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  1. The Power of Changing Lives for Good 

Virgin Pulse CEO Chris Michalak opened our 10th-anniversary Thrive Summit by inspiring and motivating attendees with the possibilities and impact of changing someone’s life. He pondered, “If we can change one person’s life, imagine what else we can do.” 

Throughout the summit, we were inspired by our clients’ commitments to changing lives for good and building human-centric organizations. 

UC Health, for example, shared impressive engagement metrics: Virgin Pulse members are 69% more engaged at work and 68% more productive, and they saw a 14% lower turnover for VP members overall.  

BASF emphasized that “High-performing companies start with healthy and happy people,” and Colorado Access highlighted how they reached prenatal and postpartum women in need with a maternal health program. 

How’s that for changing lives for good? (mic drop 🎤) 

2. The Power of Whole Person Health  

From sunrise yoga sessions, city walkabouts, and meditation breaks, our Thrive attendees truly put their learnings into practice by prioritizing their own health and wellbeing throughout the summit and by bringing their insights back to inspire others in their homes and workplaces. 

In a thought-provoking panel, Dr. Christopher Willard of Harvard Medical School, Aimee Gindin with our Diamond sponsor LifeSpeak Inc., and Alicia Ridout from Lamar Advertising, asked how we can be “more human” in the workplace.  

Dr. Christopher Willard highlighted that building resilience and addressing stress in the workplace is truly the path to a healthier work environment and stronger relationships among employees. In doing so, it’s crucial to address the whole person’s wellbeing. 

Alicia Rideout added that “the most important thing is to just listen and advocate for your employees,” while Amy Gindin stressed that “you can’t address wellbeing without addressing family.” 

3. The Power of Your Commitment to DEI 

Diversity, equity, and inclusion. They’re more than just buzzwords; they’re values that don’t shift and help employees feel and perform their best.  

Throughout Thrive, we were reminded that a diverse and inclusive workforce is an organizational imperative that we must commit to daily. 

Kal Penn, actor, writer, producer, and former Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, described the racism he faced in Hollywood while trying to break into acting, swimming upstream as an Asian-American, deciding whether to take on stereotypical roles, and why this career path was difficult as a child of immigrant parents. His recommendation for companies working to address DEI commitments? Don’t be performative. Instead, “When you diversify your talent pool, you immediately make yourself more competitive.” 

LGBTQ advisor to government agencies, CEOs and ivy league schools, and 2022 HERO President’s Award recipient, Jessica Halem, helped us better understand how to improve health equity and inclusion for the LGBTQ+ population. Halam acknowledged that people may be afraid of making mistakes or using the wrong terminology when discussing LGBTQ+ issues. Instead of avoiding the conversation altogether, she urges us to “Make mistakes with grace. Apologize. Try again.”  

4. The Power of Your Authentic Story 

We believe Thrive is a place where inspiration can happen in every moment – from listening to compelling stories from keynotes, an impromptu conversation with a peer afterward, or hearing from another HR leader who Is facing a similar challenge and how they overcame it. 

From Rebel Girls CEO Jes Wolfe and Room to Read CEO Dr. Geetha Murali, we learned that storytelling has the power to ignite change and inspire confidence. Their work with young girls also translates into the workplace by helping individuals and teams find their “why” or inner spark. Dr. Geetha Murali explained, “Once you believe that you can do it, you invest in yourself, you value yourself, you value your life, and you believe that you can change your world.”  

There wasn’t a dry eye in the house as Matt Hay shared the powerful story of his journey toward deafness because of a rare disease. Despite a series of truly serious physical challenges, Matt persevered, not letting tough diagnoses define or stop him. 

He told the audience, “If any of you have been in that well and you don’t know how to get out, you’re not alone.” He encouraged us all to reflect on the question, “Where in your life are you letting other people define what you’re capable of doing?” 

5. The Power of Influential Leaders 

Lastly, Virgin Pulse CEO, Chris Michalak wrapped up the 10th annual Thrive Summit by sharing insights on influential leaders — how to think, act, and be like one. He discussed the differences between good and great leadership, explaining that great leaders are more focused on the organization’s collective goals rather than just their personal goals. 

“Influential leaders are focused on the world, but I’ve seen that they focus outside of the four walls of their company, the four walls of their home, and the neighborhoods they live in.” 

We all left Thrive feeling empowered to grow forward (one of Virgin Pulse’s core values); in fact, one attendee later shared with us that this specific framework helped them land a promotion! 

As for organizations that are taking the lead, we were honored to recognize our clients that are, in the words of Laura Walmsley, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Pulse, “making a difference for their people and supporting healthier, more vibrant communities inside and outside of their organizations” with the 2023 Thrive Awards for Exceptional Health & Wellbeing Programs. 

We hope that their stories will empower and inspire you and your team to make innovative health and wellbeing programs a priority, enabling employees, members, and patients to create lasting, healthy changes. 

Thank you for bringing your energy to Thrive! 

If you couldn’t make it to our annual summit, there’s no need to fret! Thrive On Demand is here to bring you exclusive content from Thrive Summit 2023, so you can enhance your career and company at your own pace. 

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