My dream job became a reality in 2001. After 15 years of experience in fitness and wellness, Saint Luke’s Health System of Kansas City selected me to serve as the Health Enhancement Manager for Husch Blackwell, a law firm with five regional offices.
In 2001, corporate wellness was just getting off the ground. I was thrilled to be chosen and eager to use my ideas to create and implement a brand new program. On my first day, however, a woman stood in my office baring her rash-covered arm asking for my advice. I realized I was needed, but I needed help too. What was I expected to do? How was I going to help these individuals without a game plan?
I quickly discovered WELCOA and its resources. These have been instrumental in helping me successfully develop and lead a results-oriented program for what has now become an international law firm. Our wellbeing program serves 16 offices and more than 1,400 attorneys, paralegals and staff. I am able to assist individuals with all their wellness needs; including stress reduction, developing and maintaining healthy lifestyles, and yes, even rashes.
Carolyn Marney, Health Enhancement Manager and CSO (Chief "Shift" Officer)
1. Professional Development
While working at Kansas State University’s cancer research lab, I realized I belong with people not cells and Petri dishes. I switched degrees and graduated with honors in Exercise Science. I keep up-to-date in our ever-changing industry because “good enough” isn’t good enough for me. My certifications from ACSM, WELCOA, Cooper Institute, Back School of Atlanta and Spencer Institute include coaching, personal training, nutrition, wellness and ergonomics. WELCOA’s summits provide me with knowledge, resources and dancing with my twin, Dr. Ann. I was honored to receive WELCOA’s Faculty status and the Women's Intersport Network for Kansas City’s “Spirit" award.
2. Demonstrated Success
Using WELCOA’s seven benchmarks, we designed the Firm's first outcome-based wellness challenge.
Onsite biometric screening and HRA data indicated our top risk factors were stress and obesity. As part of our 2014 operating plan, we crafted strategies to reduce these risk factors and included resources in our budget to support this effort. We chose Dr. Ann’s “Weigh Less For Life” because we knew our folks enjoyed book-based challenges. From previous challenge feedback, we learned individuals prefer short emails and videos, so we designed brief emails with links to Dr. Ann’s videos and our very own wellbeing resource page on the Firm's intranet. To be all-inclusive, individuals selected their “group” - weight loss or weight maintenance. To impact the culture and create a sense of “fun”, individuals could compete on teams. At the end of the year, three offices with the greatest success will receive a trophy and congratulations from the firm’s Chairman.
Stage 1 focused on weight management and began with individual assessments of weight and waist circumference. The first stage concluded with post assessments and a program evaluation.
The challenge was a huge success!
Stage 1 Outcomes
Overall (192 Attorneys, Paralegals and Staff completed successfully)
Weight Loss Group (95 Individuals)
Improved Health (Self-Reported via Evaluations)
We are currently in the second stage, which focuses on stress management, and look forward to similar success stories.
If anyone is looking for me during my break they can find me running down Kansas City’s old trolley track, rolling on a foam roller or eating plain Greek yogurt with almonds. Other times, I just sit outdoors, enjoy the weather and practice deep breathing for stress relief.
My law-firm team consists of five very talented professionals. As their leader, my goal is to nurture them to become leaders as well. I encourage their creativity and individualism. Our team is successful due to our talents, ideas and passion for people.
I’m fortunate to be a member of a large team at Saint Luke’s Health System, consisting of approximately thirty health enhancement professionals. I provide training, education, mentoring and leadership to the members of the group.
My advice to others is to be true to yourself, always be open to learning and laugh every day.
I love to exercise and would gladly do it for others, if possible. So when my employer, Saint Luke’s, announced its new program focused on exercise, I thought, “This doesn’t apply to me, I already exercise.” The programs I was offering to my law-firm clients also focused on one behavior. How could I do things differently?
I spent over a year creating “Total YOU”, a program allowing participants to select their own area of focus; Life Balance, Nutrition, Physical Activity or Self Care. Within each area, participants chose goals and healthy habits to incorporate into their lifestyle. To ensure success, our intranet page provides numerous resources, tools and online “Habit Tracker” tailored to these areas, goals and habits.
The key element of this innovative program is to allow participants a choice to work on what is important to them. The program isn’t finished, but the feedback is tremendous so far.
5. Compelling Vision
Health and wellness promotion professionals will have to continue to prove their value, especially now, when businesses are cutting back. However, by shifting focus to enhanced performance and an emphasis on stress management, this should be an easy task. This shift opens the door for new opportunities and expanded visions. Our strategies will complement those of business leaders. It’s exciting to imagine the possibilities for the next five years. I’ve begun incorporating elements of happiness, motivation, purpose and performance in our programs. “Shift” happens! I’m excited and grateful for my dream job.