Rani currently serves as Health Plan and Wellness Manager at Duke Realty, one of the nation’s largest commercial real estate companies. Through Rani’s 9 years with Duke Realty she has participated in the planning, designing, implementing and administering of Duke Realty’s health plan and wellness programs. Career highlights include managing Duke’s wellness program through the achievement of ranking 12th on the list of 2016 Healthiest 100 Workplaces in America and through the receipt of 63 wellness recognitions and awards including American Heart Association’s Fit-Friendly Designation and Healthiest Employer awards. Rani has been interviewed by several business journals across the U.S to provide input on what it takes to build a successful wellness program.
Prior to joining Duke Realty, Rani received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a specialization in Industrial Organization Psychology at Purdue University. While pursuing her degree, Rani also studied at Oxford University in England and traveled to Juticalpa, Honduras on a humanitarian mission.
Rani is a Certified Corporate Wellness Specialist, a Laughter Yoga instructor, a Dancing Mindfulness facilitator, a member of WELCOA faculty, a graduate of the Silva Meditation Program and a graduate of the Leadership United program. Rani enjoys studying nutrition, practicing meditation and can often be found fine tuning her Zumba moves and healthy smoothie recipes!
Current Company: Duke Realty
Job Title: Health Plan and Wellness Manager
Industry Type: Commercial Real Estate
Years in Field: 9 years
Organization Size: 478 associates
A desire to understand human behavior and to help individuals create positive behavioral change led me to receive my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a specialization in Industrial Organizational Psychology from Purdue University. While pursuing my degree, I also attended Oxford University through scholarship and participated in a humanitarian mission to Honduras where I assisted in delivering 40,000 eye exams and glasses to the underserved population. I joined Duke Realty’s HR department where I became one of the fastest promoted associates at the company and a mentee in the Executive Mentoring Program. I am a graduate of the Silva Meditation Program, a Laughter Yoga Instructor, a facilitator of Dancing Mindfulness, a WELCOA Faculty member and Certified Corporate Wellness Specialist. While each certification I have received has provided value, the process of becoming WELCOA faculty provided me with the insight to take my wellness program to the next level.
The main wellness concern that we at Duke Realty faced was providing a wellness program that could be inclusive of all associates, spouses and children.
Prior to the development of this intervention, multiple wellness programs were offered however we found that all programs were not inclusive as they addressed only specific populations such as those who needed to stop smoking or those who needed to lose weight.
To address this issue, I garnered the support of our executive team (WELCOA Benchmark 1 –Capturing CEO Support) and Corporate Wellness Champions (WELCOA Benchmark 2 – Creating Cohesive Wellness Teams) to implement a comprehensive wellness program that could provide an opportunity for all associates and family members to identify individual health opportunities and work toward the completion of personalized wellness goals.
To motivate associates and family members to participate, a comprehensive incentive program was created and provides additional vacation days, merchandise from an online mall, charitable donations, workplace recognition and a medical plan premium discount.
To keep participants engaged, I designed a supportive environment through the following methods: (WELCOA Benchmark 6 – Creating a Supportive Environment):
Training the Corporate Wellness Council to champion the initiative across Duke Realty markets
Partnering with senior leadership to participate and deliver motivational messages
Authoring wellness articles in the quarterly associate newsletter
Maintaining a wellness intranet site which lists healthy tips of the day, healthy recipes, associate success stories, and program links
Developing periodic e-mails and flyers to announce programs, communicate progress, and highlight program results
Participants undergo a wellness screening which encompasses providing (WELCOA Benchmark 3 - Collecting Data to Drive Health Efforts) health scores, a lifestyle assessment and delivery of their risk-adjusted age. Education and personalized goals (WELCOA Benchmark 5 – Choosing Appropriate Interventions) follow the measurement process to allow participants to work toward increased wellness.
Significant success and outcomes of the Duke Realty’s wellness program since the implementation of these interventions include (WELCOA Benchmark 7 – Carefully Evaluating Outcomes):
95% wellness program participation in 2015
145 losing 5% of their weight
114 participants moving form out-of-range blood pressure to in-range blood pressure
50 participants moving from out-of-range cholesterol to in-range cholesterol
70 participants moving from out-of-range glucose to in-range glucose
Duke Realty being ranked 12th on the 2016 list of 100 Healthiest Workplaces in America
Duke Realty receiving the following 2016 honors (receipt of 63 wellness honors and recognitions since 2010)
2016 Healthiest Employers of Greater Cincinnati
2016 Healthiest Employer of Illinois
2016 Healthiest Employer of North Texas
2016 Healthiest Employer of Central Florida
2016 Healthiest Employer of St. Louis
2016 Healthiest Employer of South Florida
2016 Brandon Hall Award
2016 American Heart Association Fit Friendly Designation
I serve as a leader by managing 15 members of the Wellness Council and mentoring multiple companies in the development of their wellness programs. I walk the talk by visibly participating in all wellness initiatives and inviting associates along to participate in wellness activities I participate in on my professional and personal time. Meditation, gratitude journaling, Zumba and strength training are all parts of my daily practice to live the best life possible. I truly believe that with every bite we eat, we are either feeding or fighting disease and embody this by bringing all meals to work with me.
My advice to those seeking leadership positions and what I believe has propelled me forward is to continuously seek out learning opportunities. To continue my learning, I have studied the needs of the population I serve; developed mentors, stayed current on wellness literature, studied best practices, achieved WELCOA Faculty status and received the Corporate Wellness Specialist Certification.
To further embed wellness in to the culture of all 15 Duke Markets, I proposed and implemented the internal Excellence in Wellness Award. Each market submits their annual wellness plan and the Excellence in Wellness Award application. This award was created to recognize the market that best exemplifies commitment to taking wellness to the next level and creates some healthy competition among markets. The winning market is presented with a trophy by an executive and each wellness participant in the winning market receives an extra vacation day.
Successes of this wellness intervention include the following:
the development of written wellness plans by each market with the support of each market leader
compilation of 60 success stories and 226 local wellness events
100% wellness participation achieved by 8 markets
95% companywide wellness participation (increased from 62% in 2008, our 1st year of wellness programming)
I believe one of our greatest opportunities lies in continuing to share our knowledge with peers and those we support at our companies.
When I look back at my career, one of my biggest successes I’ve experienced was when an associate at my company reached out to share with me that at the first time at age 73, she was looking in the mirror and liking what she saw and enjoying how her body felt due to embracing our company’s wellness initiatives. This associate initially felt very reluctant to participate in any of the wellness offerings we had available. Then, her life took a very sudden turn. Her husband of 47 years suddenly passed away from what she described as not taking care of himself. Her tragic loss paired with the fact that we kept information on how to get involved in our wellness initiatives front and center, led her to get started and create her healthiest self ever. She has not only created this healthy change but gone on to become a member of our wellness committee further extending her new-found wisdom outward. This story touched my heart in so many ways but most importantly because it shows how powerful the information we provide can be.
We have a powerful opportunity through sharing our stories through this award, through WELCOA and through sharing with our peers to continue to rise up our companies and this nation.
In the next 5 years, I will continue to advance the industry by continuing my training and sharing the wisdom I am given with my peers and those I serve.