I am about to do a big thing.
I am about to speak to a room full of 450 fellow professionals. And I have some hard things to say. Remember that blog post where two big league professionals suggested I was “fringe”? I didn’t get that reputation lightly.
I speak up. I speak up a lot, and I challenge the status quo. In a group of 40 of my colleagues, the woman who was the director of wellness for YUM Brands (you know, KFC and Pizza Hut) said, “It is hard to try and create a culture of healthy food in our organization, and I don’t know how to reconcile that.” Someone replied, “quit.” To which I replied, “No, those people deserve health and wellbeing, too.”
At a similar workshop, someone said, “I just don’t think we can move forward without leadership support. That is a requirement for a good program.” To which I replied, “But is it? Do we need a leadership forward movement or can we start a grassroots movement?”
I am known by fellow professionals who find me endearing as the ninja. They don’t see me coming, and my words are sharp like a samurai sword. During this explanation of me, someone said,
“But just when you think the samurai sword is about to pierce, you offer up a lotus flower.”
The lotus flower is a symbol of wisdom. This is everything I have ever wanted to be. Brave enough to be a warrior, but wise enough to know who I am fighting for and that I am not here to take people down.
So back to this big event… The Wellness Council of America holds an annual Summit. I get to be in line with my brilliant friends and colleagues to lead. For those of you who don’t know, the wellness industry has been in a significant wrestle over the past decade. A lot of companies have started wellness programs to reduce medical costs, and a lot of the ways in which we (collectively) responded to that have been harmful. I have seen several of my fellow colleagues leave the industry because the work they intended to do for humanity, to help people live better lives, quickly became about controlling and manipulating those we served.
I have some hard things to say. Like a ninja, I have seemingly come out of nowhere. Also, like a good ninja, I have been watching and waiting and learning.
I have been a student of my experiences these past ten plus years. I am battle tested. I am nervous because I want to serve you well.
I have my sword and I have been cultivating a really lovely lotus flower to offer you.
I hope to see you there! If you will be in Philly, please do find me and say hello. If you aren’t able to make it this year, I’ll be sharing bits of my speech in the months to come. Keep following me here and we’ll keep training to be ninjas together.