May 8, 2024 All Articles

Meet the Speaker: Robin Van Dalen, CEO and Co-Founder, Inuka

After her own recovery from burnout, Robin co-founded Inuka in 2014 with Prof. Dixon Chibanda, the pioneering psychiatrist behind the ‘Friendship Bench’ coaching method (and its viral TED Talk).
Under Robin’s innovative leadership, Inuka’s award-winning proven method (developed from 20 years of world-leading research) has grown into a leader in global mental health initiatives. Inuka’s Foundation supports vulnerable groups in Kenya and Nigeria, and has been recently been approved by Amnesty International’s due diligence process to provide free coaching to 200 of Amnesty International’s Youth & Peace in Action members in Q4-21, Q1-22.

We are delighted that Robin will be speaking in Amsterdam this May as part of our Wellbeing at Work Summit Europe.

We caught up with her to find out how she’s feeling in the run up to the summit.

Hi Robin we are thrilled you will be speaking at our Wellbeing at Work Summit Europe in May. Our first and most important question is, how are you doing today?

Love this question! I’m quite energized, just got back from an engaging morning session for key founders and investors who work on the future of work. That was incredibly useful and inspiring. However, I couldn’t sleep well the night before. Right now, I’m tired and have a busy brain, so I’m looking forward to a mama afternoon with my son to just relax and play

As a leader based in the region, what are the main challenges you are facing when it comes to employee wellbeing?

Wellbeing often remains a bit isolated within business strategies, usually seen as smaller initiatives rather than as integral to strategic movement. However, in a world where change happens incredibly fast, every employee needs to be at their best. Wellbeing should be woven throughout the entire employee journey and experience from start to finish, rather than being seen as just an isolated offering with a few options.

What strategies have you seen developing over the past 6 months, both internally and externally, that is moving the dial on wellbeing in the workplace?

Create and host more community events and content that educates people on the latest insights (preferrably science-based) around workplace wellbeing.

Why is employee wellbeing so important to you personally?

I have been through depression and burnout, and my employer was the first to catch signals that I wasn’t doing well. My manager was awesome, we are still good friends, but he didn’t have any training on spotting those signals and how to intervene. I genuinely believe if they would have been proactive about supporting me early on it would have avoided a lot of pain for me and a lot of costs for them. 

What are you most looking forward to about the Summit in May?

Meeting the awesome people working on this topic, they’re so diverse and passionate.

Tell us, what is your vision for the future workplace, in terms of engagement, health and wellbeing?

From recruitment to exit, your authentic person is seen, valued, and appreciated. Your resilience is prioritized (not your wellbeing, because in high-performance organizations, you sometimes have to push at the expense of wellbeing). It’s about not pushing too hard or for extended periods. My vision is this resilience-first approach seen as a strategic imperative for the entire management team.

What areas do you think employers should be focused on over the next 12 months?

Developing tailored steps & interventions for all employees, not just focusing on pockets of the organisation.

How has your organisation been leading the way?

We make tailored one-on-one workplace wellbeing support for all employees possible and affordable, whilst also giving the management back the data they cannot get any other way to also work on the organisational issues that affect wellbeing.

We became first in the European ‘better workplaces competition’ with our innovation, for which we had to pass through multiple rounds with top HR experts who assessed us in-depth.

Robin will be speaking in Amsterdam at the Wellbeing at Work Summit Europe which takes place live and in-person in Zurich, Amsterdam and Stockholm. Further details on the Summit can be found here.

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