Panel: Celebrating Right Now – What’s Worked?
Workplaces play an essential role in maintaining positive mental health for their employees, and many organizations have done it well! Join us for a panel of leading organizations in Alberta to talk about their journey to creating mentally healthy and psychologically safe workplaces. Exploring unique experiences and describing strategies, participants will gain insider tips and tricks that can help improve their organizations success. From healthcare to hospitality, and technology to financial services, these leaders are sharing what’s worked.  
Meet your Panelists

Starting as Corporate Wellness Manager of ATB in February of 2021, Mark McConnell (he/him) entered HR (People & Culture) at a pivotal time that was simultaneously fraught with problems to solve and a growing willingness to experiment to best support the advancement of holistic well-being strategies. Being a former banker and professional athlete, Mark held a deep understanding of the principles required to unlock peak performance as well as an intimate experience of the work environment for ATB's client-facing team members, but with the landscape of work evolving, his focus has been both to optimize resources in place and facilitate Total Health in-line with the challenges that arose during the pandemic context. Over the past two years, Mark has delivered peak and sustainable performance strategies with executives, leaders, and team members across the organization with the goal to reduce the reactivity of work, combat overwork, and make work/life balance a team objective relevant to ATB's hybrid and virtual work environments. Mark accomplished this by developing a workshop in alignment to the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety titled Culture of Wellness: a workshop designed to help teams build better boundaries, establish team communication norms, and integrate rest and play into the workplace to unlock peak performance. Delivering this workshop on 60 occasions with over 1500 team members directly and counting, Mark has inspired the organization to define and build healthy boundaries by creating ‘team communication charters’ that helps individuals and teams to set limits and psychologically detach from work in a healthy way. Working to address and proactively prevent psychological distress, depression, anxiety, burnout, and suicidal ideation in a workplace context has been Mark’s day to day for nearly two years. As a connector of people to evidence-based resources, and a leader in developing wellness strategies that applies an intersectional lens designed to make work work for everyone – it is Mark's desire to help usher in a new era of work culture where feeling good, high performance, and working sustainably is the standard. Last but certainly not least, Mark believes in reading resumes from the bottom up. So if you got this far, be sure to ask him about his two beautiful rescues, Charlie and Georgia, and how he likes to spend evenings and weekends running far and climbing up boulders with his best friend and partner, Aimee. 

Kara is a Human Resources leader with many years of HR experience across a broad set of industries. Utilizing her background in recruitment, employee relations and strategic management, she brings a passion for cultural development and employee centric policy to her work at Beamdog. With Kara's guidance, the Beamdog team has more than tripled in size since she first landed at the Studio. Her leadership in HR ensures policies keep pace with an ever-growing team, while continuing to create space for individual voices to be heard 

Ray Geldreich is the Senior Health Safety and Wellness Advisor with the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA), a trade union representing 29 000 skilled healthcare professionals across Alberta. In this role, Ray works with HSAA members and their employers to reduce workers' risk of physical and mental injuries through education and advocacy. Ray is a certified Psychological Health and Safety Advisor through the Canadian Mental Health Association. In addition, Ray is an accredited facilitator of workplace mental health training programs for frontline staff and Healthcare leaders through the Mental Health Commission of Canada. Ray also serves on several technical committees tasked with developing and maintaining National Safety Standards to protect Canadian workers' physical and mental health. Ray holds a Bachelor of Human Resources and Labor Relations from the University of Lethbridge and is a Canadian Registered Safety Professional.

Jim Martyn is the Head of People and Culture with The Canadian Brewhouse, The Banquet Bar, Ribeye Butcher Shops, and Plantlife Cannabis.  He has worked for 20+ years in Hospitality, and led culture and development programs for many national brands, including restaurants under the Moxies Group of Companies, Pita Pit Canada, and for 12 years The Canadian Brewhouse. Beyond work experience, Jim's main passion to work in the Human Resources sector is to support the growth and development of individuals in the hospitality sector.  In the wake of the pandemic, economic turmoil, and global socioeconomic issues, Jim believes that the most important skill in developing a mental health protocol in hospitality is building resilience. With a background involving Alcohol Use Disorder, diagnosed ADHD, and mild depression, Jim is not shy to speak on his own experiences.  By working with The Canadian Mental Health Association, Jim hopes to help others by providing anecdotal and scientifically supported tools to build a mental health program for their workplace that is cost effective and rapidly impactful. 

Meet your Moderator

Michael Green (he/him) was born in a small coastal town in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Growing up isolated from supports and resources, he has a deep understanding of the value of supporting mental health. His career has spanned provinces and industries, a journey from hospitality and sales to management and advocacy, bringing him now to the Canadian Mental Health Association Alberta Division where he proudly serves Youth Hubs Alberta as Learning and Resource Coordinator. At this point in the bio, Michael would like to remind you to take a moment for yourself to breathe. And also hydrate, he always forgets so he wants to remind you, too.

An Amiskwaciwâskahikan (Edmonton) resident for a decade, Michael has spent much of that time supporting and leading grassroots advocacy work across rural Alberta with fearless whimsy. His work in 2SLGBTQ+ education and mental health support taught him the revolutionary power of sustaining hope through connection, storytelling, and empathy. When he’s not pondering the perfect metaphor to describe a frustratingly complex topic, you can find Michael listening to astoundingly niche science podcasts or walking his baby-faced rescue dog, Davey, in the beautiful river valley.

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Tansi — Cree | Oki — Blackfoot | ​Aba washded — Stoney (Nakota) | ​Ɂedlanet’e — Dene |  We respectfully acknowledge that we are on the traditional lands and territories of Indigenous people in Alberta. We want to recognize the significance of our relationships with the land and the peoples who call this ‘home.’ We commit to a reciprocal relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous worldviews that honour and respect ways of knowing and being.