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8 Wellness Program Leaders Share Their Secret to Creating An Award Winning Program

By Mark Bailey, Jr.
Published May 19, 2014

8 Companies With Award Winning Wellness Programs Share Their Secret to Success

The First Coast Worksite Wellness Council (FCWWC) just held their annual Healthiest Companies Award Ceremony in Downtown Jacksonville on Wednesday, May 14th, and we are thrilled to announce that 13 of our clients were honored for their commitment to employee health and wellbeing.

We feel incredibly lucky to work with so many companies that understand the value of having healthy employees, not just as a tool to reduce health care claims cost, but as a way to make positive changes in the lives of their employees for years to come.

We sat down with 8 of those 13 honorees to find out what the “secret sauce” has been in developing their company’s award winning wellness program.

“Create a diverse team with a passion for wellness”

Beth Peeler, Human Resource Generalist
First Coast YMCA

“Creating a large diverse team of staff members who have a passion for wellness is key to the success of a wellness program. The more minds involved in the team, sparks creativity and new ideas to consistently improve the program’s progress. Also, there are more ‘cheer leaders’ to discuss the program and answer questions throughout the organization.”

“Start with the end goal in mind”

Jennifer Smith, MBA, PHR, Benefits & Compensation Manager
Brooks Rehabilitation

“Take the time to really think about what results you want and how to track and validate those results in advance of action. Wellness is so diverse it is easy to try dozens of different things (which we have), but now I see the importance of starting with the end in mind and focusing on fewer goals.

I would also suggest keeping a master calendar of EVERYTHING you do during the year; you will be amazed at what you have done when you look back. “

“Celebrate employees’ successes and encourage them through their struggles”

Aubree Rickerson, Human Resource Generalist
The Jacksonville Bank

“You have to be passionate, compassionate, enthusiastic and consistent. It’s a process for people that often requires change to their current habits and that isn’t always easy. Celebrate their successes and encourage them through their struggles. Even if just one person is changed from the program then to me, it’s a success.”

Burkhardt Sales and Service

“Support has to start from the top”

Beverly Benson, HR Manager
Burkhardt Sales and Service

“Support has to start from the top in order for the employees to want to participate in a wellness program. Without upper management support, it wouldn’t be possible to create a culture that embraces wellness. If management is onboard and actively participating, employees will follow.”

“Create a program your employees want to participate in”

Shelley Minzenberg, Assistant Vice President – Wellness Director
Ring Power Corporation

“Listen to your employees. If you create what they are interested in, they will be more likely to engage in the program. Make it fun and let them know you are participating as well. Healthy employees make happy employees, which makes productive employees. Let them know you are doing it for them. You want them around for a long, long time. Let them know you care about them. They are all important, from the Janitor to the President.

Everybody counts and deserves the same courtesy and attention. You should know the Janitor’s name as well as the President’s name. Include everyone in the program. Remember, with a wellness program, if you save one person’s life by helping them adopt a healthy lifestyle, you have a successful program.”

Community Hospice and Palliative Care logo

“Commit to the wellness goals of the organization”

Liz Perez, Vice President of Human Resources
Community Hospice and Palliative Care

“In order to have a successful wellness program, you need to make sure the Wellness Committee is engaged and committed to the wellness goals and strategies of the organization.”

“Develop personal relationships”

ReShawndia Mitchell, MPH, CHES, CWPC, Benefits & Wellness Specialist

“Developing personal relationships with as many employees as you can is key.  This increases your credibility and provides you with a network of wellness champions that will assist you in communicating your program offerings and encouraging participation, as well as reaching those employees/work areas that you may not be able to physically get to.  It’s also very important to ensure that your goals are properly aligned with the business’ goals, as well as the needs of the employee population to ensure sustainability from a financial and participation standpoint.”

“Build a strong foundation first”

Magen Strimple, CHES, Wellness Administrator
Acosta Sales and Marketing

“At Acosta our wellness program is integrated into our benefits model with Choice, Education, and Wellness as our foundation. Associates are empowered to take charge of their health, wealth, wellness, and self by completing an annual health risk assessment, biometric screening, and several other wellness activities. By participating in these activities, associates learn about their current state of health, the impact of their behaviors and actions, and are rewarded with cash incentives, health care plan premium discounts, and the knowledge to improve their personal health.

Acosta believes that a wellness program is successful when it is supported with a strong foundation that builds intrinsic motivation to allow associates to take small steps towards a balanced, healthy, happy life.”


Mark Bailey, Jr. is the Senior Marketing Manager of NFP's Atlantic region. Before joining the company, Mark was a production assistant on the tv show Glee and an on-air talent on 95.1 WAPE. He has over 10 years of experience in the insurance and corporate benefits space. Mark is an avid Jacksonville Jaguars fan and loves to spend his free time building custom mechanical keyboards.