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Company promotes health, wellness with USA Federal’s help

Promoting health in corporate America makes good business sense, a fact that Jessica McClure and Toni Kraft have successfully convinced many forward-thinking employers.

The mother-daughter business team of Life Styles INFOCUS, based in Poway, fully plans and orchestrates face-to-face, interactive events catered to a company’s needs and demographics. The duo plans expos and seminars to manage and promote employee health, which includes wellness programs for weight loss and behavior modification that support a healthier lifestyle.

“People spend a good part of their lives at work and they don’t always have time to take care of themselves,” said Toni Kraft, Vice President of Community Relations for INFOCUS. “So we bring health and quality vendors to them.”

The all-women company operates with a staff of five working with chiropractors, dentists, massage therapists, and even chocolate makers, and bringing them to corporations.

Toni Kraft and Jessica McClure, Photo: J. Kat Woronowicz

“Health in the workplace is a growing trend, “Jessica McClure, Director of Operations for INFOCUS said. “Being healthy isn’t just about going to the gym; it’s about awareness and balance in your life. This includes financial awareness as well.”

Life Styles INFOCUS began two years ago in Chicago, and in 2006 the women moved their company to North County. Finding a financial institution that suited their healthy outlook on life was their top priority. As soon as they met Jennifer Ventimiglia, Vice President of Business Services and Development at USA Federal Credit Union, they knew they had found the perfect balance. The full range of financial services for businesses, and the personalized attention USA Federal offers, impressed the team immediately.

“If your financial life is out of kilter it throws your whole life into a tither,” Kraft said. “From a membership level they opened their arms to our business and we really feel they put their money where their mouths are.”

Ventimiglia said that USA Federal Credit Union is committed to small-business owners who want to grow.

“We were very excited when they decided to become members,” Ventimiglia said. “We are confident in our ability to provide them with the same high level of service that we provide to all of our members. We strive to provide solutions for our members and we look forward to a long and successful relationship.” Ventimiglia also stressed the free advertisement USA Federal offers its business members on the display screens in its branches and on its “Money & You” Internet radio show.

“While other financial institutions just talk about helping their members, we step up and give businesses free media outlets to help their companies grow.”

Kraft and McClure have been extremely successful in convincing employers that they will reap a positive return-on-investment in the short and long term by caring about the health of their employees. They offer health and wellness expos and in-house seminars on everything from running a marathon, to becoming a first-time parent.

According to Hewitt Associates, U.S. employers will see a 9.9 percent average increase in health care costs in 2007. The answer, say the principals of Life Styles INFOCUS, is to provide the right benefit plans and programs with an emphasis on healthy employees.

Managing employee health also means promoting healthy behaviors, and many times this means the INFOCUS team must help employees change behaviors, such as stopping tobacco use, losing weight, or taking up an exercise regime. To effect these changes, INFOCUS calls upon their list of experts in the respective fields.

“A healthy lifestyle can go a long way toward making one’s life productive and independent,” Kraft said. “The most productive way to achieve both management’s, as well as the employee’s, goals is through a program that will provide the individual employee with an awareness of their current physical condition, the benefits of attaining a ‘more fit’ lifestyle.”

INFOCUS emphasizes wellness, compliance with medication, healthier behaviors, and disease management for chronic illnesses. By offering education and support to employees, McClure and Kraft believe employer costs and absences will be reduced.

“Promoting good health makes great business sense,” McClure said. “We help employers educate employees on health, wellness and give them the financial tools to better their lives as well.”

The healthy businesswomen said that a good relationship with a financial institution is a powerful tool in promoting good mental health as well as physical.

“USA Federal Credit Union cares about their members and that in turn helps you sleep at night,” Kraft said. “You never have to worry about where they stand because they do exactly what they say they will do for you and that, in turn, gives you piece of mind.”

Reed is a San Diego-based freelance writer.

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