Company: Wellness Works
The year was 1984. I was on an entrepreneurial track in Washington, D.C. and eager to work in nutrition, wellness and healthcare. I had just left the Washington Post, where I had been working as a temp, and I was keen to do work I believed in and that would have a large scale impact on public health. I was fortunate to be hired by the founders of Wellness Works: a health promotion company that provided workplace wellness programs.
My first job was on Capitol Hill with the United States Senate and House of Representatives, counselling elected officials on how to eat well. It was a really exciting job. I made “survival kits” and went on a speaking circuit teaching these elected officials how to stay fit and healthy with their demanding schedules. I was able to build key relationships which were instrumental in the expansion of the business to more than 35 federal agencies in Washington, D.C. As such, I was made a managing partner and principal of Wellness Works to scale and implement our programs.
Wellness Works focus was on engaging and motivating employees with the greatest needs by delivering affordable, welcoming and inclusive programs. Working with each federal agency, we supported public servants struggling with obesity, diabetes, hypertension, low back pain, chronic stress, to name a few. In doing so, we used behavioral science and targeted communications outreach to increase workforce adoption and drive community engagement. The delivery of our services was conducted in partnership with Johns Hopkins University and People’s Drug Stores (which was later acquired by CVS). We also partnered with leading sports and wellness brands like Reebok and Rockport to provide rewards to people who tracked their steps to better outcomes. These strategies were leading factors which drove Wellness Works financial success and acceptance as a trusted provider. The relationships I developed and the innovations I brought to the company expanded its impact to more than 100,000 federal and private sector employees across the D.C. area. As a result I became an owner in the company.