Beyond the Checkbox is a podcast hosted by Dr. Ryan Todd, a psychiatrist, award-winning filmmaker, and founder/CEO of mental health tech company, headversity.

The goal of the show is to help listeners future-proof their organizations through stories of innovation and progressive leadership that pertain to mental wellbeing at work, where they’ve gone above and beyond checking the box. This is accomplished through Dr. Todd diving into hard-hitting topics of mental wellbeing in the workplace with some of the world’s top business leaders, executives, and technologists that are leading exemplary initiatives.


Season 2 Episode 21| Managing Culture Through a Merger| ft. Krista Pell [NEW]

The finale of Season 2 of Beyond the Checkbox features Krista Pell, VP HR at Cenovus Energy, who had the herculean task of leading employee culture during Cenovus and Husky Energy’s merger, which nearly tripled their total employee population. For this episode, Krista speaks on the unique challenges of managing and building culture through a merger of two large organizations, including how to accommodate long established practices of both organizations.

Season 2 Episode 20| Living an Olympic Dream | ft. Shannon Abeda and Patricia Phillips

Shannon Abeda is a 2x Olympic athlete in Alpine Skiing, and the only Winter Olympian to represent the country of Eritrea. Just two weeks before the Olympics in Beijing, after three and a half years of training and preparation, Shannon got the devastating news that his funding through the Eritrean National Olympic Committee had fallen through, all but ending his hopes of returning to the Olympics. Enter Patricia Phillips, CEO of PBA Group of Companies, who spearheaded a last-minute sponsorship of Shannon to make his Olympic dreams a reality. This special episode covers Shannon’s amazing story of getting to Beijing, persevering through adversity on every turn, and touching on how mental health impacted his journey.

Season 2 Episode 19| Building a Culture of Psychological Safety | ft. Samantha Coker

Samantha Coker is the Chief Human Resources Officer at Apache Industrial Holdings, a Houston-based company the industrial services industry with an industry-leading commitment to safety. Not unlike other industrial organizations who’ve experienced high rates of turnover during the pandemic, Samantha unpacks these issues her industry has faced and some of the unique challenges experienced the past two years. She also talks about building a culture of psychological safety and how that is factoring into retention.

Season 2 Episode 18| How Purpose Has Evolved Through the Pandemic | ft.Katherine Salucop

Katherine Salucop is the Vice President of Organizational Development at Alberta Innovates, a purpose-driven organization that has thrived through the pandemic. From her extensive background in elevating employee experience, Katherine discusses how purpose has taken a front and centre role during the pandemic, detailing some of the strategies that have helped build a winning culture in her organization.

Season 2 Episode 17| The Influence of Positive Psychology on Leadership | ft. Craig Dowden

Craig Dowden is an award-winning author, a renowned speaker, and a thought leader when it comes to progressive leadership styles and positive psychology in today’s workplace to take organizations to the next level. From his 20+ years consulting business leaders on best practices, Craig shares some tips from his methodology that help leaders and organizations get through turbulent times, which has been especially instructive during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Season 2 Episode 16| Tackling Suicide in Construction | ft. Zeke Smith

As the son of a superintendent, Zeke Smith literally grew up in construction. Now as the head of the People Operations at a large Houston commercial construction company, Satterfield & Pontikes, he’s seen the ugly side of construction rear its head in recent years: suicide. Suicide is now the leading cause of fatality in construction, an industry that prides itself on worker safety. This episode dives into why construction has been hit so hard with suicide, and some ways Zeke is lending his voice to build awareness of mental health in the industry.

Season 2 Episode 15| Dealing with Burnout in High Performance Cultures | ft. Leigh-Ann Ing

Leigh-Ann Ing is the Director of Global Wellness and Benefits Strategy at OMERS. Beyond her professional experience in employee mental wellbeing, she has lived through burnout at various points in her career. In this episode, she walks us through handling burnout in high performance cultures and how organizations can better support employees dealing with excessive stress to build a culture of psychological safety.

Season 2 Episode 14 | Piecing Together the Mental Health Impact of COVID-19 | ft. Dr. Scott B. Patten

Dr. Scott B Patten is a professor at the University of Calgary and one of the leading Psychiatric Epidemiologists in the world. Dr. Patten’s research focuses on Major Depressive Disorders, and in this episode he talks about how machine learning is influencing his field, how the pandemic has impacted his work, as well as the research around how our mental health has been affected through the pandemic.

