Celebrated across the world every year during October, Breast Cancer Awareness month aims to increase awareness and support for the prevention, early detection, and treatment of breast cancer.

Two weeks ago, we talked to a group of Marriott Women General Managers in Bali about breast cancer. They shared some valuable tips on work-life balance, stories on stress management, and we even got to take a peek at their daily agenda.

This time, our discussion focuses more on how employers can do better to implement programs that not only help save lives, but also significantly elevates the level of respect and feeling of appreciation for employees.

It’s not only about reducing the possible risk of financial loss and increased insurance premiums, but also about saving lives, building a positive company image, and showing that you care about your staff.

One of the General Managers even shares her personal experience of a friend with breast cancer, bringing the reality into the forefront of our minds.

1.How is medical coverage that covers breast cancer being implemented in your company? Do you provide the minimum/the same as national labour law requirements, or more? If so, how?

ANA HENRIQUES of Mandapa, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve

What we are implementing complies with the labour regulations and we will always support employees struggling with breast cancer, allowing flexibility while they receive their treatment.

Also ensuring all of our ladies and gentlemen are covered by the BPJS-Kesehatan (national medical insurance coverage) to receive medical coverage, including possible breast cancer treatment.

MARIE BROWNE of Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort

The hotel provides the required pay regulations for associates taking leave for medical treatment. This helps associates maintain their pay and reduces financial stress during this time. Through normative government medical services, we provide support and access to treatment and examination for detection.

2. What do you think companies can do better to help prevent and treat employees struggling with breast cancer?

KRISTANTI TANNADY of Aloft Bali Seminyak

We have the power to provide a regular awareness to all employees through initiatives, where these actions need to be supported by all hotels

For example, creating a support system with cancer survivors where an employee can reach out for more information on the topic, or simply share their story.

MB of Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort

Providing breast health education is vital to ensuring early detection and treatment. It is important to share information with associates about self-examination, regular checks as part of your wellness examinations, and mammograms for women of 40, and above. Breast cancer is rare in men and often overlooked. Men need to be included in this conversation so they are aware of the possibilities and risks. It is important for leaders to support associates going through treatment and to be understanding of their needs. Organizations can help with sensitivity training and helping them to understand the associates’ needs and mindset during such a difficult time.

3. What makes you, as a General Manager, different in the way you create a healthy working environment?

KT of Aloft Bali Seminyak

I always believe a healthy working environment should exist in both body and mind. Therefore, we are proud to introduce Aloft Bali Seminyak as a smoke-free hotel for guests and our team mates.

And monthly team activities to reduce pre-opening stress levels, and to keep our bodies fit. And most importantly, we balance out our work and fun together.

AH of Mandapa, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve

Being a role model, I exercise six days a week, eat very healthily and live a healthy life. Therefore, knowing I am setting an example, it is easier to coach them and support them to live a healthy life.

I am also very picky with the food we serve at our cafeteria. To ensure we have many healthy options, all the colours of the rainbow fruits and vegetables, minimum salt, and variety.

MB of Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort

I believe in creating an inclusive and collaborative environment, having fun with accountability. I want my team to work together to get things done, creating an environment where people can count on each other and support each other. The best teams achieve results in all areas of the business by working as a unit, not in silos.

4. How early do you think you should talk to young children about the importance of breast cancer prevention?

KT of Aloft Bali Seminyak

I discussed the topic of cancer with my daughter when she was 15. As she grows older I encourage her to communicate with me, should there be unusual things happening to her body

AH of Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve

As early as possible, for example when children start to get curious about their anatomy.

5. Do you have anyone in your family, or circle of close friends, that has breast cancer, or has passed away from it, or is a cancer survivor? Do you mind tell us that story?

MB of Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort

Like most people, I have had someone close to me impacted by this type of cancer. A close friend of mine was diagnosed in 2011. Luckily, she was diagnosed early and received treatment. It was traumatic in many ways. First the diagnosis seem like a death sentence, then having to make the decision to have a double mastectomy and breast reconstruction, and the radiation treatment. There were moments where everything was taking its toll. Today, I’m happy to say she has been cancer-free to nine years, and continues to live a happy, successful, and full life. Having gone through this experience beside her, I am a huge advocate of early detection and taking a proactive role in your personal health.