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Reach New Heights, Together

In 2021, we moved our premier educational event into a digital space. Our hopes were to elevate the virtual experience while continuing to advance learning, strategic thought, and solutions for the day-to-day issues our benefits teams face. The result was our five-week IN-VALUE-ABLE Virtual Conference and Expo, an event filled with engaging educational content, peer-to-peer learning, and numerous opportunities to network and collaborate.

Here are a few highlights:

The event kicked off with Dan Thurmon’s physical and engaging keynote presentation, “Leading Through Change to Drive Results.” Handstands and juggling aside, Dan challenged us all to look forward to the future while embracing the unknown; to create more certainty as we navigate forward; to go off balance… on purpose. He encouraged us to constantly challenge ourselves to do the next hardest thing. 

As you complete your 2022 and 2023 benefits and wellness strategies, how can you embrace the unknown to improve employee health and control costs while remaining an authentic leader? Will you reframe your wellness programming, advance your communication strategies with more personalized messaging, or perhaps rethink your cost-sharing model? Whenever uncertainty is faced, a new level of growth and leadership can be achieved.    

This challenge will require resilience. Allison Massari, our week two featured expert on resilience, took us all on a harrowing and personal journey — a car crash that nearly killed her. Something profound occurred during her ordeal though: she discovered that the anguish of loneliness was more potent than the physical pain she was experiencing. She concluded that through human connection and the power within our minds that peace and happiness are attainable despite suffering. She also encouraged the audience to remember that we’re all connected and that every little thing we do, every act of kindness, makes a difference. To make that difference though, we need to be present. Encouraging our employees, educating them on their benefits, or helping them find the appropriate care, are all acts of kindness and compassionate care. Such actions are those of healers; they have the potential to help employees live happier and healthier lives. 

Dr. Partha Nandi continued with actionable steps to lead a joyful life, one independent of medicine. He encouraged attendees to examine those activities that make them feel purposeful, that give their life meaning. In our positions, we often get bogged down or side-tracked in what “has to” be done, so much so, that we sometimes forget to remember why we are doing what we are doing. To further Allison’s message, we are helping our employees live happier and healthier lives. Dr. Nandi offered strategies where we can help guide our employees towards that healthy life: Encouraging them to incorporate movement in the day-to-day, starting conversations about food portions, and paying attention to how much we eat during a meal… these are excellent starting points to incorporate health into our daily routines. He also spoke to the need of having a close-knit community of friends and family, a supportive and critical tribe. And finally, he argued for the need to be centered on spirituality and/or the cultivation of the mind to help us maintain health and understand joy. It may be worth asking if your current wellness programs incorporate these very human elements?

We cannot forget the impact policy and policy change has on our benefits packages and the overall health of our employees. Heather Meade joined us in week four and laid out policy updates we can expect to see and those that will affect employer-sponsored coverage in the next year. She pointed out that the current Administration’s primary focus will center on COVID. She also examined the resiliency of employer-sponsored coverage, the upcoming impact of the growing gig economy, and the role of virtual care. Finally, she touched on drug-pricing and transparency in coverage rules.  

Futurist Nick Webb ended our series, stressing the importance of customer experience, connection, and value as the primary disrupters in the future of healthcare. He also spent a tremendous amount of time on the customer experience that patients face when interacting with the healthcare system. In fact, his eye-opening view on the future of wearables, telemedicine, patient data encryption, and the overall patient-as-customer experience is well worth a second viewing in our member center. 

The 2021 IN-VALUE-ABLE Virtual Conference Series & Expo helped us learn about being better leaders, about being kinder, and more resilient, and how to make small changes in our day-to-day lives that yield tremendous health results. We got a sense of what changes and challenges face employer-sponsored insurance in the coming months and years. We also had the chance to connect with and learn from members and partners across the country. All in all, we reached new heights together, learning how to be better, healthier, and more thoughtful leaders, while gaining a fresh perspective on what the future has in store for us.   

For all those that registered, the platform will be live until March 18 to view any presentations you may have missed. However, members will have access to all videos throughout the year in our Virtual Member Center. If you have questions, please send us an email or call 216-328-2200. 

Patty Starr bio image

About the author

Patty Starr

Patty Starr is president and CEO of Health Action Council and is responsible for driving the strategic direction of the organization--build stronger, healthier communities where business can thrive. 

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