Karen Leingang has been a Wellness Connection Champion since the program started in 2015. She continually brings great ideas, insightful feedback, and a positive & inclusive attitude to our program.
Some of Karen’s most notable accomplishments include:
- Regular communication of Wellness Connection programs;
- Volunteering on the Champion Leadership committee;
- Helped to organize a pilot Blood Pressure Campaign at North Campus;
- Organized a De-Stress Zone for her department; and
- Arranged for Wellness Connection team members to speak to WU Toast Masters group.
Wellness Connection’s goals include preventing serious disease and chronic illness, which can be difficult to measure. However, we are able to see a direct, measurable correlation of Karen’s efforts as a Champion. Registration for one of our onsite screening events needed a boost, so Karen volunteered to post flyers around her building. The remaining 30 appointment spots booked up within a couple of hours of her efforts; many of Karen’s colleagues got their screenings and learned potentially life-saving information about themselves.
Karen, you’re doing a great job as a Wellness Champion for your department. Can you provide some insight on the initiatives you’ve implemented?
The main reason why I enjoy being a Wellness Champion for my department is because I like helping others.
We all get bombarded with emails, so it can be easy to miss communications about flu shot clinics, onsite screenings, and other wellness related emails. As a Wellness Champion, I receive this information in an e-newsletter, but I also hear it in-person at meetings and receive fliers to post around the department. This relationship with Wellness Connection helps me stay aware of the events that are happening around the university. With that in mind, I feel that I can make a difference by making sure more people are aware of the benefits that are available to them, and encourage my coworkers to take advantage of those benefits by:
- Sharing information in Teams;
- Posting fliers on the bulletin boards;
- Sending targeted emails to people who I know have participated in similar events in the past or have asked me when the next event is;
- Strongly encouraging and reminding co-workers to participate in the events; and
- Personally inviting them to join me to attend events.
Whenever there’s an activity challenge, I create a team and invite co-workers to participate. Many of my co-workers are already active, but they may not take the step of enrolling on their own. This way, more people have the opportunity to increase their activity level and earn rewards.
Something a lot of us deal with is the feeling that there isn’t enough time in the day to prioritize acts of wellness. I know some people are reluctant to take time to partake in activities because of their workloads, which can be a real barrier to participation. After I talk with them about the benefits of taking time for self-care and how the University supports employee participation in Wellness Connection programs, they learn how easy it can be to participate. The rewards can be a nice incentive, too! In some ways, being a Champion is like being a sales person and finding the best pitch to get people interested.
Karen, thank you for your creative and impactful efforts to support your team and foster a culture of health and wellness in your work area.
If you’d like to learn more about the Wellness Connection Champion network, check out our website: hr.wustl.edu/wellness-connection/champions/.