This is part of a series of profiles of staff members who contribute to successful CAP operations.
In a nutshell, what do you do for CAP?
I design, develop and implement the CAP Wellness Program. We provide a variety of programs, including individual nutrition and fitness consultations, onsite health and wellness classes, screenings, instructional videos, exercise and weight/inch loss challenges, an annual blood draw with health risk assessment and more.
How did you get into this line of work?
As a teenager and young adult, I was overweight. I was into academics, nerdy and not at all athletic. Although I had a rewarding career as an English and Social Studies teacher, I was heading for poor health at a young age. In the mid-90s, I started eating right, strength training and competing in fitness and figure competitions. I was able to transform my health, reversing multiple health problems. I felt inspired to help others – it’s amazing how one can reverse and prevent most chronic diseases with proper nutrition.
I went back to school for another degree and become a Registered Dietetic Technician, as well as a fitness trainer. In that process, I transitioned from teaching academics to designing a health, nutrition and fitness curriculum and coaching cross-country. My students wanted to eat healthy and many of them made significant changes, such as quitting soda. However, I quickly realized that pre-teens and teens do not have control over household food-buying decisions. I realized that to help transform the health of young people, I needed to work with their parents and grandparents to make meaningful lifestyle changes. I wrote a book and left my decade-long teaching and coaching career in 2004 to pursue corporate wellness consulting and speaking full-time.
How does the work you do on a daily basis affect our water supply?
My job is to support CAP employees in their efforts to obtain and maintain optimal health and wellness. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, employees who are healthy and fit are more productive and have fewer injuries, sick days and absenteeism.
What's the most challenging part of your work?
I travel to bring Wellness face-to-face to nearly 500 employees all along the 336-mile canal. I could not facilitate half of the programs we offer and still meet employees individually and in groups without the support of our amazing administrative staff and the CAP Wellness Committee.
What's the most gratifying part of your job?
I look forward to coming to work because CAP employees are motivated to improve their health and wellbeing. It makes my day when people tell me they feel better and have more energy. It’s encouraging to weigh and measure people who are losing weight and inches as time goes by. There is nothing like working with someone to attain improvements in lab work and reduce or eliminate medications. I stay in touch with retirees who are staying healthy and enjoy working out every day.