Alyfe Wellbeing Strategies
Founder & CEO
Kay Lakhi is a first generation Indian-American woman whose entrepreneurial journey is the quintessential realization of the American dream. Her infinite passion and single-minded purpose not only helped her create a better life for herself in a new country but also for thousands of individuals over the years in the form of improved health and wellbeing.
1. PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
As a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) and a licensed nursing home administrator, I worked in various healthcare settings for many years before I began my entrepreneurial journey in wellness.
Being a visionary with determination and purpose, my goal has always been to help people create a purpose-driven life. Alyfe Wellbeing’s backbone is built upon my 30 years of experience as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, teaching sustainable habits.
Alyfe is the culmination of a journey that started more than 30 years ago in long-term care. As an RDN working with many patients who were at the end of their lives, I could see the rise in preventable chronic diseases and wanted to do something about it. Thus began my journey creating a community-based resource for nutrition and physical fitness. Individuals throughout the community would enter our doors in pursuit of healthier lives for themselves and their families. As we dug in with clients, we began to see powerful changes within them and our community at large. We started to feel the cumulative and transformative impact we were having, and we thought to ourselves… “There is so much more to be done.”
Over the past two decades we’ve expanded our expertise, and extended our reach, resulting in an extraordinary shift in the health of populations throughout the Midwest and across the country. We’ve transitioned from a company focused on enhancing physical wellness in our community, to an organization that concentrates on the whole person and improves overall health and happiness by reaching people where they’re at, the workplace.
Our efforts have not gone unnoticed, as I was named Small Business Person of the Year in 2012 and was recently honored by the Smart Business Network (SBN) as part of the 2016 “SMART 50” awards. Recipients of the award are recognized as the top 50 executives in Central Ohio for their ability to effectively build and lead savvy organizations. Additionally, Alyfe was recognized for its rebranding efforts, being honored as a finalist for the 2016 Conway Center for Family Business Awards in the area of “Reinvention.” And most recently, Alyfe was recognized by a competitor as one of the top 25 wellness companies to watch for in 2017.
I have also served as Chairperson of the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce, President of the Columbus Dietetic Association, and currently serve on many different committees for the Ohio Health Care Association.
2&4. DEMONSTRATED SUCCESS & INNOVATION
For Alyfe Wellbeing Strategies to be successful with our clients, I knew it would be crucial that the company embody a women-centered leadership model that encourages physical, intellectual, emotional and community strength that drives personal achievement, and in turn, inspires others to follow (1-CEO Support). We needed to further integrate wellbeing into our company’s culture to create an environment that embodies what we are inspiring our clients to do every day. Our efforts have included a flexible work schedule and the ability to choose the level of involvement in the workforce in order to balance other commitments without compromising meaning and passion in our careers.
As an organization that prioritizes happiness and engagement in the workplace, Alyfe encourages its team to both initiate and participate in a variety of fun activities to promote connection (2-Creating Cohesive Wellness Teams). We began offering onsite programming that includes fitness classes, cooking demos, potlucks, team building, personal development and wellbeing presentations on a regular basis (5- Choosing Appropriate Interventions). A range of gym equipment in the breakroom and an outdoor Zen garden bring positive energy. Our standing desks, walking meetings and exercise balls provide the opportunity to consciously pursue wellbeing even during working hours. We even have a lactation room that encourages new mothers to feel comfortable and proud (6-Creating a Supportive Environment).
Since our rebranding, my team has made a conscious effort to create a culture of wellbeing that embodies our mission. The changes that have been implemented have solidified our own workforce wellbeing, supporting our employees in their own pursuit of a happier, healthier life. I have seen a positive shift in the organization’s energy and am so proud to not only provide our clients with strategies to improve their population's wellbeing, but also to foster this within my own organization’s culture.
Most wellness programs include onsite health screenings, flu clinics, corporate challenges, and fitness programs, yet, this traditional model tends to be one dimensional and can lend to lack of engagement. I believe it was imperative to evolve our wellbeing solutions beyond physical health to help those we serve make real changes in their lives. An integrated approach can elevate a traditional wellness program and have a powerful impact on employees, organizations and communities. We have focused our business around these 5 pillars to ensure that we are focusing on creating impactful changes.
My team and I have worked hard to implement programs and initiatives that not only deliver a comprehensive model of wellbeing for our client’s employees, but do so with a personalized approach. We offer complete customization options on all of our offerings so that we can deliver the most poignant programs possible.
One way we do this is through our Lunch ‘N’ Learns, where a qualified wellbeing expert provides employees with awareness, information, and advice on a wide range of life-management topics, such as financial wellbeing, mindfulness, and gratitude. The class leader facilitates open dialogue and group activities that encourage individuals to participate in a more comprehensive manner than one-dimensional programs like tobacco cessation.
We have acknowledged that not all employees are motivated by traditional incentives like gift cards and money but by having a sense of achievement and doing something for a greater purpose. We have seen increased participation in challenges and programs that send donations to local charities or involve volunteering for community based causes, and encourage these intrinsically rewarding incentives.
