The Redesigning Wellness Podcast

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138: The 7 Benchmarks with Sara Rauch, Director of Strategy and Planning at WELCOA


With a wellness industry that’s in desperate need of a better value story, we need to challenge the status quo and evolve as wellness professionals. There are times when it feels that we are stuck in a world of incentives, exercise programs and a medicalized model of wellness. Challenging this traditional model isn’t easy but it helps when the nation’s most-respected wellness organization is leading the evolution.

So, what does it mean to evolve our current model of wellness? Today’s guest, Sara Rauch, Director of Strategy and Planning at WELCOA, tells us all about their evolved 7 Benchmarks. Many of you know or have heard of Ryan Picarella, the fearless leader of WELCOA but you may not know Sara, who stays behind the scenes.

She makes things happen, connects wonderful people together and passionately cares for WELCOA members. Sara constantly elevates other people, so I want to make sure you guys know who she is because she’s quite wonderful.

In this interview, Sara tell us why WELCOA felt the need for a change, how they went about it, what’s different and what’s the same. Also, Sara goes in detail on Benchmarks 1-4, the precursors to where we as wellness pros like to go directly to – programming!

We end the interview with us talking about this year’s Summit. WELCOA has listened to attendee feedback and there was a request for more tangible, how to advice. So, they are address every benchmark during the Summit. Plus, I’m excited to deliver the keynote on Benchmark 1 (Committed and Aligned Leadership).

If you are planning to attend the Summit, drop me a note to let me know.

Interview highlights (with timestamps):
  • [6:35] Why WELCOA felt the need to evolve the benchmarks.
  • [10:40] The experts involved in the benchmarks revamp.
  • [12:05] How WELCOA is helping improve the value proposition around wellness.
  • [17:35] Sara walks us through the changes that were made to the benchmarks.
  • [26:33] The feedback that they have gotten around the benchmarks.
  • [31:26] Sara walks us through Benchmarks 1 through 4.
  • [39:30] More about the WELCOA Summit.
Mentioned in this episode:

Sara’s prior podcast interview

WELCOA’s 7 Benchmarks

The WELCOA Summit

Next Generation Wellness Pre-intensive Session

Full Bio:

Sara’s purpose is helping people fulfill their highest potential in work and life through corporate health promotion. She has launched award winning wellness programs, created new wellness products, and engineered work environments to create cultures of health across multiple industries.

At WELCOA, she is responsible for conceptualizing the strategy behind new innovative products and bringing them to market, developing new content and content channels and maintaining relationships with WELCOA’s network of business partners and content providers. She has been a session and keynote speaker at a variety of community and national events including National Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO) Conference, the Art and Science of Health Promotion Conference, and the National WELCOA Training Summit. 

She sits on the Johns Hopkins Mental Health in the Workplace Advisory Council, the CDC Workplace Health Resource Center Steering Committee, and has served as Ambassador for the American Association of University Women.

Sara’s background includes corporate training, organizational development, and health promotion management. Before joining the WELCOA Team, Sara managed the award-winning Well@Work employee wellness program for the 5,000 employees of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee and served as Health Management Consultant for the BlueCross commercial book of business.

Sara received her BA in Psychology from the University of Alabama in Huntsville and her M.S. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.


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