Tie in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a motivational theory in psychology comprising a five-tier model of human needs, often depicted as hierarchical levels within a pyramid. From the bottom of the hierarchy upwards, the needs are: physiological, safety, love and belonging, esteem and self-actualization.
I had the pleasure to interview Lisa Williams. Lisa is the founder of corporate wellness company, TravelTrim. The business offers a range of wellness solutions for corporations and fitness professionals, from an online platform that provides companies with the infrastructure to enhance employees’ wellbeing, to onsite wellness programs at major corporations, with a robust team of health professionals. Prior, Lisa worked for a major Fortune 500 company for 23 years. Lisa is an educator and content creator for the Association of Fitness Professionals (AFS). TravelTrim’s headquarters is in Nashville, Tennessee.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I think that the root of wanting to help others goes back to working with my Dad in his auto parts store as a young girl, watching how he treated the customers, the care and attention that he gave to every single one, going the extra mile, striving to make their day better and lighten their load. After working in the family business through grade school and even most of college, I then moved to the Gulf Coast of Mississippi after graduating college and developed software (wrote code — scientific and business) for NASA and the Navy Oceanographic at Stennis Space Center (Sverdrup Technology — technical contractor for both agencies). From there, after the birth of my twins (daughter and son), I moved to Nashville, Tennessee to be closer to family. I then started my career with a major Fortune 500 company as a software engineer. Over my 23 years, I had the opportunity to not only develop software code, but also studied to become a Project Manager and then went on to lead the Global Digital Learning Project Management Organization (PMO) and the Digital Content Management teams where I led and mentored teams in India. Along the way, working alongside colleagues and traveling with them across the country, they often told me of their struggles with keeping fit while on the road. They knew that I was a Certified Personal Trainer and a health & wellness nut! They constantly were asking me for advice. So, I had the idea to create a “Gym-to-Go” fitness kit — this is when I founded TravelTrim. I grew more and more in love with health & wellness and kept dreaming, creating and delivering health & wellness tools. I knew that if I offered health & wellness education to corporate employees, that I could reach and impact lives across the country. I knew that if my company was able to deliver health & wellness education to employees, that they would then take the knowledge home to their families. With this approach, I could fulfill my purpose and passion of helping others to live healthier, happier lives. By scaling our health & wellness platform, “FitForward University”, and offering it as a white-labeled software platform, I knew that our outreach could be very broad and make the most impact globally.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
I was invited to be an educator for the Association of Fitness Professionals organization and have been featured as a resident expert in the Corporate Wellness space. I write articles for the organization on corporate wellness and have been invited to speak at the upcoming SUCEED Summit in Irvine, California. I will be speaking to Fitness Professionals who are interested in making a positive impact within corporations. TravelTrim’s FitForward health & wellness platform will be featured as a tool for other FitPros to use in delivering health and wellness education in the workplace. This makes me very happy as it furthers the “outreach” which is in direct alignment with our vision to foster healthier lifestyles through on-site and online education in all areas of well-being including health and disease management, nutrition, physically fit, financially fit, holistic (mind/body) and national health observances reducing obesity, promoting healthier outcomes, and preventing disease.
Are you working on any exciting projects now? How do you think that will help people?
We are almost finished with our FitForward app. I feel that with the ease of use that an app offers, we can reach even more people, inspiring change for good.
Ok, lets jump to the main part of our interview. According to this study cited in Forbes, more than half of the US workforce is unhappy. Why do you think that number is so high?
After working in corporate America for many years and working within an onsite medical clinic, I feel that: 1) Stress levels are very high in most workplaces due to higher demands, 2) Employees aren’t usually doing what they love, driven by money instead of happiness, 3) Employees struggle with eating healthy, getting enough exercise (movement), not getting enough sleep, and not taking time to “recharge”. As a result, many employees experience anxiety and even depression which in turn, leads to extra weight gain…leading to more unhappiness, less energy, decreased motivation, less productivity, more sick days, more injuries, doctor’s visits, more medications…leaving organizations with skyrocketing healthcare costs!
