2019 Worksite Wellness Conference

2019 Worksite Wellness Conference: Living and working Healthfully in a World of distractions

Thursday March 21, 2019
DoubleTree by Hilton Burlington (previously the Sheraton)
870 Williston Road
Burlington, VT 05403
8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.


Conference Agenda

8:00 - Registration and Light Breakfast

9:00 - Welcome and Overview 

9:15 - Commissioners Address

9:30 - Keynote Address, Dawna Ballard

10:30 - Fitness Break and Exhibits

11:00 - Morning Breakout Sessions 

12:00 - Lunch and Worksite Wellness Awards Ceremony

1:30 - Concurrent Fitness Breaks and Exhibits

2:00 - Afternoon Breakout Sessions

3:00 - Poster Session and Networking Hour

4:00 - Close

Session Descriptions

Comprehensive Worksite Wellness: Integrating health, safety and wellbeing - Rebecca Schubert, GMHEC

Total Worker Health™ is a holistic approach to worker well-being which integrates workplace interventions that protect safety and health with activities that advance the overall well-being of workers. There is significant research to support the integration of well-being with risk management. Lifestyle behaviors including nutrition, physical activity, sleep and stress all play a role in well-being and safety. At Norwich University, we have been working toward integrating our traditional employee well-being program with our efforts at risk management and workplace safety and while these efforts are new, preliminary feedback is promising. This breakout session will include information about the Total Worker Health™ model, and will provide examples of TWH initiatives in action at Norwich University.


It’s All Interconnected: Exploring the relationship between family sleep,  employee stress, and work environment - Teresa Stewart, Association of Professional Sleep Consultants

In a world full of commitments and distractions, many are regularly making the decision, either intentionally or as a consequence to other decisions, to sleep less. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have declared sleep deprivation a public health epidemic. The quality and duration of sleep an individual gets impact many areas of their health and wellness. In addition to the impact an individual’s sleep can have on them, it is important to examine how the sleep of others in a family affect each other. Participants will gain a better understanding of infant, child, adolescent, pregnancy, and adult sleep.  In my work, I often say, “sleep is never just about sleep”. When someone says, “my child isn’t sleeping”,  or  “I am not sleeping”, that is just the tip of the iceberg. In this presentation we will explore what is under the iceberg, including sleep biology, the physical environment, stress management, nutrition, fitness and activity, mental and emotional wellbeing. This presentation will help employers and employees alike recognize how optimal sleep of the entire family can benefit employees’ health, work productivity, and the company’s fiscal success.


Lighting Round! Strategies for a Greener Business - Multiple Speakers

This lighting round will cover a variety of topics on how to support healthy employees through environmentally-friendly initiatives. A panel of experts will share tips and strategies for businesses and employees on becoming a green workplace, and why this is important to a worksite wellness program. Topics will include green cleaning, composting for businesses, and more!


Lighting Round! Innovative Wellness Programs in Vermont - Multiple Speakers

Attend this lighting round to learn from other Vermont workplaces who are seeing success with innovative wellness programs.  From financial wellness to health coaching, learn how and why these businesses launched their initiatives and leave with creative ideas for your own workplace.


Moving the Needle on Chronic Disease Prevention—How can worksites create real change? - Ed DeMott and Bethany Yon, Vermont Department of Health

Promoting three major behaviors—healthy eating, physical activity, and smoking cessation - have long been the cornerstones of most traditional wellness programs. However, inconsistent and or low participation rates suggest that many wellness initiatives may lack the finesse and individual appeal required for each employee to realize their own healthier lifestyle. Additionally, worksite wellness efforts can fizzle when policy and environmental change do not accompany wellness programming. This workshop will look at chronic disease prevalence by age, socioeconomic status, emotional health and ability and explore how to achieve and sustain wellness goals. The session will review how to develop policies or guidelines, explore environmental changes and discuss innovative wellness initiatives. Particular attention will be paid to wellness efforts that impact the three main behaviors associated with chronic disease development, especially for populations that are disproportionately affected by chronic disease. 


Nutrition for a Focused Mind - Rebecca Flewelling, Balanced Bodies Balanced Lives

Employers today are concerned with their employees’ health. That’s why it’s no surprise that employer wellness programs have become incredibly popular during the last few years. Despite all the employees currently engaged with employer wellness programs, there are still a significant number of non-participants—nearly 60%- who remain outside of these programs. This session will addresses strategies on how nutrition education can create an inclusive and supportive workplace that engages all employees.


