Sunday, 3 October 2010

The Corporate Wellness Conference in LA - view from a British Commentator

I attended the 2nd Corporate Wellness Conference in LA last week and I have to say
that it didn’t start well as the organisation of the event left much to be desired. One of the attractions of this conference was that three other related events were run concurrently. The downside of this was that we all felt a bit like it was our first day at junior school. Lots of different rooms and strange people milling about with none of us really knowing where we were supposed to be.

The welcome speech for the Corporate Wellness Conference was so downbeat that you could be excused for thinking you had stumbled into a wake. The keynote speaker couldn’t attend so the ‘highlight’ of the day was presented by a stand-in who simply read from a script and was unable to answer questions. Three other speakers followed – all describing in painful detail their corporate wellness programmes. Two of these speakers were last minute replacements (note to organisers – if you don’t pay your speakers or at very least fund their visit – they tend not to turn up…) . By the end of the first day and several more self indulgent trips down corporate wellness lane I was beginning to lose the will to live.

I would like to comment that two of the speakers did impress me though. Blanche Eden-Gnann from Bradley/Dixie Companies was refreshingly honest about the huge challenges in motivating an unhealthy workforce and Jackie Jones from ConocoPhillips spoke endearingly about how to create a wellness programme ‘with no money’. I loved the idea of voluntary health ambassadors for each worksite and will encourage my clients to consider this option.

My second day at the conference was much more interesting – check out my next blog…


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