Working toward Wellness

Karah WeldyKarah Weldy '05

Karah Weldy lives the corporate life, but her focus isn’t on deadlines and profit margins. Instead, her day job is to promote a healthy lifestyle for employees of a large corporation.

The 2005 Bluffton alumna from Archbold, Ohio, now serves as senior wellness manager for Active Sports Clubs, overseeing the wellness program for Motorola Solutions, a data and telecommunications company, in metropolitan Chicago.

Weldy’s interest in corporate wellness began more than a decade ago during her time at Bluffton, where she studied food and nutrition. Looking for an internship to confirm her passion, she consulted Deborah Myers, a professor and the director of Bluffton’s dietetics program, who helped her locate possible positions in the area.

They reached out to Honda, which had a wellness facility at its Marysville, Ohio, manufacturing plant. Weldy earned a full-time internship in summer 2004, working with the nutrition, fitness, recreation and aquatics department on site. She helped create fitness and cardio programming with personal trainers and ran a softball tournament for employees. Her projects also included organizing a weeklong summer camp for employees’ children, leading cooking classes, working with a dietitian to bring better food options to the cafeteria and running a healthy heart program.

“It was a well-rounded wellness program,” she recalls. “It was very good for those employees to learn wellness. It was a really great facility, and I got to be part of many different pieces of it.”

After completing her internship and entering her final year at Bluffton, Weldy knew that she wanted to pursue a career in corporate wellness. For her, corporate wellness facilities were like an on-site gym that built healthy bodies and healthy communities as well.

After graduating, Weldy was hired as a lifestyle coordinator with Active Sports Clubs. Her first client was Motorola in Arlington Heights, Ill., where she now lives. Her daily duties included teaching exercise classes and doing personal training with employees. “Unlike commercial gyms, at corporate we have lots of goals, regulations and performance indicators that are in our contract,” she notes.

Weldy was also in charge of leading seminars and creating incentive programs to encourage the employees to get active. For example, one ongoing program offers cash back to employees for participating in wellness-related activities.

She was transferred a few times to other facilities in the state—where she worked with companies such as Adidas and Continental—until she returned to Motorola.

Weldy knew working in corporate wellness was right for her, and she found her internship invaluable to launching a career. “I would definitely say that my internship was instrumental,” she says. “There is an interesting, small community within corporations” that can feel so big, she adds, but with wellness programs, “we’re all working toward the same goal: to get healthy.”