emotions
- Chronic daily subjective life evaluations (subjective wellbeing)
- Physical health
- Dimensions of Thriving
- Strong, positive identity
- Positive relationships with individuals and groups
- Positive growth & personal change
Meet the team on the frontlines of workplace wellness. In addition to the talented, multidisciplinary team highlighted below, we also partner with scholars, practitioners, and experts from a wide range of fields.
Matt Bloom is an Associate Professor at the University of Notre Dame where he leads the Wellbeing at Work Program. He received his Ph.D. from Cornell University. Before becoming a professor, he was a consultant for Arthur Young and a financial advisor for Shearson Lehman Brothers. He has seen firsthand the negative consequences of unhappiness at work, and is committed to finding real solutions to make the workplace a positive, vibrant experience.
Matt lives in South Bend with his wife, Kim. His oldest son, Nicholas (pursuing a Ph.D. in sociology at Duke University) and his wife, Kate (a research program manager at Duke Medical Center), live in North Carolina. His son, Keaton, is an architect in New York. One of Matt’s passions is backcountry hiking, so each year he goes "off the grid" somewhere on the Appalachian Trail.
Kim Brennan is the Program Director and manages all of the operational, administrative, and innovative initiatives for the Wellbeing at Work Program. Prior to joining the team, Kim served for 15 years as the program manager for the Master of Nonprofit Administration Program at the University of Notre Dame. Kim received her Master of Nonprofit Administration degree from Notre Dame in 2006.
Kim and her husband, Bill—also a Notre Dame alumnus—are originally from the Northeast. They love living in the Midwest, enjoy hosting family and friends for Notre Dame football weekends, as well as volunteering, cooking, and traveling.
Judy Miller is the Administrative Assistant for the Wellbeing at Work Program. Prior to joining the team, Judy worked in the Nonprofit Professional Development Program in the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame, as an events and project coordinator in MBA Student Services at Mendoza, and as an administrative assistant at the Purdue University School of Technology. She earned her degree in business administration from Michiana College.
Judy lives in South Bend with her dog, Roxie. She enjoys the great outdoors, gardening, and traveling—particularly when a lake or ocean is involved—and spending time with her three children and four grandchildren.
Laura Schmucker is the Program Coordinator for the Wellbeing at Work Program, where she serves as a liaison across all partner organizations and participants, coordinating all survey development and distribution, as well as managing the logistics and data for the team’s research studies. Laura received her B.S. in accounting from Valparaiso University before serving as a CPA for a major accounting firm. In addition, Laura has filled a variety of leadership roles at a large church in the South Bend area.
Laura lives in South Bend with her husband, Ron, and loves the outdoors, spending her free time golfing, biking, playing tennis, and boating on the lake. Laura has three children. Zach lives in Chicago and works in the mortgage industry. Brian is pursuing a master’s degree in accounting at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. Her daughter, Madison, also attends Indiana University, where she studies elementary education.
Deirdre Guthrie is senior research scientist and one of the senior researchers on the Wellbeing at Work Program. She received her doctorate in medical anthropology from the University of Illinois, Chicago. Prior to graduate school, she worked as an investigative reporter for the City News Bureau and Village Voice. Deirdre has written on a wide range of topics from indigenous environmental justice to contemporary circus life. Following her leadership role for Rush Hospital's Department of Preventive Medicine on the Alive! Project, she will be developing a study on the well being of community healthcare workers for the Wellbeing at Work team, as well as supporting current studies.
Deirdre flourishes as a yoga and mindfulness meditation student and teacher. Her favorite place to practice is in her partner Ray’s art studio, surrounded by his paintings, with her daughter, Ella, by her side.
Amy Colbert is an Associate Professor of Management at the University of Iowa. She received her Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management from the Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa in 2004. In addition to her interest in wellbeing, Amy studies intrinsic motivation, leadership, and work-family dynamics.
Amy grew up near Hannibal, Missouri, and during high school was an official tour guide of that historic town. She lives close to Iowa City with her husband, Mike, and her two sons, Ben and Matt. Amy is an avid reader and a passionate fan of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Daniel G. Groody is a Catholic priest, a Holy Cross religious, a scholar, teacher, and an award winning author and film producer. He is currently an Associate Professor of Theology and the Director of Immigration Initiatives at the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Drawing on years of work in Latin America, particularly along the U.S.- Mexico border, he has authored various books and articles. He has worked with the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the World Council of Churches, and the Vatican on issues of theology, globalization, and migration.
Fr. Groody holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Notre Dame in the Great Books Program, a master of divinity and a licentiate in sacred theology from the Jesuit School of Theology, and a doctorate in theology from the Graduate Theological Union. He is also the executive producer of various films and documentaries, including One Border, One Body: Immigration and the Eucharist, and Dying to Live: A Migrant's Journey, which have received international acclaim and aired on various television stations including PBS.
Steve Bloom is a successful business executive with 25 years of hands-on leadership experience in healthcare, consumer products, financial services and technology companies. He has spent the majority of his career in world-class companies such as PepsiCo, Citibank and Medco. Steve has a passion for solving business problems by effectively aligning organizational, leadership and human capital needs. Most recently, Steve served as SVP and chief human resource officer for ProBuild, a $5B distribution and building materials company with over 11,000 employees.
