Changing the way people think about what it means to be healthy is no easy task, but for TAC Wellness Consultant Ashley Cureton it is a challenge she embraces with laughter, compassion and energy. Her presentations and workshops are often about making drastic life changes, a subject that can be daunting. But when she speaks, she brings a lightness and joy to the presentation that puts people at ease, making the message of improving health through diet, exercise and stress management easier to take in. This is why she won the 2018 TAC Employee of the Year Award. TAC staff choose the annual recipient of this honor.
Cureton and her Health and Benefits Services Department teammates spend at least three days a week on the road meeting with TAC Health and Employee Benefits Pool (TAC HEBP) members, helping them understand how their individual wellness directly relates to their health care claims costs. She represents the Eastern territory, which comprises about 46 counties.
According to her supervisor Quincy Quinlan, Director of Health and Benefits Services, “Ashley’s health and wellness knowledge, matched with her work ethic, is extremely impressive. She is one of our most sought after speakers.”
Her recipe for success is two-fold: she knows what she is talking about, having earned her master’s degree in health education from Texas State University, and she loves to entertain. “The two things I like best about my job,” she said, “are the strategy part — looking at numbers and data helps me understand the WHY — and I also love presenting and providing workshops. Interacting with members is priceless. I love acting — theater is my passion — so it all seems to fit together.”
Her main job focus is to improve the culture in counties relating to health and wellness. That encompasses improving knowledge on everything from diet and exercise to stress management and emotional/mental health care. She works with a team of both Wellness and Employee Benefits consultants in a holistic approach to improving the health of county officials and employees. “It’s nice to have a team where we can bounce ideas off each other,” she said. “We all have our strong suits. Mine is stress management and organizational leadership.”
Her team shares her passion for improving health and wellness culture, and recognizes the talent and drive Cureton brings to the table. “Ashley is an amazing coworker and friend. She is passionate about her work and strives to help our team any way possible,” said TAC Employee Benefits Consultant Lorie Floyd. “Her outlook on life is always a positive one. It is a privilege to work with her, especially as my teammate.”
TAC Wellness Consultant Mark Zolitsch added, “Ashley is a highly entertaining and engaging presenter. She brings unique attributes to the table that others don’t, thus making our team greater than the sum of the parts and allowing us to better serve our members.”
In addition to her commitment to TAC members, her team and TAC, Cureton finds the time to be a rabid sports fan. Hailing from Washington, D.C., she is committed to her hometown team, the Washington Redskins, despite living in and loving Texas. She is also committed to giving back and volunteers for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. “I’ve been a ‘Big’ since 2016 and love it,” she said.
Cureton is passionate about helping others improve their lives and has the know-how to make it happen. “She has an incredibly emphatic personality and exceptional analytic skills,” Quinlan said, “and to top it all off — she has an infectious smile that lights up a room.”
Cureton’s combination of charm, intelligence and professional knowledge earned her the 2018 Employee of the Year award.