Thanks to Banyan’s passion for wellness, I often have the opportunity to meet some pretty incredible people. And sometimes, those incredible people all show up in the same place.
- Magic Johnson, honored as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996;
- Norm Stewart, the only person in Mizzou history to be inducted into the University of Missouri Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame as both a student-athlete and coach;
- DJ Allen, a speaker, author and coach; and
- Mark S. Wrighton, Ph.D., Chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis.
Not to mention a major chunk of our nation’s top business leadership, and a lot of other folks all of whom are focused on wellness. The American Cancer Society (ACS) brought us all together as part of their annual Corporate Impact Conference, to talk about what we can do and what we should do to help America stay healthy.
What a great event.
Banyan also endorses corporate wellness programs. My colleague Jared Gordon created Banyan’s own corporate wellness effort and we’re all involved. We walk during meetings now, even when it is St. Louis or Atlanta “hot.”
Banyan’s wellness program inspired our interest in this ACS event. We worked hard to get the attention of ACS to let us help with marketing and outreach for the conference. This year, I had the best job in the world– I got to emcee along with Dave Minifie from Centene (that’s how I met Magic).
Meeting this icon of basketball success may not mean a lot to you, but I’m from Indiana and I feel like I’ve known Magic for a long, long time. I watched him win at basketball, against HIV… I wondered if he would live up to his image. Well, he did not disappoint. Somehow, Magic managed to hold a one-on-one conversation with 300 of us in the Washington University auditorium for a full hour. He said, “Our legacy is all about how we touch our communities and others less fortunate.” Imagine the presentation…
Picture a man, almost 7 feet tall, reaching you with his smile, explaining how he met his life, “head on.” He talked about the schools he attended, basketball, HIV, his family and business, the black and brown community he hopes to help. He claims to be the best-prepared man in any room he enters because he is all about the “win.”
By the way, Magic followed Norm Stewart at the conference. The former University of Missouri player and coach boasts a lifetime record of 731/375 over 43 years. Late in his career, Norm contracted colon cancer. Over time, he won that battle but he didn’t walk away from what he experienced. He inspired the Coaches vs Cancer program and has raised over $100 million. Can you imagine?
The last speaker of the event was the Chief Medical Officer of Express Scripts, Dr. Steve Miller, who shared some of the vast achievements of science in its work to prevent cancer. He called out the National Institutes of Health and other corporations who have changed the entire cancer landscape and illustrated the amazing progress man has made against this disease.
His final message: the importance of prevention. Don’t smoke, eat healthy, watch portions, exercise, maintain a healthy weight, limit drinking.
Speaker after speaker engaged the audience. There were breakout sessions where folks rolled up their sleeves and collaborated about their successes and their disappointments with employee wellness programs and corporate responsibility initiatives.
It seems that there is no real proven textbook to inform their work, so they are writing the rules from their own experiences.
And so can you. It doesn’t take much to inspire a little change for good.