Learn from the leaders: 8 most-read profile interviews with this year’s The Watercooler speakers


Ahead of this year’s The Watercooler Event, our Features Editor Suzy Bashford has been interviewing a range of the fantastic speakers who’ll be sharing their insights and experiences at this groundbreaking, free-to-attend conference and exhibition on 25th & 26th April.

The Watercooler Event is the perfect opportunity to listen to, but also meet and put your questions to a range of wellbeing leaders from across sectors.

Here are the eight most-read sneak peek interviews so far – giving a tantalising taste of the different topics being addressed:

1. The menopause destroyed my life, personally and professionally

By far our most-read profile interview is with Natalie Beresford, Former Detective Inspector and Chair, Menopause Action Group, Thames Valley Police. In this, she’s brutally honest about how the menopause wreaked havoc on her career and her relationships, both at work and at home.

Natalie will be part of the “Supporting women’s health in the workplace” panel session on Day 1, 25th April in the Mental & Physical Wellbeing theatre. Also joining the panel are Dhavani Bishop, Group Head of Colleague Health & Wellbeing, Tesco and Lisa Macis from Bristol Myers Squibb. The session will be Chaired by mental health, health & wellbeing consultant Amy McKeown.

2. Why financial health is wellbeing wealth

Our second most-read preview profile interview is with Oluyomi Okunowo who is SVP, Total Reward and People Operations at Wella Company, working across all Wella businesses in more than 30 countries. He’s perfectly placed to talk about how reward and benefits can support employee wellbeing as part of the panel “Ensuring Your Reward and Benefits Offer is Designed to Support Employee Wellbeing” on Day 2, 26th April in the Financial & Environmental Wellbeing Theatre.

He’ll be joined by Natalie Jutla, EVP and Employee Benefits Lead, DEFRA and Michael Spiers, Chief People Officer, London City Airport. The panel will be expertly Chaired by Clare Dare, Head of Health, Risk & Technology with PIB Employee Benefits – who are Headline Sponsors of The Watercooler this year.

3. What working with dangerous criminals taught me about psychological safety

In third place is Suzy’s interview with Lucy Vallis, Head of Health, Safety and Wellbeing at Save the Children UK. Lucy has a unique insight into what it takes to feel psychologically safe, given her work with dangerous individuals in high security hospitals, like Broadmoor; a fascinating perspective which she’s going to share at as part of the panel: “Creating a culture of psychological safety” on Day 1, 25th April in the Social & Inclusive Wellbeing theatre.

The panel will be Chaired by Hayley Farrell, Global Wellbeing and Resilience Manager, Arcadis and also features insights from Mark Lomas
Head of Culture, Lloyd’s of London and Daniel Chan
Global Workplace and Wellbeing Lead, dentsu International.

4. Psychological safety: the global challenge

Talking of Daniel Chan, it’s his interview that comes in as the fourth most-read speaker profile ahead of The Watercooler. Creating psychological safety in teams is a challenge in itself, but doing it on a global level brings a whole new layer of complexity to the issue – one which Daniel will be speaking about as part of the panel on Day 1, 25th April in the Social & Inclusive Wellbeing track.

Daniel brings a unique perspective to the debate, given he comes from a clinical nursing background and his focus is always on evidence based solutions (for more on this topic, see here). The fact that he’s worked in wellbeing roles in Asia and for different industries from transport to finance, too, also gives him a broad insight.  

5. What we can learn about purpose & performance from athletes

Kate Goodger, Head of Human Innovation and Performance, Laing O’Rourke, is sick of hearing companies talk about their pursuit of ‘high performing teams’ and ‘organisational purpose’. She wants to call time (and bullshit!) on these terms. She is well placed to do so, given her extensive experience studying athletes and what leads to their success, including with working with Team GB athletes and medallists at seven Olympic Games; a background she now applies to the corporate world.

Kate is joining us as a keynote speaker on Day 2, 26th April in the Financial & Environmental track to share her perspective on: “How to Harness Purpose to Drive Wellbeing and Performance“.

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6. The Future of Work and Wellbeing

You’d be hard-pushed to find anyone who has thought about the future of work more than CIPD Chief Executive Peter Cheese. For him this is not only a professional area of expertise – he’s written a book entitled ‘The New World of Work’ – but it’s a personal passion for him too.

In his keynote on Day 2, 26th April in the Social & Inclusive Wellbeing theatre, Peter will be sharing his views on: “The future of work and wellbeing”. Including thinking around building individual and organisational resilience and adaptability to manage uncertainty and help employees navigate changing roles, careers, and new ways of working that can support their wellbeing.

7. How healthy are our minds in the new hybrid world of work?

Suzy also spoke with AXA Health’s Head of Wellbeing Chris Tomkins, ahead of his appearance on The Watercooler stage, to find out more about what contributes to positive mind health in this era of work.

Chris will be speaking on Day 1, 25th April in the Mental & Physical wellbeing theatre sharing his views on the relationship between good mind health and good experiences at work, the 5 factors that support both good mind health and productivity, and new UK data and insights from AXA’s Global Mind Health Study 2023.

8. Opening up the Conversation on Workplace Mental Health

Former Premier League footballer Clarke Carlisle captivated the audience when he took to the stage at our flagship event, MAD World in October 2022, to talk about his journey to mental wellbeing, which included multiple suicide attempts.

We’ve invited him back to deliver the keynote at The Watercooler Event on Day 2, 26th April in the Mental & Physical Wellbeing Theater. Here he is again headlining, but this time alongside his wife Carrie. Clarke and Carrie will be sharing the insights they have gained, how their relationship has been instrumental to recovery, and how these learnings can be applied to the workplace.

Suzy caught up with Clarke ahead of the event to find out more…

You can find out all about The Watercooler Event, see the full agenda and register for free here. Spaces at the sessions are limited so pre-registration is essential to avoid disappointment.

You might also like Suzy’s other speaker profile interviews:



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