Impact Story

Kendra Smith: Maker of Workplace Wellness
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We tend to think of wellness programs as a focus on physical health and fitness. While that’s certainly an important component, the bigger picture includes so much more. Worthington’s emphasis on holistic wellness is something that sets the Company apart. Kendra Smith, Fitness Center Director, has the unique role of coordinating and managing it all.
A Company that “Runs” in the Family

Kendra’s connection with Worthington began while she was young. Her mom was an employee at the Worthington Industries Medical Center, and Kendra remembers being in awe of a workplace that had so many additional facilities—a doctor’s office, a park and, of course, a fitness center. Her mom instilled the importance of physical health from an early age. “She was always walking! Before ‘walking’ was even a thing,” Kendra recalls. “I remember tagging along with her to aerobics classes from time to time, too.” She absorbed the importance of healthy habits and the impact they can have on a person’s life. 

The Starting Line

Kendra’s passion for health and wellness—and for helping others be the best version of themselves—led her to begin her college career at Bowling Green State University studying physical therapy, and later pivoting to exercise science. She knew that she wanted to work in a corporate health environment, so it was fate when her mom informed her of an opening for the assistant director role at Worthington’s fitness center during her senior year. In a whirlwind of events, she was offered the job, graduated from college, got married, and began her first day immediately upon returning from her honeymoon in September 2000.

A Holistic Approach

In 2010, Kendra was promoted to director. Her current responsibilities extend well beyond boot camp classes and personal training appointments to include coordinating the annual health fair, the company 5k race, blood drives, company picnics, banquets and more. She also manages many of the Company’s health-related benefits, which allows her to take a strategic, holistic approach to wellness. She understands the importance of offering more than just physical fitness and was an advocate for finding the right partners to provide services like mental health, joint and muscle care and financial planning programs. Together, these offerings provide Worthington employees avenues to achieve healthier lifestyles—physically, mentally and emotionally. 

I know if I was going to take on a lifestyle challenge, whatever that may look like, I would want support. So, nothing makes me happier than helping people achieve their potential and experience a better quality of life.
Building the Environment; Embracing the Culture

Kendra feels fortunate for all the experiences she’s had that wouldn’t have been possible anywhere else. One in particular was designing an entire fitness center after Worthington’s headquarters moved into a new building just a few years after she started. “Being able to build a gym from scratch was an amazing opportunity, and I’m grateful for that experience."

But the experiences aren’t the only thing she loves about her job. “The people are the reason I’ve been here for over 22 years.” Kendra states. It’s what drew her to Worthington in the first place—making deeper connections and building relationships with co-workers who are also clients. 

Practicing What She Preaches

In many ways, Kendra’s home life is right in line with the work she’s doing. As a wife and mother of 13-year-old twins, it’s important for her to lead by example—just as her mother did. And when your personal lifestyle reflects what you do for a living, your work is more like a facet of that lifestyle. Or, as Kendra puts it, “When you spend nearly 2,000 hours a year doing a job you love… it’s not really a job.”