Not Just Another Corporate Wellness Program

November 1, 2016  |  Gary Mueller


It seems corporate wellness programs have become pretty popular these days. Across the country, more and more companies are investing in programs to improve their employees’ health — from sponsoring yoga classes to giving employees smoothie breaks. Or at least they’re trying to leave the impression that they care.

So when BVK decided to start their own wellness effort two years ago and invested in bringing in full-time expert David Pritchard to lead the charge, the program was understandably met with some skepticism. Including, and I say this embarrassingly, from myself.

After all, like a lot of people, health is something I’ve always taken for granted. I have been an athlete my whole life, doing anything from competitive barefooting and basketball to bike and xc-ski racing. I thought that being athletic and healthy was a gift that would last a long time. And I certainly didn’t need a health guru that offered smoothies, weekend workouts, and office posture seminars to keep me that way.

That was until a rare auto-immune disease attacked my spinal cord, robbing me of virtually all my physical abilities in the span of just four months. It even challenged my ability to do the simplest physical activities, like walking up stairs or balancing on one leg. The disease, called Transverse Myelitis, also caused my lung capacity to plummet, and my skin burned, my legs and feet were in constant pain and even the smallest physical activities exhausted me. Suddenly, I understood not only the value of  health but also the value of what BVK was doing for its employees.

When I approached David for help, it was out of complete desperation — not because I actually thought he could help. I was simply out of options. After all, there was no road map for recovery from the doctors. There were no success stories to follow.

None of that phased David. In fact, he looked me in the eye in our first meeting in my office and said, “we can beat this and we will improve your condition no matter how long it takes.”

Our lunchtime workouts were painful. David pushed me every week beyond anything my doctors or I thought I was capable of doing. The improvements in my condition came in excruciatingly small increments. I am sure to David it was frustrating too. But he never showed it and he refused to let me quit. He researched my disease and he challenged me to work with alternative doctors that would help change my diet and improve my heavily compromised immune system. And much to everyone’s surprise, I slowly got stronger.

Soon word of our individual sessions inspired other BVK-ers to want to improve their health, which led to the formation of two different lunchtime group training sessions. Pretty soon, the number of people working one-on-one with David started to explode, and now he works regularly with between 30-40 people at our agency. David is helping employees who want to lose weight, relieve chronic back pain, recover from surgery, improve their hip and shoulder problems, deal with chronic diseases or just find more energy and happiness in their daily lives.

Of course, I shouldn’t be surprised by the impact David and his wellness program have had at BVK. He’s spent his entire career focusing on helping people, from elite athletes to working moms, live healthier lives. I don’t scoff when he brings in nationally-renowned speakers, doctors and nutrition experts to give us hints on how we can improve our health daily. And when he fires up the blender for our monthly smoothie break, I am the first one in line to take advantage of it. Because I realize that health doesn’t just happen — and we should never take ours for granted.

I am so thankful for the investment BVK has made in improving the health of its people. It isn’t just something they pay lip service to doing. They really do care. And I’m living proof of it.


is a Managing Partner, Executive Creative Director at BVK

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