When BNY Mellon employees are at their best – on and off the job – everyone wins.
That’s the driving force behind a wellbeing initiative that expanded worldwide in 2016; it’s simply called IN. The program is designed to foster a healthy work environment and provides the framework and support for employees to pursue physical, emotional, financial and social wellbeing.
“We understand that our success as a company starts with our most important asset: our employees,” says Diane Doyle-Love, BNY Mellon’s Manager of Employee Health and Productivity. “When each individual succeeds, we all win. Studies show that employees with a high level of wellbeing are healthier, more engaged and higher performers.”
Jason Zollinger, part of the BNY Mellon Derivatives Service Delivery team based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, first connected with a wellbeing coach after a health scare in 2013. At the time, he weighed 315 pounds and had been promising himself he’d get serious about losing weight for years.
“In my first session, my coach got out the food pyramid and showed me the servings,” Jason recalls. “For the first 10 minutes I kept thinking 'this is a joke. I know all of this.' I wasn't going to go back; I thought it was so elementary and a waste of time.
“But then I thought about it, I had been saying I was going to start losing weight for three years. What hit me was my best thinking and my best attempts -- whatever I'd done -- it got me to that point. Maybe I needed to listen to what they had to say.”
Jason went back to see his health coach and started relearning long lost lessons about calorie counting, dietary balance and reading food labels. One year after his health scare he had dropped nearly 40 pounds, but he was just getting started.
As anyone who’s ever tried to adopt a healthier lifestyle can tell you, setbacks happen. Jason was no exception to the rule, suffering injuries from his intense running routine. He brought that information to his health coach and discovered two new ways to stay active.
“She said ‘you might want to try swimming.' I tried it and I actually enjoyed it,” Jason says. “It was fun to get into the pool and that connected me to people who were into fitness. The guy who was our coach was into Ironman races and I thought that sounded cool. For an Ironman, you need a bike; so I got a bike. And when I got on the bike I felt like a kid again.”
Running, cycling and swimming can take up a lot of time, particularly when you find you enjoy them. When Jason struggled to find the hours in the evening, he knew his health coach could help.
“My coach suggested I try exercising before work,” Jason says with a smile. “I thought 'there's no way! I'm not getting up at 5 a.m. to do this!' And she said 'you don't have to, but it's a suggestion. You might want to try it; some people actually prefer it.' So I tried it. And now I exercise in the morning and I love it.”
Jason appreciated that his coach always offered options – not directives.
“She's always been positive. She's helped me clear every hurdle.”
By the middle of 2015, Jason had lost a grand total of more than 115 pounds. With continued support from his health coach he’s kept it off and stuck with his healthier habits.
“At work, if I hit a hurdle I'd figure out a way to get over it and get the task done,” Jason says, “but for some reason when it came to my health I would rationalize or make excuses.”
Once he got over that obstacle, Jason started noticing a difference not only in his physical health, but also in his work performance.
“When I got on the right track, I noticed I was more focused at work. My thoughts are clearer and I’m sharper mentally.
“It takes a while, but every day is a small gain. It doesn't look like much when you're in it, but then when you step back three months or six months later and you look at where you came from, that's when you see the progress.”
In the next six months, Jason plans to compete in three ultra-distance mountain bike races and a 24-hour challenge where he’ll push to see how much ground he can cover in that time.
With a little help from his coach, he’s already come so far.