How One Bowl of Bolognese Could Help an Industry of Millions Facing Burnout

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Kiwi expat, global advertising industry award winner and recovering workaholic now based in the U.S., Karen Maurice-O’Leary (Kaz), is launching a new anti-burnout platform called ‘The Bolognese Philosophy’, based on the true story of her own personal tragedy.


The World Health Organization (WHO) categorises burnout as a medical diagnosis[1] and studies have shown it affects an incredible 83% of marketing and communications employees globally[2].

Kaz is bravely sharing her story with the world in a bid to get creative industries to stop, think about what really matters and protect each other’s time. Suddenly widowed in her thirties while working at DDB New Zealand, Kaz unknowingly came incredibly close to missing her last chance to share a meal with her husband, before losing him in a tragic accident the very next day. That meal was his home cooked Bolognese.

She has transformed her biggest life lesson into The Bolognese Philosophy, a collective crusade set to create a new standard of workplace care in the industry.

Her launch video titled ‘A Message to the Industry from a Workaholic’ shows Kaz wearing her original wedding dress, explaining the most important decision she ever made, which was to simply and unusually at the time, head home for dinner at 6pm.

Says Kaz: “So many of us are stuck in an endless cycle of overwork and it just becomes so normal. We’re missing all the important moments like time with our loved ones, our families, and our friends. These fleeting moments that we dismiss for work are what make our life meaningful and once they’re gone, we can never get them back.

“We’re in need of an urgent reset and many of us don’t realise it doesn’t have to be this way. Maybe we haven’t had the right words, the right tools, or the right inspiration to jolt us into action.

“I hope that by sharing my story I can give others the courage to be there for the moments that really matter to them, and to have crucial conversations in the workplace that create meaningful change.”

A public speaker on workplace wellness in Singapore, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Sydney, Kaz personally felt the abrupt shift to remote working created the rising need for a radically new commitment of care.

Adds Kaz: “The pandemic has been a brutal reminder of how precious our lives are and we’re looking for businesses and individuals to lead us into a new working era, where rest isn’t seen as a treat and productivity is championed during work hours.”

Any business or individual can embrace The Bolognese Philosophy, a simple first step is to schedule an internal meeting, send a link to watch The Bolognese Philosophy video and ask your team what “Bolognese time” means to them.

The Bolognese Philosophy will roll out in phases and phase one consists of a new workplace agreement that can be owned, signed and displayed, along with affirmation posters that can be downloaded and printed for workspaces.

Says Kaz: “The world is speeding up, we all have to do more with less time and less resource which is why taking positive steps to avoid a burnout culture is just so important. I’ve created The Bolognese Philosophy because I want to help you to be that boss, be that team leader, be the person who lets your team go home for Bolognese and be the person who feels like they can. More than anyone I know how much that moment could really count.”

The Bolognese Philosophy has a goal to impact a million people by 2024 and can be found on Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and at



Photo credit: Carlo A Flores

How One Bowl of Bolognese Could Help an Industry of Millions Facing Burnout