Sustainable Wellness Programs for Small Business: A Worker’s Compensation company partnership - Martha Gagnon, AIM Mutual and Mari Ryan, Advancing Wellness

Increasingly, Worker's Compensation companies recognize the impact health risks have on worker's compensation claims and injury prevention. There is a direct relationship between health status and lost time when an injury occurs.  This session shows the results of a program provided by a worker's compensation insurance company to their policyholders, with the goal of creating sustainable wellness programs, improving the health of their workforces and impacting worker's compensation claims. Drawing on the data collected from 27 participating employers in three cohorts over a three year period, the presentation will identify areas of skill building employers can address that will directly impact both employee healthy and quality of life. This includes life skills in areas such as personal financial management, time management, goal setting and sleep quality. Additionally, the impact on participating employer’s worker’s compensation claims will be examined.


Trivia Quiz Bowl! Vermont Laws for Healthy and Inclusive Workplaces - Heather Wright, WrightJones Law, Alexandra Clauss, Primmer Piper Eggleston & Cramer PC, and Ben Traverse, Downs Rachlin Martin

Attendees will divide into teams and compete against each other while learning about employment-related laws and how to use current laws to support a healthy and inclusive workplace. This session will take place in an exciting quiz bowl format led by local employment law experts. Topics covered will include human resources, ADA compliance, requirements for leave, new pregnancy-related accommodations, and more!  After each completed round, the presenters will provide detailed explanations of the correct answers and answer follow-up questions from attendees.


TotalHealth: Creating a resilient workplace through recovery-supportive practices - Gen Habeck, InvestEAP and Michelle Mortimer, Wellness Works

More than 21 million Americans are struggling with addiction, and 70% of Vermonters with a substance use disorder (SUD) are employed, which has a tremendous impact on our society – and our Vermont workplaces. With so many in recovery, it remains in the best interest of employers to create a resilient and healthy workforce. But recovery-friendly culture isn’t just good for the health of employees overcoming substance use or with an undiagnosed SUD; may of the same components that support recovery also support resiliency and a healthy lifestyle for everyone. The entire spectrum of wellness and total worker health™ should be based in prevention with wraparound services for all employees. Early intervention counseling and resources, help with  family and work/life issues, and critical assessments and referrals to treatment promote a safe and healthy environment for all Vermont workers, including those in active recovery and those at risk for developing a substance use disorder. Being recovery-supportive is synonymous with drug-free. There’s no lowering of safety standards or tolerating drug use in the workplace, which is a common misconception of the term. Rather, we coach managers and wellness leaders on how to approach and connect with the person involved and channel them to appropriate resources and treatment.


Why Wellness Leadership is Essential to Employers of the Future - Marie Frohlich, Liz Dallas, and Paul Toth, Coaching Center of Vermont

This session will launch a discussion on what it takes to become an “Employer of the Future” by recognizing key criteria required to compete for the best employees, with wellness as the foundation of your workplace culture. Participants will gain an a better understanding about how an employer can truly sets employees up for success across the benefit universe and keep long-term, happy workers. The session will explore what makes the most difference to employees, including leadership development, meaning in their jobs and making a contribution to community. Case studies will be shared and an assessment tool provided.


Work Well, Feel Well – Mastering the art of focus in a distracted world - Porter Knight, Productivity Vermont

What would it feel like to feel productive and focused throughout the day? Is it even possible to nurture an outlook of calm with technology pervasively at our fingertips in a culture that glamorizes “busy”? Living and working healthfully in a world of distraction is possible, but it requires resolve, attention, and practice. However, we can learn to strengthen our internal capacity to focus as well as manage our devices and work habits to minimize distraction. Join us for this lively and interactive program to learn tangible strategies and actionable steps you can take to work well and feel well. You’ll leave with tools you can put in place immediately to improve performance, promote health and feel better each day.



