Stress Management, Well-being and Self-Care

Empowering Employees 2023 Speakers

Highlights from the Empowering Employees virtual conference 

by James Porter November 03, 2023

For those who missed it, on October 25, 2023  StressStop hosted an online virtual conference entitled Empowering Employees: Creating a Caring Culture. It really was an amazing day with some amazing speakers. Dr. Chantay Eley-White, head of EAP for the State Department, talked about the debilitating effect of microaggressions (“Death by a 1000 Cuts”) in the workplace. Jon Murphy, Senior Employee Assistance Professional with the Office Of Employee Assistance, Washington, DC, talked about vicarious trauma and how he counseled employees after the incident at the Capitol.

Dr. Brian Luke Seaward spoke about the judicious use of humor in the workplace and Dr. Raquel Garzon spoke about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in terms of “Belonging: Giving Workers a Seat at the Table.” There were other equally amazing presentations on Employee Retention, Burnout, Loneliness in the Workplace, Proactive Mental Health and How to Foster Compassion and Empathy in the Workplace.

There were so many highlights it’s hard to know where to begin. When Rick Hecht talked about Loneliness in the Workplace, he really surprised me when he said that someone could come into a busy office and still feel lonely. “Without an authentic sense of connection, workers can still feel isolated: The opposite of loneliness is not togetherness but feeling connected.” When Dr. Jeff Gardere said that he believed that racism was a form of mental illness, I thought OMG he’s right!

When Jon Murphy, CEAP, SAP talked about how being the FIRST counselor on the scene brought on his own level of “vicarious trauma” it helped me understand this concept completely. When Dr. Chantay White-Eley, who is African American, recalled some of the things she has heard over the years: “You are so pretty for a dark-skinned woman” and “Can I touch your hair?" Even something basic, like coworkers not learning how to pronounce her name, helped me understand how microaggressions could really wear a person down, one tiny cut at a time.

When Dr. Raquel Garzon talked about the difference between DEI and really giving someone a seat at that table, I understood that DEI training alone, isn’t going to be enough to correct inequities in the workplace. And when Lynn Thomas, Esq. who runs a customer and employee retention consulting company talked about the surprising costs of losing a star performer and the effect that creating a caring culture can have on preventing that loss, it was easy to see the very practical consequences for fully embracing this honorable cause.

But the real highlight came at the end of the day, when we had our panel discussion, lead by Dr. Kimberly Barrieault.  Dr. Judd Allen wanted the group to think more proactively. Dr. Chantay White-Eley made an excellent point about how certain aspects of mental health become a hot topic and that’s how they are prioritized. Dr. Raquel Garzon felt frustrated at the slow pace of change and Rick Hecht talked about taking an entire year to address behavioral issues in order to bring about REAL change.

ALL in all, it was an incredible day. So, I want to give a shout out of thanks to all our amazing speakers, our sponsors: The American Institute of Stress and The American Institute of Preventive Medicine, exhibitors including Improvly Speaking and my staff members including Erica Tuminski and Rebecca De Jesus for putting on a really great conference.

If all this sounds interesting, you can still sign up to receive the recordings. Here’s how. Enter code EE2350 to get 50% off the original ticket price.

If you have a ticket and missed the conference you can access the recordings with the same ticket by just signing into Whova. The recording will be available for 3 months. 

Also in the the recording you'll be able to view a short introduction to our web platform: My Stress Tools. Book a demo with me to get a free ticket to next year’s conference entitled: Empowering Employees: Educate, Engage & Energize.

James Porter
James Porter