CIA hires first ever chief wellbeing officer

The new hire is part of a push to increase mental health resources and provide additional support to CIA officers.  

The Central Intelligence Agency is bringing a “chief wellbeing officer” onboard as part of a push to increase mental health resources and provide additional support to its workforce.

The CIA today announced Jennifer Posa as the agency’s first-ever chief wellbeing officer. Posa started at the agency last month. She was most recently the Global Head of Employee Mental Wellbeing and Workplace Effectiveness for Johnson & Johnson. She also spent 17 years at the Mayo Clinic.

“Building a healthy and resilient workforce is one of my most profound responsibilities,” CIA Director William Burns said as part of the announcement. “It is absolutely critical to our success as an agency. That’s why I’m delighted that Dr. Posa has joined our team and will bring her unique set of experiences and skills to this crucial role.”

Posa and her team will charged with overseeing wellbeing programs for CIA officers both domestically and in locations across the globe.

Planned initiatives include “expanding opportunities for employees to practice health and wellbeing activities during the work day; providing additional mental health resources to officers and their family members; increasing access to childcare subsidies; and identifying additional flexible work options for officers,” the CIA announcement states.

“I am honored to join CIA in this role and excited to work with officers throughout the agency to advance our commitment to wellbeing to further support our geographically diverse workforce as they carry out our important mission,” Posa said.

CIA leaders have increasingly referenced employee wellbeing as a major priority in the wake of two decades of counterterrorism deployments capped by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The pressures and strains faced by officers and their families are unrelenting, with two decades shaped by counterterrorism threats followed by two years of COVID,” Burns said during an April 14 address at Georgia Tech. “Some of our officers and family members have also had to deal with anomalous health incidents, where we’ve made significant progress on medical care, but still have work to do in our government-wide investigation into the cause of a choice and a number of discrete cases.”

Burns pointed to the new “state-of-the-art” fitness center at CIA headquarters as an example of the investments the agency is making in employee.

“We’re investing in new childcare options and trying to develop as many flexible work models as our secret work allows,” he added.

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