Western Insights: Mental Health in The Workplace

Group of people holding hands in a circle outside in the sunshine

Friday, February 25, 2022
10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

Online - Zoom



Check out this video to watch the Western Insights: Mental Health in The Workplace.

Western Insights

Brought to you by the College of Business and Economics in partnership with the WWU Alumni Association

We are all facing sweeping transitions as we continue to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. Some are bigger than others, but all impact our fellow humans in different ways. With workplaces changing rapidly, and the realities of a highly competitive and shrinking workforce, employers will need to be far more adaptive, inclusive, and responsive to attract the best talent. Leaders, managers, and employees are re-thinking workplace culture even as the great resignation continues. Leveraging people's strengths and maximizing flexibility are emerging as competitive advantages to address the rapidly shifting workplace culture.

As institutions change, the opportunity to address people's long-ignored mental health needs is front and center as the number of those experiencing mental health challenges continues to rise. What used to be an ancillary benefits conversation about employee assistance programs (EAPs) is now an integral negotiation about culture, stress, workspace, workplace, and family. Employers may need to consider more creative strategies to move forward and serve people well to secure the best talent.  

In this session of Western Insights, we will bring together experts who will share their thoughts on the intersection of the new workplace culture and mental health. They will offer ideas about attracting and retaining talented and diverse teams of individuals that will serve organizations well. 
Western Insights is an online panel series created to provide the broader region, Western alumni, friends, and students with access to information on current events drawing from the University's nationally respected experts. This series is offered entirely online and is open to everyone.

Watch previous Western Insight sessions online at https://alumni.wwu.edu/past-events

Event Speakers

Sislena Ledbetter

Sislena Ledbetter, PdD

Sislena Grocer Ledbetter, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, researcher, lecturer, author, and life coach. She received a Bachelor's degree in psychology from North Carolina Central University,  Magna Cum Laude. She earned with honors her Master's and Doctoral degrees in psychology from Howard University. Her post-graduate studies include educational leadership training at Georgetown University Graduate School of Professional Studies and Harvard University Graduate School of Education. Dr. Ledbetter has held many higher education leadership roles and is currently the Associate Vice President of Counseling, Health, and Wellbeing at Western Washington University. Click here to learn more about Sislena Ledbetter.

Neil Barnett

Neil Barnett

Neil is the Director of Inclusive Hiring and Accessibility at Microsoft. Since the announcement at World Autism Day in 2015, Neil Barnett has been responsible for the program evolution of the Microsoft Neurodiversity Hiring Program. Neil is also responsible for the strategy and operational performance of Microsoft’s consumer and enterprise Disability Answer Desk that provides specialist customer support to people with disabilities. Neil was recognized as one of Fast Company’s 2017 Most Creative People in Business.  

Tarena Shanaberger

Tarena Shanaberger

As Sr. Program Manager for Inclusive Hiring on the Microsoft Accessibility Team, Tarena Shanaberger is responsible for planning, organizing, scaling, and executing the Neurodiversity Hiring program and other disability hiring initiatives.  Tarena partners closely with the Microsoft Global Talent Acquisition team, Diversity and Inclusion, the Disability employee community, and Accessibility Office.  Working in partnership both internally and externally to bring different teams together to enable hiring, growth, and retention of people with disabilities. 

Benson Cooke

Dr. Benson Cooke

Dr. Benson George Cooke is a Professor of Counseling and Psychology at UDC. He is an author and speaker who has addressed diverse audiences at national and international conferences, symposiums, workshops, professional institutes, and local and national radio cable network and television programs. Author of numerous journal articles, magazine articles, and book chapters, including five textbooks.
He is the past national president of the Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi) and recipient of numerous national community-service, educational/faculty excellence, scholarship, and professional service awards. Dr. Cooke is an ABPsi Distinguished Psychologist, acknowledged for career contributions to the discipline and the literature and practice of psychology that has supported culturally salient mental health treatment for the African American community.

Questions and Accommodations

Contact James McCafferty for this event. Feel free to email at James.McCafferty@wwu.edu or call (360) 650-2414 if you have any questions or comments.

There will be auto-captions available for this event.