Wise words from WellFest - NABS
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Wise words from WellFest

NABS WellFest 2019 was our industry-first workplace wellbeing conference, a brilliant day full of insights, practical tips and interactivity.

We brought together leaders and changemakers from the worlds of adland and wellbeing to debate and share their viewpoints on how to best support the wellbeing of our teams and ourselves.

If you missed the day, or you want to relive the highlights and guidance shared, we’ve got great news: our videos from the day are now live.

We’re celebrating by sharing some of our top takeaways, and a quick recap of the day.

Karen Blackett OBE, WPP UK Country Manager and Chairwoman MediaCom, UK & Ireland

Karen opened our eyes to the nature of a VUCA world – the military acronym standing for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. She encouraged the audience to value emotional intelligence in the workplace because it “correlates seven times more strongly to success at work.”

Hussain Manawer, poet and mental health campaigner

Hussain took to poetry as a way of talking about grief after losing his mother. He’s now a mental health activist who has performed across the world. He shared some of his work at WellFest in an incredibly moving session. He said: “You have to work through your stuff – you can’t get through it, and you can’t get around it.”

Photo of Hussain Manawer speaking at NABS, Wellfest 2019
NABS, Wellfest 2019, The IET, London, 12Nov2019, ©BronacMcNeill

Alison Reynolds and David Lewis, authors and leadership educators

Alison and David teach leadership skills to some of the UK’s most senior leaders. Their dynamic talk explored the notion of flourishing and how emotions can affect our power. Watch this to find out how you can blossom in your power.

Carrie Birmingham, leadership consultant

Carrie’s empathetic style shone out throughout her contribution to the panel discussion ‘Authenticity in action: bringing your whole self to work’. Her key tip for managers was that they should actively look for unusual behaviour in their teams as changes can denote significant dips in wellbeing.

Natasha Devon MBE, body image and mental health campaigner

Natasha participated in the panel discussion ‘Dare to Thrive’ and she’s a shining example of somebody who does just that. Natasha shared a striking insight about younger entrants to our industry: they’ve been encouraged to discuss mental health at school and university, where there is a culture of openness around wellbeing. But they feel unable to share concerns about their mental health once they enter the workplace, sensing that there’s a stigma around the issue that they haven’t previously encountered.

Asif Sadiq MBE, head of diversity, inclusion and belonging at The Telegraph

Asif has a wealth of experience in D&I, working at the helm of the field for some of the country’s top organisation. He shared the importance of leaders discussion their mental health as “that’s when others will feel comfortable to talk about it”.

Our thanks to each and every speaker and contributor who helped make WellFest such a success.

WellFest will return in 2020, watch this space for more details.


NABS Advice Line is here for you if you need support with any of the issues mentioned above. Call us on 0800 707 6607 between 9am – 5.30pm or email support@nabs.org.uk for tailored help and guidance.

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