Anna Jean Pollock, Administrative Coordinator in Chemical Engineering is an inspirational My Healthy Workplace (MHW) Ambassador. Anna shares her initiatives, what the role means to her and how giving time towards a meaningful topic has impacted her own wellness and contributed towards a healthier workplace in her department.
How long have you been a MHW ambassador?
Since Day One! The MHW ambassador program officially kicked off in November 2018. It is amazing to see how much the program has grown and how much we have accomplished in a year. People are so responsive to what Ambassadors have been doing and are excited to learn about the program.
What inspired you to become a My Healthy Workplace (MHW) ambassador?
I was a new employee and was eager to get involved in the many programs that McGill has to offer. My Healthy Workplace is one that really stood out to me and being involved came naturally. It is a great way to network and to meet many faces from different sectors of the university. The program radiates a positive message and a way of being that is so beneficial to all of us. I’m action oriented and very much a “do-er” and “go-getter,” so seeing the results of all the healthy initiatives that I was instilling within my department and university wide really keeps me going.
How do you see your role as a MHW ambassador?
It's one of my many roles that makes me the most proud. I believe I am a leader and I think that I have transformed the “tone” of the department with this role. We work together to be and stay healthy in many ways. I am proud to have a “work family” where we are all on the same page about the importance of health and it being spoken about openly. It is a role for someone who believes in taking action. I recommend initiating a diverse variety of activities so that many different personalities can get involved in, in some way. Gathering people together through cooking, physical activity or friendly challenges can help bring the group closer together. MHW helps to create a positive dynamic between coworkers and instills an overall wholesome environment which I love best.
Has giving your time towards supporting wellness in your unit had an impact on your own well-being?
Absolutely! I find myself always thinking of new initiatives to implement when I am both at or away from work. It has helped me be more social and reiterates the importance of giving back to others. I have so much to give and I find it a blessing that McGill has programs like these. Being employed at McGill is so much more to me than just sitting at a desk 9-5. It has become a huge part of my life in the sense that I can be involved in so many extracurriculars that benefit myself and others more importantly.
Can you tell us a little about your initiatives and involvement in MHW?
I love to have fun with my initiatives and get everyone involved (willingly). I create challenges where colleagues can compete in friendly competition, such as a stair challenge. I like to have some recurring initiatives so people can look forward to, for example, a recipe of the month - this includes dishes from different parts of the world and can be themed for the specific month. It's fun to have people ask me eagerly when the next recipe will be coming out and if I can share! I do a lot of raffles within our office, this creates a fun vibe and gets people communicating. I’ve created a book swap with a variety of different types of literature. People bring in and take away what they find interesting. I have a health board that I constantly update and it includes everything from how to properly sit and align your desk to avoid physical pain from sitting all day, health benefits from certain types of foods, upcoming events (Health Fair) and sustainability tips and practices that can be done in everyday life. I think I set the tone in Chemical Engineering as being a department that supports the overall health and well-being of its employees.
What is your favourite thing about being a MHW ambassador?
I love being a person who people can turn to with ideas and suggestions to improve things. I’m very positive and bubbly and I think people respond well to this type of personality/energy. I love leading our teams with new ways of doing things and I am brave to have the conversations that need to be had. I love having the positive feedback and support from my fellow Ambassadors and colleagues. I think the positive dynamic and energy that we have as Ambassadors is absolutely contagious. I am uplifted by the encouragement and positivity that others bring to me through this role.
Click here to learn more about My Healthy Workplace Ambassadors.