ENTRY FROM: 2016 Top Health Promotion Professionals

Nominee: James Holliday

Wellness at AJG

Over the last 12 years I’ve worked in a variety of health based settings to include hospitals, chiropractic clinics, commercial & corporate fitness centers, and was even involved in a human physiology study with NASA for 4+ years. During that time, my roller-coaster of a journey would teach me how my traditional perception of wellness was only a small component in a much larger and ever growing industry. I have been blessed to have had an opportunity to work with and manage a variety of health and wellness professionals, each giving me new insight, and further igniting my passion for total wellbeing.

Currently my title is Regional Wellbeing Specialist, for Arthur J. Gallagher &Co, a risk management and benefits consulting company with a global presence. Beginning a new chapter in my journey, I joined the Gallagher family in July of 2016. My role has been to provide ongoing support to our outstanding health management team, by assisting in the implementation of wellbeing strategies designed to leverage available resources, actively engage employees and cultivate a culture of wellbeing. I am excited to be part of a company that values wellbeing, and provides more than just the traditional approach but rather looks at the whole person. We have an opportunity to affect an enormous number of people on a daily basis and with the right resources we can provide the necessary tools for workforces to support a culture of wellbeing within their community. I truly look forward to being part of that process!

Professional Development 

I graduated in 2007 from McMurry University (Abilene, Texas) with my Bachelors of Science degree in Exercise and Sports Science, and a minor in Biology. I later attended the University of Houston Clear Lake, where I did 3 years of graduate studies in Fitness and Human Performance. I’m also CPR/AED certified, and EKG certified.

It was through McMurry that I first found my passion for wellness. After playing three sports for my University (Football, Soccer, and Track), and having the opportunity to study under the mentorship of Dr. Smith and Dr. Paris, I found a strong base of support and knowledge that have continued to fuel my passion for health promotion.

While in college I was awarded the health education departmental scholarship (C.H. Stith Award), and later in my professional career I was given the Safety Award for +1 Health Management.

I look forward to continuing to learn and grow within my field.

Demonstrated Success and Innovation:

While working for Optum Health (+1 Health Management), I was assigned to a client that was dedicated to offering a number of health amenities and actively engaging their employees. While that is a great first step, their organization was in need of some serious structure.

Their biggest need was communication of resources. I saw a number of available opportunities to maximize exposure throughout the company with the right cross promotions. While it seems simple it had the potential to make the biggest impact.

At the time they were in the process of opening an on-site fitness center for their employees. The expectation was to only reach 600 members out of the 2200 eligible employees. Working with their internal facilities group we were able to develop a strategy that cross promoted the client’s intramural group (including participation in an Oil and Gas Track Meet), café (with healthy choice selections provided each day), annual screenings/ health fair, and the gym. With these groups working together we were able to actively engage more than 75% of their employee base. Employees went from doing nothing to actively engaging themselves in fun activities, encouraging others to join, and even involving loved ones along the way.

Along with these changes and promotions came additional benefits to include a health stipend, health amenities extended to friends and family, programs and team challenges geared toward creating relationships and holding each other accountable, and more. They now have a quarterly meeting to discuss success and collaborate on new ideas to better engage their employees.

The 7 benchmarks were instrumental in accomplishing this task. Capturing leadership support, creating support teams for all the different activities and groups, collaborating on the data from each group to assess what would drive continued participation, and then creating a strategy/plan to best promote and drive each program. All of these lead to the establishment of a culture of wellbeing within their workforce.

Leadership & Vision:

To me leadership starts with building relationships! Once people know that you really care then they will be open to caring about what you know. Passion is contagious! Relationships are built on trust and encouragement. What better way to do that then walking the talk and living what you preach! With that said I have been actively involved in a number of intramurals (flag football, soccer, softball, etc.), as well as 5k and 10k mud runs for that little extra competition. I try to set aside time for family and mental relaxation, dedicating at least one day a week to being with family. I am actively involved with friends in the community donating time to various organizations through my church and through local community outreach.

My thought process is, to become proficient at any craft you must learn from those who have been immersed in that field. Leadership is about building relationships, learning, applying, and repeating. Find mentors in the field that you can lean on for advice. As my professor used to tell me, “you dictate what you learn, so seek opportunity in every circumstance!”

The vision of wellness is slowly transitioning to wellbeing, and in doing so, leading our industry towards a whole person approach to health. So many things affect our daily lives and when you can find a healthy balance, then the results speak for themselves. Our biggest challenge is to transform our traditional way of thinking and as community promote the understanding that healthy lifestyle changes start in different places for everyone. We need to understand that there are factors like emotional wellbeing, social/community involvement, financial wellbeing, and even career growth that play roles in successful lifestyle health promotion. I hope to continue to promote this transition of thought, and through my new role with Gallagher encourage organizations of all sizes to promote a culture of total wellbeing.

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He is amazing!

Catherine H. on 12/14/2016

Upbeat outlook. Very supportive and motivating. As a fitness coach can work around injuries and push a challenging regime safely

D C. on 12/02/2016

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