Season 2 Episode 13 | Supporting Mental Health Through Peer Support | ft. Stephane Grenier

How does social support impact physical and mental injuries? Stephane Grenier is a Canadian veteran, Mental Health Innovator, and author of “After the War: Surviving PTSD and Changing Mental Health Culture”. Stephane is known for his efforts to rehumanize workplaces through peer support, as well as for coining the term Operational Stress Injury to describe psychological injuries caused by military service. In this episode, Stephane discusses his transition out of the military, social support and its impact on mental health, how to develop a support network within your organization, and more details about his experiences.

Season 2 Episode 12 | What's Behind an Athlete's Mental Preparation| ft. Andre De Grasse

Do you ever wonder how athletes like Andre De Grasse deal with immense stress so they can perform consistently under pressure? How they appear so calm in the big moment despite the gravity of the situation? Elite athletes are not just physical specimens – they put in serious work on the mental side to prepare for big performances. This special episode we had a special chance to visit with 10x Olympic and World Championship Medalist, Andre De Grasse, in his last hours on North American soil before the Olympics in Tokyo. He takes us through what it takes to perform mentally and some of his routines that have led to him becoming the most decorated Canadian male Olympian of all time.

Season 2 Episode 11 | Indigenous Relations and the Corporate Sector| ft. Gregory John

Gregory John is the President of Four Peaks Development, a company built around creating opportunities for Indigenous people in the energy sector. As someone who is Metis, Gregory has done amazing work brokering relationships between First Nations and organizations, particularly in resource development. Gregory speaks with us about Indigenous relations with corporate partners in the oil & gas sector and the important work of building bridges that is being done in this space.

Season 2 Episode 10 | How Health & Safety Has Evolved to Include Mental Health | ft. Andrea Hardie

Andrea Hardie is the Director of Health & Safety at Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC), an organization that looks after important health, safety, and environmental initiatives in the Oil & Gas sector, working with over 200 organizations in Canada. She and Ryan discuss the progress of mental health in the Oil & Gas sector, how stigma still affects change, and how mental health now sits front and center in the health & safety discussion.

Season 2 Episode 9 |Shaping a Better Tomorrow | ft. HRD Mental Health Panel

A special episode of Beyond the Checkbox took place live at the HRD HR Mental Health 2021 conference on May 11th, where Ryan had the opportunity to moderate a panel that included Nabeela Ixtaban, EVP of People & Corporate Affairs at Walmart Canada, Sandy McIntosh, EVP People & Culture and CHRO at TELUS, and Sapna Mahajan, Director, Genomics and Society and Genome Canada. This group of powerhouse leaders discussed how to shape the workplace of tomorrow by building a strong foundation for mental health and employee wellbeing.

Season 2 Episode 8 |The Lifelong Journey of Mental Health | ft. Rob Vanstone

Rob Vanstone is a Sports Editor and Columnist with the Regina Leader-Post, where he is well known for covering the Saskatchewan Roughriders football team. On Bell Let’s Talk day in January of 2021, Rob disclosed to the world that he has been suffering from mental illness for much of his life, living in the shadows of stigma, where it took years to even admit to his wife what he was going through. Rob discusses his mental health story, how he’s lived with anxiety and depression, and how it’s impacted him since disclosing to the world.

Season 2 Episode 7 |How Employee Experience Has Emerged as a Focal Point | ft. Gethin Nadin

Gethin Nadin is an award-winning psychologist and employee wellbeing expert. His book, titled A World of Good, saw him travel around the world and glean lessons from what organizations are doing – or not doing – when it comes to engaging with employees on a human level. This episode covers the shift to putting employee experience front and center for organizations and why this is now so critical.

Season 2 Episode 6 | The State of the Union of Workplace Mental Health | ft. Dr. Bill Howatt

Dr. Bill Howatt joined us nearly one year ago, early in the pandemic, and spoke about the effects he anticipated COVID-19 would have on workforce mental health. Now one year later, and on the cusp of releasing his new book, “The Cure for Loneliness”, this conversation covers the full spectrum of workplace mental health, where we’ve been, and where things are going. If you enjoyed the first conversation with Bill, this follow-up is a must!

