2018 Institute Program – Sessions and Speakers


Case Study Presentation – Resilience and Success After Recent Mexico Earthquakes

2:30 pm – 3:30 pm

In recent years, Mexico has survived many different social, political, economic crises, and in the past year, two earthquakes have resulted in several fatalities and substantial economic loses. Many

witnessed the resilience of the Mexican people and perhaps most notable, the outpouring of the social media organizational response and incredible participation by Millennials. The culturally-sensitive considerations of post trauma effects for Latin Americans and the psycho-social aspects of modern Mexico society are considered in the context of the country’s recovery and illustrate the need for EAPs to adapt for future engagement with a new generation that may be able to react faster than governments, employers and social associations.

Aidee Berni Betancour, PhD, CEAPA, Psychologist

Ana Laritza León, Touching Life EAP

Irina L. Marquez, Touching Life EAP

The Evolution of Mental Health Support for First Responders

3:30 pm – 5:00 pm

Post-traumatic stress has a major impact on First Responders, who are on the front lines of support within our communities. While the brief intervention model of traditional EAP is demonstrably effective, there are populations who can benefit from extended services beyond these standard practice parameters. By designing adjunct services to address early intervention, recovery and relapse prevention, EAPs can successfully support clients with symptoms related to post-traumatic stress. This presentation provides an overview of mental health issues relevant to First Responders and innovative services to mitigate them. Beginning with a screening of the documentary film The Other Side of the Hero, starring Enrico Colantoni, filmmaker Karen Shopsowitz guides us through a world rarely seen, as viewers meet first responders, their families and colleagues. Former paramedic Vince Savoia shares the story of a traumatic call that changed his life and led to the founding of the Tema Conter Memorial Trust. After the film, the panel will discuss strategies to mitigate risk, increase safety and reduce the incidence of disability for employees frequently exposed to trauma. Additionally, the evolution of workplace mental health and trauma legislation; how employers can build a mental health safety net to support employees, and the value of adjunct, innovative EAP services to manage these conditions will be explored.

Sponsored By Morneau Shepell

Paul Wittes, MSW, Director, National and Global Clinical Services Morneau Shepell

Vince Savoia, MSM, Executive Director, Tema Conter Memorial Trust

Karen Shopsowitz, Independent Filmmaker


Bob Rich: Chief Constable, Abbotsford Police Department
Joe Acker: Director of Clinical Practice for BCEHS

THURSDAY, MAY 10, 2018

Keynote: Addressing the Spectrum of Disrespectful Workplace Behavior

8:30 am – 9:45 am

What approaches can EAPs employ when disrespectful, disruptive, oppositional and bullying behaviors create a crisis in a work group or work organization? Traditional conflict resolution techniques may not always work when dealing with those who are highly oppositional. When individuals eschew established policies or expectations of workplace behavior, additional awareness and an advanced repertoire of coaching and consulting skills may be required. In this session, Valerie Cade will present working definitions of disrespectful behavior and workplace bullying, why harassment and bullying happens, what motivates these behaviors, and how to discern the difference. The presentation will demonstrate how to identify workplace bullying situations, recognize common bullying tactics and how to stop them. Additionally, she will illustrate how to address “he says, she says” scenarios; how to handle the ‘who do I believe?’ challenge; and offer a proven process to create trust among all stakeholders to lead them through, not around, the issues to fully understand and resolve disagreements. Finally, Valerie will discuss her blueprint for moving forward to address issues with empathy, discernment and confidence to support those who reach out for help, even if organizational support is lacking.

Valerie Cade, MA Bully Free at Work

Keynote Panel Discussion: Developing and Sustaining a Respectful Workplace: Best Practices and Future Directions

10:00 am – 11:00 am

Continuing with and building on the issues and examples raised during the keynote address, this panel of content experts will offer perspectives from Canada and the US regarding the benefits and challenges in developing and sustaining a workplace culture of respect. Panelists will offer observations regarding the current changes in expectations of workplace behavior, and how stakeholders can build on established policies and initiatives to create a healthier climate for productive and inclusive workforces moving forward.