Can you share 5 things that managers and executives should be doing to improve their company work culture? Can you give a personal story or example for each?
- Treat all employees like Management (Treat them as you wish to be treated). Ask for their opinions, suggestions, improvement ideas, and then create an appropriate action plan.
- Continuous Process Improvement. Continuously review all processes and improve them by documenting the “As Is” and “To Be”, eliminating unnecessary steps, improving the flow, and saving time/resources. This also gives employees ownership and a feeling of appreciation.
- Offer “work/life” balance to employees. This means flexible work arrangement when possible, like working from home, shared work plans, and flexibility in work hours when expecting work to be done all hours of the day and night.
- Offer health & wellness programs for employees and their dependents.
- Plan fun activities for employees and their families
- Tie in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a motivational theory in psychology comprising a five-tier model of human needs, often depicted as hierarchical levels within a pyramid. From the bottom of the hierarchy upwards, the needs are: physiological, safety, love and belonging, esteem and self-actualization.
It’s very nice to suggest ideas, but it seems like we have to “change the culture regarding work culture”. What can we do as a society to make a broader change in the US workforce’s work culture?
Organizations need to be educated on the importance and benefits of employee well-being programs which require changes from the top down. Employees need to be afforded more flexibility in their schedules, and, likewise, management should be paying attention to overworking employees, which leads to burnout, less productivity, more sick days, shorter retention, health issues and higher insurance premiums.
How would you describe your leadership or management style? Can you give us a few examples?
- “Life is a journey, not a destination.” Lifelong learning is key to staying healthy & happy, not only for your brain health, but for personal fulfillment, as well.
- Give guidance by learning what the individual’s goals are and by creating ways to weave into current projects learning tools/opportunities to help them reach their goals.
- Walk the walk…lead by example.
- Get to know them. Get to know about their families. Let them know you care.
- Allow for creativity. Make them feel appreciated. Encourage them to share their ideas. Team brainstorming is a must as it creates bonding, confidence and we know — more heads are always better than one!
- Celebrate successes
- Mentor/coach continuously
- Goal setting with team members: set SMART goals, review them, identify strengths, areas of opportunities, learning opportunities to strengthen areas of opportunities, ask them what they like best about their job and least about their job
- Find out what sets their souls on fire…find a way to weave that into their work.
- Define roles & responsibilities for each member. A RACI (responsible, accountable, consulted, informed) chart is a matrix of all the activities or decision making authorities undertake in an organization set against all the people or roles. At each intersection of activity and role, it is possible to assign someone 1) responsible, 2) accountabile, 3) consulted or 4) informed for that activity or decision.
- Practice “Just in Time” feedback
- Keep up communication — weekly status meetings help remove any barriers to this
- Help them to find THEIR PASSION, PURPOSE and help them to make an IMPACT
- Always give positive feedback first then follow with areas of opportunity
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My father has always encouraged me, believed in me and been a great role model not just in business, but in life.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
By marrying my two careers (IT, PM, digital learning and health/wellness), I am able to reach a broad audience with a mission to keeping organization’s’ most valuable resources, their employees, fit, healthy and happy through online and on-site well-being services and education. Our greater vision is to foster healthier lifestyles through on-site and online education in all areas of well-being, including health and disease management, nutrition, physical fitness, financial fitness, holistic (mind/body) wellness and national health observances reducing obesity, promoting healthier outcomes, and preventing disease.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted. — Aesop
Care and care deeply for your employees and colleagues. Let them see the positivity in you. Help them to be their best and help them to achieve their goals. Everyone wins!
Psalm 46:10 Be Still and Know that I am God
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
To provide more education early on within our school systems around healthy eating and movement. Add learning modules to the daily curriculum and bring back daily physical education classes as a mandatory requirement. We have to stop the obesity epidemic so that we have a healthier, happier society and it starts with early childhood development. It’s just as important as academics.