Eva Talk

State of Mental Wellbeing in the Events Industry With Janice Cardinale

The events industry is known for its high-pressure and deadline-driven work. Event industry careers are characterized by long hours, extremely tight schedules, and mind-boggling logistics – all of which indicate that the industry needs to do more to protect the health and wellbeing of staff. 

According to a report published CareerCast, “event coordinator” is the sixth most stressful job in the U.S. This fact has become even more true after COVID-19 hit the industry. There is a higher than average number of event professionals reporting difficulties finding a work-life balance.

After two years of isolation, stress, fear, and pressure from the pandemic, it seems open discussions about mental health are gradually becoming more prevalent. The events industry is one of the most diverse in the world, with its people being one of its most valuable assets. Therefore, ensuring their wellbeing is vital to achieving productivity, profitability, and growth.

As part of the event experts series, 10times interviewed Janice Cardinale, an accomplished entrepreneur, respected leader, and influencer in the Events world. In addition to being the Vice President and Board Chair of Seneca College Event Management and Creative Design, she serves as the Associate Editor for CSE Magazine, a Content Writer for MPI Global, and a Content Writer for United Colours of Design. 

She is also an advocate for mental health and the founder of Giving Butterflies, a project within Cardinale Creative dedicated to helping hospitality and event professionals. 

In January 2021, Janice founded Cardinale Creative in order to give back to the event industry. The main purpose of this business is to curate and execute mission projects that raise funds for student bursaries, support for other event professionals suffering from physical or mental health issues, and provide meaning and possibility to others suffering in silence.

With over 35 years of networking, mentoring and extensive experience, Janice answered our questions about how she came in the events space. She also mentioned some strategies that event professionals can use to balance work life and mental health, as well as tips for employers on how they can improve the mental health of their employees.

* Could you please walk us through your professional journey?

My journey began 36 years ago as an entrepreneur and founder of an import business better known as ‘Only Accessories’.  The success of that business was becoming the very first distributor of Spanx pantyhose in the world.  16 years later, I sold my shares to my ex-partner.

Fast forward to ‘The Idea Hunter’ a service-based entertainment business catering initially to social events and not long after, focusing only on corporate events. We were a grass roots Canadian talent driven family of artists, musicians, dancers, and entertainment trendsetters.  Today my daughter runs that business after my departure in 2020.

Presently and since COVID, I am known to most as a heart-centric entrepreneur, my company is Cardinale Creative, but my greatest accomplishment in life is having founded Event Minds Matter.  This is a community “Building Brave Spaces to Amplify the Industry’s Conversation on Mental Health.”  

Legacy matters to me and so does the passion for supporting others.  Mental health has reached a crisis around the world and I have built a community of like-minded event profs, thought leaders and authentic people who embrace change, and who have experienced the struggle of working under pressure for others rather than their own well being.

* What inspired you to start the community to support mental health and wellbeing in the events industry? 

Purely need. I have never been someone to pay lip service to anything that affects me, my family, friends, or colleagues. I have experienced depression myself and have been advocating for myself in the early years and now on behalf of an industry, we all call home.  I am determined to change the 5th most stressful job to the first most mentally fit industry.

* Do you think event industry professionals have a harder time coping with their mental health than individuals in other fields? 

“No.” I think that everyone suffers from some form of mental health and or knows someone who is struggling. I think many in our industry are very good at complaining about their mental health but those very same people do absolutely nothing to curb their appetite for long hours, tight timelines, boundaries, and stress.

* What tips would you offer event professionals on handling stressful situations? 

Initiate your daily routine. Eat healthy, get mentally fit, get educated on the language around mental health, be kind, empathetic and grateful. Share resources, and instead of being silent for fear of a label, stand up and be heard. Attend events that encourage change, thought leadership and real-life solutions.

* Is there a change in the outlook towards the need of mental health community after the pandemic? 

“100%.”  People around the globe are desperate for attention to what has been overwhelming them for years. They are thrilled that our community is serious about their mental health and are fighting everyday to gather a movement that will allow for a new narrative. They see value and purpose. They are begging for information on how to get mentally fit. They need us.

* What is the one piece of advice you would give to event planners? 

You do not have to quit what you love. You just need to set boundaries and speak to your clients about their expectations. Being transparent about what you can handle is honest. Your work does not define you as a human being. You have a choice to be self aware and if you set your intention, then you can control what, where, why and how you do it.  

Life is too short for unhappiness. At Event Minds Matter, our goals are to support those who want to help themselves. We cannot bring event profs to water and force them to drink.  We can discuss new resources, professional development through education and stories that go to the core of the problem.

Would you like to attend a Mentally fit festival of likeminded event, meeting, hospitality, and travel profs?  I welcome and encourage you to get your comfy gym clothes on, bring a water bottle and get ready to sweat.  Talkfest sponsored by Meeting Professionals International, e180 Braindate and Event Minds Matter have rented the worlds largest mentally fit gym for profs around the world to work their mental muscle. Shall we save you a virtual space? 

RSVP: https://academy.mpi.org/mpi/pages/talkfest 

To learn more about Janice Cardinale’s expertise, you can reach out to her at:

For more in the Events Industry Experts series, check out our interview with Courtney Stanley, Helen Moon, Danica Tormohlen, Ashley Brown, Jason Allan Scott, Brandt Krueger, Corbin Ball, Will Curran, and Stephan Murtagh today!

Are you interested in sharing your insights or viewpoints with the events industry? Join the Eva Talk.

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