Introducing the four leadership panelists:
Dr. Paul Farnan - As a medical doctor and partner with HealthQuest Occupational Health Corporation, Paul acts as a consultant to many organizations on issues relating to the health and safety of their workforce.
Michelle Laurie - The president of Local 258 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), and the chair of the BC Fed Health and Safety Committee, Michelle has held leadership positions at many levels.
Deanna Matzanke - As Director, Global Employment Strategies in the Global HR and Communications function at Scotiabank, Deanna has a background in law.
Sophie Pierre, OBC - Now chief commissioner, Pierre previously led the St. Mary's Indian Band for 30 years as elected chief. She was also involved in the work of the BC Claims Task Force.
This session opened with a video showing the panelists in their work environments and speaking about their commitment to psychologically healthy workplaces. Many explored what a "mentally healthy workplace" means to them.
Deanna Matzanke on making mental health a priority among many work responsibilities: "I don't see mental health as a separate issue. Mental health is both the input and output of strong HR practices."
Sophie Pierre on leading by example: "That's difficult, because you have to start with yourself. That's difficult when you have to do that. It's much easier to look around and identify all the problems that everyone else has." "We need to have a community where people can trust each other."
Michelle Laurie on striking a balance between being proactive and reactive: "Have a strategy, and remember that strategy. Day to day stuff can sometimes be a distraction, ...but you need to stay focused on long-term outcomes."
Paul Farnan on making it okay for people to come forward without making it seem like they're disclosing a weakness, "There's no way I'm going to tell my secrets unless I trust the person. It's just not going to happen. ...We talk about the importance of regular feedback and regular communication. ...Good organizations train their managers on good and respectful feedback that leave the person feeling good and whole afterwards."
Two final take-aways from Sophie Pierre and Deanna Matzanke:
Sophie Pierre: "We grow up in a culture where everyone is encouraged to do your best. One of the best teachings I ever learned was, "Yes, you're always going to do your best. Some days, your best is going to be amazing. And some days, your best is going to be lousy. But that's ok. Just do your best."
Deanna Matzanke, "I agree. On some days, your best might be getting out of bed. On other days, you wow the CEO with a presentation. Normal is everyone goes through ups and downs. Everyone. Normal is what someone's experience is, and you'll never know what someone's normal is unless you ask."