Wednesday, March 21, 2018

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Below the Surface: Uncovering benefits from a non-traditional corporate perk

Written by  Tina Joyce

Have you ever seen someone smile with their eyes? How about disguise pain with a laugh? It seems that there is always more to someone’s story than what you can see on the surface.  

Lauren Yasi is no exception to this. Her sweet smile, jubilant voice and reputable career start might make other young women sigh with envy. However, Lauren’s journey is far more than meets the eye.

Lauren, a 2015 Virginia Tech graduate and current loan accountant for Virginia Commercial Finance, had no idea that something discussed in her initial interview with VCF was about to impact the rest of her life.

“In my interview, one of the benefits discussed was a membership to a local health and fitness club, ACAC. I knew I wanted to work for VCF, but [the membership] was just an added bonus,” Lauren recalls. “During my first week of work, they gave me a tour of ACAC.”

VCF has a corporate wellness partnership with ACAC to help promote health and fitness for their employees. If a VCF employee utilizes the fitness facility at least eight times in a month, VCF pays the membership fee. ACAC sends participating companies the attendance each month.

“We have several tiers of wellness programming. We have our basic corporate partnership that involves discounted rates for companies that offer payroll deduction and or subsidy. We also have a software platform that offers 60 days for 60 dollars for employees. This software includes challenges, device tracking for all activity in and outside the gym, small group training, assessments, online education and much more,” shares Kelly Lynn, the Vice President of Sales and P.R.E.P. at ACAC.

At first, Lauren was simply taking advantage of the corporate benefit package and trying out different classes. She began with water classes, then tried cycling, then elliptical, working her way up to more advanced classes and equipment.

“I started working out, but hadn’t changed my eating habits. I knew my relationship with food wasn’t like other people’s. I really had to get honest with myself [before seeing major results],” Lauren admits.

She remembered using food as a way to cope with stressful situations in her youth, when she hadn’t yet gained the ability to see food as needed fuel for her body. She started using the gym on her own, but now utilizes the experience and expertise of an ACAC personal trainer. “We have a history of teaching people how to exercise,” explains Lynn.

Lauren shares, “ACAC has been a second home to me. Everyone has been very encouraging. It has become much more than just a gym.”

Lauren (age 23) started working out at ACAC in August 2015. As of February 2017, she has lost more than 130 pounds!

John McCauley, the CEO of Virginia Commercial Finance, comments, “One of the things we believe in very strongly is offering wellness memberships to our employees so they can be the best they can be in the marketplace to serve others. We are exceedingly proud of the accomplishments Lauren has made. She is a role model for us all.”

There are both direct and indirect advantages for companies choosing to offer corporate wellness memberships as a benefit to their employees—including creating happier, healthier and more productive employees. It isn’t about losing weight; it’s about gaining health.

“ACAC is not just a gym; it’s a community,” Kelly Lynn notes. “Employees can use ACAC not only to exercise, but also to relieve stress and socialize. We encourage all employees to include their families to make it more convenient. Our number one goal is for companies to see healthcare cost reductions. However, the benefits of partnering with ACAC outside of cost savings are just as valuable.”

“I am much healthier and more confident,” Lauren now admits. She speaks with a confidence that can only come from deep within. Her skin glows and her eyes sparkle because she has changed her lifestyle. She has learned a lot about herself, thanks to a non-traditional workplace benefit. She has a good story to share, one beyond her outward appearance—proving that beauty isn’t only skin-deep.

For more information about corporate health and wellness programs at ACAC, contact Kelly Lynn at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit