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Metropolitan Club’s ‘Your Mind, Your Business’ webinar focused on mental health issues, leadership


By Maridith Yahl
NKyTribune reporter

First of two parts

“Mental Health, it’s all a part of us and includes emotional, psychological and social well-being which impacts how we think, feel and act,” says Mike Glen, Vice President, Business Development and Innovation Lindner Center of Hope. The tenacious Glen goes on to say, that everyone is on the mental health spectrum, whether it be from mental wellness to mental illness. As a culture, mental health needs the same mind-set as physical health, prevention, and maintenance, not waiting for a problem.

Todd Wilkowski

Mike Sipple Jr., Board Chairman of Metropolitan Club, President of Centennial Inc., and Founder of Talent Magnet Institute says that all of us need to do what we can to have this conversation. Mental health touches everyone. Sipple goes on to say, it’s time to shed the stigma. He hopes coming out of this pandemic that the conversation begins at a national and global level.

The Metropolitan Club presented a “Your Mind, Your Business” webinar about mental health and leadership. The goal was to provide tools to have conversations about mental health and to normalize the subject. Another webinar will be presented May 20.

Panelists included Glen, Sipple, Todd Wilkowski, partner at Frost Brown Todd, the resilient Kendra Ramirez of Kendra Ramirez Digital Agency and Reset, and moderator Tarita Preston, owner, The Curated Coach.

Mike Sipple

All panelists opened up about their struggles with mental health. Vulnerability was the key idea for the discussion. Glen, who lost his father when he was 11, showed a picture collage of himself while discussing why he made a complete career change after 20+ years in the engineering field to follow his passion for mental health advocacy. Educating the community on mental health drives him, as he doesn’t want any other family to go through what he did.

Sipple spoke about his experiences growing up in a family that had challenges, including a sister with an eating disorder. He was in family therapy at age 12.

Wilkowski began his introduction wishing his mom a happy birthday. She died too soon, masking depression with alcoholism. His grandmother suffered from depression as well.

Kendra Ramirez

Ramirez was very candid and frank about her post-partum depression, divorce, depression, and a failing business.

Sipple says, “If we really care about people and we really acknowledge that business can’t happen without healthy people, our responsibility should be to help our people be the healthiest they can be. To know they have a voice, to know we care for them.”

Speaking about leadership, starting the conversation about mental health in the workplace, Sipple says, “Life is personal. Employing people and having people working alongside us 40-50-60 hours a week is personal. We need to care enough to have these types of conversations and to start the conversations.”

To begin a dialogue about mental health in the workplace, leadership needs to open up, be vulnerable, says Sipple. Everyone had issues and concerns. Leaders “need to create a safer place for ourselves and those around us.” That is done by going first and jumping out ahead says Sipple.

Mike Glen

Most wear a façade, especially leaders. Wilkowski likens it to the John Wayne image of being independent, self-reliant, and a show of strength. All of us have the blues sometimes, but this is different. It’s debilitating.

Wilkowski knows when he is in depression that he gets very fearful and anxious. Societal norms demand to keep up the perfect persona, not looking weak. In contrast, Wilkowski says to be as real and transparent as possible. Once those who appear to have it all together show vulnerability and share what they’ve gone through, this provides hope for healing to all of those around. It opens the dialogue.

In the current climate, leaders have the opportunity to share their concerns.

Sipple says, that “this is the most equitable pandemic,” in that everyone is feeling it, some sort of grief or despair. This provides the perfect moment for leadership to go first, be vulnerable, and open about this time we’re all enduring. If not now, we will never talk about it and normalize the subject.

Mental health is usually relegated to an Employee Assistant Program (EAP). Sipple says employees are not using the benefit because EAP’s are not enough. Having one program in a box is not encouraging. Even more so, the right people aren’t going first. If leadership shows their vulnerability, others will follow knowing that it’s safe.

Tarita Preston

“The only way to speak the truth is to be real,” says Sipple. There needs to be a realization that more of us need it. A lot of people are unauthentic in this realm and it eventually catches up.

Mental health is prevalent and impacts all of us. Leaders, which has nothing to do with a title but everyone has inside, says Preston, need to see the potential in people and be of service to higher good and community.

Wilkowski says to, “be a beacon of hope for others.” You have to make it personal. There is a difference between sympathy and empathy. If you traveled through it, pay it forward.

The webinar can be seen on the Metropolitan Club Facebook page. Another webinar will be held on May 20, 8-9:30, so be sure to check for details and registration.

Sipple advocates for transparency saying, “that is how you help people achieve greatness.”


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5 Comments

  1. Harold A Maio says:

    Re: It’s time to shed the stigma…

    It’s time to stop supporting people taught and teaching that prejudice.

  2. Harold A Maio says:

    —Mental health touches everyone. Sipple goes on to say, it’s time to shed the stigma.

    Actually, it is time for us to end the hold people promulgating that prejudice have had on us.

    Harold A Maio

    • Kevin LeMaster says:

      Harold, you must search for any article that mentions “mental health”, because you post this same damn thing on every one of them. For your information, journalists mentioning that there is still a “stigma” doesn’t mean that they’re supporting prejudice, it means that it’s still an absolute fact. Don’t call out journalists for reporting the truth. Perhaps do more to change the minds of Americans who still hold this ancient view. BTW…I am in therapy.

      • Thank you so much Kevin. This guy sent a message to me after posting my feelings with what is happening in life, he tried to shame me. He does comment on every article and in an interview with a Canadian newspaper, brags about it. He has alerts set through google for key words. If he is truly an advocate, he would go about things a different way to try to change minds. Instead, he is nothing more than an internet troll.

        • Kevin LeMaster says:

          You’re welcome, Richard. I can only help that he gets the help that he needs. I hope you’re well.

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