Nancy Board, MSW, Co-Founder/COO, Global Women 4 Wellbeing

Valerie Cade, MA CEO Bully Free at Work


Tom Beasley, Bernard LLP


Embedding Your EAP by Creating a Peer Network

11:45 am – 12:45 pm

Engaged workplace peers can serve as partners and a referral source for EAP services, enhancing the ability of an external EAP provider to understand and address the specific issues of any workplace. This presentation provides the information necessary to embed EAP services into client organizations through the use of a properly trained peer-based network. Participants will learn how to recruit, train and maintain the skills of peer coordinators to extend the reach of the EAP within an organization. Participants will learn how to structure a workplace-based peer-driven referral network and identify the key players necessary to establish and maintain an effective, embedded peer-driven EAP.

Sponsored By Canadian National Rail

Bryan Hutchinson, MS, MAC, SAP, CEAP, LAP-C, Director, Employee Assistance Services, International Association of Machinists, District 14

Unprecedented: The Role of EAPs and Healthcare Organizations in Managing Multiple Disasters

2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

From August to November of 2017, North America experienced unprecedented challenges with 7 mass casualty disasters. Communities, from Puerto Rico to California to New York to Las Vegas, were touched by these tragedies in one way or another. Although these events were widely disparate in nature (hurricanes, wildfires, mass shootings, and terrorist activity), two common elements were present in all – the need for immediate medical and psychological first aid. The presentation will explore this unique sequence of events from the healthcare and EAP perspectives, with particular attention to the dual role of hospitals as a frontline direct care provider, and as a workplace setting experiencing mass events. How EAPs are strategically positioned to care for the caregivers will be examined, along with an analysis of the operational and logistical hurdles in providing disruptive event response management services after such large-scale events.

Jeff Gorter, LMSW, Clinical Director EAP Relations, R3 Continuum

Rich Paul, MSW, CEAP, Chief Partnership Officer, Employer & Federal Division, Beacon Health Options

Charlene Jones, Director, Employee Benefits, HCA Healthcare


The Science of Happiness and Workplace Wellbeing

4:00 pm – 5:15 pm

Scientific studies have shown that 50% of our individual differences in happiness are determined by our genes, 10% by our life circumstances, and 40% by our intentional activities. In this session, participants will be introduced to some of the research-based “happy habits” they can adopt to increase their levels of happiness and well-being. The importance of happiness at work and strategies for organizations also will be discussed. The presentation begins with research findings related to happiness, with a focus on the workplace. Next, practical strategies are shared so that participants have key takeaways they can implement in their personal and work lives to improve their own wellbeing, and the wellbeing of employees.

Ashley Spetch, PhD, Vice President of Workplace Health & Research, Homewood Health

FRIDAY, MAY 11, 2018

Disrupting the Way We Think of Emotional Wellbeing at Work: Leveraging 3 Resilience Factors for Greater Emotional, Mental, & Physical Health in the Workplace

8:30 am – 10:00 am

Workplace wellbeing programs may not be getting optimal results due to a failure to address the root cause – low resilience. In this interactive session, Dr. Shatté will reveal the core ingredient to a successful wellbeing intervention – resilience. After briefly describing three factors most critical to holistic health and happiness — emotion control, brain positivity, and a sense of meaning and purpose — this presentation will guide attendees in determining strengths and weaknesses across the resilience spectrum and provide actionable skills. To boost resilience for long-term benefits, we must tackle thinking styles: habits that interfere with emotional wellbeing, mental health, physical wellness, job satisfaction and performance. For each factor, through quick and engaging activities, the presenter will illustrate the thinking style that interferes with each. Three easy-to-use skills will be demonstrated to boost resilience among employees. Beginning at the 30,000-feet level by looking at current EAP and wellbeing efforts, the presentation will incorporate illustrative case studies from work with NASA, Pepsico and ING Belgium.

