Petra Velzeboer

Mental Health Consultant, Psychotherapist, Executive Coach, Podcast Host, CEO

Petra’s unique approach to mental health combines clinical expertise, inspiration, humor and passion. She weaves in her remarkable story with energy and offers practical tips for strategic change across organization’s looking to improve employee wellbeing, mental health initiatives and overall happiness and productivity. This includes leadership, implementation and employee engagement in a changing workforce.  Petra inspires change both personally and as an organization.

 

Biography

Petra is known for her ability to bring humour and lightness to a traditionally heavy topic. She believes that mental health is about everyone and, influenced by positive psychology, is about creating cultures where we talk about what thriving looks like not just what to do when people have poor mental health.

Petra is a psychotherapist, executive coach and holds an MSc in Psychodynamics of Human Development. She is the founder of Mental Health Consultancy PVL and started her business out of acute frustration having worked in the wellbeing industry and realised people were talking a good game but were often toxic on the inside. Her mission was set to see if she could create a business that fully lived it’s values and proved that a mentally healthy culture was possible at every level of the business.
With Petra’s clear expertise you would think this was always her plan. This couldn’t be further from the truth. She was actually born and raised in the notorious religious cult, The Children of God, growing up in communes across the globe believing the world was going to end. She didn’t go to school and as a teenager felt confused and lost, descending into alcohol addiction and depression.

At 23 she was a young mother, had moved to London and had no future mapped out – ostracised from any community she knew. This experience of isolation, loneliness and avoiding taking responsibility for her state of mind is akin to how many of us have been feeling throughout the pandemic. The rules we had for life no longer applied and we’ve had to evolve our wellbeing tools and community as well as question friends and even our own thinking as we learn to thrive in unprecedented times.

Desperate and suicidal, she reached a catalyst moment deciding she could no longer be a victim of her past and began the slow journey to health, resilience, education and eventually an illustrious career.

She viscerally describes the moment she wanted to end everything and the secondary thought that came into her mind – the thought that she could postpone taking her life for just one year. She now had a way out and it opened up a small window of possibility. In this year she was determined to experiment with all the ways she could improve her mental health and overall life. She describes how this year came and went and life wasn’t perfect but she had learned a few things – including how we can teach ourselves to be happy. We can learn how to improve our mental health and over time we can radically alter the trajectory of our lives.
Her message is one of hope in darkness and practical advice and support through any challenge. Her audience will laugh, they will cry and ultimately they will leave with ideas for change for both them and people around them.

Her experience of a toxic cult influences her ability to assess toxic workplaces and her education and global experience allows her to quickly see the challenge and advise on practical solutions for real world change.

She is the CEO of a thriving mental health consultancy and training company that teaches individuals and teams how practising courage and vulnerability enhances 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.

Topics

You may want to go deeper into a topic for your audience. The keynote topics can be tailored and developed to suit your audience needs, be it a 90-minute Masterclass, a half-day or full-day workshop or a full online or face-to-face programme. Please contact one of our expert team to discuss.

Wellbeing in Times of Change
Investing in your mindset and building resilience can be challenging during times of uncertainty, this keynote will help you tackle:

  • The mental attitude necessary for evolving our approach to a new world of work
  • Investing in your mindset to sustain success
  • Creating psychologically safe culture to help people thrive
  • Retaining talent
  • Effective change management

 

Building a Strategic Approach to Mental Health Awareness
Only focussing on mental health on awareness days is now seen as a tickbox and no longer sufficient for a post-pandemic world. Covid-19 has increased rates of poor mental health globally which means in order to evolve your workforce, this must be a key objective at all levels of the business including Senior Leadership, HR and your Mental Health Champion Networks. This talk will:

  • Provide mental health awareness to all levels of the business
  • Highlight the benefits of a mental health plan and simplify the steps to creating one
  • Offer insight on supporting others who may be struggling with their mental health
  • Bring this strategy to life for employees, wellbeing leads and management

 

Building Grit in a Noisy World
Stress and building resilience are big buzz words in organisations. We want our people to be able to handle what life throws at them and thank us for the opportunity! This talk provides practical tools for managing stress, avoiding burnout and developing a mindset that sustains long term success. It includes:

  • Practical tools for building resilience and developing self awareness
  • Reframing our leadership approach to one of courage and vulnerability
  • Understanding burnout and the physiological impact of long term stress
  • Intentional investment in our wellbeing

Managing Remote Teams
In a hybrid world, building remote culture and managing remote teams is a crucial skill to ensure talent retention and high productivity. This talk includes:

  • Leadership skills for a hybrid world
  • Building culture, trust and psychological safety
  • Practical check in exercises and questions
  • Top Tips for effective team meetings
  • Noticing poor mental health virtually – and what to do about it!

 

Leadership, Performance, and Mental Health
Many leaders and managers are tired, burnt out and feeling compassion fatigue! It seems the role has expanded to include emotional support, listening and making sure everyone else is ok. Well what about you?? This talk highlights the pressure leaders experience, how their mental health is more important than ever and how leading by example creates lasting culture change. Petra includes:

  • Practicing empathy is not being a pushover
  • Understand limits and boundaries – and communicate them to your team
  • Empowering employees to take personal responsibility for their wellbeing
  • Leadership skills for a new world of work
  • Expert advice on the line between performance and mental health

 

Moderation and Hosting events on Wellbeing and Mental Health
Petra is a dynamic host and moderator of podcasts and live events  highlighting the expertiseof others on the topics of personal development, leadership and mental health.

Videos

Testimonials

“This was probably the most moving, honest and powerful session that I have ever attended.” Herbert Smith Freehills

“PVL is a true partner, bringing awareness and sustainability of employee wellbeing into organisations.”  Channel 4

“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.” Philippa Davis from T L Dallas

“The facilitator was very open. Got people talking who are not naturally inclined to do so. Very engaging and I took away and immediate action plan.” COO, Financial Wealth Management Service

As a manager I have found it very difficult to address mental health in the workplace…it was very reassuring to hear that sometimes just inviting someone to talk can be enough. I have made a pact with myself to start meaningful conversations in my workplace and will start by leading by example and talk about my own mental health.”
M.C. Amey Construction

“An excellent experience all round. Extremely well organised, comfortable venue and excellent speaker. Petra is open, authentic and warm hearted. Her talk demonstrated command of her subject and her audience and left me with lots of great tips and personal inquiries to work on for my own personal development and growth.”
Richard Carter. LoveX Event

“Petra’s talks were intelligent, compassionate and fun. Both young people and teachers gain so much from her knowledge and expertise. She knows how to make people feel safe and open. The BRIT SCHOOL will look to work with Petra in the future.”
STUART WARDEN, principal of THE BRIT SCHOOL

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