WINONA LAKE — Business leaders were encouraged by a representative of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce to think outside the box when it comes to looking out for the well-being of their employees.
Jennifer Pferrer, executive director of the Wellness Council for the Indiana Chamber, was the keynote speaker at the Live Well Kosciusko luncheon on Tuesday, Sept. 24, at Winona Heritage Room.
Live Well Kosciusko has helped sponsor a series of community conversations about health and actively supports the Kosciusko County Cancer Consortium, the Kosciusko County Employer Wellness Coalition and the Kosciusko County Tobacco-Free Coalition.
Pferrer’s message was a perfect fit with the group’s mission of improving the health and well-being of residents.
Kosciusko County was recently designated by the state as a New Indiana Healthy Community recipient, which recognizes efforts in the county toward implementing and sustaining a culture of health and well-being to spur economic vitality.
Why focus on well-being?
One of the keys to being an economic and prosperous community is employers need to have a healthy workforce, Pferrer said.
Instead of just managing disease and situations, she said, “We have to get to the place where we are preventing. … We have to think what can we do in our communities to ensure we are living a healthier life.”
Companies need to think strategically about how they are supporting employees. “We need to think beyond the typical wellness program and start thinking well-being,” she said.
“When employers and community come together, in my opinion, that’s where the magic happens,” Pferrer said.
She mentioned several ways companies are looking beyond the norm to assist their employees. Some companies, she said, are picking up workers at homeless shelters. Others are packing up lunches leftover in the company cafeteria so that employees can take the extra food home.
Winners announced Tuesday were:
- Community Program of the Year: Harvest with A Heart
- Community Program of the Year: AGAITAS
- Economic Stability Champion of the Year: Fellowship Missions
- Social Determinants of Health Champion of the Year: Northern Indiana Housing Authority
- Community Coalition of the Year: Kosciusko Tobacco Free Coalition
- Cancer Care Champion of the Year: Kosciusko Community YMCA
- Tobacco Cessation Champion of the Year: Zimmer-Biomet
- Diversity & Inclusion Champion of the Year: Depuy Synthes
- Health, Well-being and Engagement Data & Evaluation Usage Champion of the Year: Lake City Bank
- Health, Well-being and Engagement Leadership Champion of the Year: Marsha McSherry and Kosciusko County government
- Health & Well-being Committee of the Year: Bowen Center
- Engagement & Culture Committee of the Year: Wildman Business Group
Below are photos by Al Disbro of all the winners. Names of everyone pictured were not available.