by Dean Witherspoon   Dean's profile on LinkedIn  

We’re fortunate to work with some of the most successful professionals in wellness. And while our evidence is anecdotal, we find common threads that appear to influence career and program success among our more than 500 client implementations each year:


  • Quality academic training. In most instances, top managers chose purposeful curricula pointed toward personal and/or population health. With few exceptions, they selected the field after academic or work exposure to adult well-being theory and practice. 
  • Meaningful experience at a young age. Many were given significant front-line responsibility in their first jobs right out of school. And while we work with successful wellness managers from their 20s to their 60s, the strongest appear to hit their stride in the mid-30s after a decade gaining valuable experience in the trenches. 
  • Strong mentor or peer influence, inside or outside the company. When asked, top wellness managers can immediately identify 1 or more work role models, as well as the traits they’ve adopted successfully flexibility, persistence, teamwork, and giving more than getting.  
  • Multiple stops along the way. Nearly every high-performing wellness manager we know cut their teeth at more than 1 institution before achieving exceptional results at their current job. 
  • Female leaders. With more women than men in wellness, this isn’t surprising. But the trend appears to go beyond probability. Women’s sense of empathy, creativity in the face of tight budgets, and overall approachability compared to male counterparts may give them the edge. 

For each trait above we can think of exceptions that prove the rule. And regardless of age or gender your success depends more on what you do than what you are. Take some time to get positioned for advancing in your wellness career.

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