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ENTRY FROM: 2019 Top Health Promotion Professionals

Nominee: Whitney Gorsegner

Using Corporate Wellness to Improve Employee Health and Happiness

Introduction
• Current Company: Garver
• Job Title: Wellness Coordinator
• Industry Type: Engineering
• Years In The Field: 2
• Organization Size: 600+ employees
• Education: Master of Science in Health Promotion and Education
• Certifications achieved:
- Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES)
- CrossFit Level 1 Trainers (CF-L1)
- ACE Certified Nutrition Specialist
- ACE Certified Personal Trainer
- American Red Cross CPR Instructor
• Academic honors received, awards won, recognition received (at the organizational, program, or individual level):
- Mississippi State University Food Science, Nutrition, & Health Promotion Advisory Board
- Fox16 Good Day Arkansas shared monthly Workplace Wellness segment with Wellness Team Manager, Sarah Palmiero
- 2019 United Benefit Advisorts Conference speaker with Wellness Team Manager, Sarah Palmiero
- 2019 Arkansas Business and Associated Press recognition for "Wellness Program Cuts Health Costs"
- 2018 - 2019 Workplace Wellness monthly news segment | KLRT Fox 16 News Good Day Arkansas
- 2018 & 2016 #1 Best Firm | Zweig Group
- 2018 Workplace Health Resource Center Case Study | Centers for Disease Control
- 2017 101 Best & Brightest in Wellness
- 2017 Healthiest Employers’ Top 100 Winner | Healthiest Employer, LLC
- 2017 Well Workplace Gold | Wellness Council of America (WELCOA)
- 2016 Fit-Friendly Worksite | American Heart Association
- 2017 - 2016 Gold-level Healthy Kansas City Certified | Healthy KC & BCBS Kansas City
- 2014 - 2018 Top 100 Best Firms to Work For | Zweig Group
- Gold-level Bike Friendly Business| League of American Bicyclists

Whitney Gorsegner, MS, CHES, CF-L1

1.

After receiving my undergraduate degree, I worked a handful of jobs, always knowing I was made for something more. I knew my WHY and purpose was to help others improve their overall quality of life by helping them see their resiliency and strength. I knew my WHY and purpose was to fight against the never-ending battle of chronic disease. I knew my WHY and purpose was to bring more laughter and kindness into this world through promoting something I’d always continued to fall back on…living a healthy lifestyle.

In 2016, I applied to graduate school at Mississippi State. I wanted to enter the field of Health Promotion to make my WHY and my purpose a reality.

My CrossFit Level 1 Trainer certificate has been the most valuable to my career. By achieving my CF-L1, I have implemented programs that revolve around the concepts of moving your body the way it was designed to move and fueling your body for everyday performance. This in turn, has created a cycle where employees are improving their overall quality of life in ALL areas of their health and wellbeing. WELCOA’s Seven Benchmarks are supportive of this cycle of wellbeing and the commitment to wellness where lifestyle changes are celebrated.  

I ‘walk the talk’ by owning my priorities. I own that I have a busy schedule and traveling for work knocks me off my regular routine. I own that I am a Wellness Coordinator at Garver and that I also manage CrossFit MidPoint, which keeps my work hours around 60+. But I own that no matter how busy I get, I move because my body’s ability to move is a gift. I own that nutrition is the baseline for health and having abs will not matter when I am sixty years old. I make it a point to move when I don’t want to, even if it is only for 10 minutes, and I eat nutrient dense food that fuels my body to perform throughout the day.

I’ve achieved leadership status through my co-workers and athletes. They are my inspiration. When I don’t want to own my priorities and when I lose sight of my WHY, they do something incredible, which motivates me to get back on track. My job also allows me to work closely with our executive team and all 600+ employees who bring new relationships, experiences, and advice to the table. I wouldn’t be at Garver without the Wellness Team Manager, Sarah Palmiero, taking a chance on me. She, along with my parents are my biggest cheerleaders and supporters who continuously teach me grit, ambition, and drive.

