Meet the speakers

Paul Farmer, Mind CEO

Paul Farmer has been Chief Executive of Mind since May 2006. Mind is leading mental health charity in England and Wales and is an influential voice on mental health issues. It was established in 1946 and has since grown into a major network of over 160 independent and locally managed Mind associations providing over 1300 local services in England and Wales, helping around 280,000 people every year. Mind is also a partner in the Time to Change campaign, the biggest ever campaign in England to tackle stigma and discrimination around mental health.

Paul is Chair of the Disability Charities Consortium, Vice-Chair of the Department of Health Talking Therapies Programme Board and Chair of the Equalities and Diversity Forum panel on human rights. He also sits on the Metropolitan Police commission on policing and mental health and is an advisor to the Catholic Bishops on mental health. 

Paul is also a trustee at the Mental Health Providers Forum, an umbrella body for voluntary organisations supporting people with mental distress. He has also been trustee for the Directory of Social Change, a campaigning voluntary organisation that provides the sector with training and publications.

Before becoming Chief Executive of Mind, Paul was Director of Public Affairs for Rethink and was Chair of the Mental Health Alliance from 2001-2006.

Managing mental health in tough times (for line managers)

Professor Stephen Bevan, Director of the Centre for Workforce Effectiveness at The Work Foundation

Stephen is Director of the Centre for Workforce Effectiveness at The Work Foundation and is an Honorary Professor at Lancaster University. He joined The Work Foundation from the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) at Sussex University 2002 as Director of Research.

Stephen has carried out research and policy work for the No.10 Policy Unit, HM Treasury, the Cabinet Office, the Department of Health, the Department of Work and Pensions and the European Commission. He has also advised many blue chip companies on many aspects of HR strategy and practice. Stephen has conducted research on high performance work practicesemployee reward strategy, staff engagement and retention and Good Work.

Stephen is a member of the expert group supporting the government’s review of Sickness Absence, a member of the McLeod Review’s ‘guru’ group and was an expert advisor to the Hutton Review of Fair Pay in the public sector. Stephen is a member of a Cabinet Office group of Think Tank CEOs convened quarterly by Rt Hon Oliver Letwin to review policy developments in the UK. In 2011 he chaired a review of Occupational Health Services in the NHS for Secretary of State for Health. Stephen has written and co-authored many research and policy reports, together with articles in academic and trade journals, as well as national newspapers. He has recently been commissioned by to co-author a book on workforce health. He is an external reviewer for The Lancet, The International Journal of Selection and Assessment and for the Journal of Organisational and Occupational Psychology.

Stephen is Founding President of the Fit for Work Europe Coalition which promotes active policies to improve labour market participation among people with long-term health conditions. In 2010 he was named in the Top 10 most influential ‘HR Thinkers’ of the last 5 years by HR Magazine. He was Managing Director of The Work Foundation from 2008-2011.


Ash Tuft, Line Manager at Enterprise Rent-a-Car

Ash is a Recoveries Supervisor at Enterprise and has been a line manager for 2 and a half years.  She currently directly manages two team leaders who oversee a total of 15 employees. Prior to that, Ash managed 13 direct line reports until the growth of the business increased new roles to share line management responsibilities.

Ash’s approach to line management is very people-orientated and her key focus is giving all her employees the specific guidance and support they need to succeed in their career whether they are focused on promotion or want to excel in their current role.

Since becoming a line manager, Ash has supported a variety of employees with mental health issues. She works in a very large department which has seen huge growth in the last 2 years going from just over 30 employees to just under 100 employees. Quite early on, Ash’s ability to support employees who were managing mental health problems alongside work was recognised. Her approach includes offering them time to talk while providing more focused, practical support when needed, for example, making sure they felt supported to come to work if they were having a bad day or talking to them about workload adjustments. More recently Ash has been supporting employees who are coming back to work after a period of time off due to a mental health problem. Ash acts as their main point of contact and regularly checks in with them to see how they are finding their return to work, monitoring their workload and how they are doing.
Enterprise Rent-a-Car is an employer who views staff wellbeing as very important. They work hard to foster an environment that recognises the value of diversity within the workforce and supports each employee to reach their full potential.


