I currently work as the Health Management Coordinator for EHD, a full service benefit broker in Lancaster, PA. EHD was founded in 1896, and is today one of the region’s largest and most trusted privately held insurance brokers. EHD currently has four offices in PA and over 100 employees. I have had the pleasure of being in the corporate wellness field for 14 years.
Leading by example. My son and I at the Turkey Bowl 5k
I am a proud graduate of Pennsylvania State University with a Master's Degree in Health Education. I am also a CHES and a graduate of Well Workplace University. I am a newly minted WELCOA faculty member. I was motivated to pursue a career in corporate wellness because while my parents were very loving, supportive people but they did not demonstrate a healthy lifestyle to me. They were both smokers, never exercised and were overweight their whole adult lives. Their poor health status limited the extent to which they could enjoy their lives. I became very motivated to adapt better habits early on so that I could live life to the fullest.
My first job in corporate wellness was as an Adult Health Educator at the Byrnes Health Education Center in York, PA. I had the wonderful opportunity to mentor under Dr. Betsy Aumiller who taught me how to create a comprehensive program using the WELCOA benchmarks and how to become an engaging presenter and motivate people to take action. I value my WELCOA faculty status as it has made me a better practitioner.
I have had the opportunity to work on both the consulting side of wellness and as an internal wellness program manager for a global company. I have used the 7 benchmarks to create high impact wellness programs for all size employers from small employers (10 employees) the whole way up to jumbo employers (100,000 employees). My work is full circle from creating policy (tobacco, nutrition, life-balance) to fostering a healthy culture (walking trails, and healthy vending) and finally demonstrating behavior change in employee health. I have taught my clients how to recruit and form cohesive wellness teams and helped brand their program and create mission statements, all things I learned from WELCOA. In my wellness team orientation, I site the 7 benchmarks as strategy that my clients will follow to create their own wellness programs. Since most of my career has been as a wellness consultant, I can not take direct credit for the successes that my clients have seen. I can report that several of my clients have won prestigious wellness awards (WELCOA, AHA Fit Friendly Company., LCBGH Well Workplace Award, etc.) based on programs that I designed and recommendations I have made. In 2010, I created a global Colon Cancer Awareness program for Bentley Systems that was recognized as a "model" program by the American Cancer Society. While at Bentley, I also designed and implemented a comprehensive global tobacco-free workplace initiative within 4 months. Program included: creation of policy and protocol, tobacco-free workplace kits (translated into 22 languages), tobacco cessation programs, and educational materials. Annual ROI is estimated to be $327,000. In addition to my achievements at Bentley, I have worked with many clients to create both policy for a tobacco-free workplace and introduce tobacco cessation programs for employees. I have helped them to reduce the number of tobacco users which resulted in a positive ROI.
Leadership- I embrace a healthy lifestyle and am an avid biker having logged over 400 miles this past summer. I am preparing to run my first half marathon in May, which I am both excited and nervous about. I also make a mean Thai tofu stir fry. I have spent a good amount of time developing myself as a wellness expert and thought leader by continually participating in webinars, belonging to professional organization, attending wellness conferences, and networking with my peers. My philosophy is "when you stop learning you stop living". I always keep my mind open to trying new things and sharing what I have learned with others.
I have been asked to speak at numerous wellness conferences and events and I have served as a judge for the LCBHG Well Workplace Award and used my expertise to evaluate best in class wellness programs. I have mentored several young wellness professional and am often asked for advice. I always tell them 3 things. 1. Get your CHES 2. Become WELCOA certified 3. Network on Linkedin
Innovation- One thing that I have taken the time to do to generate good results is developed keen sense of observation. I have taken time to look at the unique fabric, customs, culture of each client. What does the lobby tell me, what kind of leader is the CEO, what is the breakroom like, what's the energy like at the company, morale, etc. I talk with people at all levels of the organization. I use the wellness team to give candid feedback. I think it is very important that the wellness program look, feel, and sound like their organization. I know what works at one company may not work at another. I design a program that fits their needs and culture. Another strategy that I have used is to interview (and video tape) the CEO of the company regarding his vision for wellness. I have also had the CEO personally invite employees to attend events and I have created a whole campaign around what Sr. Management does to "walk the talk" that they are asking of their employees. At Bentley, oatmeal consumption in the cafe rose by 60% when I focused on how the CEO of the company ate oatmeal every morning and it lowered his cholesterol. I also revamped the cafe to offer healthier items and proper portion sizes.
Compelling Vision- I am very blessed to work in a field that maximizes my personal gifts and talents. I find it very rewarding to motivate and inspire people to embrace a positive lifestyle and enjoy a good quality of life! I would highly recommend the wellness field as I feel it will continue to grow and expand over the next 5 years. I think that one of the threats to wellness in the traditional sense will be if employers decide to drop medical coverage and send employees into the exchanges. However, to counter act this I think wellness practitioners can expand on how wellness also helps with employee retention, morale and productivity. As far as opportunities, I would like to see more focus on mental wellbeing. I am currently working on a mental wellbeing committee through the LCBGH to bring mental wellbeing into the workplace. We will be hosting a Mental Wellbeing Forum for employers in December. In the next 5 years I am going to be investing in developing myself as a thought leader on how to promote mindfulness and positive well mental wellbeing in the workplace.