Not that long ago, a health insurance broker wanted me to purchase a weight-loss program for the employees in the company where I worked.

He wanted me to purchase it sight unseen. This was obviously not okay with me, so he granted me permission to review it. He also said he would be grateful for any feedback I had on the program.  I reviewed it, and we met. I encouraged him to proceed carefully with this program. It was scientifically unsound, and potentially harmful. He shared with me that people who had participated had experienced some negative side effects.  Six months later, I saw him on stage as a sponsor of a large event, selling this very program.

Not that long ago, I considered leaving the corporate wellness industry.  I had just recently met a “colleague” who had been hired by a financial broker as a wellness consultant to their business clients.  This person had zero experience or education in corporate wellness or any related field. Luckily, he was reading all of the WELCOA materials and excitedly told me how fascinating it was to him (since he was reading it for the first time). 

Not that long ago, I walked into a workshop and sat down next to Ryan Picarella.  I didn’t know he was the President of WELCOA. I had a lot to say. I had a lot I was trying to prove. It did not go well. Two weeks ago, when Ryan introduced me as a keynote speaker for the WELCOA Summit, he jokingly shared with the crowd this story of how we met.  And urged the audience to give me another chance if they don’t quite connect with me or my message on the first try.

Not that long ago, I witnessed a group of leaders at WELCOA working their butts off to inspire this still expanding, but desperately struggling industry. They worked tirelessly to help us find our footing. And they are the reason I am still doing this work today.  The conversations we are having today as a result of their audacious, compassionate, and intelligent leadership are so life giving.

The word that keeps coming up in social media comments about this year’s Summit is ENERGIZED.

We have given new hope to the weary practitioners. We gave life to bold conversations about the demoralizing incentives, intrinsic motivation, healthy boundaries, and compassionate leadership for our leaders.  We shared our wounded stories. And we shared our vision for the way forward. I am proud to say we are turning this ship around, and even more excited to say that the authentic, courageous, passionate workplace wellness warriors are taking back our work.  

I am so grateful to be a part of this movement and a part of this troop of wellness warriors.  If you were to total the number of lives we touch as a collective whole, I bet it would be in the hundreds of thousands if not more.

We aren’t backing down. We are leading up. And after this year’s Summit, we know we are in it together.

We know we are not alone when we call out the shenanigans of those who seek to capitalize on our desire for wellbeing in the workplace.  

This is the beginning.  I encourage all of you to consider joining WELCOA.  If you are someone who leads other people in the workplace, you aren’t going to want to miss what’s coming.  We are revolutionizing the way we work and the way we care for people. Text “Amplify” to 484848 to get a copy of the handout from my keynote. Join us!