Our US Debut Event 2020: Make a Difference Summit in association with Mind Share Partners

In just three years, MAD World Summit UK has become the largest workplace culture, mental health and wellbeing event in Europe. In 2020, we decided to expand our impact, by taking our mission global launching similar events in the US and Asia. Little did we know pre-COVID-19 how critical our mission would become this year for workers everywhere.

Accelerating the shift from stigma to solutions by ensuring every employer – whatever their size – has access to the insight, inspiration and contacts they need to make a real difference, anywhere in the world: this is our mission. And we’ve responded to the shifting needs of employers in 2020, by putting COVID-19 recovery plans & DE&I at the center of our event agendas.

Silver linings in changing times

Our ambition was originally to have an unforgettable in-person event, as we’d done in London in 2018-19, but on Madison Avenue in New York City. With the guidance of our incredible Advisory Board, we decided to flex our strategy in the face of COVID-19 to still bring this event to life and expand our impact — in a digital format. And we’ve been fortunate to do so alongside our highly-respected nonprofit event partner, the San Francisco-based workplace wellbeing consultancy, Mind Share Partners.

In a disrupted world, we’ve found silver linings for the decision of hosting a digital event. The virtual event is allowing us to bring together a mix of leaders from high-profile companies committed to this agenda spanning the US, Canada and Europe for a launch event — something which would’ve undoubtedly been more geographically challenging for an in person event.

Bringing you voices for change

This unique one-day online event will give delegates direct digital access to trailblazers who are leading the way in helping this important social issue reach the top of business agendas and change business cultures to support staff for the better.  Delegates will be inspired by speakers from global companies like Google, Facebook, The NBA, Blackrock, Genentech, Johnson & Johnson and PwC who have already made mental health and wellbeing a strategic priority.

We’re honored to be bringing some of North America’s most influential thought leaders together to collaborate and connect around workplace culture, mental health and wellbeing.

Esteemed thought leaders joining us include Patrick J. Kennedy, former U.S. Representative and founder of The Kennedy Forum; Guru Gowrappan, CEO of Verizon Media; Mike Malloy, Chief Amazement Officer from Rocket Mortgage; Nancy Chahwan, Chief Human Resources Officer at the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (Government of Canada); Jessica DiVento, YouTube Chief Mental Health Advisor, amongst many others.

Responding to the workforce of 2020

Our keynote sessions will focus on core issues leaders are facing in the current health and economic crises toward supporting the livelihood of their businesses and people:

  • Direct From the C-Suite: How to Lead an Organization During a Time of Uncertainty 
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing are Everybody’s Business in 2020
  • The Intersection of Mental Health and DEI in Today’s Workplace

Inspiring leaders on our keynote panels will include: Paul Gionfriddo, President and CEO of Mental Health America (one of America’s largest mental health nonprofits); Garen Staglin, Co-Founder of One Mind at Work; Kevin Dedner, CEO and Founder of Hurdle (who provide mental health care for the invisible); and Pauline Miller, Head of Talent Development & Inclusion at Lloyd’s and mastermind behind one the world’s largest global diversity in business events, Dive In Festival.

Use creatively-curated sessions to assess the impact of wellbeing programs and prepare your organization as you draw your own road map for a post-COVID world of work.

We’ll have breakout sessions covering the 101 of what any employer new to the workplace mental health journey needs to know, addressing key subjects like:

  • responding to mental health needs of staff during COVID-19
  • dismantling mental health stigma in the workplace
  • employee-led initiatives to support staff
  • training managers on mental health
  • how young leaders are supporting mentally healthy workplaces
  • embedding mental health support into your organizational culture

Breakout sessions will welcome global leaders such as: Adam Bryant, Managing Director of Merryck & Co, Travis Hahler, Global Change and Transformation Lead at GoogleKathy Clemons, Global Head of Leadership and Management Development, BlackRock; Charles Lattarulo, Global Director of Healthy Minds, American Express,  Louis Gagnon, CEO of Total Brain, Craig Kramer, Global Mental Health Ambassador, Johnson & Johnson; DeAnne Aussem, Leadership Development & Wellbeing Leader US & Mexico, PwC.

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Meeting of the minds

There will be an opportunity to connect directly with speakers and delegates in our virtual ‘Coffee Bar’ in one of the many breaks during the day to follow up with on topics which spark curiosity.

And for C-Suite or equivalent leaders, we’ll have an invite only Think Tank session, The ROI, VOI and Moral Imperative of Mental Wellbeing, hosted by Jim Purcell, Founder, Returns on Wellbeing Institute and Dr Ron Goetzel, Senior Scientist, John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

It will provide an opportunity for a high-level, honest conversation on the ways the business case has shifted in 2020 and about how we can turn the COVID-19 crisis into an opportunity to build lasting relationships with employees. Outcomes will be shared with delegates post event. (If you are a C-Suite leader interested in attending, do get in touch).

2020 is the year of challenge but with every crisis comes opportunity

For every leader this will no doubt be one of the most challenging times of your career. So many organizations and the people within them are vulnerable now. Facing up to your responsibility to support mental health and wellbeing can be a daunting and overwhelming prospect.

Which is why we’re committed to bringing Make a Difference Summits to employers across the globe — to bring the best practice of other companies directly to you. Navigating the wealth of information and offerings out there can be intimidating. So why re-invent the wheel? Benefit instead from the experiences of your peers. Mental health and wellbeing support for staff, if done well, can be one of the best investments a company ever makes.

At Make a Difference Summit US in association with Mind Share Partners you will learn how to create inclusive mental health and wellbeing plans with a preventative, personalized approach for any sized workforce, reinvent the ‘new normal’ for the better and discover how to prioritize psychological safety for employees as the pandemic unfolds.

Make a Difference Summit US in association with Mind Share Partners is on Thursday, October 15th 2020 from 11am – 5.30pm EST.  For more information visit the event agenda or to book visit the booking page.

For delegates who register but can’t make the whole day, a catch-up service will be available on demand.

If you need any help or have any questions please email [email protected]

We look forward to seeing you next week!

About the author





Heather Kelly is the founder of Aura Wellbeing, a consultancy providing workplace wellness strategy, coaching and training services to employers. She’s also Content Director for Make a Difference Summit US and Online Editor for Make a Difference News. Heather led the development and operation of the Workplace Wellbeing Index, during her time working for the UK’s largest mental health charity, Mind. In her earlier career she worked as a photographer, a journalist and a senior manager in the insurance industry. She’s passionate about inspiring more empathy and awareness in workplaces toward normalising mental health and in her spare time Heather teaches photography to teens as part of a charity projects in London and Spain, she’s an avid runner and experimental chef for recipes promoting healthy minds.


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