Patricia M. Fuller, PhD has dedicated the last 16 years to designing and delivering wellness programs. As the Director of Wellness Engineering for Baldwin Krystyn Sherman Partners (BKS-Partners), Dr. Pat designs creative and holistic workplace wellness programs to help companies increase productivity and profitability by engaging employees and creating vibrant corporate cultures.
Dr. Pat joined BKS-Partners in 2010. BKS-Partners is an insurance brokerage firm specializing in private risk management, commercial risk management, employee benefits and safety and wellness programs. Dr. Pat not only provides confidential wellness coaching, educational seminars and wellness programs to clients, she works individually with each of BKS-Partners’ over 75 colleagues to help them reach their goals.
1. Professional Development
Dr. Pat’s educational and professional designations include: BA, MBA, CPA, MNT, and PhD. She is a Certified Wellcoach and reports that this certification was the most life changing. In 2010, she was board certified in holistic nutrition by HNCB. Her most recent designation is as a member of the WELCOA faculty.
Her interest in wellness began when she managed the “Stress Survival Clinic” at PwC Consulting from 1998-2002. When the firm was acquired, she continued the work on a contract basis and took the opportunity to further her health education. Her areas of research include stress management and eating habits.
2. Demonstrated Success
Nowhere is Dr. Pat’s intervention more evident than in our own organization. The BKS-Partners wellness program combines all of the modifiable aspects of wellbeing under one umbrella called BKS Vitality™. It is supported by BKS University where colleagues participate in training that is not only career-specific, but also addresses safety, stress management, financial wellness, nutrition, rest and relaxation and work/life balance. Each quarter, BKS colleagues participate in activity or lifestyle challenges that routinely have 85-90% participation rates.
BKS-Partners has appeared on the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s Healthiest Employer list for the last four years, earning top place honors in 2014. BKS-Partners celebrated its fourth anniversary as an AHA Gold Level Fit-Friendly Workplace with current plans to be the third company in the Tampa Bay Area to achieve Platinum status.
Dr. Pat believes that the core of any workplace wellness program is stress management. Everyone can relate to stress in the workplace. It also happens that the best ways to manage stress are to exercise, eat well, sleep, engage with family and friends, and to belong to a community. The key is to present lots of options and let people choose how they would like to engage. She immediately follows a stress management presentation with an activity challenge themed to the client’s culture and accessible to everyone, from the first time pedometer wearer to the seasoned triathlete. Some of her themed activity challenges have included:
Where medical trend increases have routinely been in the 10-25% range, BKS-Partners has consistently experienced single digit renewals. Because of our demonstrated commitment to wellness, our insurance company partners are more likely to avail our clients to wellness services such as biometric screening events and free fitness-related giveaways, such as pedometers and water bottles.
Because of the size of our organization, we continue to be a participation-based wellness program. Participation is integrated with our employee benefit plan and is rewarded with a premium holiday at year end. All colleagues are eligible to participate regardless of their enrollment in our medical plan. Those colleagues earn gift cards for year-long participation. Random acts of wellness are rewarded with recognition and prizes as they occur. We have a colleague welfare budget that pays for itself year after year.
Our culture is vitally different. We believe that by creating a work environment that encourages our colleagues to pursue their professional and personal passions, they will pay it forward in commitment and engagement that increases both productivity and profitability. Based on the following accolades, it appears to be working.
Dr Pat is a frequent public speaker. In April 2012, she was asked represent the small employers of Tampa Bay at the first gathering of the One Bay: Healthy Communities Initiative. There, companies rallied and challenged Tampa Bay to Walk to the Moon. BKS-Partners garnered “The Highest Average Miles per Participant Award.” Because of the award, Dr. Pat was featured in the Tampa Bay Times, Personal Best Section, on June 15, 2012.
She most recently addressed the HR professionals of Collier, Lee and Charlotte Counties, Florida on the topic of “Creating a Culture of Wellness.”
Her monthly newsletter, The Supplement, has an avid fan base and she has been a featured contributor to Worth Magazine.
The largest untapped wellness resource is the need for people to belong. For years, work and life were separate entities. Individuals belonged to neighborhoods, churches and schools and they went to work to support their families and their passions. Societal changes, technological advances and economic recession have all conspired to blur the lines. Americans are more and more connected to work and less and less connected to their health. Employers have to step in as they currently occupy the largest share of Americans’ attention.
We at BKS-Partners are piloting our “Power of One” grassroots wellness programs for companies who are challenged with employee engagement with wellness. We believe that by creating a voluntary intensely engaged group of wellness geeks within one corporate community, others too will want to belong. Stay tuned.
5. Compelling Vision
I am not by nature a visionary. I was trained as an accountant. Accountants look back as opposed to forward. I was also trained as an auditor. Auditors look for what is wrong and fix it. As a wellness director, I look for strengths and build on them. I know that wellness is contagious and builds by consistently making one good health decision after another. It snowballs.
In the early 1990’s, I visited a vineyard in Napa. At noon, work stopped. Everyone in the community sat down outside to a freshly prepared meal. They each had a glass of their wine. They talked and laughed with each other. They were fully present with for the entire meal. I carry that image with me and try to recreate it in some fashion wherever I engage.