SI Wellness or Bust
I met Lisa Mann not too long after moving to southern Illinois. She was working for the American Cancer Society at the time and I had been tasked with covering health stories for WSIL-TV. We met on a shoot about the ACS and she eventually started coming in as a guest on our morning show.
She left the company but a few years later our paths crossed again. At that time, I was a board member for Women for Health and Wellness. (Yes, a guy was on the women’s board, it’ll make sense in a few moments.) We had an opening for an executive director in 2013. Lisa was one of the applicants and after interviewing her for the job, I knew immediately she was the best-qualified candidate to lead our group.
Lisa accepted the position and hit the ground running, facing the Southern Illinois Women’s Teen Conference and the Southern Illinois Men’s Health Conference within the first three months of her employment. I was not surprised when she knocked it out of the park on both of these events.
I knew Lisa had a lot of great ideas for the future of our group when we brought her on board. It didn’t take long to start sharing thoughts and mapping out a vision for the Southern Illinois Women for Health and Wellness. The first step for me was to break the “conference” aspect of the Men’s Conference. So with her help, our committee launched the Southern Illinois Men’s Expo and broke the mold on what we’d done the previous half dozen years. The process included a new format and venue and was successful.
That step led to a broader discussion on changing the name of the organization that had been rooted here for 30 years and rolling all three conferences into one big family expo. Lisa worked with the board in coming up with a name, a logo and a vision to hold on to past traditions while still moving forward to accommodate our changing audience.
I could write for days about how much Lisa has meant to Southern Illinois Wellness, our community and more specifically how she has been an amazing support system for me since becoming president of the board in 2017. From getting agendas ready to reserving spots for our meetings to making sure events are set up, maintained and taken down at the end have been nearly flawless. Sadly, Lisa is leaving Southern Illinois Wellness. In video game terms, she unlocked all the achievements she set out to and it’s time for a new challenge.
I applaud Lisa for her willingness to be a part of the team for nearly five years and for having the vision to make changes. Probably most importantly for having the patience to work with several different personality types and make suggestions on how to achieve our goals without completely forgetting the history of this fine group. Thank you, Lisa, for all you’ve done. Your dedication to health and wellness in southern Illinois has been amazing.
I am a journalist with more than 20 years of experience and a professional blogger. I have been writing for most of my adult life. I have clients in several states and look forward to writing something for you soon.