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Generous Futures: Destigmatizing Mental Health

Date
May 17, 2022
Time
1:00 PM EDT - 2:00 PM EDT
Location
Online via Zoom webinar
Contact
Laura Greflund, Alumni Relations Officer, rsvp@ryerson.ca
Generous Futures: Destigmatizing Mental Health

The pandemic has served as an urgent call to action for increased mental health support. How do we challenge the stigma associated with mental health and move towards greater acceptance? How do disability, poverty, racism and sexual orientation impact access and resourcing? This panel of leaders in the field will discuss these questions and shed light on what has been done and what the future holds.

Moderator

Clara Tam

Clara Tam, Director, Student Integrated Health & Wellbeing, Ryerson University

Panellists

Sanjay Singhal

Sanjay Singhal, Executive Director, Nikean Foundation

Margaret Eaton

Margaret Eaton, National CEO, Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA)

Nzinga Walker, Executive Director, Stella’s Place

Nzinga Walker, Executive Director, Stella’s Place 

Biographies

Clara Tam recently joined Ryerson University as the Director of Student Integrated Health & Wellbeing, where she leads student-facing supports including the Centre for Student Development and Counselling, Medical Centre, and Health Promotion Programs. Clara comes with a breadth of experiences and passion in the area of mental health, having worked across a number of organizations holding clinical, research, and leadership roles. She has been involved in building programs and transformative work, from provincial mandates in the area of brain health while at the Ontario Brain Institute, to managing clinical programs at CAMH. At CAMH she held leadership positions across a number of clinical teams, from Adult Acute Care to Child, Youth & Family Services.

I am a proud Canadian, Tech Entrepreneur and author best known for founding and selling Audiobooks.com, external link. I created the 500 Startups Canada fund and co-founded 6 companies (3 of them successfully) and am actively an ongoing investor in over 20 startups.

My Memoir “Zero to Tesla,” published in 2018 chronicles the whole improbable journey and how failure doesn’t prevent success, it only delays it. You can grab a copy on Amazon, Audible, and yep you guessed it, Audiobooks.com, external link!

In 2018 I took a chance dabbling in the Hospitality industry with the opening of my first cocktail lounge Coffee Oysters Champagne. With a French flare to our menu, we have successfully been recognized as the largest and most accessible champagne bar in the city (ask for a tour of our champagne cellar… or don’t). This venture was followed by the opening of Marked, a South American inspired restaurant with a focus on wood-burning cuisine. Both are located in the heart of Toronto’s Entertainment District.

These days my passion and attention lies in philanthropy. I launched the Nikean Foundation in 2019 to fund mental health research, focusing on novel psychedelic therapies to treat mental disorders including anorexia, depression, and PTSD. At Nikean, we currently fund research trials in Canada, the UK, and the US. This movement is the greatest fundamental advance in treating mental health, just in time for the greatest mental health crisis in living memory.

 

Since January 2020, Margaret has served as National CEO of the Canadian Mental Health Associations—at 104 years old, CMHA is the most extensive and established community mental health  organization in the country. Prior to joining CMHA, Margaret served for seven years as Executive Director of the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC), a multi-stakeholder council that brings leaders together to create and champion solutions to better integrate immigrants in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) labour market. Previously, she served as President of ABC Life Literacy and held leadership roles with the Association of Canadian Publishers and Magazines Canada. She has also worked in marketing and fundraising roles for arts organizations including Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, the Royal Conservatory of Music and the Stratford Festival. She has volunteered as a mentor for the Canadian Marketing Hall of Legends and as a board member and advisor for many not-for-profit organizations in immigration, literacy and the arts. In 2012, she was awarded a Diamond Jubilee medal for contributions to literacy and culture. In 2021, Margaret was named one of the Hill Times’ Top 100 Lobbyists and CMHA ranked sixth on the Forbes’ list of Canada’s Best Employers.

Nzinga Walker is the Executive Director of Stella’s Place which provides innovative mental health services to young adults. Known for her ability to provide effective leadership, she has consistently ensured that children, young adults and families receive effective services that are respectful of people’s diverse backgrounds and belief systems. She has a proven record of making effective recommendations and changes on social justice issues, equity, anti-racism and anti-oppression practices. Nzinga has worked with all levels of government and civil society to address systemic issues including poverty, housing, gender-based violence and social justice.

She brings an anti-oppressive lens to her work and values meaningful practices that integrate diversity, equity and inclusion in all aspects of her work as a mental health professional and social justice advocate. As an agent of change, Nzinga has a successful record in leading organizations through change  management processes, as well as developing and integrating evidence-based practices into service delivery models and organizational practices. These are among the many ways Nzinga continues to work towards destigmatizing mental health in her work and the community.

Generous Futures: Driving Change for Good

Through a series of panel discussions we will explore the triumphs and struggles of leaders as they address societal problems.

Lead Sponsor: TD; Promotional Partners: Association of Fundraising Professionals; Canadian Association of Gift Planners; Canada Helps; Imagine Canada

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