Top Canadian and U.S. Employee Assistance Program Innovators To Be Honored in New Orleans, May 8-10

EASNA Announces 2019 Corporate & Leadership Awards



CONTACT: Pamela Valenzuela, CAE
Phone: 703-370-7435
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Top Canadian and U.S. Employee Assistance Program Innovators
To Be Honored in New Orleans, May 8-10

EASNA Announces 2019 Corporate & Leadership Awards

Alexandria, Virginia, April 9, 2019—The Employee Assistance Society of North America (EASNA) announces its 15th Annual Corporate Awards of Excellence winners and its 5th Annual Leadership Award honoree. The awards are given to showcase the excellence, innovation and impact of Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) in the workplace and the outstanding contributions of a workplace health advocate and pioneer. This year’s winners will be honored at EASNA’s 31th Annual Institute, May 8-10, at the Royal Sonesta in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.

The following companies have been selected as the 2019 EASNA Corporate Award winners:

  • Representing Canada, the honoree is Nestlé Canada, whose EAP is LifeWorks by Morneau Shepell.
  • Representing the United States, the honoree is The Boeing Company, whose EAP is Beacon Health Options.

The 2019 EASNA Leadership Award will be presented to Rita Fridella, MBA, M.ED, president of LifeWorks and executive vice president of Morneau Shepell. The Leadership Award recognizes an individual who throughout his or her career demonstrates ongoing commitment and support of EAP and workplace health.

Nestlé Canada, a diverse manufacturing operation with 3,500 employees in Canada, has expanded its initial focus on employees’ physical safety to an integrated EAP strategy focused on mental and physical well-being both personally and professionally, and improving financial health with the goal of helping to reduce personal debt ratios of many Canadians who carry high debt.

Through Nestlé Canada’s “Know Your Numbers” initiative employees learn how to better understand their biometric screening numbers and design a personalized program to meet their health and wellness goals. Over 12 months, more than 2,100 hours of counseling were received, and absenteeism dropped by 52 percent. Currently 20 percent of the company’s workforce accesses EAP services; internal projections expect an increase to 32 percent by the end of 2019. About 73 percent of Nestlé’s EAP users reported they feel they are better able to cope with job demands after using the services.

The Boeing Company is the world’s largest aerospace company and leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners, defense, space and security systems, and service provider of aftermarket support. As the biggest U.S. manufacturing exporter, the company supports airlines and U.S. and allied government customers in more than 150 companies. The Boeing EAP and Work/Life Solutions Program is a long-standing, well-respected and multi-pronged service delivery model that is well coordinated internally with its Wellness, Security, Legal, HR/ER, and Medical departments, and the Industrial Athlete program to support employee wellness and productivity.

A few highlights and results of Boeing’s Employee Assistance Program in 2018 include the following:

  • Financial literacy training reached 656 participants in-person with 815 more viewing the recording.
  • The rollout of a six-session mindfulness series, with 237 in-person sessions conducted, reached 1,672 participants and another 7,065 participants who viewed the recorded sessions.
  • Boeing’s depression screening initiative was integrated into the overall wellness incentive program, yielding 10,303 screenings compared to 2,773 the prior year. For members initially assessed with a severe level of distress, EAP outcome measures showed an 82 percent improvement in overall functioning, including workplace performance.

The 2019 Leadership Award honoree, Rita Fridella, began her career as the first counselor to provide EAP services at the company that would eventually become Morneau Shepell and is now president of LifeWorks and executive vice president of Morneau Shepell. During her 30-plus years with the company, her commitment, ingenuity and energy have helped to grow both Morneau Shepell and the EAP industry as a whole. Additionally, she served 15 years as a board member and advisor to EASNA, playing a key role in moving the organization into an international trade association.

Fridella has advocated for more prevention-based models of care to transform the access and delivery of employee assistance programs. She has aimed to move beyond the traditional clinical treatment-based EAP toward total well-being solutions that can support the entire global workforce. Capitalizing on technology trends, Fridella is committed to providing a digital ecosystem that supports employees across multiple dimensions of health and wellness that is underpinned by clinical services. This innovative approach has the potential to open up new markets, opportunities and challenges in the industry and to redefine how employee assistance is viewed, consumed and measured by organizations and their employees.

Through her focus on workplace learning solutions and digital clinical offerings, Fridella has been instrumental in bringing digital EAP support to the forefront to improve outcomes, productivity and well-being for clients and their employees.

She holds multiple advanced degrees that include an Executive MBA and Advanced Graduate Diploma in Management, both from Athabasca University, and a Master’s in Education in Counselling Psychology from the University of Toronto.

An independent panel of judges reviews Corporate and Leadership Awards submissions and evaluates them on a series of criteria that underscores the importance of integrating the services of an EAP provider to ensure the health and well-being of the company’s workforce. The judges also evaluate the contributions of visionary EAP pioneers and advocates.

As the employee assistance industry’s trade association, EASNA advances the competitive excellence of its members by fostering best practices, research, education and advocacy in behavioral health and wellness that impacts workplace performance.


The Employee Assistance Society of North America is a trade association of employee assistance program companies, organizations and professionals dedicated to promoting high and fair standards of employee assistance practices through research, training and networking. Learn more at

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