Swindon Mindful Employer Network

About the Swindon Mindful Employer Network:

The Swindon Mindful Employers Network is funded by Swindon Borough Council, Public Health and hosted by Swindon Mind. This network is aimed at increasing awareness of mental health and wellbeing in your workplace or business.   We welcome representatives of employers from all sectors.

Mental health and wellbeing is now a hot topic in the local business community, thanks to the growing demand and reputation of the Swindon Mindful Employer Network.  Even with challenging news on the economy in recent months, organisers behind the network are still seeing an increase in attendance at their events – concluding that mental health and well-being remains a top priority for Swindon firms.

The Swindon Mindful Employer Network gather for Mental Health@Work event at Excalibur, Arclite House

Melanie Richens who is the independent volunteer Chair of the growing network feels that the issues of wellbeing and the association with business performance is catching the attention of many employers in the town.  “I  am constantly surprised by the interest in this initiative. We used to get over 100 delegates at our annual conferences – now it is not uncommon to get that number at our regular meetings. It  seems to me that regardless of which way the economy is heading – mental health and wellbeing policies are becoming entrenched in the management culture of very many employers locally. This is great news for employees, business success and the positive reputation of the town moving forward.”

The network has produced some memorable events and awareness sessions since its formation in February 2008.  Topics involving managing stress, resilience, bereavement, asperger syndrome, employee engagement and absenteeism are among the many issues addressed at regular free meetings – which affords the opportunity for local businesses of various sectors and sizes to share experience and best practice. With generous support, the network meets at top class venues such as the Swindon Marriott, Jurys Inn Swindon and Nationwide House and is now viewed as one of the largest active business groups in Swindon.


Photo (left) – Delegate exercise at Resilience event at Swindon Marriott

Photo (right) – Delegates at resilience event at Swindon Marriott

David Latham, who manages the local initiative, believes the reputation and profile of the network is expanding as regular attendees recommend the group to their colleagues and business contacts.“Quite a variety of people from different backgrounds and skills are attracted by the sessions we stage. These include managers and business owners, HR and occupational health professionals, decision-makers and local influencers.”

While consulting employers actively involved in the initiative, the project team are planning some exciting themed events over the next few years which they believe will appeal to both regular participants and potential new attendees from Swindon business.“This has been a story of success – but we are not the sort of people to rest on our laurels” says Melanie.

The Swindon Mindful Employer Network is aimed at increasing mental health and wellbeing at work and is free to representatives of local employers in the Swindon area.  Attendance is targeted at employers only and booking is essential for all our events.

