Employee Spotlight: 10 Things to Know About Lupita Renteria-Galvan, HR Manager and Wellness Committee Chair
Ocean Mist Farms’ Wellness Committee is comprised of different internal department representatives who meet monthly to review, survey and implement employee wellness initiatives throughout the year. I caught up with our HR Manager and Wellness Committee Chair, Lupita Renteria-Galvan, to learn about the various ways our Wellness Committee promotes healthier, more balanced wellness practices in the workplace— specifically with our Blue Zones Project Approved Worksite designation. Keep reading to learn more!
1) How long have you been involved in Ocean Mist Farms’ Wellness Committee?
Since the committee was formed in October 2013!
It has been rewarding to see firsthand how the Wellness Committee initiatives positively impact our employees and their families' health.
2) How did the Wellness Committee start?
Until October 2013, Ocean Mist Farms had an extensive in-office candy supply that added up to a large annual spend. At that time, we were also evaluating ways we could reduce and prevent illness on the insurance side. With the top-down support from leadership, we diverted the annual candy drawer funds to build a Corporate Wellness Program starting by offering fruits and other healthy snacks instead. As our committee gained more support, so did our programming!
3) How have you seen the Wellness Committee evolve?
Our Wellness Committee started small and grew into something much larger to where employees could count on consistent lunch-and-learns, onsite fitness classes, annual biometric screenings, and annual onsite vaccination clinics to name a few. I will say our largest change came with the pandemic.
4) How has the pandemic shaped our committee’s response to meet the needs of our employees?
The pandemic changed how we approached our wellness programming since we couldn’t offer the same in-person programming we’ve always had. We started utilizing more employee surveys to better understand how we could meet the needs of our employees during and post-pandemic, implement social-distance friendly programs like monthly employee produce box giveaways to promote healthy eating at home, update our in-office gym while it was closed, and complete our certification as a Blue Zones Project Approved Worksite.
5) Tell us more about Ocean Mist Farms’ designation as a Blue Zones Project Approved Worksite?
Ocean Mist Farms’ process to become a Blue Zones Project Approved Worksite was straightforward because we already offered so many of the same wellness initiatives supported by the Blue Zones Project, such as:
Lunch-and-learns focused on mindfulness, stress management, and wholesome nutrition.
Annual exercise challenges to promote internal employee engagement and natural movement.
Outdoor patio space to give employees space to decompress and enjoy lunch.
Fitness center outfitted with new equipment and open space for extra movement throughout the day
6) Before we get into what it means to be a Blue Zones Project Approved Worksite, what is the Blue Zones Project itself?
The Blue Zones Project was founded by National Geographic Fellow and New York Times best-selling author, Dan Buettner, who studied "Blue Zones" of the world-- five specific places around the world where people are thriving well into their 100s! The Blue Zones Project set out to bring the same 9 specific habits (The Blue Zones Project outlines these habits here) these "Blue Zones" have into other communities to help people live healthier, longer lives within their community. Visit the Blue Zones Project to learn more.
7) What was the process like to become a Blue Zones Project Approved Worksite?
Our process to become a Blue Zones Project Approved Worksite began after The Blue Zones Project came to Monterey County over 2 years ago. They set out to decrease the disease incidence within Monterey County while improving our community’s overall health and longevity.
At Ocean Mist Farms, we already had a lot of the Blue Zones Project criteria in place to become an approved worksite, it was just a matter of educating our employees about The Blue Zones Project itself, continuing the Wellness Committee work we've always done, and implement a few additional worksite measures before undergoing the certification process.
Ocean Mist Farms officially became a Blue Zones Project Approved Worksite in May 2020 after meeting 78 points on the worksite pledge and engaging 44% of company staff in a Blue Zones Project activity!
8) What’s next for Ocean Mist Farms’ Wellness Committee in keeping the Blue Zones Project momentum going?
The Blue Zones Project’s emphasis on building social connection and community involvement reinforces just how critical community wellness is for personal health and longevity to a greater degree than an individual’s genetics. As we come out of the pandemic, we intend to reinvigorate our social wellness programs in person, find opportunities for our employees to reconnect with our local charities and organizations if they haven’t already, and keep beating the Blue Zones Project drum by continuing to align our initiatives with the Blue Zones Project’s Power 9® principles.
9) What does wellness mean to you personally?
Wellness encapsulates physical health and mental health, yes, but there’s a community wellness element to it as well. For me personally, doing my own personal part to give back was a value that was instilled in me from an early age. It has played a role in my professional career and personal time, particularly with my own involvement as board chair of the Girl Scouts of California's Central Coast!
10) Anything else to add, Lupita?
Ocean Mist Farms may be recognized as a community leader in workplace wellness, but none of this would be possible without the tireless work of the Wellness Committee, the external support from organizations like the VNA, SVMH, and The Blue Zones Project, and the personal steps our own employees have taken to lead healthier lifestyles in the workplace, in their homes, and within our community. On behalf of Ocean Mist Farms, thank you!