Student Spotlight: Margie Kidd

Margie KiddMargie Kidd isn’t the “typical” student in the College of Business Administration, which makes her a perfect fit for the Professional MBA, the college’s 16 month program for working professionals. As the wellness director for Clayton Homes, a Berkshire Hathaway Corporation, she directs wellness initiatives for the corporation’s 12,000 employees, or as Clayton calls them, team members. The PROMBA program is used to students from all disciplines and backgrounds. However, some may question what a corporate wellness director (whose undergraduate degree is in exercise science---not business) was seeking when choosing to pursue an MBA.

“With what I’ve learned in PROMBA, I’ve been able to contribute to large-scale projects at Clayton, like designing an on-site medical clinic and contributing to the roll out of a new health insurance program,” said Kidd. “ I’ve always been focused on the health of our employees. Now I’m also focused on the health of our business. Anybody in any organization can benefit from a business educationSome would consider a wellness director a strange candidate for an MBA, but it has done great things for me and my company.” 

Kidd has been instrumental in the development and implementation of Clayton’s home office’s wellness initiatives. The office now runs a health conscious restaurant and fitness center, and Kidd has developed and promoted a “tobacco free” campaign company-wide. Her goal is to develop programs that are cost contained, will provide numerous benefits for Clayton, and motivate healthy behaviors in all of Clayton’s team members. Her work with Clayton, and the benefits the company as reaped as a result, has been published in dozens of publications including Executive Financial and Arthritis Today.

Kidd was chosen to speak at a congressional briefing in Washington, D.C., on Clayton’s wellness efforts, and she is regularly asked to lead speaking engagements (both nationally and internationally) to promote healthy lifestyles in corporations.  She and her team were presented with the American Cancer Society’s Star of Excellence in 2007; the American Heart Association’s Fit Company Gold Award 2006, 2007, and 2008; Tennessee Governor Bredesen’s Get Fit Tennessee Award in 2008; and Blount County’s Best Corporate Wellness Program in 2009.

In addition to her work with Clayton, Kidd campaigns for increased health awareness throughout the local and state community. She is an active member of the American Cancer Society Corporate Advisory Board as well as the State of Tennessee Worksite Wellness co-chair. She also is the community awareness chair of the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital Obesity Steering Committee, established in 2008 to bring awareness and solutions to the community. Her work as co-chair of the University of Tennessee/UT Medical Center Boling Endowment helps coordinate events such as Dr. Kenneth Cooper of the Cooper Clinic’s visit to Knoxville to meet with local business leaders.

Prior to her work at Clayton, Kidd worked in the healthcare industry in various capacities. She was a fitness specialist for the City Government of Chattanooga, Tennessee, where she submitted business plans that were instrumental in obtaining approval for an underdeveloped special population’s wellness program. This pioneer program focused on increasing fitness for the obese, mentally/physically challenged, seniors, and children in the low-income community of Chattanooga. Prior to her work in Chattanooga, Kidd was an international flight attendant coordinator for Delta Airlines based in Atlanta, Georgia, her hometown.

In Kidd’s free time (though there isn’t much of it!), she is an active volunteer in her children’s schools and is an avid runner. This past year, in addition to working full-time, raising her two children, Taylor and Hunter, with her husband, Robbie, Kidd ran the Boston Marathon, putting all her efforts into raising funds for her nine-year-old niece’s (Hayley Hunter)  cancer foundation, CURE Childhood Cancer.

“When people ask how I found time to train and run the Boston Marathon, I told them my niece was my inspiration. No one gave her the choice to have time for cancer, and while I was training, she was having chemo, radiation and bone marrow transplants. If she can incur all of that with such courage, I can work full time, complete PROMBA, be a mom, train and raise money for her foundation. The entire PROMBA class helped with financial gifts, letters, and prayers during all of this, and it added closeness to the entire group. I am happy to report she is six months into remission!”

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