Most benefits professionals will be hard pressed to have a conversation around company healthcare without using one of today’s buzziest of buzz words: wellness.

But back in 2002, when Julie Wilkes began advocating for a wellness program when she started as an HR consultant at professional services firm Accenture, the consultancy had absolutely no interest in the then-new concept, she says. Lacking credentials in wellness and physical fitness, Wilkes took two years to earn a master’s degree in exercise physiology and health behavior at Ohio State University in 2004, only to return to Accenture and start the program without any funding or sponsorship.

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