ENTRY FROM: 2019 Top Health Promotion Professionals

Nominee: Emily Elrod

Be the change you want to see in the world

Hello. I am a Emily Elrod a corporate consultant for Workzbe with a demonstrated history of creating cultures to empower people to live healthy, happy, and purposeful lives in corporate & health care industry. I once designed ergonomic friendly machinery for the carpet industry until I learned my passion was more towards the people side of health. I now am blessed to use my 9 years of experience to help facilitate corporate program I'ms and culture shifts for over 6,500 lives include fortune 500 companies.

Emily Elrod

Professional Development:

My story to wellness is a unique one as I started out in the manufacturing realm. My father invented many of the splicing machinery for the textile industry. I had a fast track to being VP of his successful company, but my heart just wasn't in it. I tried to incorporate wellness with ergonomic design but I liked people more than machines. My father saw my internal struggles and like any great leader, nudged me towards "my calling."  With stability, an amazing salary, and benefit package forfeited, I stepped out into the wellness industry. I received a Bachelor's degree in Exercise and Health Science in 2010 from Kennesaw State and then went on complete my Master's degree in 2013. I have many WELCOA certifications like Leadership Essentials and Health Coaching Fundamentals and was a WELCOA Faculty Member in 2017. For my development, my Master's program talked about the psychology behind health changes but the WELCOA gave practical tips for success that I could apply in my work.


‘Practice what you preach’ is the minimum qualification for any wellness practitioner. It is funny to be encountered in the hallways as people try to (jokingly) get me on an elevator so I don’t take the stairs, or they confess to me what they have been eating while I get my healthy food. But I think the best way, I practice what I preach is by being open and vulnerable with people about my life story. Mental wellbeing is something people can’t see but when I talk about my struggles with depression, or how I had my child out of wedlock due to the lack of love for myself, this is how I show my walk. I show I am a person, not perfect, but vulnerable and striving everyday to be one day better.


I joke that I don’t ‘fan-girl’ famous singers, actors or athletes, but I had the opportunity to meet MJ Sharr and Bob Chapman and I had to work to hold it together. Their teaching have really changed my outlook on life. By using many of their principals, along with Deci, Self Determination Theory, I have been able to become a leader in the wellness field because I surround myself with smart people and found ways to harness their passions for the greater good of all.


The best advice I could give anyone is what is the tagline on all my emails (and came from a WELCOA workshop): The kiss of death is the be the genius with 10,000 helpers, instead be the genius with 10,000 geniuses. Ruffle the feathers, think outside the box, get uncomfortable but do not do it alone or it will fail EVERY TIME.


2. Demonstrated Success


Hamilton started as most companies do with the prod and poke method, “because it’s best practice” but by 2017, it was decide to take another route.  By 2019, biometric screenings was removed saving the company money and promoted well visits with Primary care doctors saving even more in prevented health care cost. We restructured our chronic care management to a holistic health approach involving FNP wellness coaches and counselors. This restructure allowed us to take advantage of pharmacy saving with estimation of $1 million per year. These savings allowed for the health system to eliminating a barrier to healthcare for employees and the community. The company agreed to allow people to see their coach on the clock improving the culture. From this program lives have been saved such as caught lung masses, widow makers, Vitamin D deficiency, diabetes, CHF and more. We have helped people be more compliant with medications and to grow their knowledge of living a healthy lifestyle.


Our successes with Hamilton, allowed us to win a bid to manage a Fortune 500 company. We started with a feedback survey to get buy-in from employees. From then, the program was developed with numerous departments input. Currently, they have exceeded their participation by 15%, and they are in the process of creating a walking path and redoing their vending machines so they practice what they are preaching. They have created challenges and classes to increase engagement.


We have had many interventions over the years, but I think the most out-of-the-box ideas came from asking our people how can we reduce your stress and connect more. To reduce stress, we have implemented 3 blessing notification to remind people to say 3 blessing at a random time during the month. We know that gratitude decreases cortisol and helps with resilience. This notification is a new participant favorite. Also, we partnered with a car maintenance company to pick up, service, and return vehicles while employees are at work. We are in the works of partnering with a cleaning and dry cleaning services as well.  

We created Connection in Motions events with leadership. These events are company hikes, charity events, sporting events, and more. These events allow leadership to show they are walking the talk and to drive the wellness initiative. From employee feedback, we had our first ever softball tournament with 6 teams and over 150 people in attendance. We also partnered with physicians, counselors, and coaches to do in person or virtual classes with question and answers. This has increased the engagement in our EAP and Provider services with an average of 25 referrals per month. We built out a facebook style interface so that people can better encourage one another and we have seen an increase in log-ins from approximately 7,500 logins to over 11,000 logins.


4. Vision

I think the biggest threat to health promotion is doing things to people instead of with them.   I see too many companies journeys start with a business-oriented approach. A genius looking for helpers and the people knew the program was for the companies benefit only. But when companies change their mindset, they changed the peoples. With the institution of peoples ideas with them and not to them.  It is a unifying approach where people are allowed to become happier, healthier, more purposeful people. In the next 5 years, I want to continue to focus on creating cultures and environments for optimal success for the whole human to thrive and succeed.


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Emily Elrod Associates participating in a 5k together The winners of the softball tournament Wellness Coach, Karlie, being awarded for her compassionate care Connection Event to come together Company Hike
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Comments 10

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Emily is very caring and truly enjoys sharing her wealth of knowledge and teaching us to be healthy and the best we can be. She totally goes above and beyond in helping people set goals and meeting them.

Brenda H. on 5/10/2019

Emily has a wealth of information, leading by example. Teaching and growing us to be healthier individuals. Very much a dedicated and inspirational vessel.

Barbara S. on 5/09/2019

Emily has a wealth of information, leading by example. Teaching and growing us to be healthier individuals. Very much a dedicated and inspirational vessel.

Barbara S. on 5/09/2019

Emily is one of the most amazing people I know. She has always gone 110% at everything she does.

Darwyn L. on 5/08/2019

Emily is always very professional while being totally “real”. She is goal oriented and not afraid to take on new challenges.

Laura K. on 5/07/2019

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