Note: Each month, we will feature a different member of the WebPT family in our Staff Spotlight blog series.
She’s never traveled outside of North America, but in her heart, Chelsie Shadrach knows she belongs in Africa. “I just really feel like it’s my calling,” said Chelsie, who currently heads up WebPT’s company culture department.
It all started in high school, when she joined a group called STAND (Students Taking Action Now in Darfur). That experience sparked Chelsie’s desire to one day become active in humanitarian efforts abroad, but a trip to career services during college solidified her resolve. “I went in for help with my resumé, and they put me on some kind of career-finding website,” she said. “I’d been there for about an hour when a picture of a little shanty in a third-world nation in Africa popped up on the screen. And it completely exploded my heart.”
Eventually, Chelsie’s passion for world outreach led her to change her academic focus from nursing to health promotion. Her dream job? Serving as a global health coordinator for the World Health Organization. “Other cultures just fascinate me,” she said. “I’ve always been so curious about why people behave the way that they do in other parts of the world.”
She also is fascinated—and saddened—by the sharp contrast between life in the United States and life in third-world countries. “Here in the US, we have everything—and there are people over there who literally have nothing,” she said. “It’s just preposterous to me that the world could function in that way.”
Chelsie plans to visit Africa sometime this year to explore service and outreach opportunities. Her ultimate goal is to live and work there for several years—and possibly even to start a family abroad. “I just think it would be such a great experience for a kid to be raised in that environment,” she said. “When I was growing up, I always envied the kids who got to travel a lot.” In the meantime, Chelsie is busy soaking up as much wisdom as she can here at WebPT.
Her unflappable spirit and strong desire to effect change made her the perfect candidate for her role as Culture Captain. In fact, after initially interviewing Chelsie for a different job, WebPT COO and Co-Founder Heidi Jannenga decided to create the culture position specifically for her. “When she [Heidi] called me back in for a second interview, I found out the other position had already been filled, but she told me they were still talking about this culture role,” Chelsie said. “She was pretty much like, ‘We don’t really even know what it is yet, but you’re it.’”
Being entrusted with so much autonomy from the get-go made Chelsie a little nervous—but she also felt extremely empowered. In addition to creating an interactive onboarding process to introduce new hires to WebPT's distinct company culture, Chelsie has spearheaded a variety of community service projects and employee wellness programs—perhaps most notably: WebPT Alive, a company-wide initiative to encourage WebPT team members to live better, healthier lives.
The product of Chelsie’s capstone internship project at Arizona State University, WebPT Alive offers health and wellness resources as well as fun, engaging opportunities for employees to adopt healthier habits and lifestyles. Just recently, Chelsie headed up WebPT’s 500 Miles Step Challenge, in which participating team members wore pedometers and logged their weekly step totals for two months. For Chelsie, keeping up the enthusiasm level among participants for eight whole weeks was a challenge in and of itself—but one that she gladly accepted. After all, contagious positivity is the bread and butter of WebPT’s culture.
“I never take offense to people calling me the office cheerleader,” Chelsie said. In fact, her screensaver sums up her professional—and personal—mantra to a T: “Be so happy that when others see you, they’ll be happy too.”
Fave Five with Chelsie
- Favorite food: Bagged popcorn
- Favorite movie: Meet the Robinsons
- Favorite sports team: St. Louis Rams and New York Yankees
- Favorite musician: Jason Mraz
- Favorite place: Key West, Florida