Leadership Alignment at the Y: leading by example

Director Mike Atkins steps up to the challenge with Zumba

Executive Director Mike Atkins participates in the Y's Zumba class as part of a fitness challenge he issued to the Y staff in April. Membership and wellness director, Liz Jones (right) logged slightly more fitness hours than Mike, landing Mike in Zumba class.

At the YMCA, we have a focus on “Leadership Alignment,” which means that we want to be examples of what we stand for.

We are for youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, and we promote certain values as an association.  As far as healthy living, we work to be examples to our members and to our staff.

Robin, Liz, Mike, and Glenda lead by example.

There are a variety of ways that we attempt to “walk the talk.” One way is by encouraging staff to bring in healthy food items; another is by having challenges with our staff on fitness and wellness goals.

Our Metro Dallas YMCA Association has an ongoing challenge amongst our branches in Mobilefit, a computer program/kiosk that we have available to all of our members and staff to use to create and log fitness programs, nutrition, goals, and other great resources.  We encourage our staff to enroll and use this resource, as well as our members.  We also do other types of challenges for our staff to add to the fun and motivation.

In April, our Director, Mike Atkins, issued the bet that if any of the full-time staff logged more points in Mobilefit than he did, he would take whatever class they chose.  Mike gave it his all (I’m pretty sure I saw him working out twice a day sometimes trying to beat me); many of our other staff members logged their hours as well.

I continued to log my workouts each day and my tennis clinics that I attend each week.  Mike came very close, but I still was able to beat him in the challenge.

Zumba class is led by Amber Simmons every Tuesday and Thursday evening at the Rockwall Y.

I have to admit, he had me sweating at the end of the month and I joked that whenever I saw him head into the gym, I was going to change into my workout clothes and jump on the treadmill next to him!

I have to give Mike a lot of credit for the effort that he put in and I’m sure that the challenge helped motivate him toward his own wellness goals, too.

That's the spirit, Mike!

Tonight Mike joined me in Zumba and members of our staff were invited to come in and shake it with us!  I appreciate Mike being a good sport and honoring his bet.

In June, we will be issuing a nutrition challenge for our staff, focusing on logging meals and eating healthy.  The winner will receive a one hour massage gift certificate from Kris Porter- Hadfield of Rising Phoenix Massage in Rockwall (469-964-5411, krishadfield@gmail.com). We appreciate the support of businesses in our community as well, helping us to align our leadership with our values and goals that we try to carry out to our staff, to our members, and into our community. 

RELATED STORY: Y Director Mike Atkins DRESS-es for Success

Liz Jones is the Membership and Wellness Director at the Rockwall County YMCA.

Photos by Dawn Redig, Blue Ribbon News. Thanks to Mike Atkins, Liz Jones, Zumba instructor Amber Simmons, and all of the class participants for allowing me to shoot a few photos and take part in the Zumba experience!

Liz Jones is the Membership & Wellness Director at Rockwall Family YMCA, located at 1210 N Goliad in Rockwall.  She is a writer, certified yoga instructor, and wellness coach.  She holds a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership and Strategic Management, with a graduate certificate in Ethics and Leadership.  Her undergraduate studies included communication, business, writing, art, fitness, and dance. 

She is trained in Reiki, Guided Imagery, and various healing methods. She has also trained in Shotokan karate and other forms of martial arts and self-defense.  Her background includes non-profit management and working with various at-risk populations, women’s empowerment workshops, and mentoring programs. 

Liz Jones can be reached at ejones@ymcadallas.org or 972-772-9622.