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How to live a truly fulfilled and successful life: despite the odds.Request fees and availability
5 out of 5 stars
"Inspirational! The talk was targeted at the right level and staff really felt they got a lot out of it."
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At 25 years old speaker Petra Velzeboer had 2 kids, almost zero education, was a raging alcoholic, depressed and figured no one would miss her if she ended everything. She realised then that she had a choice, she could either die now or she could dedicate just 1 year to try and learn how to be happy.
After that year life was by no means perfect but she’d discovered that one thing, hope. She began to dedicate her life to learning about mental health, resilience
and practicing everything she learned on herself. She educated herself in psychotherapy, human development, parenting, coaching, mental health and resilience and found her way to a truly fulfilled and successful life: despite the odds.
She is the CEO of a thriving mental health consultancy and training company that teaches individuals and teams how practicing courage and vulnerability enhance productivity, fulfilment and happiness. Her keynotes are motivational, inspirational and filled with practical tools for tackling the mental illness epidemic that is rampant through our schools, workplaces and families.
Speaker Petra Velzeboer teaches practical tools for creating a sustainable mental health strategy at work, with insight into practical application of government recommendations included in reports such as Thriving at Work (2017) and Business in the Communities (BITC) Seizing the Momentum Report (2018).
Book Petra if you want a dynamic talk that avoids clinical speak and instead gets real about how technology is robbing us of human connection, how empathy can enhance productivity and how the mental health conversation can be applied to your organisation.See keynotes with Petra Velzeboer
Learn how to start from the top in creating a mentally healthy workplace. Understand how to lead by example in looking after personal mental health and normalizing conversations about mental health with employees. Challenge your leaders to be authentic and vulnerable while having boundaries that support
A general guide to mental health for everyone. This can be adapted to the needs of the audience and cover empathy, signs and symptoms of mental health issues, the landscape of mental health at work, practical tips for looking after our own mental health and how to support a friend or colleague if they’re struggling.
In a world of change and noise, this keynote helps the audience understand our physiological response to a new world of work and provides practical guides for building grit and courage. Through personal lessons on adversity and overcoming, learn tools for taking proactive steps to build resilience.
Petra utilizes her story of overcoming extreme adversity & learning the skills for building a successful life & applies these to your audience. Themes that are drawn out of this talk are bespoke to the needs of your audience.
These can include:
Watch speaker Petra Velzeboer in action
Inspirational! The talk was targeted at the right level and staff really felt they got a lot out of it.
We had the pleasure of having Petra speak at an internal Guardian employee event for mental health awareness week 2019. The honesty in which she shared her personal experience was quite moving. She was both informative and inspirational. I would highly recommend her talks.
Petra certainly knows her stuff and has the ability to put it across in a no nonsense, practical and highly inspirational way. She brings the perfect balance of support and challenge to everything that she does. We were lucky to have Petra support a number of events at William Hill and it was a pleasure to work with her. A pleasure that I hope that we will be able to repeat again soon.
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.
What do you gain personally from being a public speaker?
I love that “aha” moment when people in the audience really get something that relates to their personal life and allows them to grow as human beings. Talking about empathy and mental health, there’s a point where I’ve been totally vulnerable myself in order to give people permission to be real about their stories, and I have to wait and see if it pays off. Every group is different but I get a real sense of purpose out of my own story when people are inspired or utilise it as a springboard to have real and authentic conversations.
Who or what inspires you most?
Of course, there’s the big names like Nelson Mandela, Oprah Winfrey and Elon Musk, but I derive great inspiration from the average person who has succeeded despite great challenges. When I interview people on my Adversity to Advantage podcast I am moved by the guy who is studying, has healthy relationships and a job after 20 years of drug addiction, the reformed prisoner who is building an honest life for himself, the successful entrepreneur who’s drive has come from running from her past. These stories of resilience and triumph inspire me to continue pushing to create my own impact in the world.
What are your biggest goals in your life or career currently?
My biggest goals include sustaining good mental health for myself, supporting my teenage children to have resilience and great character as adults and to spread my message of hope to millions of people in the world.
I’ve learned the hard way that if I don’t invest in myself then I’m no use to anyone. I do this by trying to have a meditation practice but also engage in fun, joy and connect with great people.
I ask myself in life and in business: Do I love doing this, does it bring me joy, can I have fun while I’m doing it? These questions direct me to things that give me a balanced and joyful life. Finally, I believe firmly that if I’d had a message of connection, authenticity and hope when I was suicidal 12 years ago, then I wouldn’t have suffered as long as I did. I want to be that voice for people suffering now.
Describe yourself in 3 words
Why do you think mental health at work has become such a popular keynote topic?
Reports such as Thriving at Work highlight that the cost of poor mental health at work comes to £33 to £42 billion annually; this includes absenteeism, presenteeism and staff turnover. Employers are waking up to the case for prevention and are looking for ways to promote good mental health. Health and Safety has brought down physical incidents tremendously over the past decade, however with suicide statistics on the rise, they’re realising they’ve got to focus on the Health aspect as well as Safety in order to have the impact they’re after.
Children and Young people are experiencing 70% more symptoms of depression, anxiety and other mental health issues than the previous generation, leading parents and schools to try to understand what they can do to support this epidemic. The World Health Organisation calls depression ‘a global public health concern’ and concludes that ‘depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide in terms of total years lost due to disability’.
The keynotes I run on this topic inspire awareness as well as practical change within ourselves and our workplace cultures. Not only are companies looking for greater productivity, but people are looking for authentic connection in a digitally fractured world. All of these issues can be tackled in a mental health keynote.
Do you have a favourite experience from your speaking career?
There’s just so many! The first time I was vulnerable enough to tell my own story had a profound impact on me. Not only was I intensely nervous but I also realised the power of our story, as the risk of putting myself out there more than paid off in the room, as participants connected on an authentic level and left with real value.
Another favourite is speaking to a group of young offenders and challenging them to create change. 2 of them came to me after the group telling me about the impact I’d had on how they’re thinking about things and that was extremely fulfilling.
I’ve also really enjoyed the challenge of speaking at a Senior Leadership conference within the construction industry. There were mostly men in the sea of faces and I thought, this is gonna be a tough crowd to crack! After telling my story and asking them to tell each other what impact mental health had on their lives, I asked them to stand up if mental health had impacted them in some way: 90% of the room stood up. From that point on it was just like any other group eager to learn, be vulnerable and create change within their work culture.
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