A positive outlook generates creative thinking, builds self-confidence and promotes overall resilience – all qualities necessary for lasting lifestyle changes. To further facilitate positivity and encourage purposeful living, we implemented a 4 week stress reduction challenge for a health care system called LOL- Live Out Loud Challenge. Participants were asked to complete 150 minutes of exercise and 4 LOL activities weekly.
*We had an 88% participation rate among those who registered
*61% met their exercise and activity goals
*92% of participants enjoyed the challenge and found it beneficial
*87% liked using the online wellness portal for the challenge
Favorite activities reported included:
“Taking my kids to the zoo”; “Making a new recipe”; “Coloring monster trucks with my nephew”; “Playing cards with my 87 year old mother”; “Went to church for a little peace of mind and reflection”.
Feedback we received:
“I just wanted to comment that for me this was the most beneficial. I take care of a parent who is 100% disabled, work full time, have a 6 year old son and have a husband who has colon cancer and the stress that brings. I haven’t stopped to take time for myself in a very long time. I found that I needed this challenge more than I knew- thank you!!!”
“I think it was wonderful that you emphasized the need for LOL activities and how they affect both your mental and physical health. Because of my depression, they are even more important for me. Thank you for helping us and encouraging us to stay healthy!!!”
“I paid more attention to the time I spent exercising.”
“It has really made me think differently about exercise! Thank you!!!”
“The challenge created more awareness of how I spend my time.”
“I always enjoy these challenges. I just do them for me...not for anyone else. I like knowing that playing with my granddaughter is a LOL activity!”
My entire life I have been devoted to eating well and living a healthy life. My early career experiences in long term care made an impact on how I view taking care of myself, the ability to age more gracefully and prevent disease by lifestyle choices. I have realized the utter importance of treating food as nourishment for our bodies and minds. At its core, I truly believe food is medicine. Even while running multiple companies, I make time to take care of myself. I have a personal goal of walking over 15,000 steps per day, I enjoy water aerobics, eat mindfully and interact with my grandchildren daily.
I have always been involved in several community organizations and am deeply rooted in my community. I enjoy being an active member in the local chamber of commerce, a member of my religious organization, and heavily involved in my grandchildren’s school.
Some of my most impactful experiences have been some of the wonderful conferences I have attended over my career. I have taken part in a highly effective and intensive program called Next Level Trainings. These multi-day workshops provided the mindfulness, leadership and emotional intelligence training to take not only my business, but my entire life to entirely new heights. I also recently attended the Summit of Greatness, which was a personal development conference with influential speakers such as Kyle Maynard, Danielle LaPorte and Ryan Blair.
As an entrepreneur with three businesses and a family, I understand the overwhelming fears, the sheer exhaustion from fighting each day and the temptation to give up. What helped me overcome those critical moments was not what I did, but remembering WHY I was doing these things. We don’t give up because we are stressed from overworking. We give up because we lose our purpose, we forget our ‘WHY?’. From experience, I can tell you that if you can remember your WHY during those difficult times, you will not only change the way you approach problems but also find the courage to stay on purpose and create life changing moments. The concept of purpose or finding out “WHY” and the motivation behind our choices is something that is incredibly important for me, and something that I am reminded of every day with AlYfe as we support organizations of all sizes in finding their Y.
5. COMPELLING VISION
If recent trends in the wellness industry are a sign of things to come, I believe the wellness industry is in for some incredible changes. The days of cookie-cutter programs like health assessments and biometric screenings are ending. Going forward, I believe the real value to organizations will instead come from programs that are cutting-edge and unique in what they offer. Wearables and mobile technology are already pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved through wellness programs, but innovations that will make a noticeable impact on employee wellbeing are more rooted in sociology.
These emerging trends make it clear that the wellness programs of the future will not just be about saving on healthcare premiums. The increased understanding of what drives happiness and productivity is also making employers rethink how they measure program success. We need to continue helping employers recognize that by taking an integrated approach to wellbeing, the benefits to their organizations are much higher than what the short-term accounting numbers indicate. As a result, I believe companies will be looking beyond the numbers and using Value on Investment (VOI) to assess program effectiveness in the future.
When individuals discover a deep-rooted purpose for living, they are more likely to take action and find sustained wellbeing. This is the idea behind designing programs that use the power of purpose to motivate employees. The name ‘Alyfe’ signifies the transformation that happens when you find the ‘Y’ in life. It represents the pursuit of wellbeing in all its forms.
As we move forward, our diverse range of products will focus on the comprehensive and integrated wellbeing of employees including physical, emotional, social, career and fiscal aspects. By doing so, we will support and empower the workforce to realize their true potential. We are determined to continue bringing cutting-edge strategies and solutions that will enhance the success of our client’s wellbeing programs.
It’s transformative. It’s living life to the fullest. It’s the endless pursuit of wellbeing. It’s the path to your true potential. It’s Alyfe. Well Lived.