Swindon Mindful Employer Network
Conference 2017
Leadership Resilience Wellbeing
Monday 9th October, Swindon Marriott, Pipers Way, SN3 1SH
Attendance is free of charge to local employers. Booking details here
8.45 – 9.30am registration, informal networking and coffee
Free buffet lunch courtesy of the Swindon Marriott. Event finished by 2.15pm
Guest Speakers
Professor Sir Cary Cooper CBE
Dr David Hemery CBE DL
Geoff McDonald
Chaired by
Melanie Richens
Guest presenter
Cormac MacMahon
News Editor, Regions – Heart FM
Best practice – sharing experience – networking
  • Considering leadership – resilience – wellbeing
  • Enhancing mental capital and wellbeing at work
  • How can we make wellbeing truly “stick” within organisations
  • Creating engaged employees and successful motivated teams
  • Encouraging a positive climate on mental health in the workplace –helping to eliminate prejudice
8.45 – 9.30am                 Registration, networking with coffee reception with guest of honour the Mayor of Swindon.
9.30                                 Welcome by Melanie Richens (chair) with contributions from Dr Donna Lovell of Swindon Mind.
9.45                                 Enhancing Mental Capital and Wellbeing at Work – Professor Sir Cary Cooper.
                                        Cary will be joined afterwards by Cormac MacMahon for an interview/Q&A session. 
10.55                              Short  Break
11.05                              Geoff McDonald presentation followed by an interview/Q&A with Cormac MacMahon.
                                       Life on Purpose – a personal story and why Geoff is so passionate about bringing change to organisations regards mental wellbeing; why and how organisations can address the mental wellbeing         
                                       of their people, with some very practical suggestions and framework; finally, how can we make wellbeing truly “stick” within organisations – a thought provoker!
12.05                              Short Break   
12.15                              Doctor David Hemery CBE presentation followed by an interview and Q&A session with Cormac MacMahon.
                                       David will explore Will Schultz three stage model of Team Development and how a leader can use this, with coaching questions, to create a more engaged, cohesive, productive team.
13.20                              Melanie summing up
13.30                             Finish and Buffet lunch
Guest speakers
         Professor Sir Cary Cooper, CBE
Cary L. Cooper is the author and editor of more than 125 books and is one of Britain’s most quoted business gurus.  He is The 50th Anniversary Professor of Organizational Psychology and Health at Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, UK.  He is the President of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, a founding President of the British Academy of Management, a Companion of the Chartered Management Institute and one of only a few UK Fellows of the (American) Academy of Management, past President of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy and President of RELATE. 
Cary was the Founding Editor of the Journal of Organizational Behavior, former Editor of the scholarly journal Stress and Health and is the Editor-in-Chief of the Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Management; now in its 3rdEdition.  He has been an advisor to the World Health Organisation, ILO, and EU in the field of occupational health research and wellbeing, was Chair of the Global Agenda Council on Chronic Disease of the World Economic Forum (2009-2010, and currently a member of the Global Agenda Council on mental health of the WEF) and is Immediate Past Chair of the Academy of Social Sciences (comprising 47 learned societies in the social sciences and 90,000members). Cary was awarded the CBE by the Queen in 2001 for his contributions to organizational health and safety; and in 2014 he was awarded a Knighthood for his contribution to the social sciences.
DH passport         Dr David Hemery CBE DL
David is best known as Olympic Champion & World Record holder in the 400m hurdles, BBC Sports Personality 1968 and three times winner of Sporting Superstars. However, his life has been in education, teaching in Secondary Schools, Boston and Cambridge Universities and senior managers in business. His life-long passion has been finding the keys to fulfilling potential. Using his life experiences and research his talks and writing aim to inspire, engage and empower audiences to help them to unlock more of their own potential and that of those whom they lead as teachers, managers, parents, coaches or leaders.
As a Senior coach in athletics he has worked with athletes from kids to Olympic Champions. He was the first President of UKAthletics, for ten years Vice Chairman of the British Olympic Association and is a Deputy Lieutenant in Wiltshire. In business, he was s a founding partner in Performance Consultants and Developing Potential. For twenty-five years, he worked with senior managers in blue chip companies, using ‘coaching for performance’ and ‘self-managed leadership’ to focus on achieving goals, self-motivation, resilience, engagement, empowerment, values and challenging personal bests. In 2008 he founded the educational Charity 21st Century Legacy and co-authored the ‘Be the Best you can Be!’ programme for Primary and Secondary schools. His aim is to bring enhanced coaching/facilitation skills to young people and their teachers. From 2011-2016 over 210,000 young people have been engaged in the programme in more than 1,000 schools across the UK
David has four degrees, the last two focused on psychology and human potential. He has written four books including, ‘Sporting Excellence – What makes a Champion’ and ‘How to help children find the champion within themselves’. He holds a belief that there is a spark of greatness in everyone.
        Geoff McDonald
Geoff’s background in teaching, HR, marketing, communications and sustainability is considerable. During his 25 years with Unilever (a global corporation with a turnover of £50 billion, 170,000 employees in 90 countries around the world), his experience has been truly global working across Africa Middle-East and Turkey, Australasia and Asia, Europe and the Americas. His HR experience has spanned leadership and talent development, organization change, capability development, with particular reference to marketing, and business transformation with purpose at its core. Early in his career he was responsible for graduate recruitment and development, talent, acquisitions and development across Unilever’s emerging markets.  Under his leadership he developed Unilever’s global talent and leadership centre of expertise. More recently he has devoted his time, energy and effort to leading ground breaking work where the HR function has played a central role in transforming Unilever’s business model with purpose at its core. Today Geoff is a very much sought after speaker, inspiring and provoking Organizations to put purpose and wellbeing at the centre of everything they do.  His experience in Unilever, under the pupillage of Paul Polman, allows him to provide very practical insights and speak on how to go about truly embedding PURPOSE and address the taboo associated with wellbeing (particularly mental health) within a large global multi-national Organization.  With this experience come some real learning’s on what may or may not work.
