Theo Bear and 2017 (a brief review of a big year)

2017 is coming to a close, but before we say hello to the new year we wanted to take a look back and review some of the highlights of the past year. At the same time, we thought we would take this opportunity to introduce our mascot to those that don’t know him, and look at some of MINES’ adventures through his eyes. We are speaking of course of Theo Bear. We’ll start with a little backstory on Theo Bear and then take a look at what he was up to over the past year.

Who is Theo/Theo’s History

Theo is the personification of the large stuffed Teddy bears that travel around with us to various events and meetings that we have around Colorado and the rest of the country. Theo has his beginnings as a small(er) stuffed bear used as giveaway prizes at benefit fairs. A former MINES team member started the tradition back in the 1980’s. The lucky winner would get to take a large stuffed Theo Bear home to their kids or other family members, or sometimes they just wanted Theo for themselves. Of course, when the tradition started the bears were much smaller, but as his popularity grew so did his size. Now, with him in the passenger seat, it becomes much easier to use the carpool lane. It began as a cute offering but soon turned into an iconic expectation, as eventually whenever we showed up at an event people would ask where the bear was, or on the flip side wherever we showed up with the bear people would exclaim, “There’s the bear, that must be MINES”. And now year after year people come to our table or booth wherever we are and try and win their very own Theo to take home.

One of the earliest, and sweetest, memories we have of him is when the grandmother of a blind, special needs preschooler won Theo. We were happy enough that she won, but when she sent the video of the child hugging and loving the bear there wasn’t a dry eye in the office. As you can see with his long-history and sentimentality, it’s no mystery that he remains a strong tradition year after year. So, what has Theo, and the rest of The Mines Team, been up to recently? Let’s take a look back at some of the highlights of our 2017 adventures.

2017 adventures

So, what has Theo, and the rest of The Mines Team, been up to recently? Theo is a busy guy these days, accompanying MINES account managers, sales team, and clinical case managers to many MINES outings making him the perfect vessel to use to look back at 2017 and remember the fun and exciting trips, memorable events, and new friends MINES encountered.

With Clients/Benefit Fairs

Not only are benefit fairs where Theo has his roots but is also the primary activity Theo does all year long. It is rare to see a MINES team member at a client’s office for a benefit fair or open enrollment without Theo. Carrying him from the parking spot into the various venues always draws lots of looks and questions from passerby’s but once we are settled at our table he is the perfect attraction and conversation starter to get employees interested in their EAP benefits.

As I mentioned one of Theo’s primary purposes at these fairs and client events is to be given away as a raffle prize, and boy does he stir up the competitive nature in the employees coming by our table. People want to win him for all sorts of reasons, for themselves, for their kids, for their spouses, and at one fair for one of our Las Vegas clients, the whole staff tried to rig the raffle so that their male supervisor would win to give him a much-needed laugh.

Benefit fairs can often last a good part of the day with most of the time spent informing employees of the ins and outs of their EAP benefits and answering any questions they may have. It can be exhausting and at the end of the day you are ready to relax and as you can see in the picture, sometimes you’re lucky enough to get a quick chair massage by some of the other wellness vendors at the fair. Us providers need to look after each other you know?

Vegas

Theo also spent a lot of time in Las Vegas this year. No, not to gamble despite what you may think from the picture, but to visit and support our many clients that call Nevada their home. MINES visits Las Vegas consistently over the year and starting in September our Account Managers, with Theo in tow, made their way to the Nevada desert for benefit fair season.

Here’s another one of Theo and one of our account managers, Eric, making their way through one of the many hotel lobbies, and below you can see Theo getting acquainted with the Las Vegas office that MINES uses as our Nevada base of operations.