My advice for other wellness practitioners who want to become leaders in the field: You are someone’s role model. That is an amazing, humbling concept and responsibility to grasp. Dare individuals to realize just how powerful they are by showing them what it’s like to fail and get back up, to own your priorities, to live and breathe your WHY, and to do it with a smile EVERY DAY.

2.

In March 2018, I began providing group fitness classes in our North Little Rock office. Five classes are taught throughout the week, in the morning and over lunch. Employees are lead through functional movement workouts of the day.

Garver has 28 offices in 11 states so creating a community-feel and bringing accountability company-wide, was one of our biggest opportunities. So, I took our group classes live. Streaming from Garver HQ, all offices are able to participate and push one another by simply logging in to a live stream of the morning or lunch time classes. All Garver locations have access to this and the majority of them are outfitted with basic gym equipment.

Employees across Garver Nation also have access to program resources online through our in-house wellness portal. WODs are posted on the portal every night at midnight to keep employees training for the unknown. Times, weights, and reps are self-recorded for every workout.

Every few months, regular participants re-test certain workouts and biometric outcomes. I have found that while our wellness program is effective and continues to enhance the quality of life for Garver employees, adding functional fitness classes that are available across the Garver footprint have improved overall results faster.

  • 62% of employees decreased waist measurements
  • 87% of employees decreased overall cholesterol
  • 75% of employees decreased their blood pressure
  • 87% of employees decreased their triglycerides
  • 62% of employees decreased their A1c

All of our employees are considered Garver Wellness Athletes. In October of 2018, I launched the Garver Wellness Instagram page. Garver employees, along with the rest of the world, can see what Garver Wellness is up to on a regular basis. We celebrate Garver athletes and use the platform to promote healthy lifestyles across the globe. #GarverWellness @Garver_Wellness 

Garver Wellness holds a monthly segment, Workplace Wellness, on a local TV station, Fox16 Good Day, where tips on staying healthy at work are shared throughout the viewing area. This not only allows Garver Wellness to change lives within Garver Nation, but also throughout central Arkansas.

Opt-in company-wide standing desks, Free Fruit Friday, and monthly live-stream yoga sessions have also been part of the behavioral and culture change I have brought to Garver. But it is not just Garver nation I am improving and contributing to. Spouses, family members, and even strangers who come across our media outlets are gaining overall health and wellness education via Garver Wellness.

With all of these factors playing in to one wellness program, the culture and satisfaction has continued to improve; in 2018, we had nearly 100% participation within the program. Additionally, according to claims benchmark data, Garver’s covered population exhibits metabolic, or “lifestyle disease,” markers less than the national average. Claims costs for these diseases are also below the national average of paid claims. Claims costs for unhealthy behavior accounted for only 2% of our total paid claims in 2018.

Employees actively use the hashtag on social media to show how Garver Wellness has helped them. Garver Wellness is contagious and it’s the only condition I WON’T be preventing!

3.

As wellness practitioners, we have the opportunity to play a role in breaking down the barriers needed to help individuals reach the quality of life they deserve. We can’t educate or make preventative suggestions if we don’t listen to what those barriers are. To help advance Garver and the Health Promotion industry, I plan to continue to listen. I want to continue to meet employees at their current situation and strive to build life-changes that will lead to healthier, more stable lifestyles in the future. Employees look to their Wellness Team as the trusted health professionals they see daily. We have the ability to create innovative, thorough wellness programming that address barriers and make each employee feel individualized and unique. All we have to do is listen and dare them to realize just how powerful they really are.

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Photos

Whitney Gorsegner, MS, CHES, CF-L1 Lunch Time Yoga Best Firm Friday at Garver HA Group Fitness Class
profile photo Posted by
Sarah P.
Wellness Team Manager, Garver USA View Sarah P.'s Profile.
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