He has spoken at Cambridge, Oxford, Bologna, Warwick Universities as well as Corporate events across Australia, Europe, Japan, North America, Turkey and Eastern Europe. Geoff is devoting a significant amount of time consulting to Organizations, helping them define and embed Purpose as a driver of growth and profitability. He was recently appointed as strategic advisor to the Global PR and Communications firm Burson Marsteller in the area of Corporate Purpose and Organisation Change. He too consults on how to address the stigma linked to depression and anxiety in the workplace, with a particular emphasis on raising awareness of these issues and providing some practical strategies as to how one might go about addressing this growing modern illness. Geoff is a very 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 regards this subject, as well as writing of articles for Huffington Post, FT and HR related journals. 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 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.
         Melanie Richens
Melanie is a Professional Coach, Certified NLP Trainer, NLP Master Practitioner, Hypnotherapy Master Practitioner and Provocative Change Works TM Practitioner. Her first career was as a lawyer, becoming a partner in a top 100 law firm and latterly Director of People. She is now following her passion for developing people enabling them to perform at their peak and removing barriers to success through a combination of coaching and training. Melanie has coached and trained individuals at all levels to improve personal performance, to aid career progression and unlock personal potential enabling people to achieve their maximum capabilities. She works collaboratively in partnership with clients to set and achieve goals, solve problems and foster learning and development. She is equally at home working with individuals or organisations; when working with organisations she can bring her first-hand experience to bear of working at board level designing and implementing strategy and delivering cultural change.
Melanie is passionate about encouraging business success through engaging and developing people in order to ensure that individual performance is aligned with the strategy of the business leading to a win-win situation for both employers and employees. She has collaborated extensively with a number of training organisations and coaches to design, develop and deliver leadership and management training programmes.
 Who can benefit from attending this event ?
Representatives of local employers in both private and public sectors, business leaders, managers, HR and occupational health professionals.
This forum is focussed on employers in both private and public sectors, business leaders and managers based in the Swindon area. HR and occupational health professionals working for an employer in the locality.  We are specifically interested in supporting organisations (employers) which have a genuine desire to increase awareness of mental health and well-being in their workplaces. Please see section below
on Networking and engagement with the network.
Booking is essential. To register your interest in attending this event please reply by email
This event is free to representatives of local employers.  Due to the considerable interest in attending this event we may have to limit numbers attending from an individual employer, business or representative organisations.
Venue and location:
Swindon Marriott is located in Pipers Way SN3 1SH.  
We shall be using the main conference room at the hotel.
Parking (and disabled parking) is available at the hotel premises in Pipers Way.
What are the aims of the Swindon Mindful Employer Network ?
Mindful Employer is aimed at increasing awareness of mental health at work and providing on-going support for employers in recruitment and retention of staff. We aim to bring together representatives of local employers of all sizes and sectors to discuss issues relating to improving staff well-being and to explore strategies and cultures which help businesses reach their full potential. This is achieved by providing a free forum for sharing experience and best practice. The network will meet regularly and from time to time invite top speakers to inspire and challenge attendees. We welcome representatives of local employers from all sectors who have a genuine interest in being a Mindful Employer and supporting their staff.
We shall consider a wide range of topics at our meetings including:
·         The impact of mental health issues on individuals, teams and business performance.
·         Strategies to deliver the benefits of improved productivity and reduce unwanted business costs such as absence and long term sickness.
·         Explore successful cultures which motivate and retain valuable staff.
·         The implications of the discrimination associated with mental ill-health.
Networking and engagement with the network :
Networking is a useful activity for employers with the objective to meet together and share ideas and views – and to increase their awareness of mental health issues  From time to time there maybe opportunities to publicise services or events related to mental health and well-being in the workplace. We ask attendees to be mindful of the main objectives of the network as listed and summarised above. Mindful Employer is not a vehicle  for any business, wellbeing specialists, mental health groups or third sector/charity organisations to network with others with the expectation or intention of  selling services or products, engage in fundraising or to campaign on behalf of a related (or unrelated) issue or activity. The Swindon Mindful Employer Network is not a campaigning organisation or a forum for recruitment/employment activities.
This network is supporting employers in Swindon and the surrounding area.
David Latham
Building Healthier Businesses for Swindon
Leadership – Resilience – Wellbeing

