Petra Velzeboer is a Mental Health in the Workplace Speaker and Consultant.
Petra is known for bringing humour and lightness to a traditionally heavy topic. She believes that mental health is about everyone and, influenced by positive psychology, creates cultures where we talk about what thriving looks like, not just what to do when people have poor mental health.
Petra is a psychotherapist executive coach and holds an MSc in Psychodynamics of Human Development.
She is the founder of a Mental Health Consultancy and started her business out of acute frustration, having worked in the wellbeing industry and realised people were talking a good game but were often toxic on the inside. Her mission was set to see if she could create a business that fully lived its values and proved that a mentally healthy culture was possible at every level of the business.
With Petra’s clear expertise, you would think this was always her plan. This couldn’t be further from the truth. She was born and raised in the notorious religious cult, The Children of God, growing up in communes across the globe believing the world was going to end. She didn’t go to school and, as a teenager, felt confused and lost, descending into alcohol addiction and depression.
At 23, she was a young mother, had moved to London and had no future mapped out – ostracised from any community she knew. This experience of isolation, loneliness and avoiding taking responsibility for her state of mind is akin to how many of us have been feeling throughout the pandemic. The rules we had for life no longer applied, and we’ve had to evolve our wellbeing tools and community and question friends and even our own thinking as we learn to thrive in unprecedented times.
Desperate and suicidal, she reached a catalyst moment deciding she could no longer be a victim of her past and began the slow journey to health, resilience, education and eventually an illustrious career.
She viscerally describes the moment she wanted to end everything and the secondary thought that came into her mind – the idea that she could postpone taking her life for just one year. She now had a way out, and it opened up a small window of possibility. She was determined to experiment with how she could improve her mental health and overall life. She describes how this year came and went, and life wasn’t perfect, but she learned a few things, including how to teach ourselves to be happy. We can learn how to improve our mental health, and over time we can radically alter the trajectory of our lives.
Her message is one of hope in darkness and practical advice and support through any challenge. Her audience will laugh, cry, and ultimately leave with ideas for change for both them and the people around them.
Her experience of a toxic cult influences her ability to assess toxic workplaces, and her education and global experience allow her to quickly see the challenge and advise on practical solutions for real-world change.
She is the CEO of a thriving mental health consultancy and training company that teaches individuals and teams how practising courage and vulnerability enhances productivity, fulfilment and happiness. Her keynotes are motivational, inspirational, and filled with practical tools for tackling the rampant mental illness epidemic in our schools, workplaces, and families.
Mental Health in the Workplace Keynote Speaker:
All keynotes can be adapted to an audience of HR, Wellbeing Leaders and all Employees.
Wellbeing in times of change
Investing in your mindset and building resilience can be challenging during uncertainty. This keynote will help you tackle:
- The mental attitude necessary for evolving our approach to a new world of work
- Investing in your mindset to sustain success
- Creating a psychologically safe culture to help people thrive
- Retaining talent
- Effective change management.
Building a Strategic Approach to Mental Health Awareness
Only focussing on mental health on awareness days is now seen as a tickbox and no longer sufficient for a post-pandemic world. Covid-19 has increased rates of poor mental health globally which means to evolve your workforce; this must be a key objective at all levels of the business, including Senior Leadership, HR and your Mental Health Champion Networks: This talk will:
- Provide mental health awareness to all levels of the business
- Highlight the benefits of a mental health plan and simplify the steps to creating one
- Offer insight on supporting others who may be struggling with their mental health
- Bring this strategy to life for employees, wellbeing leads and management
Building Grit in a noisy world
Stress and building resilience are big buzzwords in organisations. We want our people to handle what life throws at them and thank us for the opportunity! This talk provides practical tools for managing stress, avoiding burnout and developing a mindset that sustains long term success. It includes:
- Practical tools for building resilience and developing self-awareness
- Reframing our leadership approach to one of courage and vulnerability
- Understanding burnout and the physiological impact of long term stress
- Intentional investment in our wellbeing
Managing Remote Teams
Building remote culture and managing remote teams is a crucial skill to ensure talent retention and high productivity in a hybrid world. This talk includes:
- Leadership skills for a hybrid world
- Building culture, trust and psychological safety
- Practical check-in exercises and questions
- Top Tips for effective team meetings
- Noticing poor mental health virtually – and what to do about it!
Leadership, Performance, and Mental Health
Many leaders and managers are tired, burnt out and feeling compassion fatigue! Well, what about you?? It seems the role has expanded to include emotional support, listening and making sure everyone else is ok. This talk highlights the pressure leaders experience, how their mental health is more important than ever and how leading by example creates lasting culture change. Petra includes:
- Practising empathy is not being a pushover.
- Understand limits and boundaries – and communicate them to your team
- Empowering employees to take personal responsibility for their wellbeing
- Leadership skills for a new world of work
- Expert advice on the line between performance and mental health
“Petra’s keynote speech at the UnA conference was incredible. With such a tricky subject to discuss, she got the point across in a way that isn’t too clinical or condescending but was instead magnificent. Petra is funny, engaging, to the point and actually knows what she’s talking about! I feel that she’s given me everyday tools to start making mental health a daily conversation with friends, family and colleagues”
TL Dallas Group