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New AccessEAP CEO appointed

AccessEAP is delighted to announce the appointment of Fiona Mackenzie as CEO, commencing 1st February 2022

We are pleased to announce that Fiona Mackenzie has been appointed the new CEO of AccessEAP. An experienced business leader, Fiona will succeed Sally Kirkright and assume responsibilities on the 1st of February 2022. After 11 years as CEO, and successfully leading the growth of AccessEAP to become a leading EAP provider in Australia and New Zealand, Sally has decided to take a sabbatical and will be relocating to country Victoria.

Fiona brings more than 20 years senior leadership experience across multiple industry sectors including Financial Services, Aged Care, Human Services and Business Consulting. This experience includes her current role with Anglicare, a respected for-purpose business, where she is currently Executive General, Manager Customer Strategy and Retirement living.

AccessEAP Chairman Greg Mackay said that Fiona was chosen after an extensive and thorough search and recruitment process. “Fiona is an outstanding choice, bringing experience from financial services, consulting and for-purpose organisations and is well-positioned to help us continue our current strategic journey and be aligned to the culture and values of our business” he said.

While at Anglicare, Fiona re-engineered Retirement Living sales capability to be more agile, professional, data-driven and technology-enabled. “Fiona will bring proven abilities to deliver transformational change in response to changing business environments. Our mission, to help create mentally healthy thriving workplaces and communities, is more important than ever before as we continue to support organisations manage the people challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Fiona holds an MBA (Exec) and Graduate Certificate in Change Management from AGSM, a Bachelor of Economics from Macquarie University and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Counteracting unconscious bias in the workplace

Published in Echo Chamber Escape 23rd June 2021

Marcela Slepica, AccessEAP Director, Clinical Services explains, identifying your own unconscious biases is the first step to creating better inclusivity.

While we may think we are making decisions based on logic, as humans, we all make assumptions about other people. In fact, it only takes a tenth of a second for us to begin to form an opinion about someone we’ve only just met. 

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Men still face stigma around getting help for mental health at work: Study

Published in Human Resources Director 24th June 2021

Speaking to HRD, Marcela Slepica, Clinical Services Director at AccessEAP, said despite positive progress, it’s clear that societal barriers to accessing support still exist and they’re particularly strong for men. The classic Aussie idiom of men ‘doing it tough’ only perpetuates the idea that asking for help is a sign of weakness – when in fact, it is often the bravest step a person can take.

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Business leaders must keep mental health awareness top of the agenda

Published in Newcastle Herald 26th May 2021

Sally Kirkright, AccessEAP CEO

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Education organisations poised to provide mental health support to parent teachers

Published in Education Today 15th February 2021

As most educators are aware, mental health conditions can have long term, direct and indirect effects on a child’s development including impacts on social skills, the ability to absorb information and their enthusiasm for learning. This makes it vitally important that parents know all of their options for assistance.

So, what help is there for teachers who are experiencing childhood mental health issues in the home and what can they do? Most organisations will have an Employee Assistance Program in place and teachers can confidentially access this support for themselves and family members.

Marcela Slepica AccessEAP Director, Clinical Services.

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How Project Managers Can Prevent — or Cause — Employee Burnout

Published in The Uncommon League 19th January 2021

Burnout has often been associated with caring professions (such as nurses) and first responders (such as firefighters), says Marcela Slepica, clinical services director at employee assistance program AccessEAP. But it certainly isn't restricted to jobs that involve saving lives.

Any environment can become a burnout incubator. And often, managers play a role in creating the perfect setting for employee stress.

6 easy steps to help you end feelings of isolation

Published in Kochie's Business Builders 20th December 2020

How to take care of yourself and harness positive psychology.

"When there is a shared sense of purpose in the workplace, people tend to feel more satisfied with what they are working towards. Business leaders should consistently communicate to their team about their role within the organisation and how it contributes to the vision and mission of the business, providing a sense of meaning to the work they do." Marcela Slepica, AccessEAP Director, Clinical Services. 

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Why eliminating start and finish times is the next workplace revolution

Published in ABC News 15th December 2020

Clinical Services Director at AccessEAP Marcela Slepica says that COVID has shown that working remotely has been successful for many industries and types of businesses, although notable exceptions include essential and frontline workers.

"The transition into working from home has taught organisations about the possibilities and productivity of employees in roles which do not have fixed start and finish times," she says.

"These learnings can be adapted to accommodate employees with disabilities and chronic illness."

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The 'new normal' is really anything but

Published in The Canberra Times 8th October 2020

The new normal "has become a universal term defining the hope that we will return to a pre-COVID-19 existence, or at least a sense of normality. However, for workplaces and their employees, the truth is that we must prepare not for a "new normal" but for continued unpredictability and a new, abnormal life.,” Sally Kirkright, CEO at AccessEAP.

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R U OK?: Tips to destigmatise mental health in business

Published in MyBusiness 1st September 2020

“As a place of social connection and a source of structure and purpose for employees, workplaces have a unique role to play in starting the conversation and making sure the conversation is continuous. This is particularly relevant when so many people are feeling isolated and still working from home,” said Marcela Slepica, clinical services director at AccessEAP.

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Leadership ‘compassion gap’ revealed amid crisis

Published in Human Resources Director 15th July 2020

In this climate, being ‘human’ will create a lasting impression on employees and have knock-on effects on the organisation in the long run. Marcela Slepica, Clinical Director at AccessEAP told HRD that empathetic leaders often display increased emotional intelligence and are better at creating a more inclusive workplace.

