Former Student Highlight: Kourtney Martin ’15
When Kourtney Martin was an undergraduate and exploring future career options, she focused on cardiac rehabilitation. While working with the older adults with chronic heart problems, Martin found herself thinking there must be a way to prevent the issue.
“Working with adults who may not have known how to prevent their chronic conditions that led to heart failure, I continued to consider the significant amount of time spent at work each day and thought why not take on this issue in a place where many individuals spend the majority of their day.”
During her time as a Group Fitness Instructor at Texas A&M Rec Sports, she was presented with the opportunity to instruct WELLNESS WORKS! fitness sessions to faculty and staff at Texas A&M. She went on to complete her graduate internship with WELLNESS WORKS! before being named Employee Wellness Coordinator in 2017.
WELLNESS WORKS! is an initiative developed to provide holistic wellness opportunities for faculty and staff. It was designed to encourage employees to pursue healthier lifestyles, support a healthy workplace and create a culture of wellness.
With more than 40 fitness classes available each week and a newly implemented Wellness Release Time for employees, Martin has seen an increase in the number of employees taking the extra step in their wellness journeys.
One of those employees is Bonnie Fisher, a transcript analyst in the Office of Admissions. Fisher first got involved with WELLNESS WORKS! through the Naturally Slim program.
“I participated to stop gaining weight, hopefully lose weight and be more mindful with my eating. With two diabetics at home, I am constantly searching for ways to improve our family meals,” said Fisher, who has already lost 20 pounds by participating in WELLNESS WORKS! activities.
While Martin knows the physical component is important, her main goal is to focus on holistic wellness by enhancing the interpersonal and financial aspects of the program. She is hoping the expansion of the campus WELL Leader Program will encourage support for wellness across all units on campus with a long-term goal of making Texas A&M a healthier campus.
“This program makes a huge difference in people’s lives. It allows employees the opportunity to leave work, go home and spend time with their families rather than worrying about all the barriers that come along with seeking a life of well-being.”
For Fisher, WELLNESS WORKS! has not only improved her life, it has improved the lives of her loved ones at home. Her husband and son both suffer from diabetes and her father is fighting cancer.
“Through the WELLNESS WORKS! Living Well Aware at Texas A&M University Program, I was better able to see that my loved ones were very appreciative of my ‘gift’ of time and caring. It really flipped things for me. I am no longer angry about all the cancer and diabetes in my family. I was unhappy, overeating and not taking care of myself like I should. I am not perfect now, but I am much happier and I feel more able and powerful to be able to deal with and solve the problems I face on a daily basis,” she explained. “I came to the realization that I needed to take better care of myself so I can help others. It’s like the old ‘place the oxygen mask on you first, then help others with their masks,’”
Martin often hears similar testimonies from employees that have participated in WELLNESS WORKS! programs. The transformations she sees in participating individuals and the positive feedback she receives is what keeps her motivated to search for new ways to inspire a culture of well-being on campus.
“Our campus is hungry for these initiatives and employees appreciate what is being done to keep them engaged and mindful at work. The faculty and staff energize me and they really help me stay motivated and focused on providing them with new resources and education,” Martin said. “It’s also very inspiring to witness the transformation that many employees have had during their involvement in wellness initiatives. It’s always exciting to hear about the success someone has had, whether it be losing weight, eating healthier, seeing normal blood sugar and cholesterol ranges or even maintaining their budget each month. I think that’s the best part.”
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