Steve is recognized as a both a pragmatic leader and a calculated risk-taker who can effectively span the operational and human capital elements of large organizations. He has particular skills in organizational effectiveness, strategy development, and talent management. An effective consultant and coach, Steve has partnered with fellow senior executives in large scale change management, mergers and acquisitions, and business reengineering projects. While at Medco Health Solutions, the $60B healthcare company, Steve was part of the leadership team that established Medco as Fortune’s “Most Admired Company for People Management” in 2008.
Steve is currently partnering with Matt Bloom, a professor at The Mendoza School of Business at Notre Dame University. Their work furthers research and application of what enables employees to flourish in the workplace, find meaning in their work, and enhance workers’ overall wellbeing.
Steve holds a Master of Business Administration from the Owen Graduate School of Business at Vanderbilt University, and a Bachelor of General Studies in Psychology from the University of Kansas. He is married and has two children. Steve lives in Colorado and Florida.
Having spent the last 8 years as the Associate Campus Pastor for Community Care at Azusa Pacific University, Chris is the new Director of the Kern Center for Vocational Ministry & Associate Professor of Pastoral Care & Counseling at Azusa Pacific Seminary. He is a third generation pastor’s kid, and an ordained minister. In addition to his role as a professor in undergraduate and seminary teaching and training, he is also active as a denominational/church consultant, and frequent speaker at pastors’ retreats and conferences. Having spent a number of years in local church and parachurch ministry leadership, Chris developed a passion pastoral and church health issues. A graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary, he is currently participating in research on pastoral health and effectiveness, including the Duke Clergy Health Initiative and Profiles in Ministry Project for the Association of Theological Schools. Chris also facilitates the clergy candidacy assessment, selection, formation, and ongoing care processes for a number of denominations and seminaries.
Chris is married to Lori, a cardiac nurse, and they have two children, Lexi (5), and Cole (10 months). Chris enjoys spending time with his family, playing tennis, scuba diving, and music (especially jazz).
John Nagy is a freelance writer whose award-winning features on engineers in New York City and architects in Cuba have explored the relationships between people and their work. Prior to joining the editorial staff of Notre Dame Magazine in 2006, where he currently serves as web editor, he wrote about state government and politics for Stateline.org, an information project of the Pew Charitable Trusts, and directed communications for Youth Apostles, a community of Catholic youth ministers based in Arlington, Virginia. He holds a B.A. in history and English literature from the University of Virginia and a M.A. in American history from the University of Notre Dame.
John lives in South Bend with his wife, Alicia, and their all-consuming seven children. A baseball zealot, he enjoys reading, language study, jogging, music and the idea that maybe he’ll see more of the great wide world someday.
Ilaria Schnyder V.W. is a Research Assistant Professor at the Kellogg Institute for International Studies working collaboratively with the Wellbeing at Work Program. She is doing research in international development with a particular interest in dignity and integral human development. She holds a PhD in international law and economics from Bocconi University in Milan and an Msc in anthropology and development from the London School of Economics. In her research projects she is drawing on her expertise in qualitative methods and ethnography in Africa and Latin America. She has undertaken a major evaluation of the program's community development work in Nnindye, Uganda, and is also studying and assessing educational projects in Uganda.
A native of Switzerland, she lives in South Bend and she loves hiking, skiing and painting.
Sarah Rompola is a Senior Research Associate with the Wellbeing at Work team, where she is involved in data collection and analysis. Sarah received her B.A. in sociology from Saint Mary’s College and her M.A. in sociology from the University of Cincinnati. Prior to joining the team, she was a program coordinator for the Office of Pre-College Programs at the University of Notre Dame.
Sarah lives in South Bend and enjoys reading, cooking, and finding unique spots for good food in the area.
Lauren Squires is a Senior Research Associate with the Wellbeing at Work team, where she is involved in both qualitative and quantitative data analyses. Lauren received her B.A. in sociology and literature from Southwest Minnesota State University and her M.A. in sociology from the University of Notre Dame.
Lauren resides in South Bend with her husband, Gage, and their two cats. Together, they enjoy traveling, attending concerts, competitively playing board games, and spending the evening reading a good book.
Linda Kawentel is a research assistant with the Wellbeing at Work team. She uses quantitative methods to examine well-being among clergy and humanitarian aid workers. Linda is currently working toward completing her Ph.D. in sociology at the University of Notre Dame, and brings to the team a background in the sociology of religion, sociology of the family, and qualitative and quantitative research methods. Prior to coming to Notre Dame, Linda earned an M.A. in Religious Studies from John Carroll University, as well as a B.A. in Religious Studies and Political Science also from John Carroll.
In her spare time, Linda enjoys playing the flute in Notre Dame’s concert band, playing board games with friends, gardening, and traveling.
Partners in Learning
The Lilly Endowment exists to support the causes of religion, education and community development, and places special emphasis to projects that benefit young people and promote leadership education and financial self-sufficiency in the nonprofit, charitable sector.
The John Templeton Foundation supports research on subjects ranging from complexity, evolution, and infinity to creativity, forgiveness, love, and free will. It seeks to encourage civil, informed dialogue among scientists, philosophers, and theologians and between such experts and the public at large, for the purposes of definitional clarity and new insights.