Season 2 Episode 5 |Smashing Mental Health Stigma | ft. Rob Stephenson

Rob Stephenson is the founder and CEO of FormScore and InsideOut LeaderBoard and has had personal experience living with bipolar disorder, where he was first diagnosed at the age of 30. Rob lived through mental health stigma throughout his career, where he hid his mental-ill health from colleagues and said he was attending physio appointments when he was in fact receiving regular mental health therapy. Upon disclosing of his illness, Rob became a public speaker and mental health thought leader, where he’s also become an entrepreneur to chase his passion of smashing the stigma of mental health through his work.

Season 2 Episode 4 |The life of a physician during a pandemic | ft. Dr. Rahim Kachra

Dr. Rahim Kachra has been instrumental on the front lines of the healthcare system during the COVID-19 struggle, training physicians at Foothills Hospital to help when cases surge and supplies are limited. Dr. Kachra joined us on the podcast in the early stages of COVID, and now almost exactly one year later he joins us for an update on how things are going for him and his colleagues as the pandemic continues.

Season 2 Episode 3 | Mental Health and the Farming Community | ft. Karla Kochan

Karla Kochan is the Chief People Officer at Agricultural Financial Services Corporation (AFSC), and joined us on the podcast to talk about the unique mental health challenges faced by the farming community during the pandemic. She also spoke about how they’ve had to train employees who interface with farmers in how to have the mental health conversation, the urgency of doing this and the overall shift to prioritize mental health within their organization.

Season 2 Episode 2 | A Journey of Disclosing a Non-Binary Identity | ft. David McDine

The modern workplace is one that must create safe spaces for employees to live their truths and be their authentic selves. In the case of David McDine, this safe space provided by their employer as they came out as genderqueer was a life-changing experience. David McDine is the Director of Strategic Initiatives at NAIT and walks us through their journey of coming out as genderqueer, how their employer put on a masterclass of allyship and how the experience has been so transformative.

Season 2 Episode 1 | ft. Tyler Smith and Ryan Straschnitzki

Tyler Smith and Ryan Straschnitzki are survivors of the devastating bus crash in April, 2018 that killed 16 members of the Humboldt Broncos organization and shook everyone around the globe. Coming up on 3 years since the tragedy, Tyler and Ryan walk us through life after the accident, how they are coping mentally with everything they’ve experienced and how they’re helping others by sharing their stories.

Best of Season 1 (Part 2) | Beyond the Checkbox

Part 2 of our season’s best of, featuring some of our favorite interviews from Season 1. This episode highlights conversations with the CEO of EdApp, Darren Winterford, workplace mental health thought leader and multi-published author, Dr. Bill Howatt, and former NHL goaltender and TV broadcaster, Kelly Hrudey.

Best of Season 1 (Part 1) | Beyond the Checkbox

One full season of Beyond the Checkbox is in the books! In this ‘Best of’ episode, we feature clips from some of our favorite conversations including former NHL player, anti-abuse and anti-bullying advocate, Sheldon Kennedy, ATB Financial CEO, Curtis Stange, and Founder of Depressed While Black, Imadé.

Episode 20 | The Power of Storytelling | with Ben Fanelli

Ben Fanelli has had quite a journey. Formerly a major junior hockey player with the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL, Ben was poised to become a professional athlete. But in the early stages of his career, Ben was the recipient of a terrible hit that fractured his skull in 3 places. Doctors said he would never play again, but after a year of rehabilitating, Ben returned to the OHL and finished his final 2 seasons with the Rangers. Ben’s amazing story of resilience carried on to his work in founding Heroic Minds, a program where he carries on the message of a “Hero’s Narrative” and storytelling to change the perspective on mental health. This episode dives into the power of storytelling, which begins with the one of Ben Fanelli.

Episode 19 | The Evolution of Mobile Learning in a COVID World

Darren Winterford is the CEO of EdApp, an Australian-based tech company that has built a market-leading mobile LMS platform and have gone against the trend, experiencing 300%+ growth during COVID-19. This episode covers everything from managing a culture in a fast growing and international workforce, to how mobile learning is paving the way for organizations in the new COVID world.

