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Champions of Health & Fitness 2010

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Morale Booster: Julie Wilkes

Talk about going the extra mile for your colleagues. When Julie Wilkes saw the toll that long hours were taking on her coworkers, she didn't just put a comment in the suggestion box. In her spare time, Wilkes set up wellness offerings for employees in her Columbus, Ohio, office and in the U.S. offices of the consulting firm Accenture.

After convincing higher-ups that such measures would boost productivity, Wilkes launched a program that awarded a $100 health reimbursement to participants for walking a million steps, arranged for discounts at fitness and weight-loss centers, and recruited colleagues to schedule monthly local events, such as cooking classes. Six years later, many of her initiatives are now offered to the company's 30,000 U.S. employees as part of their benefits.

Where does Wilkes's extraordinary dedication come from? "I'm just passing the gift of fitness forward," says the workout buff. Born with a congenital heart defect, Wilkes wasn't expected to live beyond age 12. "But then my fifth-grade gym teacher introduced me to running, my heart got stronger, and here I am." And lucky for her colleagues, she's showing no signs of slowing down.

-- Caroline Hwang

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shell813@gmail.com wrote:

What a great story - kuddos!

3/26/2010 01:16:40 PM Report Abuse

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