We say it with pride quite regularly, our amazing staff in corporate and senior living fitness centers are what help us serve our clients so well. Their strong educational background in health and fitness helps us set the bar high while their exceptional creativity and relationship building skills allows them to keep their members engaged and asking what’s coming next. Since we have the privilege of getting to know our staff across the country, we thought our followers might like to as well. Join us monthly as we throw a different NIFS team member a High Five.
- Name: Joy Higbee
- City, State: Indianapolis, IN
- Years with NIFS: 9 years
- Position: Active Aging Program Manager
- What brought you to NIFS: In college, I took Intro to Gerontology as an elective my sophomore year and decided I liked it enough to minor in Gerontology. Once I graduated, I found that I really loved the older adult population and decided to move to Florida to get my Master’s Degree in Gerontology. When I moved back to Indiana, I honestly didn’t know what I was going to do with degrees and passion for fitness and older adults, but I found NIFS after a few months of looking for work and I haven’t looked back!
- What is the most impactful moment you have shared with a member: When I was an on-site fitness manager I worked about 20 minutes from where I grew up. As a result, over time I found out there were some distant connections between my family and some of the residents. One such connection was discovered when a resident’s niece came in to visit. They stopped by to say hi and we were all surprised to discover that I already knew her because she is my mom’s best friend. Small world! The impactful moment came when this particular resident passed away and we attended his funeral. He had come to the fitness center daily because that had been his routine since he was young. He didn’t need much guidance from me, but we talked every time he came to work out. At his funeral, I learned about what a difference our fitness program had made to him and how happy it made him to come visit every day. There are lots of stories of how someone lost weight or was able to walk further or other physical changes as a result of group fitness or exercise prescriptions, but it’s the ones where the fitness program made someone smile that have the biggest impact on me.
- What separates a NIFS fitness pro from the rest: The collective amount of practical experience we have on our team is incredible. Between the managers, assistant managers, health fitness specialists, and coverage staff our Active Aging team has seen it all! Together, there are literally decades of experience within our team. It’s so great to have a group of educated, talented people that you can reach out to when you come up against an obstacle.
- What is your favorite thing about working at your client site: In my current role, I love that I get to be creative when designing programs. It’s especially rewarding when feedback from the residents comes back around to me and I was able to help create something memorable, enjoyable, and educational for them.
- What motivates you: I like making a difference in people’s lives. I think too many health professions are focused solely on extending quantity of life and not quality of life. Here, we get to do both, but I think that the improved quality of life is what impacts residents the most.
- What is your favorite hobby: Probably backpacking and hiking with my family, but honestly anything outdoors is pretty appealing to me!
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