Speaker Bio & Presentations

Dawn Nickel, PhD

Special Speaker

Dr. Dawn Nickel

Dr. Dawn Nickel is a respected thought leader in the women’s recovery sphere and (along with her daughter Taryn Strong) the Founder of SHE RECOVERS Foundation, a not-for-profit grassroots organization that inspires hope, reduces stigma, and empowers women (and non-binary individuals who identify with women’s communities) in or seeking recovery for substance use and/or mental health challenges. Dawn is a Certified Professional Recovery Coach with a PhD and professional experience related to women and health care policy. In her professional research and consulting work, Dawn writes and talks about how best to support women with lived and living experience of substance use disorders, mental health issues and intimate partner violence, the three issues that prompted Dawn to start her own personal recovery journey in 1987. Dawn is passionate about connecting, supporting and empowering women to increase their recovery capital, heal themselves, and help other women to do the same.

Presentations & Workshops

Workaholism: The “Respectable” Process Addiction

Overworking, or what some call “workaholism” is a complicated process addiction but one that is often viewed positively and even seen as a cornerstone of business success. As a woman in recovery from workaholism for over a decade, Dr. Dawn Nickel knows the topic well. When Dawn hit a physical and emotional bottom with anxiety and overworking in 2011, she was struck by how similar the experience was to the bottom she had hit with her substance use disorder two decades earlier. Her earlier recovery experiences informed how she approached her recovery from workaholism and combined, her two “recoveries” inspired her to spearhead an international women’s recovery movement that is based on the premise that “we are all recovering from something.” 


In this inspiring talk, Dawn will speak into the challenges that individuals who overwork face including unrealistic expectations of perfectionism that are both imposed and self-imposed, the difficulties related to working in organizations that focus on hyper-productivity, and the general lack of awareness about what workaholism is, and how choosing recovery in this area of our lives can support us to move from anxiety and overwhelm to wellness. Drawing on her own personal experience and expertise related to substance use recovery and recovery from workaholism, Dawn will: 

  • Describe the characteristics of workaholism and its attendant risks
  • Highlight the unique “overworking” challenges for career-driven, leadership-focused individuals working in behavioral health spaces
  • Introduce evidence-informed approaches, practices, and resources for identifying and addressing overworking tendencies

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