On Wednesday, September 24, 2014 Mike Wallace, President/CEO of Fort HealthCare was recognized as the Light of Wellness Leadership Award winner at the Wellness Council of Wisconsin’s Annual Well Workplace Awards Ceremony at the Hilton Milwaukee City Center. This is an annual honor given out by the Wellness Council of Wisconsin.

WELCOA (The Wellness Council of America) is one of the nation’s most-respected resources for building high-performing, healthy workplaces. Wisconsin’s Wellness Council is the only nonprofit organization in Wisconsin dedicated exclusively to helping employers design results-oriented wellness programs to maximize the health and productivity of their most valuable asset — their employees. The Wisconsin’s Wellness Council’s vision is to improve health to empower business.

The Wellness of Light Award is for employees that have demonstrated inspirational wellness leadership or made healthy lifestyle changes after participating in workplace programs. This award is for showcasing their extraordinary achievements. Employees nominate people for the awards in one of three categories. The categories consist of Healthy Behavior, which celebrates the accomplishments of an employee who has made significant lifestyle changes as a result of participating in a workplace program. Leadership, which recognizes an individual who has inspired others, served as a role model, and/or demonstrated ongoing participation and commitment to your worksite wellness program. The Rising Light, which honors an employee who participated in a workplace program and has taken the initial steps toward success in their wellness journey.

In determining the winners, judges considered several dimensions of the aforementioned standards including: why they are deserving, how the nominee has served as a leader of wellness in your organization and how the nominee has impacted others.

Mike Wallace received this award because day to day he brings health and wellness into the worksite as well as his personal life. He fosters a sense of wellness with our community members, including those at worksites and at Fort HealthCare. He participates in almost all community wellness activities. It is a given that he can be found at local school district event as well. He continually encourages increasing the promotion of health and wellness in the local print, radio media and social media sources. His priority is to have the word about wellness spread across Jefferson County and our service area. When not at work, Mike can be found out doing something active such as biking, swimming, and golfing. He does not rest until his fitbit sounds the alarm that his daily step goal has been met.

He was instrumental in the creation of the Fort HealthCare mission and vision to become healthiest community in Wisconsin and thereby improving the health and wellness of our communities. He is the driving force behind the Fort HealthCare worksite wellness program, which ensures that current and correct health and wellness information are sent out to all employees. He has also worked with the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater and helped them create a Worksite Wellness team.

“Our goal is to improve the health of the community. We do that by encouraging exercise and good nutrition. Providing the right care in the most appropriate setting is also critical to reducing the overall cost of care and in assuring that patients receive the care and guidance they need to stay healthy.”
-Mike Wallace, President/CEO, Fort HealthCare

Mike shares his personal journey of recovery from cancer, having had to battle it twice. Despite this, he continues to have a contagious positive outlook and that is imperative when he speaks to his employees and the community. For Mike the glass is always half full. Battling a life threating illness has not held him back from living a full and healthy lifestyle. He is not afraid to reach out to colleagues at the leadership level to encourage them to maintain or improve their personal health and to find the right balance in their own lives. As a means to encourage others, he will share his daily workouts with those who ask about them. He has developed programs at Fort HealthCare in conjunction with the Community Health and Wellness team to encourage all aspects of good health including fitness and safety classes, as well as support groups of various kinds. He has provided access for employees to advisors that can guide them in their quest for personal health and wellness.

In creating a culture change at Fort HealthCare; Mike created a Wellness department and hired local Chef Colleen Miller to further the cause. Chef Miller was brought in to help Fort HealthCare create nutritious well balanced food options for patients and employees. Chef Miller works hard to use the freshest produce and locally sourced foods and will now be doing the same in the newly designed Partners Coffee Shop to further support Fort HealthCare’s mission. The Community Health and Wellness Department was developed to bring wellness awareness to employees as well as open the front doors of Fort HealthCare to community. Community Health and Wellness can provide employers with worksite wellness solutions, as well as providing people in the community with classes in nutrition, exercise, stress management as well as many other programs. The push toward prevention and wellness is something Mike Wallace leads by example every day. He received the leadership award because he doesn’t only talk about these issues; he has incorporated the changes into the Fort HealthCare culture and continues to throughout the communities we serve.