May Member Spotlight: Bill Fitzgerald, GE healthymagination
As a member of the EACC, GE plays an integral role in bringing global perspectives to the local business community. With nearly 300,000 employees globally, GE has a particularly valuable voice in the upcoming EACC Health & Wellness Conference. Bill Fitzgerald, Vice President and General Manager for GEnx (the new jet engine that will power Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner and the 747-8) also leads GE Aviation’s global HealthAhead initiatives, part of the broader Healthymagination campaign. Bill is scheduled to speak at the May 25th conference along with Michael Barber, GE’s Healthymagination Leader. Mr. Fitzgerald, along with other local health, wellness and business leaders, will address the opportunities and challenges companies can expect from impending health policy changes in a panel discussion.
Two years ago this month, GE launched its healthymagination campaign, a multi-pronged approach to improving the health by sharing ideas and healthy solutions with its employees and families as well as communities and anyone around the world. Within GE, healthymagination strives to simplify the overwhelming amount of information on health and wellness for its employees. The campaign established the HealthAhead program to drive awareness of the health care system, provide education and tools, and promote healthier lifestyles at work and at home. The HealthAhead initiatives consist of nine elements, from leadership engagement and the promotion of nutrition, to physical fitness, tobacco cessation, and stress reduction. Each GE worksite of more than 100 employees is eligible to participate in HealthAhead.
For GE’s employees, HealthAhead has resulted in meaningful and often transformative improvements in their lifestyles. “When I travel to our sites around the globe, I’m invigorated when hearing stories from employees who have quit smoking, lost amazing amounts of weight and are excited to share their journeys,” Bill Fitzgerald said.
GE’s business strategy has also benefited. According to Fitzgerald, GE spends over $3 billion dollars annually in health care costs in the US for its employees – a cost that is outpacing inflation significantly. “This is unsustainable,” Fitzgerald said. “As a business, we needed to do this to build a stronger company for our future.”
Fitzgerald’s message is precisely what local business leaders can expect to gain from the EACC Health & Wellness Conference: a discussion of practical steps to improving healthcare in a way that is beneficial to the company and responsible to the community. It is the aim of the EACC conference to generate dialogue among business leaders and health care professionals addressing the opportunities facing companies in the Greater Cincinnati area.