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February 2024 CANA Connection Newsletter: CANA's Fall 2023 Wellness Challenge

Updated: Feb 15

With CANA being a remote company, we make the extra effort to hold internal activities to allow our team to connect. This past Fall, CANA held its first Wellness Challenge to bring CANAers together! With CANAers all over the United States, we challenged our team to go on a virtual tour of CANA, or CANAverse, if you will, and "visit" members of Team CANA, using activity points as virtual miles traveled.

The goal of this challenge was to help promote a healthier lifestyle and encourage opportunities to gather as a team to complete a fun wellness challenge. There were prizes for those teams that completed different stages of the challenge, and of course ultimate bragging rights for those who completed this epic trek across CANA! 

To tell us more about the CANA 2023 Fall Wellness Challenge, CANA's Digital Media Coordinator, Kassie McRostie, talked with CANA's Director of Business and People Operations, Anna Sterrett, to get her insights and experiences in spearheading the Fall Wellness Challenge. Join us as we delve into Anna's reflections on the creation, execution, and impact of the Fall Wellness Challenge, and hear her vision for future initiatives aimed at nurturing a culture of health and vitality within CANA.



Kassie McRostie (KM): What role do wellness and fitness play in your life? 


Anna Sterrett (AS): The connection between mental health and physical health is undeniable.  In my previous field of work in Behavioral Health, I worked with many individuals throughout my career not only addressing their symptoms of depression, anxiety, and so forth but also recognizing how their mental health impacted their physical well-being.  As a standard part of my therapy practice, I incorporated mindfulness, hydration, meal planning, and movement into treatment plans for a whole health approach. 


I am also an advocate for practicing what one preaches, so being active, eating healthy, being in nature, and working toward balance in my own life and within my family is just a part of who we are. As a family, we enjoy the outdoors, so we spend time hiking, swimming, playing in the snow, lifting... I also started running in my early 40s and have run 5 half marathons, and a leg in two marathon relays, which takes a great deal of dedication with planning and training. I am signed up for my next half in May 2024.   


(KM): Do you think wellness and fitness are important in a workplace? If so why? 


(AS): Yes. When we are addressing and participating in wellness as an organization, we are looking out for one another and building comradery. We perform better within our jobs when we are healthier. When wellness is a part of an organization’s fabric, then work-life balance can truly be promoted.  Building in breaks, flexing time, encouraging in-person meet-ups, having conversations in chat that are not work-related, taking PTO, and guarding that time away - these are all extremely important to have a healthy work-life balance.  Adding in a wellness initiative is a bonus for having fun and uniquely connecting with our team members.  


(KM): What considerations did you make when creating the Fall Wellness Challenge?


(AS): First and foremost, I wanted to make sure I selected a team that would be invested, as well as creative with approaching wellness within the organization.  Donovan Holloway, Stephanie Allison, and Koa Beam were all great fits for the team, and I was thrilled that they all agreed to join me in this endeavor. Later, Chris Cichy and Megan Randolph joined the Wellness Team and are assisting in planning the Spring Wellness Challenge.


While planning the Fall Wellness Challenge, I learned that the 5k challenge from the previous year was a great success, so we borrowed some ideas from that challenge. Taking selfies of accomplishments to share with the team, and diverse ways to complete a 5k - to name a few. It was not only imperative to have this challenge be a way to promote wellness within our organization but also to make it inclusive, engaging, and fun. We all shared in the desire to not make the challenge about losing weight or eating healthier, but about identifying how we could take a whole health approach - physical activity, healthy living, and emotional health. We used these categories to guide the activities we included in the challenge, all the while taking into consideration what activities would be the least intimidating, the most engaging, and fun. 


(KM): How did you keep people interested in the Wellness Challenge as a group lead?


(AS): As a leader, I regularly reached out to team members in a separate chat space. In order to flare the competitive spirit, I updated my team on our point spread, who was leading within our group, and which group was the group to beat.  I also scheduled activities we could do together, such as walk and talk, group yoga, and coffee breaks. Adding points for taking pictures and posting in the Wellness chat space also encouraged connection and conversation.    


(KM): I know you all participated in group activities to engage the group what was your favorite and why?


(AS): My favorite was the coffee breaks.  It gave us all a chance to talk about our day and connect with each other in a more personal way.  Connection is essential for overall wellness, and working for a virtual company can negatively impact our ability to truly get to know our colleagues.  Being intentional in those moments proved to be very successful. 


(KM): Do you think the challenge contributed to the workplace culture and employee morale? If so how?


(AS): Yes. Participation was very positive, and the majority of CANA joined the initiative. Seeing each other’s pictures and the conversations they started in the chatspace truly boosted morale. The activities encouraged healthy breaks from the workday, which directly aligns with the work-life balance of CANA culture. 


(KM): Will there be another Wellness Challenge in the future?

(AS): Yes! We are in the planning phase of the Spring Wellness Challenge, which will launch in March 2024.


Watch our recap video of the 2023 Fall Wellness Challenge below!


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