Speaker Bios
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Dawna Ballard — Keynote Speaker

Dawna Ballard (Ph.D., University of California at Santa Barbara, 2002) is an expert in chronemics—the study of time as it is bound to human communication. She researches what drives our pace of life and its impact on the communication practices and long term vitality of organizations, communities, and individuals. Recently she has studied the historical and contemporary problems with “work-life balance” discourse, time in navigating professional football careers, the time-sensitive coordination of multidisciplinary children’s advocacy teams, managing the challenges of information overload and 24/7 multitasking cultures, as well as decision tradeoffs between convenience and security in identity management. Dr. Ballard has published an edited book, Work Pressures, as well as numerous peer-reviewed articles in outlets such as Communication Monographs, Communication Research, Small Group Research, Human Communication Research, Management Communication Quarterly, Communication Yearbook, Journal of Applied Communication Research, and KronoScope: Journal for the Study of Time. She is a Public VoicesFellow, Texas Program in Sports and Media Fellow, and a faculty affiliate at the Center for Identity as well as the Center for Health Communication at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research and commentary have been featured in mainstream news outlets such as Huffington Post, Medium, and Women’s eNews and at venues such as SXSW and Creative Mornings. She is a member of the National Communication Association (past Chair, Group Communication Division), International Society for the Study of Time (past Council Member), International Communication Association, Information Overload Research Group, Interdisciplinary Network of Group Researchers, and is an Advisory Board Member of Take Back Your Time. She teaches courses on organizational communication, communication in groups, teams and communities, scale development, and chronemics.


Comprehensive Worksite Wellness: Integrating health, safety, and wellbeing

Rebecca Shubert - Rebecca Schubert is a Registered Dietitian and a Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach. She holds a Master’s degree in Nutrition Education and another in Executive Leadership and has over fifteen years of experience working in the health and wellness arena. She is passionate about supporting others as they pursue their journey to optimize their well-being. When she's not working, you will most likely find her spending time with her husband and dog, hiking, snowshoeing, lifting weights, training for an endurance event or relaxing with a good book.


It’s all Interconnected: Exploring the relationship between sleep, stress, and the work environment

Teresa Stewart - Teresa Stewart, MS, MPH is a sleep consultant and health educator. She presents at conferences nationally. Her academic background and professional experience are in sleep, development, safety, and health. In addition to her practice, she’s also the COO and Director of Continuing Education at the Association of Professional Sleep Consultants.


Legal Trivia Quiz Bowl!  Vermont Laws for Healthy and Inclusive Workplaces

Heather Wright - Prior to practicing law, Heather worked for over a decade as an HR professional, including roles as an HR Director and as an HR consultant for small businesses, start-up organizations, and food co-ops of all sizes. In these roles, Heather handled a range of HR functions, such as drafting job descriptions, writing policies and employment manuals, administering discipline and employee dismissals, managing and executing hiring strategy, developing compensation models, composing benefit packages, and training for all organizational levels. As an attorney, Heather now leverages her HR background to provide a unique and thorough perspective on legal issues in the area of labor and employment law.  

Alexandra Clauss is an attorney and shareholder with Primmer Piper Eggleston & Cramer PC in Burlington. Her practice is devoted to advising employers on a wide range of human resources issues and employment law compliance. She is a frequent speaker on HR topics, and she conducts workplace trainings, employee handbook reviews, and internal investigations.  Alexandra received her Bachelor of Commerce from McGill University and her J.D. from Tulane University Law School.  She is admitted to practice in VT, NH and CA.  She has been selected as a Super Lawyers® Rising Star® in Employment & Labor each year since 2014. 

Ben Traverse is a labor and employment attorney with Downs Rachlin Martin.  Prior to his role at DRM, Ben worked in the Employment Law Division of the New York City Law Department representing various municipal agencies, including the New York City Police, Fire and Education departments.  Ben also served as a judicial law clerk for the Vermont Superior Court, working on a number of employment-related matters pursued under Vermont’s civil rights statutes. 

Moving the Needle on Chronic Disease Prevention—How can worksites create real change?

Ed DeMott - Ed DeMott, MS is a Chronic Disease Prevention Specialist with the VT Department of Health. He works out of the Burlington Office of Local Health which serves Chittenden County. His focus has evolved from working with individuals at nutritional risk to a more community –based perspective that seeks to affect change by impacting risk factors for chronic disease at the policy and systems levels. Ed works with a host of community partners, many of whom are worksites who wish to begin to focus more on wellness ventures. Outside of work, Ed enjoys reading, cooking , hiking and spending lots of time with his pets.

