Louise Aston, wellbeing director, Business in the Community

Photo of Louise Aston holding her award and a sign saying 'The IoD rocks!' at the IoD Director of the Year awards

Every day during the Christmas holidays we are profiling the winners of the recent Director of the Year Awards. Louise Aston, wellbeing director of Business in the Community, won the award for Leader in Mental Health Awareness

This is the first time the IoD Director of the Year Awards has rewarded a leader for championing good mental health in the workplace. Business in the Community, led by its dedicated wellbeing director Louise Aston, has blazed a trail in helping organisations to build positive workplace cultures and to spot the warning signs of poor mental health. With her thoroughly deserved award in hand, Aston discusses mental health and business with Director

What has inspired you? My brother being diagnosed with schizophrenia. The injustices, the stigma and the prejudice around mental health problems have all driven me.

What has been your biggest challenge? No one size fits all in terms of engaging businesses about mental health. Making the compelling business and moral case has been important, along with support to navigate a complex landscape to design bespoke initiatives with the ability to be embedded into individual organisational cultures.

The best business advice you’ve had? Be brave, keep your nerve and pursue what you believe in.

How do you think business will change in the year ahead? I’m confident that we’ve now reached a tipping point and business will increasingly wake up to the fact that we all have mental health, in the same way as we have physical health, and will start to normalise open conversations. My hope is that millions of people won’t need to continue to suffer in silence because of their fear of disclosure. 

What’s your favourite place to escape to? Africa – I love the chaos, colour, light and vibrancy.

Director of the Year Awards – our coverage starts here.

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Director magazine

Director magazine

Director is the magazine for business leaders. Free to IoD members and available to purchase through subscription, each edition is full of insightful interviews with entrepreneurs and company directors.

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