Wellness Initiatives

Next, let’s move on to another big initiative MINES had for 2017, community wellbeing. In the pic above we can see Theo enjoying a little rest after doing some exercise at the end of the day in the MINES workout room. MINES has always strived to encourage a culture of wellness and health. Not only does the data behind our EAP and wellness services reinforce that a healthy employee is a productive employee, it’s also just fun. These last 2 years, thanks to our excellent wellness committee, we have made a big push to enhance our wellness initiatives at the community level. We partnered with HealthLinks, a signature program from the Colorado School of Public Health that helps businesses assess health and safety policies, create goals, connect likeminded business together, and even certify employers as “Certified Healthy Businesses”, which of course MINES is proudly one of. And by practicing what we preach, MINES was even awarded the Colorado Health Links Innovation award in August for our effort on employee wellbeing.

Earlier in July, MINES was also awarded the ADA Corporate Health Champion Award from the American Diabetes Association for our efforts to support our employees across nutrition/weight management, physical activity, and organizational wellbeing.

A lot of how we support the wellbeing of all the MINES team members is through encouraging healthy habits in the workplace. Above you can see Theo trying to break his bench press record, looks like he could use a spotter though. Safety first! In addition to the workout room that is utilized on a regular basis, we also hold healthy events. We do summer and winter “Office Olympics” that encouraged people to get up from their desks and engage in some fun and active games around the office. We also host a semi-regular group activity called “MINES Reclines” where after hours, members of the MINES team can get together for an activity. We have done rock climbing, outdoor walks, fun runs, and things to support mental wellbeing too such as art classes and educational events.

At the core of everything we do is our mission to serve our clients, so of course, we do everything we can to support the wellbeing of their employees. Our monthly newsletter  “TotalWellbeing” offers monthly tips, articles, goals, blog post updates, and community resources all centered around the wellbeing theme of the month which spans all 8 dimensions of wellbeing. In addition, our Whole Organization Wellbeing program, or WOW, is an enhancement service to our core EAP where employees gain access to professional health coaches to address issues on nutrition, fitness, sleep, goal setting, and more. MINES is constantly working to enhance our wellness services and in 2018, expects to expand the wellness services included across all our EAP offerings as well as enhanced work/life services.

Conferences

Next, MINES hit the road for conference-season. A year at MINES wouldn’t be complete without at least few conference under our belt and this year Theo joined us at just about every one of them. He helped us tackled the Mile High SHRM conference in January, as well as the NPELRA (National Public Employer Labor Relations Association) and the Colorado Culture of Health conferences in April. Headed north for Montana SHRM conference in May and joined us at the 1st annual HealthLinks conference in August. He brought us booth visitors and became an honorary SPHR (Senior Professional in Human Resources) as he helped us power through the SHRM conferences in Colorado, Wyoming, and Arizona during August and September. We met a ton of great people, gave out tons of information, swag, and hugs, and got to say hi to some of our great HR contacts while we were at it! Fun times!

The MINES Office

As you can see it has been a busy year and we thank you for letting us take you down memory lane. We’ll finish with just a few more fun pics from around the MINES office as we relax and bring in the new year.

While Theo isn’t a licensed counselor like our expert case managers are, he has been known to console from time to time. Our Case Management Team is constantly supporting our clients through routine services as well as critical incidents so when the going gets tough, it’s good to know that we have a little back up for them!

Every once in a while, someone here at the MINES office needs a moment to rest and catch their breath. When that happens, Theo is there to offer a soft place to lay and relax for a moment before getting back to it.

Of course, when Theo isn’t working remote or traveling to see a client, he spends the rest of the time hanging around the MINES office.  Here he is with some of the MINES team along with a whole squad of “other” Theo’s during “National Bring Your Teddy Bear to Work Day”. What? Just like Santa, you didn’t think he did all this by himself, did you?

Conclusion

As you might imagine after all the craziness of the last year Theo is very much looking forward to taking some time off, putting his furry feet up for a bit, and relaxing. But don’t worry, if you are one of the many people who look forward to a visit from Theo each year, in 2018 he will be back hard at work serving our clients, saving lives, and influencing the course of human (and bear) events*. See you then!

 

*The MINES Creed from our Founder and Chairman, Dr. Robert Mines… minus the bear part…

To your wellbeing and a great 2018!

Have a happy New Year from The MINES Team

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