Jeannette Maré

We need to get serious about kindness. 

I know, “kindness” sounds soft, but it is anything but. Kindness skills can be taught and practiced, and when we improve these skills, we improve every aspect of our lives. Kindness skills are vital for children’s academic success, for employee wellness and for community connection.

The 2009 Gallup Arizona Poll revealed that Arizonans highly value community connection but don’t feel connected to one another. Only 12 percent of Arizonans believe that people in their community care about one another. Ouch.

Guess who gets to change this one…Our legislators? Nope, this one’s ours.

Let’s care about each other.

From my experience, kindness is usually not a polarizing issue. But there are some skeptics who question the value of the practice of kindness or who just oppose the idea of being a joiner. I get it. I joke that as the “kindness lady” I have to leave town to be even a little grouchy. But my experience of the positive benefits of intentionally practicing these skills is undeniable. Even in my darkest, most stressful moments – and I have plenty of them – I know that I have skills to employ that will allow me to experience those dark feelings without becoming overwhelmed by them and without taking them out on others.

Let’s practice kindness together and let’s start at work. 

The Harvard Business Review reports, “a large and growing body of research on positive organizational psychology demonstrates that not only is a cut-throat environment harmful to productivity over time, but that a positive environment will lead to dramatic benefits for employers, employees, and the bottom line.” Being intentional about the practice of kindness at work reduces employee stress and improves overall connectedness and productivity. 

Thank you to Inside Tucson Business for recognizing the importance of kindness in the workplace and for offering Ben’s Bells the opportunity to share the ways local businesses are incorporating kindness into their everyday operations. We hope this feature will inspire you to create a culture of kindness in your workplace and that you’ll share your stories and photos with us so that we can keep the inspiration flowing.

Jeannette Maré is founder and executive director of Ben’s Bells.


TMC joins with Ben’s Bells to promote kindness


It only makes sense that a place that rebuilds health and delivers care to the sick would consciously practice kindness on its campus. 

Tucson Medical Center was the first hospital to participate in the Ben’s Bells Kind Colleagues program – a natural fit for an organization with a mission that already reflects caring and compassion.

“The Kind Colleagues program gave us a framework to talk about kindness as a skill and the impact it has when intentionally practiced and recognized. It’s often those little moments that make a big difference for our patients, families and staff,” said Heather Bachman, TMC’s director of patient experience. 

TMC’s roots with Ben’s Bells date to 2014, when the hospital accepted a challenge to document 1,000 acts of kindness. 

After surpassing that goal, TMC engaged Ben’s Bells founder Jeannette Maré in leading a Conversation on Kindness for TMC managers, directors and executives, touching on scientific research around the power of kindness to heal, as well as opportunities for health workers to practice self-kindness to reduce stress and boost productivity.

Badge cards for TMC’s 3,700 employees and 470 hospital-based volunteers have “be kind” on one side, with TMC’s values of compassion, dedication, community and integrity on the other. TMC also has two peer recognition programs: One for excellence in work, and another for kind acts in the workplace. Both of those programs are reinforced in new hire and volunteer orientations – and Ben’s Bells’ merchandise is available for purchase at the TMC’s Gift Shop.

Despite soaring June temperatures, staff and volunteers made and installed tiles for a “be kind” mosaic mural in what is now called the Kindness Patio. It was a deliberate choice to put the mural inside the campus, instead of on an exterior wall with greater public visibility, since it can be seen from the hallway traveled most frequently by nursing staff members who care for TMC’s sickest patients. “It serves as a daily inspiration about the work they are called to do,” Bachman said. 

For more info about the Ben’s Bells Kind Colleagues Program, contact Laura Gronewold, director of education,