Andrew Shatté, PhD, Chief Science Officer, meQuilibrium

Towards an Integrated Model of Workplace Health and Wellbeing: Risk Reduction and Prevention Solutions

10:45 – 11:45 am

Today’s organizations are facing increasing pressures to maintain a productive work output while the overall health of the workforce continues to deteriorate, making the goal of improving productivity more difficult to attain. An aging workforce and significant inter-generational differences intersect in a multitude of health issues that need attention. This is particularly true for mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, and physical health issues such as arthritis and degenerative cardiovascular conditions. These ailments create a significant challenge to workforce productivity. This presentation will distill the complex, interrelated aspects of workplace health and wellbeing, through the lens of available scientific evidence-informed outcomes and current best practices. Return on and value on investment considerations for stakeholders will be discussed. Case studies that highlight strategies to impact and reduce the burden of mental and physical health conditions on individuals and work organizations, including integrated EAP approaches for primary prevention and risk reduction, wellbeing investments, absence management, and work disability will be presented.

Sponsored By People Corporation

Tyler Amell, PhD, MSc, BSc Partner, Morneau Shepell

Investigating Resilience & Self-Efficacy in Workplace Counseling

12:30 – 1:30 pm

This presentation will report on study findings on resilience, self-efficacy, mental health and work performance in a sample of 4,750 employees composed of recent users of workplace counseling through EAPs and mental health service benefits as well as non-users. The study’s research questions included: how different from other employees are users of workplace counseling on these variables? Do counseling users show greater resilience and self-efficacy compared to non-users and has use of workplace counseling helped shield work performance from the negative effects of mental health issues? A number of analyses compared employees that recently accessed workplace counseling to 1) all other employees and 2) a group of employees matched on mental health factors. Results show that recent users of workplace counseling are a distinct group of employees with regards to resilience, self-efficacy, mental health, and work performance. Evidence of the potential benefits and mechanisms of action of workplace counseling services in the context of resilience and self-efficacy will be presented. Recent use of workplace counseling services appears to modify the interrelationships between mental health and the other variables in a way that appears unique and beneficial. Practice implications for EAPs and associated fields will be discussed, including specific goals of counseling for EAP and workplace health professionals to help further improve workplace outcomes for employees.

Marc Milot, PhD, Director & Principal Researcher, WorkReach Solutions, APAS Laboratory

Rapid Fire Sessions

1:30 – 2:30 pm

Rapid Fire 1: Does Sexual Harassment Training Really Work?

Unacceptable levels of workplace sexual harassment and abusive behavior have persisted for decades despite widespread employee training programs. High publicity court cases and social media campaigns like #MeToo and #TimesUp, etc. reveal that warning signs of toxic workplace cultures are frequently evident; yet often such concerns and incidents were neither prevented nor addressed. It appears system-wide employee education and management training efforts have been unsuccessful in preventing this universally condemned and prohibited behavior. Calls for heightened efforts have resulted in the passage and implementation of new laws and spurred organizational policy reviews. To meet this challenge, new approaches with a comprehensive focus to change workplace norms, organizational culture, and standards of worksite interactions are needed. This presentation will review ideas and methods to increase awareness of respectful workplace standards to have a meaningful impact on individual conduct and collective comportment across work groups.

Bernie McCann, PhD, CEAP

Rapid Fire 2: Curiosity, Candor & Kindness: Hidden Gems to Advancing Emotional Wellbeing at Work

Today, workplaces have become depositories for disrespect, division and even violence. Employees often complain, grumble, struggle, hang-in-there and muddle through. As EA professionals, we are often called on to bring in the cavalry. We need fresh and relevant tools that speak to multi-generational work teams. Through this interactive discussion curiosity, candor and kindness are revealed as hidden gems that EA professionals can convey to promote employee emotional well-being which in turn, increases productivity, improves safety, and cultivates engagement.

Lisa Hardy, CEAP, SAP, Vice President, CorpCare Associates