Karen Bentham: Executive Director, OASSIS

Karen Bentham: Executive Director, OASSIS

Living an active lifestyle has been part of Karen’s life since she was 25. She didn’t like the way her life was heading and decided it was time to do something about it. In 1990 Karen started taking fitness classes at her local community centre. “It didn’t take long for fitness to catch hold of me,” says Karen. “I didn’t have to think about it, it wasn’t an ‘add on’… just a part of my life.”

Her coordination and commitment were not lost on the supervisor at the Centre who approached Karen to train as a group exercise instructor. Now, 25 years later, Karen still finds the time to teach five classes a week on top of a hectic work and home schedule.

With a challenging position as Executive Director of OASSIS Plan, an organization that provides benefit packages to not for profit agencies, Karen believes that being physically active provides her with the energy required to manage the demands of work and home.

Karen has tried to impart her philosophy on her two teenage children who have both been involved in sports since a young age. A commited athlete and fitness buff, her 15 year old son Josh seems to be following in her footsteps. His plan when he turns 16 is to get his CanFIT Pro personal training certification.

Karen recently celebrated her 50th birthday and had only one request; that both children participate in one of her fitness classes, something they had never done before. Both agreed somewhat hesitantly, wondering whether they could keep up with their fit mom!

OASSIS Plan provides employee benefits to 300+ employers in the not for profit industry. All employers are on the same plan. Their employers range in size from 1 – 1,600 with most being in the small category. With disability, stress claims and health care costs on the rise, Karen received approval from her Board of Directors in the fall of 2014 to integrate wellness solutions as part of their benefit offerings. Says Karen, “I know that if we can get employees healthier they won’t draw on their plan as much and they will be more engaged at work.”

OASSIS chose Tri Fit as their wellness partner because they offered a customized approach. “Each of our clients has unique needs so it was important for us to collaborate with an organization that could provide tailored solutions.”

Karen credits her lifestyle for rarely being sick, feeling healthy and having lots of energy. She believes strongly that if leaders are committed to good health it has a spill-over effect at work so she provides her small office team of seven, time off work to walk three times a week. “If you can just get them started and support them until it catches hold of them, the paybacks will speak for themselves.”