Emma Mamo, Taking Care of Business Campaign Manager at Mind

Emma is a Policy and Campaigns Manager at Mind. She joined Mind in 2007 and currently oversees Mind’s campaigning to uphold the rights of people with mental health problems and promote social inclusion. This includes changing the benefits system, making workplaces more mentally healthy and raising awareness of the injustices that many people with mental health problems experience.
Since 2010, Emma has led Mind’s Taking Care of Business campaign which aims to show employers simple, inexpensive and practical ways to improve mental wellbeing and employee engagement. The campaign won the Third Sector Digital Campaign Award and Creative Showcase Award in 2011 for launching an innovative social media campaign called ‘The Elephant in the Room’. Emma also led the Taking Care of Business summit in 2011, bringing Government and business leaders together to discuss mental health in the workplace resulting in employer-led solutions. Emma has advised employers, health and safety professionals, HR audiences and Government on mental health in the workplace and back-to-work support.

Emma previously led Mind’s successful national campaigns ‘Another assault’ and ‘In the red: debt and mental health’, for which she won a RADAR People of the Year Award in the Doing Money Differently category. She has worked in the disability sector since 2005 and previously worked for Mencap, the learning disability charity.  

HR policies for improving mental wellbeing and employee engagement (for HR professionals)

Eugene Farrell, Key Account Director, Healthcare Consulting, AXA PPP Healthcare

Eugene is qualified in Health Economics and Psychology and has more than twenty five years of experience in the UK healthcare arena. He has worked in both the public and private sectors and, for the past fifteen years, has specialised in the development and provision of employee support services, including the development of integrated healthcare, absence management, employee assistance, wellbeing and occupational health services.

He has advised mental health providers, charities and government on the management of mental health in the workplace and the delivery of organisational crisis support. Eugene has also written articles and research on mental health, wellbeing, and EAP effectiveness. Eugene is a former Board member and International Director of the U.S. based Global Employee Assistance Professionals Association, and Executive Director of Employee Assistance European Federation. He is an Executive Board member and former Chair of the UK Employee Assistance Professionals Association.

Eugene currently provides health and wellbeing consultancy services to major employers in the UK and around the world, including managing absence and sickness presence, as well as delivering training for managing stress at work, pressure, resilience, emotional intelligence, managing critical incidents and work life balance. 

Jonathan Bowers, Managing Director of UKFast

Jonathan, previously the Communications Director at UKFast, made the transition to Managing Director in April 2012 after founder Lawrence Jones made the decision to take more of a strategic role as the firm’s CEO.

On the advice of close friend Richard Branson, Lawrence chose Jonathan as his right hand man and, since then, he has been actively responsible for the day-to-day running of the business. Working with the directorship and senior management team, Jonathan focuses on clients and the team and is heavily involved in training, recruitment and corporate relations. His endless energy, positivity and compassion make him an integral part of the UKFast family.

Prior to joining UKFast, Jonathan spent two years as a broadcast journalist with Independent UK radio and the BBC, followed by two and a half years developing writers on all disciplines for the BBC's New Writing department. 

UKFast - setting the lead for employee engagement

Founded in 1999 by Lawrence Jones and his wife Gail, UKFast looks after 250,000 web sites for customers including UKTV, the NHS and BP. The company has won many awards for its work environment, customer service and for the way it looks after and develops staff to become the best that they can be. The trophy cabinet is bulging with too many awards to mention, including:

  • Having featured in The Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For every year since 2009.
  • Being one of just eight UK firms listed in the Best Workplaces in Europe 2012 - Great Places to Work.
  • Winning Employee Engagement Strategy of the Year at the 2013 UK Customer Satisfaction Awards.

This investment in staff wellbeing and engagement is reflected in high levels of customer service and support. As the CEO says,

We know that our people are our best asset and we've proven that  high standard of investment in our team equals a high standard of work across the whole business.

The company focuses on employee wellbeing and has a dedicated training and team activity facility at the bottom of Snowdon, where employees are taken for fun team-building exercises. There they climb the mountain, build and sail rafts and compete in a series of challenges. UKFast's core values - passionate, professional, supportive, dynamic and innovative - are embedded in the organisation. Staff are asked their thoughts and opinions regularly so everyone knows that their views are important. Steps are taken to ensure that people who are appointed to Director-level are exceptionally caring with nurturing personalities so staff can approach them with any problem or query. This is all adds up to a culture where staff feel valued and, in turn, more committed to the organisation.

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