Episode 18 | The Mental State of the Energy Sector

A recent study published out of the University of Houston reports employee uneasiness of returning to work due to COVID-19 in the energy sector. Dr. Ramanan Krishnamoorti is the Chief Energy Officer and Dr. Christiane Spitzmueller is a Professor of Industrial Organizational Psychology, both at the University of Houston. The two of them were principal researchers in the study, and they joined the podcast to speak about their findings.

Episode 17 | How Workforce Mental Health is Affecting HR | with Kaitlyn Apfelbeck

Kaitlyn Apfelbeck is an HR Consultant and founder of Hello HR. Her extensive HR background includes being in a high growth business that quadrupled in size in a very condensed period, and now consults small and medium sized businesses on their HR needs with Hello HR. Kaitlyn joins us to discuss the ‘compassion fatigue’ of HR professionals as they deal with a spike in mental health conversations throughout the pandemic and how HR are acting as front-line psychologists for the workplace today.

Episode 16 | Building Towards the Post Pandemic Workplace | with Jared Lindzon

Jared Lindzon has been an authoritative voice during the pandemic, penning articles that are helping guide businesses and leaders to survive in this ‘new normal’ we are all facing in the pandemic. His work has been featured in the Globe & Mail, The Guardian, the Toronto Star, Fast Company, and Rolling Stone, to name a few. Jared talks about why ‘soft skills’ are so important now, and what businesses will need to do to have staying power in the post pandemic workplace.

Episode 15 | How Our Brains Respond in the Brave New Workplace| with Dr. Michael Mousseau, PhD

Dr. Michael Mousseau is a PhD in neuroscience, studying neurotransmitters in the brain such as oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine, which he now applies to workplace productivity and best practices for employee engagement with Gallagher Benefit Services, one of the largest consulting firms in North America. Dr. Mousseau talks to us about all things workplace productivity and in particular, how our brains are responding to the added stressors of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Episode 14 | The Evolution of Police Force Mental Health| with Sergeant Beth Milliard, PhD

Dr. Beth Milliard is a Sergeant with the York Regional Police in Ontario, Canada. She’s developed a Peer Support Unit that is dedicated to providing York Regional Police members and their families with important mental health services and support. Beth is tasked with creating and implementing a mental health strategy for all York Regional Police Employees, and shares with us how this has evolved in her 17 years on the force. She also touches on the important happenings of black lives matter and how the police are being trained to handle escalated mental health situations on the front line today.

Episode 13 | What it's Like to be Depressed While Black| with Imadé

With everything going on with Black Lives Matter, this week’s episode takes a critical look at mental healthcare and how it too plays a part in systemic racism in today’s society. Our special guest, Imadé, is an award-winning writer that’s been featured in major publications including Vice, The Huffington Post, Refinery 29, Forbes, The Mighty, and many others. She’s also the co-founder of Depressed While Black, a movement that has created a voice for the black community who’ve been affected by mental illness.

Episode 12 | How COVID-19 Has Elevated the Mental Health Focus Globally | with Wendy Poirier

COVID-19 has brought many issues to light, but arguably its biggest impact collectively has been on our mental health. Global Well-being Leader, Wendy Poirier of Willis Towers Watson, has consulted organizations all over the world on best practices in leading mental health programs through this pandemic. Wendy joins the podcast as a leading expert in organizational well-being and mental health, and shares her worldly experience on this issue as it has been elevated through COVID-19.

Episode 11 | How to Lead from the Heart and Still Get Results | with Mark C. Crowley

Mark C. Crowley is the author of the Amazon top 100 best seller book on workplace culture, ‘Lead from the Heart’. Mark reveals how the movement behind Lead From the Heart initially had slow adoption in business circles, and discusses how the concept is now gaining traction with leaders of top organizations around the world. The episode centers on a key finding that leading through empathy doesn’t mean compromising your business goals, rather that it can be a tremendous help in achieving them.

Episode 10 | The Mental Side of Sport | with Evan Rand

Evan Rand is the Director of Hockey Operations at the United States Hockey League. His organization has taken a leading stance among amateur and professional sports leagues on a number of social issues including diversity and inclusion, and this past season, mental health. Evan joins the podcast to discuss this shift in preparation as teams, coaches, and players begin to embrace the mental side of the game to improve their overall wellbeing.

