Healthy By Association
In 2017, Event Garde Founder and CEO, Aaron Wolowiec, established the Facebook community Healthy by Association (HBA) for people in the stress-riddled association and hospitality industries to connect around a shared lifestyle, commiserate over the frustrating obstacles it presents when trying to embrace self-care, and ultimately, inspire each other to not only set the bar high and invest in their health, but to actually enjoy the journey along the way.
The tenets of Healthy by Association are simple:
- Everyone’s definition of healthy is different. One size does not fit all. Whether focused on food and caloric intake, workouts and pounds lifted or something different altogether, we just can’t compare ourselves with others. We each have unique aspirations and limitations.
- A support network is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. On the days you’d rather stay in bed than hit the pavement or make the trek to the gym, it’s incredibly motivating to have the support and encouragement of others who can empathize with you.
- You can’t show up for others if you don’t first show up for yourself. It’s the reason your flight attendant urges you to put your Oxygen mask on before assisting others. Put another way, you can’t successfully help your members or learners if you’re not well rested, well fed and hydrated, and in good health.
- It’s both okay and encouraged to brag about your accomplishments. First, you should take credit for setting and achieving your goals – that’s an accomplishment unto itself. But, more importantly, others will find your achievements incredibly energizing for their own journeys.
- This journey may not be easy but it’s worth it. It’s true that nothing worth having comes easy. And that’s okay because we’re stronger than we give ourselves credit for. It takes determination, commitment and intention to become and remain healthy. Hence our HBA tagline: Powered by intention.
Our dynamic HBA group is nearly 600 members STRONG and continues to grow as momentum builds around this mighty movement. It provides an interactive online space for busy professionals to bond, learn about fitness, exchange advice, set goals and celebrate accomplishments, swap nutritious recipes, and above all, stay motivated.
HBA services include:
- Customized tips and tricks, recipe collections, and workouts
- Weekly podcast episodes and archived video chats featuring guest speakers and links to additional learning materials
- Monthly blog posts on a wide range of health and wellness topics
- Space to network, offer peer support, and coordinate conference meet-ups
- Community-sourced tools and resources
- Workout playlists (curated by members and moderators)
- Monthly challenge coin recognition program
- Regular member contests and workout challenges
- HBA-branded fitness apparel (the infamous socks!)
An HBA survey provided feedback about what our members need and want from this evolving community. This important process is welcoming in a new chapter for HBA, with a number of exciting projects launched in 2019 and a brand-new chapter beginning in 2020.
People generally find they are more successful when they aren’t alone in their commitment to better mental and physical health. It helps our HBA members to feel surrounded by others who truly get what it takes to stay on track with personal goals and juggle such an “on-the-go” career. The specialized peer support we offer is what sets HBA apart from the other wellness networks out there. Whether it be a need for time-tested techniques that keep you energized during the busy conference season or the desire to recognize more friendly faces at meetings and events who will be there to celebrate your wellness wins on the road, HBA has you covered!
So, now what? Here are a few suggestions you might consider as next steps:
- Join our HBA Facebook group (if you haven’t already) to set goals, share your achievements and support others.
- Invite likeminded industry colleagues to join HBA if you think they might be interested.
- Follow our HBA Vimeo channel to search archived episodes of our HBA Live! video series, interact with other HBA members, and access links to articles and resources.
- Download the latest episodes of our HBA podcast from your mobile device!
- Subscribe to our Event Garde blog to read about the latest health and wellness information and trends, all through the lens of our specific industry.
- You’ve got to look confident to feel confident. Participate in our community polls and discussions for a chance to win a pair of HBA socks as motivation to always stay powered by intention and live your healthiest life.
- Start putting yourself first. Self-care might include a monthly massage or facial, some quiet time a couple of nights each week to read or craft, or one minute each day for intentional self-reflection. Don’t overthink it. Simply determine what might bring more balance to your life and get it on the calendar.
- Introduce changes around the office. The opportunities are endless. Consider replacing donuts on Friday mornings with yogurt, granola and fresh fruit. Take the stairs whenever available. Walk at lunch with a buddy. Or even set your chair aside and convert your workstation to a stand-up desk.
- Introduce changes for your attendees and teammates. Plan healthier snack and meal options. Provide water infusion stations to promote better hydration. Incorporate more white space for self-care, stretching and reflection. And offer group workout options such as yoga, swimming and running.
- Partner with Event Garde on a presentation. If this HBA message would resonate with your team or your members, we’d love the opportunity to present at either a staff meeting or during an upcoming conference. Check out our full catalog of health and wellness learning opportunities and then contact Sara Krueger, HBA adminstrator, at firstname.lastname@example.org to explore a collaboration further.
The launch of HBA wouldn’t have been possible without early supporters like Vince Coraci and Ken Wood. Now, our team of administrators, moderators, and volunteers has grown substantially and includes these key individuals:
- Aaron Wolowiec (Founder)
- Sara Krueger (Administrator, Content Co-Lead)
- Angela Pelc (Moderator, HBA Podcast Host)
- Jim Thompson (Moderator, Special Projects Lead)
- Kristina Kauffman (Moderator, HBA Accountability Program Lead)
- Katie Gadulka (Moderator, HBA Challenge Coin Program Lead)
- Elsbeth Russell (Moderator, Content Co-Lead)
- Trice Turner (Moderator, Member Challenges)
Opening up the HBA brand
As we continue to grow and evolve, Event Garde will now partner with Naylor to make its innovative Healthy by Association initiative more accessible for associations to adopt, modify and share with their own meeting attendees, members and staff. The partnership will include visual, audio and printable resources for professionals wanting to improve their work-health balance. In the meantime, HBA logos are now available for download and use according to HBA brand standards.