Director, Disablity and Life Claims, Pacific Blue Cross
Why are you a champion of mental health in the workplace?
I went through my own mental health issue many years ago and self-stigmatized. We were not even talking about stigma in the workplace at that time, but having worked in disability claims for some time I was reluctant to discuss my situation with anyone. I felt I could beat it on my own. I was wrong! When I did start to talk about my situation I received wonderful support and have never looked back.
I became very interested in the programs offered by CMHA on psychological health, and I started to promote these and other options that support improving mental health in the workplace. I take every opportunity to speak about my own personal story and to demonstrate that it can happen to anyone, it does get better, and there are innumerable supports available if you need them.
Why do you commit your time and energy to planning the Bottom Line Conference?
I believe that this is a wonderful venue to help break down the stigma that still exists in some workplaces, and it provides information about supports that everyone can access in the workplace. It’s not just leaders that can create a psychologically healthy workplace; co-workers can be a huge support to those around them as well. We all have a stake in making our workplaces somewhere we want to be day in and day out.
Over the past 11 years, what was your favourite Bottom Line moment?
There have been many, it’s hard to choose just one. Of course the most recent ones are top of mind. I am always mostly touched by the personal stories that people tell about their own struggles and how they were supported by others and have either overcome or learned to cope with their individual situations. Meeting many of these individuals through being part of the Steering Committee for the BLC are my favourite moments.