Get the Most Out of the Wellness Summit (Sept. 30 – Oct.1)

The 2013 Employee Health and Wellness Summit is set for September 30 – October 1 in Indianapolis' Crowne Plaza Downtown. It looks to be well-attended, and we hope you can join us. Here are some tips to get the most benefit out of the conference.

  1. Get moving. Take the stairs at convention center or hotel
  2. You don’t have to sit. Find a spot near the back or side of the room and stand during the educational sessions.
  3. Drink lots of water.
  4. Request to see the conference menu in advance.
  5. Ask your conference organizers to provide healthy options during breaks and served meal functions
  6. Invite a fellow attendee to walk with you during a break This will not only allow some great one on one networking, but energize you for the remainder of the day.
  7. Wear comfortable shoes. You will be on your feet more than you think. It’s hard to smile and be your best when your feet hurt.
  8. Wear layers. The temperature in the meeting rooms throughout a conference varies greatly.
  9. Decide what you want to get out of the conference. Your goal may be to gain new skills, network with colleagues, build your contact list, or interact with clients. If you set your objectives before you arrive, you will be in the right mindset and prepared to learn or connect. But be flexible, new opportunities often come from these events.
  10. Be open to learning.  You may be an expert in your field, but that doesn’t mean you can’t pick up something new. And you may be surprised where you learn it.Nuggets of brilliance can happen anywhere – even during a brief conversation on the elevator.
  11. Mark your calendar for two weeks and one month after a conference. Review your notes and make sure you are implementing what you learned and have connected with your new colleagues.
  12. Bring your business cards!

Chamber Earns Top ISAE Honors

The award count for BizVoice climbed to 61 before the end of 2012, while the Indiana Chamber’s Legislative Dinner also earned top honors in the Indiana Society of Association Executives’ (ISAE) STAR Awards last week.

ISAE is the statewide membership and development group for Indiana association professionals. The STAR Awards, in their 11th year, took place at the Dallara IndyCar Factory in Speedway. The BizVoice and Chamber honors:

  • Outstanding Magazine/Newspaper: BizVoice is the leading statewide business magazine, providing 15,000 company, political and community leaders with business news and analysis. Its 61 national and state awards have been for writing, design and overall excellence over the past 13 years.
  • Outstanding Individual Program/Event: The Chamber’s 2012 Legislative Dinner included former congressman and statesman Lee Hamilton as featured speaker. More than 500 attendees came together in February in this annual networking event during the Indiana General Assembly session. Indiana breweries and wineries were also highlighted at the event.

Congrats to our staffers who made it happen!

Seminar to Provide Answers to Your Health Care Questions

We don’t utilize this space very often to simply "sell" you on Chamber events. But in the wake of last month’s Supreme Court ruling upholding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, it’s time to move forward.

A half-day seminar, appropriately titled Health Care Reform: What Happens Now, takes place on July 24 at the Indiana Chamber Conference Center. While Ice Miller attorneys will analyze the opinion, the focus will be on what this means for your organization going forward.

The investment you make in this event will certainly pay off as companies, providers, health plan administrators and others prepare to take the next steps down the health care path.

Well, Weller and Wellness

I’m glad blog headlines are not subject to strict English guidelines. But on to the business of the day.

If you’re in the wellness world (promoting it within your company, offering products or services to others, or simply interested for personal reasons), read on. If you’re not, maybe you should be so read on anyway.

There is a wellness trifecta going on at the Indiana Chamber — and we want you to be able to take advantage of the opportunities.

  • As announced earlier, the Wellness Council of Indiana became part of the Chamber at the beginning of this year. Chuck Gillespie ( is the executive director and he’s working with many of the longtime volunteer board members to expand wellness programming, benefits and certifications throughout the state. Chuck can fill you in on the details.
  • The Chamber’s BizVoice magazine has been publishing wellness columns and roundtable discussions for more than five years. The upcoming July-August issue will be largely dedicated to wellness stories, programs and initiatives from throughout the state. You won’t want to miss it; and if you’re one of those in the wellness business, it’s a great way to advertise your wares. Jim Wagner ( will help you take care of that.
  • Finally, the Chamber is partnering once again to produce the 2011 Employee Health and Wellness Summit. It’s September 27 at the new JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis. Agenda details are still to come; sponsorhip opportunities are another great way to get the word out. Jim Wagner will help you in that area also.

As Gillespie often writes, says, who knows maybe sings at times: "It’s good to be well!"

Survey Says Leadership Development Remains Critical

During an economic downturn when money is tight and many organizations are in survival mode, it is nevertheless critical to look closely at investing in employees.

That was the result of a recent survey, conducted by Indianapolis-based HR Dimensions. The company asked human resource professionals from across the state to identify their top three concerns in human resources for 2011.

Leadership development was the overwhelming highest priority with 77% of respondents signifying it was their No. 1 concern. Second on the list was compensation/reward management at 49%, followed by recruiting at 46% and team building at 42%.

