Gillian Stein battles a changing
retail landscape while battling Bipolar Disorder. Her mission is to
change the stigma of mental illness.
(Full disclosure, my Dad was also bipolar, and I
share a personal story as part of this show.)
Gillian Stein was eighteen and convinced she was in
Arizona. She was, in fact, at the airport in Montreal. As Gillian
says in this interview, 'my mind betrayed me, and that's a
terrifying place to be.'
Gillian knew this wasn't just anxiety. Mental illness
wasn't new to her family. Her father, the former CEO of camera
retail chain Henry's Enterprises, also suffered from the same
infliction. Gillian was fortunate to be in a family where she
didn't have to hide it and where she could get help. Many aren't so
lucky as the stigma and disparities around mental illness
Gillian Stein wants to change the stigma, and what
she is doing Is very brave. Standing on her platform as the CEO of
electronics retailer Henry's, she announced she has a mental
illness diagnosis. According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental
Health (CAMH) in Toronto, she is the first Canadian CEO to share
her condition publicly.
And she is doing it at a time when she is also
transforming the business in a pandemic and the face of a changing
retail landscape favouring clicks over bricks. She is making brave
and bold decisions that require the full support of her employees,
customers, suppliers, landlords, and bankers. These stakeholders
must have complete confidence in Gillian's insights, strategies,
It is a powerful episode for anyone struggling with
their mental health and many lessons in leadership on how to turn
what seems like impossibility into great possibilities.
Andrejka Massicotte, Senior Director, North American
Benefits & Global Wellness at RBC, joins the show to share her
thoughts on what organizations large and small can do to support