Bethany Yon - Bethany Yon, PhD is a Public Health Specialist focusing on Chronic Disease Prevention with the Vermont Department of Health. She works out of the Offices of Local Health covering Addison and Rutland counties. Most of her work focuses on supporting community partners (municipalities, workplaces, schools and hospitals) with their efforts to make Vermont one of the best places to live, work, and play. Bethany earned her BS, MS and PhD in Nutrition at the University of Vermont.


Nutrition for a Focused Mind

Rebecca Flewelling - Rebecca Flewelling studied Nutrition and Psychology at the University of Minnesota after struggling with her weight and health for 12 years.  Rebecca has been seeing clients individually at her private practice and teaching workshops on Nutrition for both companies and schools for over the past 19 years. 


Sustainable Wellness Programs for Small Business: a Worker’s Comp Company Partnership

Martha Gagnon - Martha currently serves as the Employee Benefits and Wellness Specialist for A.I.M. Mutual Insurance Companies. She joined A.I.M. Mutual in May 2013, as the Wellness Coordinator for the Injury Prevention and Worksite Wellness department. Her current role allows her to manage the AIM Works wellness program along with assisting employers in obtaining additional benefits for all employees through the Associated Industries of Massachusetts. Prior to joining A.I.M. Mutual, Martha was the Director of Worksite Health Initiatives for the American Cancer Society. There she led large New England employers in developing wellness programs based on specific health risk factors linked to chronic disease.

Mari Ryan - In her career, spanning over 30 years, Mari Ryan has been a training, health promotion and business professional. She has developed and delivered educational programs to a variety of audiences. As a health promotion professional, she currently develops educational program materials on a variety of health, well-being and business topics. In 2006 she founded Advancing Wellness to deliver worksite health promotion programs. To date her services have touched the lives of over 250,000 individuals.


TotalHealth: Creating a resilient workplace through recovery-supportive practices

Gen Habeck - Genevieve Habeck is the Director of Education and Outreach for Invest EAP, a unique public/private non-profit collaborative and the only statewide Vermont-based employee, family, and organizational assistance program. Her areas of expertise include worksite wellness, total worker health (including mental health), and best practices for work/life balance. Her speaking engagements include VT HRA monthly workshops, supervisor training on best practices, the SHRM conference of 2016, and many other association and industry workshops.

Michelle Mortimer - Michelle is the founder and owner of Wellness Works, an Occupational Health and Wellness business which places nurses into companies throughout the region.  A seasoned nurse with over twenty years of experience, Michelle spent much of her early career leading award-winning teams in critical care settings.  It was the experience of caring for people after they had become afflicted with preventable diseases that inspired her to create a company dedicated to advancing the health of individuals.


Why Wellness Leadership is Essential to Employers of the Future

Liz Dallas - Liz helps leaders shift their thinking to support a 21st century landscape – one that changes fast, is increasingly complex and presents exponential uncertainty. The typical lens of leadership is insufficient to ensure sustainable success. Liz developed the A to B Paradigm Shifter to help you look through a new lens. Her organization's highly experiential processes are based on research that produces deeper, more meaningful understanding and implementation in a world of possibility.

Marie Frohlich - Marie has been a champion for vitality and balance in the workplace AND at home for over 15 years – as a certified health coach, she specializes in self-care and reducing stress, using a holistic and experiential approach to engage and inspire through speaking, individual coaching, group workshops, interactive worksite presentations, and organizational retreats. Her byline is “Co-creating Health from the Heart.” Marie is also an herbalist and is principal owner of Taproot Herbals.

Paul Toth - As Chief Culture Strategist at Vital Leadership Coaching, Paul is driven to unlock the exceptional in every organization and individual he works with while transforming how we lead in the twenty-first century. A skilled coach and facilitator, Paul can help you effectively engage in the meaningful conversations you need, but rarely have.


Work Well, Feel Well: Mastering the art of focus

Porter Knight - Productivity expert Porter Knight is a dynamic and popular presenter, life-changing consultant and author. Since founding Productivity Vermont in 1996, she has taught thousands of Vermonters to be more engaged and productive in the workplace. A graduate of Middlebury College, she lives in Bristol, Vermont with her husband and their sons.

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