ENTRY FROM: The Top 100 Health Promotion Professionals

Nominee: Jeanne Barker

Manufacturing is Alive and Now it is Well Too!

Wellness comes to manufacturing! While I have been a wellness consultant for over 10 and had the pleasure of working in many fields, my most recent wellness work is in manufacturing. There is a great joy in being the wellness coordinator for a sector of the workforce that is often overlooked. It is on the backs of manufacturing workers that so much has been built. Tempel Steel is a family owned business with 550 employees. I am honored to share their wellness journey. Described here is just a part of what we are building together at Tempel Steel. Wellness for all!

Jeanne Says: Be Well, Plan On It! Individuals and organizations alike need to have a vision of their wellness, design their wellness and then live their wellness! Being the guide to do that is my role and I am honored to be a part of the process. Meet peo

Professional Development

I went to college as an adult and encourage others to follow their passion and don’t let your age discourage you from a new career path. I decided to become a wellness professional when a lifelong personal passion for wellness became a professional opportunity. This was when a change in careers allowed me to pause, review my strengths and skills and proceed on this journey. That change happened for me over 10 years ago. Since then I have earned a B.S. in Health Promotion, Masters in Public Health, Masters of Science in Management and Organizational Behavior. My PhD studies begin in 2015. To date, most valuable has been the MPH. I just sat for the CHES exam and expect that to be very valuable.

I have been enriched by other professional development and have earned the following: WELCOA Faculty Status, CWWPM, ACSM Personal Trainer, 12 fitness certifications, Facilitator-American Lung Assoc. & Consumer Wellness Advocate programs, CDC Diabetes Prevention Program Lifestyle Coach, Health Coach (IPEC).

For my organization, we have received the Bronze Level City of Chicago Healthier Vending.

Demonstrated Success

An intervention called Rock Solid addressed several health and business issues; injury, stress, presenteeism, lifestyle diseases such as blood pressure and BMI. It is a 10 minute beginning of shift exercise program that includes breath work and health and safety tips.

Health status improvement included a 30% improvement in the Stanford Presenteeism Scale. Improvements in Function Movement Screening results pre/post program.

Post scoring resulted in a 60% risk reduction of on the job injury. Blood pressure decreased on average 12 points. BMI reduction of exercise group was a total of 5%. This converts into lost time and health care savings of $350,000.

Behavior change included incorporating daily exercise into the plant worker’s lives, mindfulness practices through breath work, stress reduction practices, mind body connection exercises, healthier eating choices and improved work safety habits. The daily exercises are also peer led so employees volunteer to be trained as exercise leaders. This gives everyone a chance to improve their leadership skills and demonstrate to the company their dedication to the program’s success.

Rock Solid contributes to the whole person’s wellbeing.  This program gave employees the power to influence their health, safety and personal energy. It made them feel cared for by their employer. This contributed to a great morale surge. This is a great step towards being an employer of choice and makes for aretention and recruiting tool. The organization demonstrated support for the plant employees through funding this program. The program takes place daily, on company time. Superiors participate in the exercise sessions. All of this was to begin a new cultural attitude of ‘This is how we do things around here.”


1.  Presented business case for worksite wellness and released CEO letter to employees announcing wellness plans.

2. Created Wellness Ambassador team and Wellness Leads for specific events. Members reflected the population.

3. Conducted annual health screenings, HRA and interest surveys.

4. Operating plan was chosen based on strategic needs of the organizations, including appropriate use of resources and with inclusion of employee wants.

5. Based interventions on ability to address multiple levels of wellness and to include the many different populations at the company. Designed to be fun and easy.

6. Environmental changes included vending options, healthy eating team chats and stocking refrigerators with healthy snacks free of charge.

7. Evaluating outcomes was conducted through post intervention screenings and opinion surveys.


To walk the talk means to be authentic, a must for someone who represents wellness. It does not mean being perfect. My best habits for living a healthy lifestyle are good quality sleep, eating clean and local, exercising daily and having fun while doing it all.

My brand of leadership is servant leadership. Life experiences have brought me to the level of leadership I now have. I owned a small chain of retail stores previous to my wellness career, again a service industry. Those skills as an entrepreneur, teaching customers and employees, taught me how to not just listen but to hear the needs of people.

My advice, be a great resource, get a quality education and find a mentor. Let your passion show in all you do. Work on understanding the strategic “view from the balcony” as well as the work needing to be in the trenches. This will develop one’s ability to envision the strategic role of their health promotion efforts.


One example is a program I call “Well Leaders Lead Well”. It is a focus on middle management leaders and the wellbeing they need to lead well. It was 3 sessions over 3 months, one-on-one wellness sessions.  In turn they are able to give from a place of “health wealth” to their subordinates. While this was not intended to directly affect any cost savings, leaders we were able to discuss their personal wellness goals and make a plan on how to achieve them. Their personal behavior changes had environmental support due to wellness now being in the workplace. This lead to a quality of life improvement for the middle management leaders. I begin my wellness programming with this program. It gave me a personal relationship with each manager. And it gave them the time and attention they had never experienced before.

Compelling Vision

 The biggest threat or opportunity in the next 5 years is to have quality professionals using accepted standards and evidence based programming.  Also, to move organizations from strictly traditional ROI measures to additional value that reflects improvement in the workforce and benefit to its future competitiveness and growth.

I will be focusing on Wellness and its intersection with organizational development. Worksite wellness cannot allow itself to get trapped into “a nice thing to have”. It must  demonstrate its value in all areas of an organization. 

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Jeanne Says: Be Well, Plan On It! Individuals and organizations alike need to have a vision of their wellness, design their wellness and then live their wellness! Being the guide to do that is my role and I am honored to be a part of the process. Meet peo
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Comments 5

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Jeanne's amazing personality is contagious. I've really enjoyed all of her passion for people for many years. I've known her for over 12 years and the growth she has gone through in the wellness community has been amazing. She has changed my life for the better and I can not thank her enough. Everything she does, she does with amazing drive and determination. Amazing person to have aboard. Thank you Jeanne.

Brian B. on 11/10/2014

Jeanne is the best Zumba instructor ever! I have to force myself to exercise and get to the gym, but I will rearrange my schedule just to go to her class. I have so much fun I forget I'm working out. In fact, I'm going to her Zumba class tonight!

Jen B. on 11/10/2014

Jeanne is the epitome of wellness, living what she teaches and advocates. Over several years, I have taken a variety of aqua classes from her, plus I work with her as a stretch client. She keeps me aware of what I need to do to deal with the changes from aging and the effects of living with chronic pain.

Lois R. on 11/09/2014

Jeanne has striven for a life of wellness and balance and encouraged all to do the same in their lives long before consulting came into the picture. It has, and continues to be an incredible journey for her. If you know her, then you have been enthusiastically invited to be open to taking your own personal journey to wellness. She will be your most ardent supporter.

Alan C. on 11/08/2014

Jeanne's enthusiasm & optimism are contagious. She has such passion for wellness, you can't help but feel better about yourself and your journey after a few minutes. I've been a fan, follower, and a friend for 4 years and she has definitely made an impact on my health!

Jesica P. on 11/08/2014

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