Members of the Meredith Corporation's team gather for a photo prior to the 2013 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Central Park on June 12.
Meredith Corporation's health focus
sparks growth in New York team
NEW YORK, May 28, 2013 — Even before the days when a one-year subscription to its flagship Better Homes and Gardens magazine cost a whopping 35 cents, the Meredith Corporation was offering trusted home and family advice to American women. The media and marketing company founded in 1902 by Edwin Thomas Meredith also knows that sometimes it is wise to be on the receiving end of good advice.
That's especially true when it comes to the health and fitness of its 3,300 employees.
It is no surprise, then, that the Meredith Corporation, which is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, but has offices on Third Avenue in New York, will be on the starting line for the 37th running of the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Central Park on Wednesday, June 12.
"We've been participating for at least five years and got started through the employees in New York," said Tim O'Neil, company captain for Meredith. "Our first year, it was inspiring to see all the people with their shirts and it was great to be with participants outside of the office settings and to be able to go out together. This is something Meredith really rallies around.
"We have about 50 participants this year and it's grown since Meredith started, when we had around 20 people the first year," O'Neil added.
The J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge — whose mission is to improve health and wellness in the corporate marketplace — fits in so well at the company because Meredith has not only become convinced of the importance of wellness in the workplace, but has taken enough good advice to learn how to be very good at it.
"Meredith Corporation is one of 22 companies (in America) that earned the Platinum Level Well Work Place Award given by the Wellness Council of America," said O'Neil. "The goal of the program is to help employees and families live longer and healthier."
The company launches annual wellness screening initiatives and provides personal report cards to individuals, as well as an overall report for the company.
"We try to make it fun and inspiring to encourage everyone to be active," said O'Neil. "Sample workouts, tracking tools, recipes — we try to integrate all into programs that are offered to Meredith employees. We also offer different types of challenges that give employees points to have money taken off health insurance."
It is something the company obviously believes in and which has strong support in the Des Moines headquarters.
"This initiative is supported from the very top," said O'Neil. "(Chairman, President and) CEO Steve Lacey wants wellness to be a big part of company."
The Meredith team at the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Central Park will represent that company-wide commitment.
"We have a wide segment of participants from all different levels, including Betty Wong, editor in chief of Fitness," said O'Neil. "We have employees in human resources, all levels within those brands. It depends on our CEO's schedule with travel, but he leads by example. The Corporate Challenge is something they can all work on together.
"We have a steady group of people that do it every year," O'Neil added. "The race raises money for a great cause and we're all about giving back, so it's a win-win. Three and a half miles is something really anyone can do at all ability levels. So everyone is able to compete."
It all comes together on race night.
"I've been the team captain for five years and think it's a very inspiring night," said O'Neil. "There's an excitement in the air the night of the event. Everyone can't wait to get started. It is really inspiring to see so many people getting together to do something that is good for them physically. It really fosters a great sense of group camaraderie. The group gets stronger to do something fun and out of the ordinary, and it's a great way to meet people you might not typically meet in your everyday work life."