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SHRM Foundation Welcomes Arianna Huffington in discussion on Workplace Mental Health at SHRM Foundation Inaugural Tharseō Awards

Tharseō Awards Recognizes Leaders Who Are Boldly Changing the Workplace

A woman in a white blazer is posing for a photo.

Alexandria, Va. – SHRM President and CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., will host Arianna Huffington in a fireside discussion on workplace mental health at the SHRM Foundation inaugural Tharseō Awards gala. The awards recognize pioneering business leaders who are boldly changing the workplace—and the world – through their leadership of creating and strengthening the vital connection between employees and company purpose. The Awards dinner is slated for Gotham Hall in New York on Oct. 4, 2021.

Earlier in the day, many Tharseō Awards Gala audience members will have participated in the SHRM Foundation's inaugural Workplace Mental Health and Wellness Summit. The Summit expands on SHRM's commitment to its Workplace Mental Health and Wellness initiative. Through the initiative, SHRM Foundation is working to destigmatize mental health challenges, especially in the workplace.

"I'm excited to host Arianna Huffington in a discussion on this very important topic, mental health in the workplace and taking care of yourself as well as your employees," said Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM President and CEO. "The Tharseō awards recognize leaders who understand there is no more important work to be done than creating better workplaces, which in turn, create a better world. Addressing workplace mental health and wellness is essential to creating an environment to allow your employees to thrive. The award winners in this inaugural event certainly set a high bar for years to come."

Arianna Huffington is the founder and CEO of Thrive Global, the founder of The Huffington Post, and the author of 15 books, including Thrive and The Sleep Revolution. In 2016, she launched Thrive Global, a leading behavior change tech company with the mission of changing the way we work and live by ending the collective delusion that burnout is the price we must pay for success. She has been named to Time Magazine's list of the world's 100 most influential people and the Forbes Most Powerful Women list.

"When I started Thrive four-and-a-half years ago, the problems of burnout and the mental health crisis were still gaining mainstream recognition," said Huffington. "But the pandemic highlighted the themes at the heart of Thrive's mission like never before, bringing employee well-being, mental health and resilience to the top of companies' agendas. And as we enter the brave new world of hybrid work, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to redefine work and productivity — and help people live and work with greater well-being and mental resilience." 

In addition to the keynote discussion on workplace mental health, at the gala, SHRM Foundation will honor the award winners of the three Tharseō Awards. The recipients of the inaugural SHRM Tharseō Awards are:

  • CEO of the Year: Ajay Banga, executive chairman and former chief executive officer, Mastercard
  • Ram Charan HR Innovation Award: Gloria Chen, chief people officer and executive vice president, employee experience, Adobe
  • Policy Transformer of the Year: Rep. Robert Scott, D-Va., U.S. Congressman

"We are thrilled to have the opportunity to honor these exemplary leaders as our first-ever Tharseō Award winners as we look to their vision and innovation for inspiration," said Wendi Safstrom, SHRM Foundation executive director. "Tharseō recognizes leaders who refuse to wait for the workplace to evolve—they are the change agents who are leaders, visionaries and innovators."

Candidates for the Tharseō Awards were evaluated through multistage qualitative and quantitative measurements. Criteria for the awards included innovation, implementation, and overall impact on both the company and global workforce.

For more information on the Tharseō awards or SHRM's Workplace Mental Health and Wellness Initiative and Summit, please contact Corry Schiermeyer at


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