“We were not surprised by the top concern. Enlightened organizations have been investing in leadership development and coaching quite heavily during this economic downturn. They tell us that they feel the need to invest in the development of their ‘high potentials’ in order to retain them and to carry their organizations through and out of the difficult climate,” says Mark McNulty, president of HR Dimensions.

However, McNulty notes the additional results show that “it apparently reflects that companies feel they can no longer afford to freeze pay and that as the economy grows, they will need to react quickly to changing conditions.”

One way for companies and human resources personnel to invest is to take part in various seminars and webinars offered by the Chamber. Upcoming webinars for HR pros include Linking Learning and Development with Organizational Strategy on October 20 and, a week later, Social Media and HR Implications. View a complete list of conferences and seminars.

The Chamber also offers a number of HR-related publications

Health Care Reform Still a Hot Topic

If you’re still struggling to determine exactly how recent federal health care reforms will impact your business, you should probably join the Indiana Chamber for the Oct. 14 Health Care Reform Seminar, presented by Ice Miller.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) – also known as “health care reform” – sets forth a number of coverage reforms that apply to group health plans, beginning January 1, 2011, for calendar year plans. "Grandfathered" group health plans are exempt from many – but not all – of these coverage mandates. The regulatory agencies have now issued several significant pieces of guidance relating to these early coverage mandates, including what changes to a group health plan will result in loss of grandfathered status. Employers, therefore, have available to them most of the information they need to make plan design decisions for the upcoming plan year and to ensure timely compliance with the PPACA mandates.

Topics to be addressed include:

  • What plans are subject to PPACA coverage mandates
  • The significance of being "grandfathered"
  • What should employers be doing now to comply
  • Tips on handling open enrollment and employee communications
  • Penalties individuals and employers face in the future
  • Impact on health care providers

See conference details and register here.

Sagamore for Swisher: No Shock Here

Although John Swisher, the founder of Sheridan’s JBS United was reportedly surprised to receive the state’s Sagamore of the Wabash award last week, put me in the category of "duh, it’s about time."

You see, Swisher was the Chamber’s 2009 Business Leader of the Year. I had the pleasure of helping to tell his story — from the small shed that served as an office and borrowed money from family in 1956 to the company being one of the national leaders in animal nutrition today with partnerships that span the globe.

But to truly understand the Swisher story, read the BizVoice magazine story and watch his video. In addition, the then 80-year-old Swisher wowed the Annual Dinner crowd with a stirring acceptance speech.

The 2010 Annual Awards Dinner, with Tom Brokaw (featured in this current BizVoice article) the keynote speaker. You’ll have to show up on November 9 to find out about this year’s winners.

Jumping on the Wellness Wagon

I read a recent national study that noted the quantity of wellness programs for employers is not the problem; it’s the quality that’s lacking.

Why are the initiatives not effective in some cases?

  • Not customizing the program to your workplace culture
  • A lack of commitment from senior leadership
  • Ineffective communication about elements of the wellness effort

The research is here; part of the solution can come from attending the Indiana Employee Health and Wellness Summit on September 1 at the Indianapolis Marriott East.

Gov. Mitch Daniels will be there to provide a dynamic opening; state and national experts will deliver keynote and luncheon addresses; and different education tracks will help show you how to successfully implement and improve your wellness programs. The bottom line: enhance your employees’ health and your organization’s bottom line.

Check out the details. A small investment could pay big dividends.

Cummings: Avoiding Grown-Up Doldrums a Constant Challenge

Doesn’t it make sense that we should all feel pretty good about ourselves? After all, we’ve acquired so much of what we’ve always desired:  spouses, kids, careers, friends, homes, cars, education, electronics, shoes galore, and microwave ovens with innards that twirl around and around.     

It’s scary almost, how well we’re doing, even when you factor in economic frazzles and the volatility in so many sectors of our lives. So of course, things aren’t exactly perfect, but we never counted on perfect. We did somehow expect, though, that we’d feel a little better about things. Instead, around midlife (your mileage may vary), almost without fail, burnout sets in. Maybe severely, maybe mildly. The blahs. Stagnation. Just at the point in life when we should feel proud and accomplished and something approaching happy, we begin to feel … flat.

There’s no mystery why the haunting song “Is That All There Is?” was a hit. It oozed ennui, that corrosive disillusionment so many adults experience. We feel it, most of us, but we try to deny it. And our culture offers up lots of ways to tamp it down, things that are quite contrary to Julia Child’s proper binge noted above.  “Improper binges” could include drink, drug, demon chocolate, antidepressants, shopping for more shoes, or buying microwaves that are even fancier in their ability to spin the food around yet still leave cold spots in it.

No, the problem isn’t that things aren’t perfect.The problem is that we’ve lost our ability to be seduced by the world. Children are enthralled by everything, because it’s all new. As adults, though, we believe we’ve been there, been everywhere; done that, done everything; bought the T-shirt, bought the iPod. We’ve become blasé. We’ve started to flatline. And we don’t know how to fix it.


Ingrid Cummings, founder of Rubicon Communications LLC in Zionsville and author of The Vigorous Mind, is the keynote speaker at the Indiana Chamber’s 46th Annual HR Conference & Expo, May 5-6, 2010. Click here to register or for more info.