Janneke Sobeck – Community Wellness Director
My enthusiasm for health and wellness stems from a lifetime of personal and professional experiences.
As the daughter of a global health non-profit physician and a Red Cross Nurse, I spent my childhood in developing countries, witnessing the poorest of the poor struggle to survive from day to day. My passion and personal drive for good health and care began there, in the heart of disease, malnutrition, and unsanitary water supplies.
By the time I turned eight years old I had lived on four continents. Global travel comes with its own distinctive set of challenges as well as opportunities, including the development of a unique perspective on health and well-being. Growing up in Pakistan and Kenya, I witnessed extreme poverty. Children begging on the streets, not for food or clean water, but for glue to get high and become temporarily numb to the pain of starvation, and families losing loved ones because of treatable conditions that they could not afford to treat. I also spent part of my childhood in France, where the health scene was very different. People could afford health care, nutritious food, gym memberships, preventative visits to the doctor, and prescriptions. However there were still unhealthy people, making poor choices every day. Going from one extreme to the other opened my eyes to the distinct struggles humans face when it comes to caring for ourselves and for our families.
Upon returning to my passport country for college, I was overwhelmed by the poor state of well-being that I witnessed in the United States. I decided it was time to join my parents in the fight for health. I took a summer internship with the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, where I researched the financial burden of disease and ill health. I began to coach youth sports with the intention of educating children on the importance of a healthy lifestyle and diet. I also attacked at the opposite end of the age spectrum, working as a CareGiver for older adults during the summer and winter breaks throughout college.
While living in New York City after graduating from Connecticut College with a double major in Economics and French, I mentored for an organization called Team In Training, which is the world’s largest endurance sports training program. Thousands of people across the world train each season for an endurance event, raising astounding sums of money to help cancer patients and their families. As a mentor I continually sought to engage and encourage my mentees with their training, fundraising, and healthy lifestyle choices.
I met my Prince Charming on a cruise in Alaska, and moved to Winona in 2010. I discovered my dream career a year after that. Live Well Winona is an exciting and challenging organization to be a part of. It allows me to combine my personal love for health promotion into my daily work. It lets me give back to a community that has so warmly welcomed me. And every day it offers an opportunity to help people live healthier. I’m excited to be involved in bringing to life such a great mission for our community.
Deb McClellan – Community Wellness Operations Manager
Joining the Live Well Winona organization is an epic milestone in my life goals. High on that list has been to closely align my employment with my long time personal interests related to health, wellness and helping others. Being able to fulfill this dream on a community wide level here in Winona where I grew up and have resided throughout my life gives it much greater meaning.
My occupational background is rooted in business administration and human resource management with 30 years of experience in various positions at Winona businesses. During this time I have also been heavily involved in business and community organizations including the Society for Human Resource Management, Women in Business, Winona Chamber of Commerce and Habitat for Humanity. I appreciate the experience gained while serving in a leadership role with several of these organizations. Currently I serve on the Board of Directors for the Winona Occupational Rehabilitation Center.
My professional career, including the outside organizations, has been challenging and rewarding. It has given me the opportunity to serve individuals and the community, something that I find personally gratifying. For a number of years I have wanted to mesh my job and my desire to help others with my passion for fitness and general wellness. I believe Live Well Winona is the perfect fit for me to do that.
I have been physically active most of my life with recreational and athletic activities like volleyball, softball and flag football during my “early” adult years. Running and biking are my more recent pastimes.
There was a time period though when my diet and lifestyle were not the healthiest. The birth of my daughter caused an awakening and a realization that I wanted to do better for myself. Not only for the personal benefits, but because I wanted to fully enjoy and be a part of my daughter’s life for the long term and possibly serve as a healthy role model for her.
This new outlook on healthy living included a fitness component, one that drew me to the Winona YMCA. My enthusiasm must have been evident because to my surprise I was soon recruited by the Y Fitness Director to become an instructor. In spite of my fears for leading a group activity I agreed and went through the necessary training and certification process. That was May 1998 and I’m still there today teaching multiple classes each week in pilates, indoor cycling and cardio/resistance training.
My “Y” time and volunteering for events such as Trinona have provided a “part-time” outlet for my combined interests, but the vision was still there to make this a fuller part of my life. With Live Well Winona I can come to work each day looking forward to helping people live healthy lifestyles and to help a community be a quality place to live and raise children. I feel blessed to be part of the Live Well team. And my daughter, who by coming into my life inspired me to lead a healthier life, is now all grown up and as running partners we enjoy competing in various races together.