Episode 9 | The Importance of Mental Fitness | with Dr. Bill Howatt

Dr. Bill Howatt is one of the most influential thought leaders in workplace mental health today. Dr. Howatt is the Chief of Research and Workforce Productivity for the Conference Board of Canada. He also runs Howatt HR Consulting which has worked with leadership groups on addiction and mental health for over 25 years, is the co-creator of the Your Life at Work initiative through the Globe & Mail, and is a multi-book author, including his most recent entry ‘Stop Hiding and Start Living’. Dr. Howatt discusses his fascinating back story, how we should be prioritizing our Mental Fitness, and the mental health of the workforce as back to work plans have begun.

Episode 8 | Breaking Down the 'Standard' for Psychological Health & Safety | with Mary Ann Baynton

Mary Ann Baynton has been dubbed the ‘Godmother’ of Psychological Health & Safety. She’s formerly Co-Chair, and now member, of the Technical Committee for the National Standard of Canada: Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace. Mary Ann breaks down ‘The Standard’  and helps shed light on how employers today can develop a psychologically safe workplace.

Episode 7 | The Toll of COVID-19 on Physicians' Mental Wellbeing - with Dr. Rahim Kachra

Dr. Rahim Kachra is a General Internal Medicine Specialist at the Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary. He is also on a task force of about thirty doctors that are planning for this COVID-19 crisis and what is coming, including: increase in death rates, shortage of ICU beds, limited medical supplies, recommending social distancing measures, and emergency planning around deaths of front-line medical professionals. Dr. Kachra speaks about the crisis at hand, what he terms ‘preTSD’ about what’s coming, and how he and his colleagues are handling everything mentally.

Episode 6 | Employer Obligations in COVID Crisis Mode - with Ben Kormos and Kent Jesse

The worldwide COVID pandemic has everyone looking for answers. From an employers perspective, what are your obligations during this time of crisis? Benjamin Kormos and Kent Jesse, partners at the law firm Walsh LLP, specialize in employment law and dive into all the burning questions that employers are asking themselves as we navigate this transition to a remote workforce.

Episode 5 | Finding the Right Balance - with Kelly Hrudey

Kelly Hrudey is a Canadian hockey icon. From his NHL playing days to his broadcasting career with CBC, Sportsnet, and Hockey Night in Canada, few have touched the game of hockey like Kelly has. In recent years Kelly has also been a vocal advocate for mental health, inspired by challenges his family faced through his daughter’s personal experiences. Kelly opens up about his daughter Kaitlin’s story, challenges of his own, and how he managed to find the right balance of work, family, and relaxation throughout his illustrious career in hockey. All this…and many legendary hockey stories from his 30+ year career in professional hockey.

Episode 4 | Pushing Past 'The Way We've Always Done Things' - with Kara Gillespie

Kara Gillespie is the VP of People and Culture in one of the largest transport companies in the world – Trimac Transportation. In such an established company it can be hard to break the mold of tradition. Kara takes us through her experience in HR of navigating change in a traditional organization and industry, and why invoking a culture of psychological safety is so critical in the industrial sector.

Episode 3 - Taking Responsibility for Your Mental Health - with Sheldon Kennedy

Sheldon Kennedy is a former NHL player and has led numerous initiatives that have advocated for children and victims of abuse. Most recently he’s founded the Respect Group, which has certified over 1.3 Million people in workplaces across Canada in bullying, harassment, and discrimination training. On this episode, Sheldon shares his remarkable story as an abuse victim and how these experiences have shaped his life, including the revelation where he discovered he was responsible for his mental health.

Episode 2 - Maintaining Culture in a Growing Company - with Stephanie McDonald

Parkland Fuel is one of the fastest growing companies in Canada, expanding from about 300 employees in 2016 to 5,000 in 2019. Stephanie McDonald, Senior VP of People & Culture with Parkland Fuel, talks with Dr. Todd about the challenges this expedited growth brings to an organization’s culture, and how it affects their recruitment strategy and talent retention when trying to maintain that culture.

Episode 1 - Why Mental Wellness Makes Good Business Sense - with Curtis Stange

Curtis Stange is the President and CEO of ATB Financial, and is highly involved with mental health in the Calgary community and throughout Alberta. Curtis highlights the business case for why mental wellness matters at work and outlines the responsibility leaders have to build a culture of care. He also talks about how he’s done this with ATB Financial, and how they’ve laid the foundation for metrics to measure impact of mental health programs.



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