Workplace wellness starts with one person—it could be you!

Local spotlight: United Way of Central Indiana employee inspires, supports co-workers

Can a single individual impact company culture enough to trigger healthier habits in the workplace? Jeffrey Wilson, administrative assistant at United Way of Central Indiana (UWCI), did.

Jeffrey Wilson of United Way

If you schedule a meeting with Jeffrey, he’ll likely arrive with a simple gift for you: a bottle of water and a banana, for instance. His passion for serving others—and his commitment to UWCI’s mission to help others learn more, earn more, and live safe and healthy lives—spills over into everything he does.

Four years ago, Jeffrey made a decision to improve his own health by walking daily from United Way’s office—then located near 38th and Meridian— to Butler University and back. He lost more than 25 pounds.

When co-workers asked Jeffrey how he lost the weight, where he walked each day, and how long it took to make the 3-mile roundtrip, he answered by inviting his colleagues to join him. Encouraged by his boss, he created a special event, a company-wide Walk to Butler Day that included healthy treats. As a result of the event, Jeffrey’s unbridled enthusiasm, and his own weight loss success, others got interested in walking every day as well.

Now he’s tackling eating habits. “I know I feel better when I’m drinking water and eating well. It gives me more energy and helps me keep up with my physical activity goals,” says Jeffrey.

Jeffrey wants others to feel good, too. That’s why he brings bowls of fruit and other healthy snacks to the break room on his own dime.

“I encourage myself by encouraging others,” he says. “I am more successful in my own goals when I’m doing good for others, being a light to others.”

Fruit in UWCI break room, the "Hub"

Jeffrey admittedly has special interest in supporting UWCI and its staff. He is not only an employee but also credits the organization for helping him overcome significant physical and cognitive challenges as a child receiving services from the Easter Seals Crossroads Rehabilitation Center.

“Because of the United Way’s support for that program, I overcame many obstacles as a child,” he explains.

UWCI employs more than 120 people and is participating in the initial pilot of Jump IN’s employee wellness coaching program, inspired in part by Jeffrey’s enthusiasm and example.

The organization officially launched its wellness program, WellUnited, this month with a mission to provide a holistic lifestyle approach to enhancing a healthy mind, body, and spirit through activities promoting physical and mental wellness. WellUnited has three goals:

  • Create awareness around a healthy lifestyle
  • Provide access to healthy food options
  • Encourage movement

Jeffrey hopes to lead a Bike to Butler Day to complement other activities the company has initiated to encourage physical activity during the work day. The route will be nearly two miles longer round trip from United Way’s new office at 29th and Meridian.

Did you know that 75% of employees want a workplace wellness program that helps them adopt healthier habits? Learn more about the return on investment in employee wellness, get ideas to inspire your own program, and find out what elements are critical to program success in our brief, easy-to-use guide, 3 Steps to a Healthy Workplace.

3 Steps to a Healthy Workplace - Download the Guide