I’ve been in the field of wellness for over 10 years. However, my passion and purpose in life was discovered at the young age of 8 when someone I love very much was judged and criticized because of their weight. It was at that moment that I unconsciously made a decision towards dedicating my life to have a positive effect on the obesity epidemic. Through the years I’ve emerged myself in trying to understand how various societal factors and issues contribute tremendously to our epidemic of obesity. The fact that we are now facing an even greater epidemic of childhood obesity only reinforces my observations and research. We need to stop pointing the finger at individuals and begin focusing on creating supportive environments, communities and workplaces so that healthy behaviors are supported and encouraged in all facets of our daily lives. We are doing damage to ourselves by consistently making unhealthy the easy choice. America didn’t become obese overnight and the solution won’t happen overnight either. But the risk of doing nothing or continuing to do what we’re doing is far more frightening.
In addition to being a corporate worksite wellness professional, I'm also an empowered woman who is fun loving/ health conscious, a fashionista, mommy and lover of life! Currently, I am the Sr. Health Outcomes Consultant for Willis of San Diego, CA. Willis is a leading global risk advisor, insurance and reinsurance broker who currently employs nearly seventeen thousand people globally and nearly six thousand people in the United States.
I found my passion and obsession with obesity when I was 8 years old after someone made a judgment and mean comment about someone that I love very much. Without knowing anything about this hard working, dedicated, giving and loving person, someone else decided it was ok to judge them because of their size and weight. I'm fed up because society is making us obese and unhealthy. Healthy is not the easy choice in America and this needs to change.
I pursued a career in worksite wellness to have a positive effect on the obesity epidemic. My experience in Toastmasters International has helped me tremendously in effectively communicating the importance of worksite wellness, and articulating the message to a number of audiences.
When I first joined Willis in mid-2012, a few of our clients had adopted wellness strategies within their organizations’. However, as risk advisors, the Willis team knew the value and importance that effective wellness strategies had on mitigating overall costs and risks which is why they hired me. Within 2 years, we have more than tripled the number of clients that have adopted wellness programs as part of their overall business strategies.
Our recommendations for programs and interventions for clients focus on the entire person as a whole, directly addressing all areas of well-being: social, community, financial, career, and physical. While targeted interventions are important, it is equally important to address overall well-being and assuring that employees are engaged in their careers, have purpose in their lives, and are emotionally resilient. By utilizing this approach, we are able to address all lifestyle related disease and risk factors. I use WELCOA’s 7 benchmarks everyday, here are a few examples on how.
Capturing CEO Support:
I’m an empowered and passionate female leader who leads by example. I’m career oriented, have a family and I manage to workout, eat healthy, manage my stress effectively, and I’m genuinely happy about it and embrace every challenge that comes my way. I’ve been able to create a work/life blend because I have found my passion and purpose in life. I have a blog that is dedicated to empowering others to live a higher quality of life, I’m involved in my community and I share my story. Having gone through life changing events and constantly exposing myself to new and different experiences is what has helped me achieve leadership in my field, especially as a woman. The advice that I would give to other wellness practitioners is to know where you want to go and how you want to get there, be authentic, get help in the areas where you need it, and identify what it is that you’re passionate about - be specific.
Rather than simply having a wellness committee or wellness champions, I’ve helped our clients establish a task force that is dedicated to supporting the wellness program.
The task force consists of three layers:
By adopting this approach, clients are able to have representation across all levels of employees, from the c-suite, to middle management all the way down. I’ve helped clients identify roles within each category for example, treasurer, coordinators, communications, etc. This approach has directly impacted their culture and engagement rates. I’m also working on empowering clients to leverage the power of social media and the use of hash tags.
My vision is that we will have a positive effect on the obesity epidemic by focusing on three key areas:
The greatest opportunities I see for the health promotion industry is creating cultures of health in communities and corporations in order to change the health of America. I also see an opportunity to create more jobs for wellness professionals who want to work in this field. In the next five years I plan to further establish myself in the industry and continue doing as many speaking engagements as possible.
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