WCWI, a community of connected employers who are transforming Wisconsin's workforce.
The Wellness Council is the only nonprofit organization in Wisconsin dedicated exclusively to helping employers design results-oriented wellness programs to maximize the health and productivity of their most valuable asset- their employees. As Wisconsin’s premier resource for workplace wellness, WCWI’s mission is to serve by:
- Empowering organization in transforming culture to change lives;
- Helping employers build comprehensive and sustainable programs;
- Dedicated to local support with a national network;
- Connecting over 700 likeminded professionals who support over 500 organizations.
The Wellness Council has its origins in the mid-1980s when Lynn Bardele, then Manager of Personnel Relations for Northwestern Mutual in Milwaukee, happened to meet Bill Kizer at a national Health Insurance Association of America (HIAA) meeting. Bill told Lynn about an organization for businesses interested in worksite health promotion that he had helped to create in Omaha called the Wellness Council of the Midlands (WELCOM), and with that, the seed was planted for the Milwaukee Wellness Council.
Lynn returned to Milwaukee and recruited the nine founding companies that established the Milwaukee Wellness Council. Within the Council’s first full year of operation in 1986, MWC incorporated and acquired non-profit status, contracted for staff and office space, and expanded membership to 43 companies.
Membership quickly expanded beyond the City of Milwaukee and, in 1991, we formally changed our name to the Wellness Council of Southeastern Wisconsin, thinking that eventually additional councils would form in other metropolitan areas of the state. When this did not happen and our membership continued to expand statewide, WELCOA formally approved the expansion of our service area and our name to the Wellness Council of Wisconsin in 2003.
On September 30, 2015, the Wellness Council of Wisconsin held it's 25th Annual Worksite Wellness Conference: Connecting Mind, Body, and Business with over 550 corporate wellness professionals. During the conference, the Board of Directors and attendees were presented with an Official Wisconsin Proclamation declaring September 30, 2015 as Corporate Wellness Day to honor the Wellness Council’s 30th year of operation.
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In 2020, WCWI finished leading the last Well City USA project after ten years of guiding cities and counties, and their volunteer task force leaders, through this national program. Nationally, only fourteen communities have previously achieved this prestigious honor. Of these, seven are in Wisconsin.
View all Well Cities in Wisconsin.
Today, we have 500 employer members statewide representing more than 450,000 employees. We have 4 staff working diligently to bring Wisconsin employers a 12 month member experience that drives organizational impact through the professional development of their people leaders..