More Executives Opening Up About Loss and Grief, Says BLT Strategies

Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg are two top-performing executives, and both have recently spoken out about their personal hardships; according to BLT Strategies, this is a positive trend.

An old axiom says that it is rude to discuss politics or religion in polite conversation. In much the same way, it has long been held that personal topics — especially painful ones — be left out of business discussions. Recently, however, top executives are starting to buck that trend, opening up to the public and revealing intimate details about personal struggles. In a new statement to the press, BLT Strategies comments on this trend.

“Life-changing events, such as a divorce or the loss of a loved one, happen all the time, and they can certainly happen to top executives,” comments Mary Ellen Wasielewski, the founder of BLT Strategies. “Historically, executives have kept these occurrences to themselves, fearing that speaking about them might make them look weak. The problem with this is that by bottling up their grief, they make their own healing process that much more difficult. This in turn leads to lost productivity and diminished revenues. That is why it is ultimately positive that business leaders feel more confident discussing these things in public.”

Case in point: Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, has received much attention for her personal, touching posts about the loss of her own husband. Her posts include tortured passages about her own grief journey, and that of her children.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has followed her lead, recently drawing attention for pained personal posts of his own — including the revelation that he and his wife, Priscilla Chan, have experienced three miscarriages. “Most people don’t discuss miscarriages because you worry your problems will distance you or reflect upon you — as if you’re defective or did something to cause this,” writes Zuckerberg in one post. “So you struggle on your own.”

“Nobody can shorten their grief journey, but there are ways to make it more bearable, and to remain healthy, clear-headed, and productive throughout,” comments Wasielewski. “This open dialogue about grief, in a corporate setting, is a good example of exactly that.”

As a bereavement coach, Wasielewski works with executives and high-performing leaders to help them remain productive and fit even through seasons of intense transition, bereavement, or loss.

More information about BLT Strategies is available online at


BLT Strategies is a coaching and consulting service, specializing in the areas of grief, bereavement, and transition. The company works with high-performing leaders to help them keep healthy and productive even through difficult seasons of life. BLT Strategies also helps companies provide grief support services for their employees, preventing lost productivity or absenteeism. BLT Strategies was founded by Mary Ellen Wasielewski, and is accessible on the Web at and @BLTStrategies

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