My name is Victoria Davis and I am born and raised in Buffalo, New York. I have been in the health promotion field for 6 plus years now and I have enjoyed every minute of it. My corporate wellness career began with MediFit in 2010, since then I have worked for two large insurance carriers as a Health Promotion Specialist doing wellness consulting with over 100 different companies of all sizes. In these roles I learned that every wellness program has to be unique to the employee demographics and there is no one size fit all program. It takes careful assessment of the company and employee needs to build an impactful employee wellness program. I will consider my career a successful one if I have made the difference in the life of one person.
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded. “- Ralph Waldo Emerson
I am currently working for a small non-profit (50 employees) as the Manager of Community and Workplace Well-Being for the Mental Health Association of Erie County. My role in my current position is focused on growing the mental health workplace well-being resources in the Western New York Community.
Victoria Davis, Manager of Community and Workplace Well-Being
Workplace Awards Received:
I decided to go into this field because as far back as I can remember I have always had a passion for the human body and behavior change. Over the years I have realized we are all given one mind and body to take care, so we better take care of it! I have always wanted to see people live the highest quality of life possible. With that being said I decided to get my undergraduate degree in Psychology. Upon graduation I was debating on being a school psychologist or going back to school to get a degree in health. I choose the health path and I am glad that I did.
My degree in Health and Human Performance has been most valuable and has allowed me to take the career path that I have and love so much.
Demonstrated Success: There have been many successful programs and interventions that have made a difference in the lives of others throughout my career, but I will share one specific example. At a previous position, I led a group on-site smoking cessation class for many of my employer groups. During classes I noticed stress was a common reason people could not quit smoking. So instead of focusing directly on getting them to quit smoking, I worked with them on stress management skills. I took it upon myself to add stress management strategies to the smoking cessation program and saw great results. Some of these tools included: meditation, muscle relaxation, positive self- talk and time management strategies. We had over a 25% quit rate in the smoking cessation classes. It was great to see people’s quality of lives improve over time. Not only did many of these people quit smoking, but they also successfully created other healthy habits in their life because their stress was better managed.
In my current role at Mental Health Association of Erie County I have built an internal wellness program. I CAPTURED CEO SUPPORT by putting together a presentation for our COO and executive director to help them understand why it is important to have a well-being program for employees and they believed it was the “right” thing to do for our organization. I worked to create a COHESIVE TEAM by creating a wellness committee with a “wellness champion” from each department. To COLLECT data to drive health efforts we used a third party to gather information from a culture of health survey. I created an OPERATING plan to include 12 months of programming and ways to create a culture of health within the organization. I chose the INTERVENTIONS for the first year of the program based on the feedback from the culture of health survey, I did so with hopes to spark interest and increase engagement. To help CREATE a SUPPORTIVE ENVIRONMENT I branded the program as the ReCharge Well-Being program to help people recognize the resources and tools that will be available to them. Over time I hope to carefully EVALUTE outcomes and gather more data from biometric screenings, health assessments and claims data.
Leadership: I am often asked to participate in interviews, community activities and leadership conferences to discuss the importance of living a healthy lifestyle with others. I have a CAN DO attitude and truly believe anyone can do ANYTHING if they put their mind to it. As a 6 time half marathon, 2 time half ironman and 1-time full ironman finisher I fall nothing short of a living example of that belief. I help my friends and family believe in themselves!
The main resource that has helped me to become a leader in the industry is networking, I enjoy collaborating with others. I always have an open mind to learning new things and I get involved with the community to help make it a better place!
The advice I would give to others is to NEVER stop learning and NEVER stop growing. There is always something someone can teach you if you go in with an open mind.
Innovation: The most recent position I was hired for at Mental Health Association of Erie County has allowed me to help advance the industry. In my new role I am developing a wellness program that focuses on mental health. Often when meeting with my clients we would identify an increase in medication and medical claims data around mental health, but there were not many resources to help address this issue. I am creating a program that can help employers create a psychological safe environment and reduce mental health stigma in the workplace. We will also be offering Mental Health First Aid training to management, leadership and employees.
Compelling Vision: The biggest threat to the health promotion industry is that we continue to focus on the wrong things. This industry can do great things if we focus more on the people and less on the numbers. By focusing on the people and doing the “right” thing the rest will fall into place including: improved health, a decrease in medical costs, increased productivity and improved overall mood. Health promotion and workplace well-being is not only good for businesses, but it is the “right” thing to do for the people.
Over the next 5 years I will continue to collaborate with the Western New York Community to help reduce mental health stigma. I will help companies to open up the conversation around mental health and help to create psychological safe environments.