2020 has been quite a ride so far. Elevated stressors in our lives has made it more important than ever to build our personal resilience.
Patricia Phillips, CEO of PBA Group of Companies, is a big advocate for resilience and has been an integral partner of headversity. In April, during the early stages of the pandemic, PBA collaborated with headversity by offering its Resilience Training program to PBA employees, tenants, and stakeholders.
Phillips recently sat down to discuss the importance of resilience during this pandemic in an interview with headversity CEO, Dr. Ryan Todd.
You as a leader have said It’s very important to create a resilient workplace and offer this training to all of your employees. Why has this been such a priority for you?
Sure, approximately about a year and a half ago, I believe we were one of the first companies, and the only real estate company, to pilot on the headversity app, and that provided us with a tremendous opportunity to learn more about the power of digital mental health, and also collaborate with a phenomenal team on the overall development of the platform.
Our employees are the most valuable asset in our organization, and offering our team the latest in mental health technology, that is easily accessible for most, at anytime, anywhere, I thought was really critical to successfully overcoming the challenges that each one of us could potentially face, as PBA embarked upon an aggressive road map for the next phase of our legacy. We also wanted to offer something that was easy-to-use and accessible at anyone’s own pace. And given that some people already have the innate resilient abilities, using headversity’s app empowers individuals to build resilience at their own pace.
PBA is culturally a very forward-thinking organization, and as far as i’m aware, currently one of the few commercial real estate developers and landlords in Western Canada to offer mental health technology like headversity to our employees, tenants, and strategic partners.
PBA has been very proactive, not only with your own people, but with all of your tenants and stakeholders that you work with. Why has it been important for your group to also extend resilience training to these strategic partners?
Sure – connection is really the fabric of PBA’s DNA, and rolling out headversity to our partners, who we consider to be our tenants and our strategic stakeholders, early on in this pandemic allowed us to really connect, help others, and to contribute to their overall well-being. We believe that headversity will provide them with the ability to be calm, responsive, and proactive and ultimately successfully navigate the challenges that they faced as individuals and as organizations as a result of the pandemic. And I really believe as a leader it’s important to support mental health in this crisis, and also our management team felt that the mental health needed to be addressed and supported immediately as a result of this pandemic. We also felt that there was going to be an overall impact on our community, especially given the fact that mental health – the accessibility of it – is more of an issue than it has been in the past.
You speak of this macro view of resilience and mental health for your people, for your stakeholders, for your tenants. Let’s take it down to a more individual level. Why do you think that it is so critical for people to train resilience and try and improve their mental health?
I tell you, I think it starts from my personal experiences, Ryan. My experiences as an athlete and really in my professional career. Just the stress of competing and pushing myself to achieve always the best for my team, and also the anxiety that I faced and adversity being one of the few female CEO’s in traditionally male-dominated industries and I reflect on those experiences, and I really have learned to appreciate and understand the power of resilience, and how much it’s had a real integral role on me as a leader overcoming challenges.
I think resiliency provides a capacity to recover quickly from difficulties and build mental and physical strength, and we’re able to react to so many situations, develop poise and create stability for ourselves, which is really really important during a pandemic, because everything is changing constantly.
Have you ever faced anything like this? I mean the pandemic has been a really difficult situation for everyone. Have you as a leader faced adversity like this? And if not, what do you compare it to? How do you have a baseline for how you can map a way forward?
I haven’t faced this type of adversity with everyone together, but I think just given my experiences in the past and in the family dynamics I come from, the adversity I’ve faced as a female CEO in male-dominated industries, I think that has really taught me to bear down and overcome it. So this is just the fear of the unknown, I think that a lot of people are experiencing the emotional exhaustion, which I’ve experienced that in my life. And so I think that makes me really understand how to connect with people in this type of environment and really provide them with the tools. Again, I think headversity has to help them on their own time, really try to understand how to overcome them.
You’ve brought up connection a few times. I would love to hear your opinion on why connection is so important for your organization, and then why connection is so important for you as an individual and as a leader.
Sure. Connection for our organization, as I mentioned earlier, is part of our DNA, it’s really our ability to collaborate with people and understand what their needs are and how we can help them and innovate around them. So I think doing it on a platform of mental health, which is sort of a neutral platform I think, allows us to open up that discussion.
Tell us about some of the adversities that your tenants are facing? Are they the same as adversities that everyone on medium, large, small businesses are facing across North America? Tell us a little bit about that and how you think mental health and resilience training is helping them get through that?
Sure. First of all, many smaller organizations are trying to understand as the information changes on a daily basis. What are the facts, and how they can utilize them to the best of their abilities? So we provided them with that information. I think there’s the fear of how we come out of this on the economy. And we’ve tried to work with people to innovate around that. But again, I think, back to the headversity app, I think that provides people with the ability to be calm and then stand back and start to begin to evaluate what their particular needs are as an organization. You’re not able to do that when you are in a panic mode, as you’re not able to think clearly in that state.
What is it about calm and poise that are so important at this time?
Calm and poise I believe are so important at this time because they allow you to really evaluate what your options are. They allow you to be really creative and see the world as if there are many opportunities so the glass is really half full rather than half empty. And I think that ability to be calm allows you to be fully engaged and able to do that.
The tools provided in the headversity app allow people to understand how to be more mindful. Right now, any organization is just facing so much information volume, information that is constantly changing. And it’s difficult, I believe, to really engage. And so I think the tools that you guys have provided in the app allow people to understand how to do that.
Thank you Patricia for taking the time to join us and giving your take on resilience and mental health, and sharing the core values that you exude as a leader through PBA. You’ve been living these values in this time of heightened stress and really been a facilitator for all of your strategic partners. Thank you for walking the walk during COVID-19, and sharing your thoughts with us today.
Thank you Ryan, I appreciate it. Have a great day!