The Redesigning Wellness Podcast

240: Leading Wellness Professionals into New Territory with Sara Martin, CEO & Maggie Gough, COO WELCOA

Sara Martin and Maggie Gough

What have the past two years been like for wellness professionals? Going through the pandemic themselves, while trying to adjust to an ever-evolving situation for their employees has exposed deep issues that may not have been on their radar pre-pandemic. Wellness professionals are now charged with bigger challenges than ever while navigating the next normal.

Podcast guests, Sara Martin and Maggie Gough are leading wellness professionals into new territory. Sara Martin is CEO of WELCOA, and her purpose is helping people fulfill their highest potential in work and life through corporate health promotion. Maggie Gough, COO of WELCOA, ensures members receive stellar service and build sustaining connections as a community. 

In this episode, we discuss how COVID has changed the landscape for wellness practitioners, the phases they went through, and where they are now. We discuss the issues that were always there that we may have had our blinders on for.

They talk about how WELCOA is answering the question – how do we show up for hard things? Listen in for why you should be a part of the WELCOA Community and attend the WELCOA Summit. And no, no one is pregnant, and George Clooney is not speaking at the Summit.

Episode Highlights:
  • Wellness practitioners went through many phases – reacting, crisis of purpose, changing course, and now a new way forward where organizations are asking better questions about what it means to be well. 
  • Working from home is a symptom of a deeper cultural mentality that says, “it’s a privilege to work here”. There is a comfort level of leadership to go back to the way they were working. But it’s an employees’ market and we can ask for things that we need.
  • Wellbeing is something that is very, very personal, and your job as an organization is not to tell employees what wellbeing looks like. It’s to not stand in the way of an employee being able to meet the needs they have for themselves. Everyone already knows what they want to achieve for themselves. Employees just need to not get boxed out of that because of how your organization asks them to show up.
  • Issues exposed during COVID – domestic violence, our humanness, our fragility.
  • How we need to recognize our own blinders (the things we don’t see/don’t want to see/too hard to see).
  • 40% of employees are a victim, survivor, or perpetrator of domestic abuse or in close relation to someone who is.
  • 58% of US population is a victim of gun violence or has a loved one who has been a victim of gun violence. If we stay focused on cholesterol levels, we’re maybe addressing 30% of the population and it’s doubtful we can even lower that number.
  • WELCOA selects a word of the year each year and this year it’s safety. Trust and safety are what allows you to show up and stay in. Many organizations haven’t solved for baseline safety.
  • DE&I and wellness are inextricably linked. Maggie encourages us to ask – what type of people belong and are celebrated?
Links Mentioned:

WELCOA Community


Futures Without Violence

My Work To Do

Maggie’s LinkedIn

Sara’s LinkedIn

Full Bio:

Sara Martin, CEO:

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. 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 Summit.  She sits on the Johns Hopkins Mental Health in the Workplace Advisory Council and the CDC Workplace Health Resource Center Steering Committee. 


Serving a variety of populations in a multitude of industries, Maggie understands the complexity and depth of the corporate wellness industry and the needs of the professionals and employees they support. Her role at WELCOA is to ensure members receive stellar service and build sustaining connections as a community.