Movers and Shakers in Workplace Wellbeing

Our monthly Movers and Shakers article highlights who’s moving up, out or across in the rapidly evolving world of wellbeing. These movers and shakers grabbed my attention in March.

To clarify – as someone picked me up on this last month – this is just a snap-shot, not an exhaustive list. There are many fantastic change-makers having a real, positive impact on workplace wellbeing. We want to celebrate you all.

In fact, that’s why we’ve launched the Make A Difference Awards. They’re an opportunity to stop, think and thank the individuals and employers who have really made a difference to workplace mental health and wellbeing over the past year; those who are leading the way, and inspiring others to follow their example.

Thanks to our co-sponsors (Royal Mail and Optima Health), we’ve been able to make the awards accessible to everyone. It’s quick, free and easy to make a nomination and the Make A Difference Awards virtual event will also be free to attend. Nominations are open until 15 April, so don’t delay. Full details are here.

Exciting stuff. In the meantime, back to the movers and shakers in workplace wellbeing that caught my eye in March.

Transformation station

Health, wellbeing and Inclusion leader Yulia O’Mahony has joined Philip Morris International (PMI) as Global Head of Health and Resilience. Yulia’s announcement of her new role on LinkedIn has already received many likes and comments; testament to the high esteem in which she is undoubtedly held by the wellbeing community.

PMI is a leading manufacturer of tobacco products, which operates in more than 180 markets. It is going through a major transformation to become a science and tech driven business. Yulia said: “I am really energised by its vision to create a smoke-free future and I can’t wait to start working with my new colleagues to help realise this vision and create an extraordinary experience for PMI people!”


After four years as Global Lead – Transformation Benefits with Google in San Francisco, Yu-Lin Gardner has made the move to Head of Reward with Deliveroo in London. Welcome back to Britain Yu-Lin.

Yu-Lin’s conversation with Heather Kelly for Make A Difference News, whilst she was with Google is consistently one of our most-read articles on In this, she shares insights into the progressive ways that Google is approaching mental health training and support for people managers and how that’s shifted through the COVID-19 pandemic – a topic that’s more important than ever.

Reach for the stars

WarnerMedia has announced the appointment of Asif Sadiq MBE to the newly created role of Senior Vice President Equity and Inclusion, International. Asif makes the move from adidas where he was Vice President, Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion. Prior to this, he was the Head of Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging for The Telegraph Media Group. He has also been the Head of Diversity and Inclusiveness for EY Financial Services and the Head of the Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Unit for the City of London Police. A passionate and inspirational leader, Asif has won multiple awards for his work and is a renowned keynote speaker.

Intersectionality and inclusivity increasingly feature as a focal point in discussions about workplace mental health. Asif spoke about his approach to ensuring mental health and wellbeing initiatives are inclusive at our 2019 MAD World Summit. It’s unclear as yet whether mental health and wellbeing will be part of Asif’s remit at WarnerMedia. I’ll let you know as soon as I find out.

Stepping up

Laura DeCook has been promoted from Executive Assistant and Mental Health Lead to Wellbeing Specialist with Expedia Group, based in San Francisco. In this role  Laura says: “My core focus is to drive employee wellbeing programs for performance enablement at Expedia Group on a global level. I partner with key stakeholders, while also driving the People team’s overall agenda in this space”.

Meanwhile, after 7 years at the BBC as Mental Health Lead (Occupational Therapist), Susannah Robertson-Hart has taken up a new role at United Utilities to lead their health and wellbeing agenda. Susannah says she is: “Very sad to say (a virtual) farewell to colleagues at the BBC – many great memories and experiences to reflect on. Time to learn all about a completely new industry! Thanks to my new colleagues at UU for such a warm welcome and helping me find my feet. It’s great to see how prominent health and wellbeing is – lots of amazing work to build on and take to the next level. I’m looking forward to the challenge”.

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And finally…

It’s wonderful to see that as well as remaining Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) in the UK, Peter Cheese has become Chair of What Works Wellbeing’s Board. In this blog, Peter talks about his vision for wellbeing and the future of the What Works Wellbeing Centre.

Peter is taking the role forward after six years of leadership from founding Chair, Paul Litchfield. The appointment marks a new chapter for the Centre as it continues an ambitious programme to understand what organisations can do to improve, promote and protect wellbeing in the UK, and reduce wellbeing inequalities.

As always, we will be watching and commenting with interest.

About the author

Claire Farrow is the Global Director of Content and Programming for the Mad World and Make a Difference Summits. She also drives the content for Make A Difference News. Claire is on a mission to help every employer – large, medium and small – get the insight, inspiration and contacts they need to make real impact on workplace culture, mental health and wellbeing in their organisation. She has been freelance for more than 15 years. During that time, she has had the honour of working with many leading publishers, including the New York Times





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