Current Role: Lead Product Manager
Location: Welwyn Garden City
Joined Tesco: 2021
Meet the man who’s been transforming into Darth Vader, Deadpool and the Easter Bunny to kick start mental health conversations. You don't expect to see fictional characters and celebrities casually popping into your work meetings. But when Lead Product Manager Nick Jemetta’s around, you never know who’s going to turn up.
The dad-of-two from Hitchin has been lighting up lockdown over the past year, by challenging himself to wear 100 fancy dress outfits, attending hundreds of virtual meetings. All to make people smile, boost moods, and raise awareness for mental health.
Nick has lived with anxiety and low-level depression all his life. But after facing his problems alone for many years, he’s now a campaigner for openness.
“The pressures of my studies combined with the typical student drinking lifestyle made my underlying anxieties worse, and this led to suicidal thoughts. Uni was good at pointing us towards the student bar, but we weren’t given any mental health support.
“When I started working, it still wasn’t really talked about. But when I took a public speaking course, the reaction I got when I told my story was amazing. A fire was ignited inside me to help people, and I’m now an advocate for creating mentally healthy workplaces, and opening up the conversation.”
I’m now an advocate for creating mentally healthy workplaces, and opening up the conversation
During the first lockdown of 2020, Nick had just done a Joe Wicks PE session in costume for “Fancy Dress Friday”, and decided to leave his skeleton onesie on for his work Zoom call. He says: “Since Zoom fatigue had well and truly set in, I gave it a go to make people smile, and it worked! A plan to wear 20 costumes and raise £250 became 100 outfits and more than £10,000. I even ended up on national news as ‘Fancy Dress Dad’.” Nick arrived at meetings dressed as Elvis Presley, Postman Pat and even the Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters. But at the heart of all the fun, was a serious mission to start more mental health conversations, and to make those conversations less scary. The costumes are all in the loft now, but I'm definitely going to put my energy into finding other ways to drive home the message that we need to talk more about mental health.”
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