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RPM Speaker Series

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Date: April 9, 2021

Time: 1:00pm - 4:00pm

Contact: Danielle Ruttan, 204-632-6600

Join us virtually on April 9, 2021, for the first RPM Speaker Series! We will be joined by experts in a variety of fields to discuss safety and health in the trucking industry as it relates to: vulnerable workers (especially young workers), MSIs (musculoskeletal injuries) and mental health.

Agenda

1:00 - opening of RPM Speaker Series;

1:05 - Vulnerable Workers;

2:00 - Musculoskeletal Injuries;

3:00 - Mental Health;

4:00 - Conclusion

Registration is now closed. If you would like to register please contact Danielle Ruttan at 204-632-6600 or email at druttan@trucking.mb.ca.

If you are having troubles connecting to the Speaker Series via the link, first try rebooting your computer, and then try the link again. That seems to solve the problem most of the time. If that doesn't work, you may want to try a different browser (Chrome, Safari, Explorer, Firefox).

Open to all levy-paying members of Manitoba WCB rate codes 50102, 50109, and 50111 and post-secondary students.


Session 1: Vulnerable Workers

Candace Carnahan

Workplace Safety Advocate | Culture Change Agent | Inspirational Speaker

Candace Carnahan believes sharing stories saves lives. Lauded as one of the “faces of the future” by Maclean’s magazine, Carnahan relates her unique life lessons to the challenges, obstacles, and goals of the organizations she works with to inspire audiences to put caring into action. She helps people understand that they can and should take the lead with their own well-being, and challenges people to think about safety as an opportunity, not an obligation. With irrepressible energy, her transformational talks leave audiences motivated and poised for change.

Carnahan’s path as a speaker resulted from a devastating workplace incident in which she lost her leg at the age of 21. It was an incident that could have taken her life, and it was completely preventable. Since that day more than 20 years ago, Carnahan has continually challenged herself, both personally and professionally. Outside of her work she has taken the road less-travelled — literally — including trekking the 500-mile Camino de Santiago.

With nothing more than a microphone and a breadth of stories, Carnahan captivates. She is just as at home on conference stages as she is on offshore rigs, or production facilities — anywhere employees are making decisions about their safety. More than half a million people worldwide have already experienced Carnahan’s keynotes and sessions, and she is constantly finding ways to connect and provoke real change in attitudes. Her mantra “See Something. Say Something” ends each of her talks, leaving her audiences ready to ignite the “courage to care”, to act, and to be safe.

Bringing a unique approach to companies tackling their biggest challenges around safety, Carnahan changes the way people and companies think. She has shared her message with companies across the world, including Weyerhaeuser, ExxonMobil, and BASF.


Session 2: Musculoskeletal Injuries

Andrew Dolhy

Andrew Dolhy is a Certified Professional Ergonomist with 25 years’ experience in private industry, government and consulting. Andrew has completed ten WCB of Manitoba funded ergonomics projects and developed and teaches a 40-hour industrial ergonomics course at Red River College. Andrew was on the Minister of Labour’s Advisory Council from 2008 – 2014.


Session 3: Mental Health

We are pleased to welcome two speakers for our session on mental health: David Henry and Ela Partyka.

David Henry

David’s story is a study in resilience. A truck driver by profession, his life has been punctuated by far too many accidents that would have meant the end for many, but instead made him who he is today: a man with a mission to help others.

In his youth, David was an active, spirited young man well in control of his life. He was a rugby player and brushed off the frequent injuries that come hand in hand with the sport, refusing to show weakness of any sort. However, in 1986, he suffered a violent blow to the head that made a chink in the armour he had forged for himself. David’s coach and peers never talked about brain injuries, and the impacts of such traumas were generally swept under the rug in his circle. So while he was compromised by the incident, David forged ahead without giving it much more thought. But in 1991, tragedy struck again when he fell victim to a terrible accident on a farm. Every effort was made to keep him alive and, after numerous surgeries and much medical care, he beat the odds. His body was in good hands—thanks to medicine, David, still a young man, was able to get back on his feet. However, the same couldn’t be said for his mental health. Though David returned to normal life, he carried a host of internal wounds that would scar the decade to come. In silence, he noted that his memory was failing him. What’s more, he was struggling with aggression. He knew that something about him had changed, but he lacked the words and understanding to pin down the source of his pain.

In 2001, while on the road in Florida, David was involved in a serious collision that changed the trucker’s life forever. On the face of it, David didn’t seem badly injured, but his head had taken yet another hit. It was too much for him. On the way back home, he suffered his first major panic attack and could no longer function. He knew that he needed help. With the support of his wife and family, he sought care to improve his psychological state. Heeding the advice of all his physical and mental health caregivers was no easy task. Still, though the results weren’t perfect, David made progress. Feeling less alone, he opened up about some of his struggles and got involved in activities that were good for him. He started writing for a truck drivers’ magazine, penning upbeat articles with an emphasis on finding solutions. He wanted to encourage his colleagues in the field to take better care of their mental health and adopt a more positive outlook. David worked hard to follow his own advice, even though he wasn’t always successful.

In 2016, when he suffered yet another work-related injury, David couldn’t take it anymore. He felt exhausted and fed up, and was assailed by suicidal thoughts. The blows that had accumulated over the years had finally caught up with him. This accident would be a turning point in David’s life. To help him recover, his insurance provider offered him the chance to enter a multi-week rehabilitation program centred around a truly holistic approach. David could hardly believe it: a team would see to his entire well-being, taking care of his mind, body and soul. The care he received through the program and the people he met, particularly occupational therapist Sylvia Marusyk, would prove pivotal, and David made a remarkable improvement. David’s life has been marked by a great deal of suffering. During his rehabilitation, people told him that he had quite a story to share. Later, he would do just that, devoting himself to helping others in their own journeys.

Being there for those around us needn’t require grand gestures. It can be as simple as treating others with kindness, saying thank you, paying a compliment, getting up to speak about your experience at a seminar or sharing something from your garden with a passerby. Actions like these have made a world of difference to David, just as they now brighten the lives of all those who cross his path.

These days, David speaks publicly about his experiences to promote better mental health in the trucking industry, and hosts a podcast, Crazy Canuck Truckin’.


Ela Partyka

Ela Partyka is a Master's prepared social worker and an MBA candidate with nearly 20 years of mental health and leadership management experience. She is passionate about supporting organizations to create a safe and healthy work environment to protect and promote employee mental health and deliver the best business and people outcomes.