Top 5 Highlights from the Emerging Trends in Wellness Conference
Wondering what’s next and what’s best in wellness? Our virtual 7th Annual Emerging Trends in Wellness Conference took place last week and we’ve captured the top highlights below. Our First Ever Virtual Conference It wasn’t how we expected to run our conference this year, but we made the transition to our first ever virtual conference in less than a month. While a virtual conference doesn’t lend itself to the same type of networking opportunities, it did open up interesting, new possibilities. We were able to draw attendees from across the country and no one had to pay for airfare, hotels or meals. We were able to give our sponsors and exhibitors time to present during the conference. And our participants were able to be more active than at a typical conference – some listening to sessions while exercising or stretching (or helping with home-schooling?). Despite the challenges presented by this format change, we received incredibly positive feedback from attendees about their experience at our virtual event. Our Speakers On the first day of the conference, our industry panel addressed industry-specific trends in employee well-being and provided informative tips for the financial, construction, manufacturing and healthcare industries. Throughout the day other speakers covered a range of well-being topics, including how to develop a connected workplace by addressing loneliness, stress and depression in the workplace; how to overcome the barriers to wellness in blue-collar workers; how to create wellness opportunities by developing a well-designed work environment and how to engage committees and champions to create a structure for wellness sustainability Speakers provided invaluable tips in light of the current pandemic with several noting that staying connected to your workforce and customers during the COVID-19 health crisis and finding out how you can help them is more important now than ever. Attendees were also advised that messages from management should convey positivity and empathy. Adaptability and resilience were also common themes as speakers noted that now is the time to be flexible and embrace change. The second day of the conference featured a day of leadership topics designed to help HR, benefits and wellness attendees develop and grow as professionals. A leadership panel provided attendees with strategies for initiating well-being and other tactical organizational changes. Speakers also discussed why mindfulness is a secret weapon for successful leaders and the importance of emotional intelligence in creating great leaders.
Our Conference Sponsors and Exhibitors Our sponsors and exhibitors rose to the opportunity when our conference transitioned into a virtual event. Rather than meeting with individuals who stopped by their booth, they had the opportunity to present to all attendees during the two-day conference and provide information about their products and services. We greatly appreciate the support of Platinum Sponsor Dayzz, gold sponsor Bevi and exhibitors Fun to Eat Fruit, Knead and LVNGbook.
Our 2020 Certified Best Wellness Employers Five of the organizations that achieved 2020 Best Wellness Employer gold certification discussed their tips for success during an engaging and interactive panel. Speakers from the City of Portland, Maine; EMD Serono, Rockland; John Hancock Life Insurance Company; Maine Veterans' Homes and Systems Engineering shared insights on best practices and provided real life examples of how to overcome challenges when starting and growing an employee wellness program. Speakers also addressed the results and how to achieve them: Tina Wiskow from John Hancock Life Insurance told attendees “Wellness promotes a high performing team, which is a strategic priority for our organization” while Michael Gray from Systems Engineering noted “Coaching is the key to our success. That’s where we’re going to get the most bang for our buck.” WWDI Graduates 95 Interns The current class of the Wellness Workdays Dietetic Internship concluded with a final Class Day on April 3. This year’s class included 95 students who focused on one of three areas of practice: Worksite Wellness and Health Promotion, Sports Nutrition & Entrepreneurship or Nutrition Communications and Marketing. Throughout the year our students interned with esteemed organizations including the Pittsburgh Pirates, Duke University, the University of Notre Dame, the Boston Celtics, the Utah Jazz, the UCLA Vatche & Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases, the Monte Nido Eating Disorder Center, Living Plate, EXOS, the University of Kansas, Alabama State University, Inside Tracker, the National Dairy Council, the Albuquerque Police Academy, the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, Boston College, the Food Bank of Santa Barbara County, New York Community Hospital and New England Baptist Hospital. Our program has quadrupled in the past seven years and we now have interns and graduates from 48 of the 50 states. If you weren’t able to attend this year’s virtual conference, we’ll be featuring various articles throughout the year on the topics our speakers highlighted throughout the two-day event. Plan ahead and save the dates for the 8th Annual Emerging Trends in Wellness Conference on April 7-8, 2021. Location or virtual? TBD so please stay tuned. Thanks for all of your support.