Welcome to the Story Mill podcast series – Thriving Beyond Stress & Burnout. In this episode, Claire Taylor talks with Geoff Mc Donald, Global Advocate, Campaigner and Consultant helping organisations normalise mental health as a competitive advantage.
Geoff was a high-flying Global VP for HR at Unilever when one evening, out of the blue, he experienced chest pain and heart-racing. Eventually he was diagnosed with anxiety fuelled depression. Geoff’s recovery took time but with love, support and care from both his family and work colleagues he returned to work. The experience changed Geoff and led to him introducing programmes to support employee mental wellbeing at Unilever.
In 2012, Geoff received the shocking news that his good friend who worked in the much vilified banking industry had committed suicide. The devestating loss of his friend strengthened Geoff’s resolve to change the way organisations approach mental wellbeing.
That evening Geoff did something that would change the course of his work forever.
Since then, Geoff has made transforming mental health in the workplace his life’s purpose. His vision is that businesses don’t simply provide support and care for people as a hygiene factor but, instead, actively develop people’s mental wellbeing which can be a real competitive advantage.
Geoff helps consulting to organizations to define and embed a real sense of purpose as a driver of growth and profitability. He is a active campaigner for breaking the stigma associated with Mental Health in the Corporate world and has participated in a number of BBC programmes and campaigns as well as writing articles for Huffington Post, FT and HR related journals.
Today Geoff is a sought after speaker and consultant inspiring and provoking organizations to put purpose and wellbeing at the centre of everything they do.
He recently convened a meeting with David Cameron and CEOs from Footsie 100 Companies to address their role and agree actions to break stigma in the corporate world. He too is supporting the Royal Foundation (Prince William, Harry and Kate) in their mental health campaign and activation within the the Corporate sector. He was recently appointed as a Trustee of Family Links, a Charity promoting and educating parents and teachers to develop emotionally healthy children and young adults.
Listen to our podcast conversation below to hear Geoff’s story and his insights on; the four elements of mental wellbeing in the workplace and how a powerful sense of purpose and a culture that nurtures employee wellbeing can be a competitive advantage.
Meanwhile, you can find out more about business storytelling on www.thestorymill.co.uk