I have worked in the health and wellness industry for over 8 year. I love what I do and am privileged to be able to spend my time working with the individuals and organization that I am a part of. I currently work as the Senior Health and Wellness Specialist for Garmin International. Garmin is a global company dedicated to the product development and creation of superior products in the aviation, marine, automotive, fitness and outdoor recreation markets. Garmin currently employs 4,000 associates in the U.S. I have received WELCOA and AFAA certifications and am a member of the WELCOA faculty.
I took an interest in Health Promotion in college, realizing I could help others stay on track with a healthy lifestyle and also educate and empower those who are struggling with getting started. I received my bachelor’s degree in Health Promotion and have enjoyed every minute working in this field. I am proud to be a member of the WELCOA faculty and love being able to share WELCOA information with our leadership team as well as use it to further my own knowledge and expertise in the area of wellness.
Success may be measured in a number of ways, whether it’s the credentials one holds or percent reduction in healthcare claims as a result of one’s efforts. I find that I demonstrate success in many capacities of my personal and professional roles. We have experienced so many successful programs with our associates at Garmin. Since the inception of our wellness program, we have been able to affect nearly every facet of wellbeing to allow associates the ability to focus on their needs at that time. Our successes have come from physical activity challenges (29% of participants recorded more than 10,000 daily steps on average during a recent program; another 27% achieved on average 7,500-9,999 steps), support of local races and recreation leagues for associates, engagement and participation in community-based events with nonprofit organizations (raised over $15k for onsite corporate relay for life event). We’ve also offered nutritional programs, onsite farmer’s market events, stress reduction campaigns, educational book studies, financial fitness series, annual biometric screenings and health risk assessments (62% participation in 2014 with 6% of our population moving into the zero-risk category of the screening over two years). Other healthy efforts include collaboration with our employee assistance program, lifestyle coaching, mindfulness practices (196 participants), onsite exercise facilities and workout classes (averaging 24 participants in class), volunteer opportunities and much more. It is not that we offer one specific intervention to help our population succeed, rather the recognition that everyone is at a different place in the journey of achieving balanced wellbeing, and we want to offer a variety of offerings to help individuals be more successful. We also educate our population on the importance of data collection from outcome-based information, followed by action on the behaviors that need positive enhancement. Our wellness program has had a positive impact on associate morale and culture, and we are fortunate to have leadership that recognizes wellness is worth our time as an organization and is willing to work toward a supportive environment. The seven benchmarks for our organization are ever-evolving and expanding into additional opportunities. These benchmarks help keep our program grounded and focused on the big picture for what we hope to achieve and accomplish over time.
I pride myself on striving for constant progression, not perfection, which is what I encourage others to do. For me, walking the walk includes practicing a balanced wellbeing through exercise, nutrition, community engagement, sleep, relationship building, practicing mindfulness and meditation and more. I want to serve as a role model for those I work with, my family and children as well as the community. I am able to lead others by the clear, concise decisions I make to surround myself with those who are also influential leaders. By my sheer determination to improve the lives of others around me, I have become confident, persistent and a visionary of what lies ahead for wellness in any role I hold as an advocate and leader. I firmly believe that if you are determined, care about the genuine happiness and health of others and are in tune with the ever-changing health field, you will be successful in your field and in life.
I believe innovation truly comes from within. We are all capable of creating new concepts and ideas if we allow ourselves the time and mental break to encourage innovation. I have created individual components of wellness to engage our associates based on what is important to them as well as what is crucial for our population entirely. Some examples include painting the stairwells to encourage more use, establishing an onsite workout space, hosting guided meditation classes onsite, specifying a private meditation room, offering nutritional classes and one-on-one sessions, hosting documentary screenings and lunch-n-learns and much more. I’ve also watched our preventative care visits increase and those in at-risk categories for metabolic syndrome shift from high to medium to low over the past few years. Inside our walls, there has been an overall morale and culture shift to believe that attention to wellbeing is crucial for our associates.
I see a very strong future for workplace wellness. There is still a long road to travel and it will require determined, forward-thinking individuals to stay on the health promotion path. In the next 5 years, there must be a push to narrow the gap between employee wellness and insurers/providers. In order for organizations to support behavior change as the main mode of lifestyle changes, we must create policies to support this and improve our healthcare systems. Employers are offering these programs because it is the right thing to do and they genuinely care about the wellbeing of their people. Using that momentum and the engagement of others, I plan to help create additional support through both personal and professional environments at the workplace and within my community.