Virtual Event: Happiness in Times of Crisis
Paula Allen, Dr. Donna Ferguson, Jessica Holmes, Neil Pasricha, Moderated by Bruce Sellery
Helping Employees Manage Their Mental Health
Apr 2, 2020
Mental Health was a key focus for Canadian organizations before COVID-19 hit. Now, new challenges have emerged: those with pre-existing mental health issues may be separated from their support system and in circumstances that make symptoms more acute. Those without prior issues may be experiencing anxiety and depression for the first time.
Using the word “Happiness” is a bold move — is happiness even possible during times like these? This event will address that question and many others. Canadian Club Toronto is bringing together a variety of mental health and happiness experts to discuss what people are dealing with right now, and what can be done to provide employees with support, resources and maybe even a smile.
This expert panel will be moderated by Bruce Sellery, Business Journalist and President of Canadian Club Toronto, and will feature:
• Paula Allen – Senior Vice-President, Research, Analytics and Innovation, Morneau Shepell
• Dr. Donna Ferguson, Clinical Psychologist (ABPP), CAMH
• Jessica Holmes – Comedian & Author, “Depression: A Comedy”
• Neil Pasricha – Author, “The Happiness Equation” and “You Are Awesome”
Paula Allen, Senior Vice-President, Research, Analytics and Innovation, Morneau Shepell
Paula Allen is Senior Vice President of Research, Analytics and Innovation for Morneau Shepell. In this role, manages the continuum of integrated analytics, predictive modelling and data-centric products and services that support the organization and its clients. Paula’s focus is on the current, emerging and most complex issues that have the greatest impact on workplace health, cost and productivity. She is also a well-recognized expert in workplace mental health, disability management, and drug plan management. Paula designed and led the most comprehensive employer response to the H1N1 pandemic, and is currently Morneau Shepell’s business response and resource lead for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Paula works directly with many of Canada’s leading organizations, is a member of the Women’s College Hospital’s Board of Directors, was co-chair of Civic Action’s Champions Council on workplace mental health, was part of the Income Security Working Group providing advice to the Ontario Government on issues relating to disability and income support, and sits on several research and strategy advisory boards that address issues ranging from e-mental health solutions to substance abuse in the workplace.
Paula completed undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Toronto in psychological research and neuropsychological testing and clinical intervention. She has more than 20 years of experience relating to workplace research, product development and operational leadership that spans the range of EFAP, Attendance and Disability Management and Health and Benefits Consulting.
Paula frequently speaks at major conferences, and is often sought out by the national media for her knowledge and expertise in current issues and the future direction of workplace health, productivity and related risk management.
Jessica Holmes, Celebrated Comedian, Author, Mental Health Advocate
Beloved comedian Jessica Holmes has been a perennial favourite on Royal Canadian Air Farce for 15 years, and has brought the house down opening for giants such as Ellen DeGeneres, Russell Peters, Jerry Seinfeld, and Oprah Winfrey. Her hilarious take on life’s challenges as well as her unique knack for skewering celebrities (including Nicki Minaj and Celine Dion) have audiences in stitches. Her customized emcee and entertainment presentations — which include motivation and wellness — are always a hit.
Behind the laughter though, Jessica — like millions of Canadians — has struggled both with post-partum depression and, as she puts it, “regular, run-of-the-mill, garden-variety depression”. Hoping to help end the stigma around mental health issues, she openly shares her personal stories with the humor she’s known for, bringing light — and laugh-out-loud laughter — to what can often be a dark topic. Jessica’s funny and inspiring new book, Depression The Comedy: A Tale of Perseverance was published in May, and takes readers deeper into her mental health journey with validation and warmth.
As a performer, Jessica’s productions have garnered her a “Platinum Award” at The Worldfest International Film Festival, and nominations for Gemini Awards and the prestigious Tim Sims Scholarship. She stars in her own program, The Holmes Show, and has also starred in the films Welcome to Mooseport, Citizen Duane, and Moonpoint. She recently appeared in the pilot for The Communist’s Daughter, which won the JFL ComedyPro competition this summer, and continues to perform comedy across the country.
Dr. Donna Ferguson, Clinical Psychologist, CAMH
Dr. Donna Ferguson is a board certified clinical psychologist (ABPP) who provides assessment and treatment (specifically, Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy focused) in the area of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and other Anxiety Disorders, primarily with first responders and other injured workers at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (Work Stress and Health Program).
Dr. Ferguson’s clinical research interests include concurrent disorders, particularly in the area of anxiety disorders and or co-morbid depressive disorders with gambling pathology (in areas of assessment and intervention). Dr. Ferguson has published research in problem gambling and has worked with clients in the area of gambling addiction. Dr. Ferguson has also published articles in the area of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.
Neil Pasricha, Author, “The Book of Awesome”
Neil Pasricha the author of six books, including: The Book of Awesome, a spinning rolodex of simple pleasures based on my 100-million-hit, award-winning blog 1000 Awesome Things, The Happiness Equation, originally written as a 300-page love letter to my unborn son on how to live a happy life, Awesome Is Everywhere, an interactive introduction to guided meditation for children, and You Are Awesome, a nine-step guide to building resilience told through stories and research. My books are New York Times and #1 international bestsellers and have sold millions of copies across dozens of languages.
He regularly gives speeches at places like TED, SXSW, and Google. His first TED talk “The 3 A’s of Awesome” is ranked one of the 10 Most Inspiring of all time and his second is called “How do you maximize your tiny, short life?”, an artistic side-project called the world’s first TED Listen, composed entirely of questions.
He hosts an Apple “Best of 2018” podcast called 3 Books where he is on a 15-year-long mission to uncover and discuss the 1000 most formative books in the world. Each of the 333 chapters unpacks the 3 most formative books of an inspiring individual like Judy Blume, Malcolm Gladwell, Chris Anderson of TED, the world’s greatest Uber driver, or David Sedaris. The show is recorded live at the guest’s preferred location and is 100% ad, sponsor, and interruption free. Each chapter publishes on the exact minute of every single new moon and full moon up to September 1, 2031 at 5:52 am.
His pro bono work focuses on youth mental health, youth literacy, and community wellness. Neil Pasricha has degrees from Queen’s University and Harvard Busines