Academics Andre Spicer and Carl Cederstrom have made a splash with their book “The Wellness Syndrome,” which posits that corporate wellness programs not only aren’t good, they’re bad for health and morale.
S U S T A I N A B L Y
Firebrand Al Lewis is relentlessly snide in his prosecution of corporate wellness in the public dock. His blog posts refer to the “self-described experts” of the “wellness ignorati” who produced a report he picks on, and then mocks a critic who says that calling people ignorant and liars is bullying.
Authors Al Lewis (left), Andre Spicer, and Carl Cederstrom have been getting lots of mileage tearing down the notion of corporate wellness. Having not heard enough in reply to balance their broadsides, I’m writing one.
From the folks at OpenReq, a look at wellness wellness-program incentives and perspectives for opposite sides of the looking glass.
Welcome to another episode of “10 Words or Less,” in which I ask brief questions of interesting people and ask brief answers in return. I met today’s guest when I attended her session at a green expo years ago, and she's come into my view often enough that I knew we should talk, so here we are. She’s an author, an advocate for personal eco-consciousness and action, and recognized speaker. Remember, “10 Words” is an ethic, not a limit, so to those of you at home, please, no counting. If you think it’s so easy, let’s see you do it, especially on the fly.
[This is an edited version of this interview, conducted on video March 10.]
Name Kristi Marsh
Born when, where Portland, Oregon, in 1970. Soon after, I moved to California, where I was raised in Sacramento. Spent some time back up in the state of Washington, and then I've spent the last 20 years here south of Boston.
Family circumstance "I am raising a family. From 2 to midnight, I’m a stay-at-home mom, raising three teenagers. My husband is in retail."
Occupation "I’m an educator of mainstream women who are curious and want to learn more about this whole movement about how the products we bring into our homes can have an impact on our health."
What did you want to be when you grew up? "A Rockette. That didn’t work out. An animal trainer at an amusement park. That didn’t work out. By the time I was a teen, I realized I had a connection toward training. In college I studied human resources, and went into the world of retail as a trainer at Target and a beauty-industry store in malls. That’s where I found this connection to be working with women and bringing them along in a process.
An early influence outside your immediate family The outdoors. From camping, to being raised as a preteen having a horse as my sense of independence."
A hero today, also outside your immediate family "I spent most of my life knowing the name Rachel Carson, but it wasn’t until my late 30s that I learned more about who Rachel Carson was, as an author, as a scientist, as an advocate for women. I read ‘Silent Spring' and I know that it is an impactful book on my generation, but being raised in my generation, I had no idea what it was about. Once I read it and learned more about Rachel Carson’s legacy, i think it influences me greatly. I have deep admiration and respect for the change she created, not only in the 1960s, but the ripples it created throughout the 1970s."
What’s your book called, and how can people get it? “'Little Changes, Tales of a Reluctant Home Ecomomics Pioneer.' It is a paperback on any normal online paperback site. It’s also an e-book. And it can also be purchased directly through choosewiser.com."
Welcome to another episode of “10 Words or Less,” in which I ask brief questions of interesting people and ask brief answers in return. Today’s guest has is not easily classified: He’s an author, a professional speaker focused on wellness, and an official spokesman for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, all while he keeps his day job working for Canada’s largest telecom. His book is “From Survivor to Thriver, The Story of a Modern-Day Tin Man." Remember, “10 Words” is an ethic, not a limit, so to those of you at home, please, no counting. If you think it’s so easy, let’s see you do it, especially on the fly.
This is an edited version of the interview. If you prefer, watch the full video interview.
Name Brian Campkin
Born when, where Dec. 3, 1960, Trenton, Ontario, Canada
Resides now Whitby, Ontario
Job "I work for Rogers Communications. My role is an inside sales manager, selling their portfolio of products to small business."
Family circumstance "Married, three daughters, eldest is also married, and I have a grandson."
Something you learned before age 10 that still matters "Your word is your bond."
An early influence outside your family “Bullying. When I was in grade school, I wasn’t the biggest kid in the class, but I had a sense of humor and could run fast, and both of those got me out of a ton of trouble. Even being the smallest, I still came to their rescue. It’s just something I won’t stand for."
A historical figure you particularly admire "John Lennon. I like where he came from, I like where he got to, I don’t like how he ended, but that wasn’t his doing. That was a bully."
I've just had my second column published by Corporate Wellness Magazine: "If You Want Wellness, Teach Wellness"
Kristi is the committed, enterprising force behind ChooseWiser.com. She gives quite a nice interview:
In two prior posts, I’ve agreed with influential blogger Morgan Downey that the proposal in Puerto Rico to fine the parents of obese children is a bad idea, and that the food environment has a great deal to do with the globesity crisis.
But I balked at the implication that parents don’t have primary responsibility for obese children. I wouldn’t have said so before 5 or 10 years ago — because I didn’t get it — but now it’s clear: incorporating fitness and nutrition into children’s worldview is a basic ingredient of child protection.
If fines aren’t the right tack, though, what can be done collectively? I usually fail, but I’ll try to be brief. Clearly, the basic choices are to act or not to act.
In a recent post, I reacted to writer Morgan Downey’s mockery of a ham-handed suggestion in Puerto Rico to fine parents whose children are obese. I think the suggestion is not helpful, but I objected to Downey’s giving not even a nod to the fact that parents do have a huge role in how kids learn to eat.
Downey focused his prescription on the food environment, and though we agree on its potency, I would put the onus on parents here, too, in part because in this world, a crucial role for parents is to educate their kids about media excesses — which is to say, “media.”