It is said that nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care’ and this is certainly true in a workplace setting,” said Slepica.

Employees who feel cared for and are valued are more productive, innovative and loyal.”

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The ‘new abnormal’? How to adjust to changing leadership

Published in Human Resources Director 29th July 2020

Businesses should focus, not on what’s changing, but rather what remains - the importance of people and trust, according to Sally Kirkright, CEO AccessEAP.

According to Kirkright, leaders need to forget “The New Normal”, but rather adjust to “The New Abnormal” we are currently in.

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Looking out for educator wellbeing

Published in Education Today 30th June 2020

More needs to be done to ensure teachers wellbeing is championed to aid the trickle-down effect from teacher to student.

“It is undeniable that the educational workplace environment can be high pressured and demanding,” says Sally Kirkright, CEO of employer assistance program provider, AccessEAP.

Many teachers and principals face a variety of stressors in their day-to-day work, such as low pay, long hours, poor work-life balance and a lack of support, this can increase the risk of experiencing mental health issues as a result. As resilience is continuously tested, teachers can burnout, quit their jobs and cycle out of the education sector.

“Schools should be considered workplaces first, classrooms second,” Kirkright continues.  “If these problems aren’t solved, they may slowly lead to a crisis of mental ill-health, stress, frustration, overall attrition and increased student disillusionment with education,” she adds.

Young workers at the COVID-19 frontlines

Published in Safety Solutions 26th June 2020

"Working with young employees presents a number of challenges, especially for those in the retail sector. The coronavirus pandemic has compounded the challenges employers face, especially with regard to safeguarding the mental wellbeing of their young workers.

Marcela Slepica, Director Clinical Services AccessEAP, offers some focus points for retail employers and managers to help them maintain the wellbeing of their young workforce as the sector faces perhaps its greatest challenge in living memory."

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Businesses told not to ignore men’s mental health

Published in MyBusiness 8th June 2020

Businesses have an important role to play in helping Australians face the mental health impact of COVID-19. Many will face heightened anxiety, social isolation and stress as a result of the unprecedented crisis.

"Some men who suffer with mental health problems feel societal stigma which is often what prevents them from opening up." Marcela Slepica, Director Clinical Services at AccessEAP.

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How has COVID-19 impacted men's mental health?

Published in Human Resources Director 5th June 2020

Men are often stereotyped in pop culture into unrealistic images of masculinity that discourage them from getting help for their mental health, according to Marcela Slepica, Clinical Services Director, AccessEAP.

“This can be very detrimental and workplaces should help debunk these myths by talking about mental health and acknowledging that it is normal to have feelings of sadness or anxiety especially during these times of uncertainty,” added Slepica.

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Music industry’s wellbeing helpline now available to other sectors

Published in The Music Network 20th May 2020

Support Act has opened its Wellbeing Helpline beyond the music and theatre industries, to include artists and arts workers across Australia who facing tough times.

Supper Act CEO, Clive Miller, said he is thrilled the music industry charity can extend access to the helpline to the wider arts community during the global health crisis.

“COVID-19 is clearly having a huge impact on the mental health and wellbeing of people across the entire arts sector,” he said, as a result of financial hardship and job losses.

The Wellbeing Helpline is delivered in partnership with AccessEAP, a leading not-for-profit Employee Assistance Program provider with close to 30 years’ experience in wellbeing.

How to build resilience through COVID-19

Published in Human Resources Director 7th May 2020

Marcela Slepica, Clinical Services Director, AccessEAP, said in the current climate, it’s important to manage the demands of COVID-19, such as social isolation, caring for our families and home-schooling children while juggling work.

“It’s vital to remember that we are not born resilient. We can develop coping strategies, including practised traits and learned behaviours that will help us remain positive and deal with new challenges,” she said.

Workplaces play a part in maintaining a semblance of normality, by providing employees with structure, some social connection and purpose.

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COVID-19 Major working from home struggle facing employees during the pandemic

Published in Yahoo Lifestyle 2nd April 2020

With many people all around the country now working from home due to the outbreak of COVID-19, Marcela Slepica AccessEAP Director Clinical Services, believes there’s definitely an increased risk of workplace exhaustion.

“For example, working parents who have young children at home, have to to juggle teaching, supervising and keeping children busy while also trying to work and meet deadlines. In addition to this, there are fears of not wanting to risk losing their job, which means they may be working late at night and doing overtime,” Marcela said.

“The pressures and demands can be significant. Those working alone who are isolated may struggle with loneliness, motivation, and feel disconnected from their colleagues. This may impact their feelings of anxiety, may affect sleep, and could also cause them to work longer hours as they fear losing their jobs.”

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COVID-19 Supporting each other in a time of crisis

Published in mybusiness 1st April 2020

Communicate often, according to Marcela Slepica, AccessEAP Director, Clinical Services.

It’s important for employers to check in with their team members. Regular check-ins help people to feel connected, and managers should try to provide structure for employees. The situation is constantly changing and evolving, so reassuring people we are in this together is vital. 

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AccessEAP acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land we work on and their continuing connection to land, culture and community. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and future. 
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples using this content are advised that it may contain images, names or voices of people who have passed away


AccessEAP acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land we work on and their continuing connection to land, culture and community. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and future. 
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples using this content are advised that it may contain images, names or voices of people who have passed away.