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The Get Healthy Marshall site offers events and tips for embracing wellbeing.

The Get Healthy Marshall site offers events and tips for embracing wellbeing.

One of the fun parts of my job (there are many!) is being able to celebrate leaders—such as Nike’s Jorge Casimiro and UBS’s Scott Pann—who embrace personal wellbeing and inspire, mobilize, sustain, and role-model wellbeing behaviors inside their workplace.

Profiling people and companies in our Face of Wellbeing Leadership series on this blog gives me a chance not only to introduce you to some inspiring wellbeing leaders, it also reminds me of the progress we’re making to factor in people and planet along with profit and productivity. Wealth and wellbeing don’t have to be at odds.

Excitingly, individuals and companies aren’t the only ones to make their wellbeing mark. Communities are getting into the action too. I’m particularly inspired by wellbeing efforts where you least expect them, like the little town of Marshall, Texas, recently in the news. This East Texas town of 25,000 is home to a growing plant-based diet movement, thanks to its five-time mayor, Ed Smith, and his wife, Amanda. It all started in 2008 when Ed was diagnosed with prostate cancer and started eating healthier under a doctor’s supervision. His cancer went away and Get Healthy Marshall was born. Here are some of the smart ways the Smiths led wellbeing to help their community embrace a healthier lifestyle.

Live it out loud
After Ed Smith’s cancer went away, he held events to talk about his plant-based diet and how much better he felt. There was no hard sell or proselytizing. Just information sharing and role-modeling, key habits of an authentic wellbeing leader. He has worked with restaurants to offer vegan entrees so that people could feel good about eating out, and he and Amanda travel to other towns to talk about Marshall’s healthy initiatives.

Craft the appropriate message
The Smiths were careful to craft their “get healthy” messaging around an inspiring plant-based diet instead of an anti-meat message. A smart move in this part of the country where beef is big business and telling people what not to eat isn’t popular.

Make it visible & positive
The Get Healthy Marshall campaign has a Facebook page, a site (gethealthymarshall.com) where restaurant vegan menus are available for perusing, and an annual New Year, New You Health Festival that’s underwritten by the Smiths. Each year the festival includes exercise classes, cooking demos, and lectures by vegan celebrities, and draws hundreds of visitors to town—always good for a small town’s bottom line. Not to mention lots of good press!

Well done, Marshall, Texas! Our team at Wisdom Works celebrates you!

Who do you know—colleague, company, community—who is a Face of Wellbeing Leadership? Let us know in the comment section so we can celebrate them too!

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