For information about upcoming events please email David Latham to join the mailing list.  Email: smen@swindonmind.org


Mental Health in the News

Links to news about Swindon Mindful Employers Network: Wiltshire Business online:

Why it’s good business to pay attention to mental health?

One in four people suffers from mental health issues in their lifetime, yet the stigma still attached to discussing it in some circles means it remains a delicate topic.  Those circles very much include places of work, where the fear of being labelled weak, incapable or hysterical by colleagues means many struggle in silence, rather than seek help.

Read more here

DoubleTree by Hilton Swindon to host workplace stress event for Swindon Mindful Employer

The recently rebranded DoubleTree by Hilton Swindon is to host a session of the highly successful Swindon Mindful Employer Network which features top mental health trainer Adrian Embling of Mindset Wessex on Monday March 13.

Read more here

Theresa May promises mental health care overhaul

Theresa May is pledging to help schools and companies in England deal with the “hidden injustice” of mental illness.

Read more here

Stress in the City: ‘At first, I thought my depression was a heart attack’

Geoff McDonald knows a thing or two about the January blues. For many, the start of the new working year is a gloomy period, with the third Monday (this year, 16th January) purporting to be the most depressing day on the whole calendar, what with broken resolutions, bleak weather and the post-Christmas/pre-pay day strain on the purse strings.

Read more here

Isabel Hardman: When my mind stopped working, I realised just how badly we treat mental health

A few years ago, a fellow political journalist asked me, quite sincerely, whether depression “really is an illness”. In 2016, when I decided to speak out about the mental illness that had forced me off sick for two months, the reaction could not have been kinder or more enlightened. I was inundated, not just with messages of support, but with people who I had admired for years telling me that they had been there too.

Read more here

Ruby Wax on mindfulness and why she doesn’t like the term ‘mental health’

She’s not, by the way, a fan of the term “mental health”. “Mental is physical,” she says, frankly. She’d like to get rid of the term, she admits, but is not sure what could replace it. “Brain health,” she ponders. “Like, you’d say liver health.”

Read more here

Wake up to the link between poor sleep and work performance

Traditionally, organisations that seek to enhance effectiveness have focused on developing leaders, managing talent and streamlining operations. However, research published in July 2016 by Hult International Business School suggests improving employees’ poor sleep may not only boost their health and wellbeing, but may give businesses a competitive advantage.

Read more here

Why are millennials stressed and what can we do about it?

Contrary to the perception that they’re the generation that’s been handed a free ticket to success, millennial workers were the most stressed. Ninety per cent of the millennials admitted to having been distracted by stress at work in the past year, with over a third (32%) regularly experiencing stress, and 6% being constantly distracted by stress.

Read more here

Why not watch all of our Swindon Mindful Employer Network films produced by James Harrison Productions here