Leadership, Strategy & System Change: Interview with Stuart Binstock & Michelle Walker | Episode 11

NOTE: This podcast aired live on 4/10/18 at 10AM ET http://www.blogtalkradio.com/hopeilluminated

Lessons Learned from the Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention


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In order for mental health promotion and suicide prevention to be successful, leadership must be bold and engaged. The leaders who are most successful in creating change are those who address these seemingly taboo subjects head-on, in a matter-of-fact way. They find ways to “bake in” tactics into other places where healthy and safety are priorities. 

Leaders who are most influential in creating a caring culture at the workplace are able to build a business case that looks at the ROI of investing in resilience and mental health support. They are also strategic in their effort, enrolling others in a pragmatic blueprint for change and tracking progress and pitfalls.

For the last four years, I have been heavily involved in bringing mental health promotion and suicide prevention to the construction industry. What started with a coffee meeting with the COO of a local mechanical contractor called RK, eventually morphed into a national movement. They key to this success was leadership — every step of the way, leaders leaned in and exerted their influence to make the circle bigger. Today, one of the biggest success stories in this effort is the creation of the Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention overseen by the Construction Financial Management Association.


In this episode we cover some provocative questions like:

  1. Why should financial leaders get involved in mental health promotion and suicide prevention?
  2. What can workplaces and professional associations do?
  3. How do we improve access to mental health care for employees?
  4. What are the strategies of change?

About the Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention

From their website: “Construction is the number one industry for number of suicides and the number two industry in suicide rates. As such, it is an industry imperative to shatter the mental health stigma and create caring cultures within our companies. CFMA has established the Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention with the goal of providing and disseminating information and resources for suicide prevention and mental health promotion in construction. Through the information and resources CFMA has compiled, the Alliance looks to help those in the construction industry create awareness of the problem, cultivate a culture of caring, and start the conversation in the workplace. 

Alliance members join our movement by assisting with the dissemination of resources and information to their membership through quarterly e-mail communications, newsletters, website promotion, webinars, and/or other means at their disposal. Membership in the Alliance provides organizations and associations with the opportunity to continue to help shape the construction industry through promoting the safety and well-being of companies’ most important assets – human capital.”

In under two years upwards of 70 members (most professional associations) joined The Alliance: http://www.preventconstructionsuicide.com/, reaching hundreds of thousands of people.

Visit the website to gain access to a library of tools and publications.

About Stuart Binstock


Stuart Binstock is President and CEO of the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA).  He has extensive experience in management issues, including strategic planning, government affairs, educational programming and delivery, financial management, membership development, non-dues revenue growth, program development, and process improvements.

Binstock has served in executive positions for such trade and professional associations as the National Electrical Contractors Association, Associated General Contractors of America, and American Institute of Architects.  He is an experienced moderator of panels at national and regional conferences.  He is also a frequent speaker and has been interviewed on television and NPR.

Since Binstock became President and CEO of CFMA, the association’s membership has grown from 6,400 to over 8,000 today.  Its revenue has grown from $4.6 million to $6.1 million today.  This growth has come about by CFMA focusing on bringing value to its members, finding non-dues revenue sources of income and returning nearly 10% of its revenue back to its 98 chapters through a variety of means which has resulted in strengthening CFMA’s chapters, thus strengthening the entire Association.

Stuart received his JD from the Catholic University School of Law in Washington, D.C. and has a BS in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University.

About Michelle Walker

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Michelle Walker, CCIFP, SPHR is the Vice President of Finance and Administration at Specialized Services Company. Michelle has worked at SSC since 1998 and held multiple accounting positions within the organization prior to being promoted to VP in 2009. In her current role, she is responsible for the accounting/finance and human resource/employee benefit functions of the company with a primary focus in workforce planning and development.  She works closely with the ownership as a member of the executive team on strategic planning, succession, compliance, safety and IT matters.  Michelle earned her Certified Construction Industry Financial Professional designation in December 2014 and her Senior Professional in Human Resources certification in December 2015.

An active member of CFMA’s Valley of the Sun chapter since 2009, Michelle currently serves as its President. She has been a part of CFMA’s suicide prevention efforts since being a part of the first of its kind Suicide Prevention Summit in Phoenix, is chair of the Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention task force, and serves on the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention’s Workplace Committee.  She is a highly rated presenter with sessions at National CFMA, AGC, and TUG conferences.

Show Notes

Construction Financial Management Association

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