Champions of Health & Fitness 2010
Pages in this Story:
- Running Buddy: Anne Mahlum
- First Lady of Health: Michelle Obama
- Comeback Queen: Serena Williams
- Morale Booster: Julie Wilkes
- Gadget Gurus: James Park and Eric Friedman
- Mayor on a Mission: Mick Cornett
- Mind-Body Visionary: Donna Karan
- Pedal Pusher: Mia Birk
- Food Safety Superstar: Margaret A. Hamburg, MD
- Play Masters: Jamie Dukes, Rich Eisen, and Scott Hanson
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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