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RFKHR Book Club panel discusses Tramuto’s new book on how compassionate leadership can transform organizations

Compassionate leadership, effective listening, trust and creating an atmosphere of psychological safety in the workplace were the main highlights of a panel discussion hosted by the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights’ Board and Leadership Council Book Club on Wednesday, June 22. The conversation, moderated by Jeffrey Siminoff, Senior Vice President of Workplace Dignity at RFKHR, focused on the book, The Double Bottom Line: How Compassionate Leaders Captivate Hearts and Deliver Results, written by RFKHR Board Member Donato Tramuto. Panelists included: Jeff Arnold, CEO, ShareCare, Inc; Janine Broussard, CEO, Help Us Grow (HUG) Foundation; and Kurt Small, President, East Markets, Commercial and Specialty Business Division, Anthem, Inc.

Setting the stage for the conversation, Siminoff explained how the subject matter of the book is connected to the RFKHR Workplace Dignity program, which was launched with the support of the Tramuto Foundation. “We focus on giving organizations and their leaders the strategies and the tools that allow all workers to thrive, no matter the work they do, and no matter where they do it,” he said.

Tramuto said 40 leaders, including Fortune 50 public companies’ CEOs, senators, members of Congress, nonprofit founders, actors, journalists, and doctors were interviewed for the book and the one thing they had in common was how they defined compassionate leadership. “It was a combination of empathy and action,” he said. “It isn’t just good enough anymore to show empathy. You must do something.”

Another common thread, Tramuto said, was how the leaders de-emphasized their titles. He said none of the leaders felt that they needed a title to be impactful. “Compassionate leaders rent their titles, they own their dignity,” he said, quoting a line from the book.

Small shared insights from his experience in the business and healthcare sectors on how effective listening can positively influence organizations. “People want to know that you care and you’re truly listening to what’s going on in their lives,” he said. But beyond listening to the “verbal and nonverbal cues,” taking action, he said, has a profound impact.

On the subject of trust, Broussard emphasized the importance of having a “safety net” that allows employees to make mistakes and ask for help in an atmosphere of transparency. “We want to create environments where people feel that they can be themselves and know that they don’t need to be perfect,” Siminoff said, underscoring her point.

All the panelists, who were also featured in the book, shared valuable insights from their current work and career experiences.


  • Donato J. Tramuto, Author; Founder, TramutoPorter Foundation
  • Jeff Arnold, Co-Founder, Chairman, and CEO, ShareCare
  • Jeffrey Siminoff, Senior Vice President, Workplace Dignity @Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights
  • Janine Broussard, Founder, Help Us Grow (HUG) Foundation
  • Kurt Small, ​President, East Markets, Commercial and Specialty Business Division, Anthem