Liesel Mertes

Workplace Empathy Consultant
Handle with Care Consulting


Handle With Care: How to Create a Culture of Support and Empathy at Work


Workshop Description:  

Many of us feel overwhelmed and under-equipped when a co-worker goes through a disruptive life event. When an employee receives news of a death, a divorce, or a diagnosis, they need meaningful support. However, most co-workers and managers have little idea of what to do or say. Instead of offering impactful and relevant support, many default to silence or toss out a tired cliché. Social support erodes and affected men and women find themselves feeling very alone. Coworkers turn the other way, avoiding uncomfortable situations. The stress and feelings of isolation mount, negatively affecting the work environment.

A 2019 report on workplace empathy showed that 82% of employees would consider leaving their work for a more empathetic employer. 78% reported that they would work longer hours for a more empathetic employer. How your organization supports people in the midst of hard times matters; it drives retention, helps to attract talent, alters brain chemistry, and lets people know that you truly care.

What if you could feel empowered to competently care for those around you at work? What is people felt like they could bring their whole self to work? In this interactive and inspirational session, workplace empathy expert Liesel Mertes will equip your staff to be workplace first responders, offering empathy, inclusion and compassion when it matters most.

In this session, attendees will learn:
• What is empathy and why does it matter?
• What is the real cost of isolating someone in their pain (let’s talk dollars!)
• Identify common personal and organizational roadblocks to compassion
• The magic words that always communicate support
• Three things you should never say to an employee experiencing a disruptive event
• Creating cadences of care: actionable tips to transform your workplace now


Liesel Mertes is an acclaimed workplace empathy expert. Having experienced her own loss and struggle, Liesel emerged with a deep understanding of what employees need to feel supported at work after a disruptive life event. As the Founder of Handle with Care, Leisel works with groups that want to boost employee satisfaction as well as attract and retain better talent


Liesel’s favorite clients are forward-thinking organizations who know the value in supporting their employees with empathy and compassion. Her expertise is broad – loss, returning to work, a diagnosis, relationship transitions – and no disruption is considered less significant. On these topics, Liesel is a dedicated speaker, writer, consultant, and host of the Handle With Care podcast.


Liesel earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, a Master’s degree in Business Administration and is currently pursuing studies to obtain a M.Div. She has worked in Nairobi, consulted in Fiji, and led cohorts in Ghana. Her adventures brought her to Indiana, where she is a proud mother, wife, and lover of time spent on the water.


Through her actionable strategies, real-life stories, and passionate commitment, Liesel helps people survive, stabilize, and thrive in the aftermath of adversity.




Save the date for next year!
October 20, 2021