Get to know some of our team members.
Andrew Sykes, President + Chief Habit Starter
Andrew founded Habits at Work (formerly Health at Work Wellness Actuaries) to help people just like him: those with busy careers who love life, enjoy their vices, find exercising hard work and who struggle to make daily healthy choices, despite knowing what they are. He is confident that if our approach can work for him, it can work for anyone prone to stress, vices, having too much fun and enjoying sedentary habits.
Andrew is an entrepreneur with over 20 years of leadership, product innovation, sales and business development experience. He loves to solve problems by creating products -- and is currently obsessed with behavior-linked insurance and financial services products.
Prior to starting Habits at Work, Andrew was Chief Wellness Officer at the Vitality Group. Andrew continues to travel for work like a runaway train. Thanks to the support of his team and the knowledge he's accumulated over his years of working in the wellness industry, he doesn’t “veg-out” in front of hotel TVs anymore and has gotten to know his fair share of hotel gyms (though he still has a weakness for dark chocolate).
Caryn Tomasiewicz, Operations, Culture + Consulting
Caryn wants to live in a world where 18-minute meetings mean every day can entail sitting in the sun, playing on a mountain, and getting restorative sleep. In her ten years as a Health and Wellness Consultant, she has worked with groups ranging from 2 to 10,000 humans, and in 2.5 languages - English, Spanish, and some Portuguese. Despite having asthma she has run five full marathons, three half-marathons, two Olympic-distance triathlons, and climbed her share of Colorado 14ers.
Caryn’s career history is vast and varied. Before becoming Head of Business operations at Habits at Work, she was a Senior Wellness Manager at the Vitality Group, which was her first time working with Andrew. Prior to that she was an account manager for Destiny Health’s consumer-driven health plans. Before entering the wellness industry she held various positions in Japan, Mexico and the UK. She also holds a Master’s in Latin American Studies from Northwestern University.
Caryn is a jack-of-all-trades whose responsibilities range from client consulting, overseeing the Habits at Work team’s projects, and being an expert on physical activity. She is passionate about helping real people find real connection to living a healthy life. She is retired from running at the moment, but might be convinced to go back if she could get into the London Marathon.
Colin Bullen, Actuarial Science + Global Consulting
Having realized that he was never going to make money either as a golfer or a rally driver, Colin set off on a career as an actuary. Rather than just "being an actuary," Colin has taken a career journey that has stretched the boundaries of his profession to value a wide range of uncertain future risks beginning with pension, death and disability, before changing focus to health plans and wellness some 20 years ago.
Prior to taking up global consulting responsibilities for Habits at Work, Colin was Aon Hewitt's Global Health & Wellbeing lead and prior to that ran their Global Benefits team in the UK. Before joining Aon Hewitt, Colin spent 13 years in South Africa where, amongst other things, he was Managing Director of the Consultants & Actuaries division of NMG.
Colin thoroughly enjoys the people engagement part of the job and loves a challenge. He believes in excellence as the norm and has an enviable track record of referable client engagements. He's currently working on improving his VO2 Max fitness score by 10% and his next hole in one will now be his second!
Diane Foernssler, Coaching Lead
Diane is dedicated to helping clients to create habits that allow them to flourish both personally and professionally. She is on a mission is to grow the Habits at Work coaching team and enhance our coaching-related services.
Diane began her professional career as a Special Education teacher. After developing a personal love of health and fitness, she decided she wanted to share her knowledge and passion with others by becoming a Certified Personal Trainer. Since 2008 she has been delivering exercise prescriptions to clients ranging in age from 25 to 88, amassing over 1,000 hours of coaching experience along the way.
Diane’s strongest asset is her genuine demeanor, which gives her the ability to engage with clients through honesty. A true complexity buster, she helps clients see their status quo and envision their preferred future. She believes in nurturing clients’ intrinsic motivation to set and achieve their own health, happiness and security goals.
Diane lives in the southwest suburbs of Chicago with her two daughters. After spending the day fully supporting her coaching clients, Diane gets renewal from mindless television, especially reality shows. She is also making a concerted effort to include more yoga practice in her week.
Hanlie van Wyk, BRATLAB Lead + Research Psychology
Hanlie is determined to create a healthier world; this personal mission has steered her professional career, which has spanned 25 years and three continents.
Hanlie started out in London as a fitness instructor and entrepreneur. In the 1990s she founded the first personal training club in South Africa. After moving from Cape Town to Johannesburg, she opened a physical rehabilitation and conditioning practice.
She then shifted her professional focus from fitness training to research and consulting. She earned an MA in Consulting Psychology from the University of South Africa, where her dissertation explored a revised model of health by examining the connections between physical psychological, social and spiritual health.
At Habits at Work, Hanlie fills a critical gap with her background, expertise and practical experience in building and implementing wellness programs. Her mission is to establish BRATLAB and Habits at Work as the most credible and reliable source of information when applying the science of health, happiness and security to employee performance.
Hanlie and her cello live on the 40th floor overlooking Chicago. She loves to compete in triathlons, practice yoga, travel and visit museums. She also enjoys watching Korean, Chinese and Japanese movies. Though she is already fluent in multiple languages, she makes it her business to continue learning new things every year.
Gloria Gong, Actuarial Science + Consulting
Gloria is a quick and curious learner whose unique international experience means she’s particularly skilled at making herself at home in any environment or culture. Though comfortable anywhere, she cherishes environments where she can leverage her knowledge and make meaningful contributions.
While studying Actuarial Science at Purdue University, Gloria developed an extensive background in academic research. At Habits at Work, she routinely uses her excellent analytic and research skills to gather copious amounts of wellness information, which is used to develop and improve our consulting products.
Gloria lives in downtown Chicago with her turtle, and sometimes her dog. She is an avid Kpop dancer who likes to hike in the summer and ice skate in the winter.
Sharlene Krantz, Consulting
Sharlene has been helping employees make the most of their employer-provided benefits programs for nearly 20 years. While working as a Benefits Manager, she was responsible for managing and administering all aspects of employee benefits for over 1,400 school district employees in Colorado. As a Certified Broker, Sharlene is the crucial link between employers and insurance carriers.
In all aspects of her life, she has a solid reputation of anticipating needs, persisting despite barriers and limited resources, and doing it all with good grace, charm and old world manners. Sharlene lives in the country on a small acreage near Brighton, Colorado with her spouse, dog and cat. She spends her spare time with family and friends and volunteers as a Crew Leader at a community food bank.
Debbi Brooks, Product Development, Partnerships + Consulting
Debbi lives and breathes product management. With over 25 years of experience, she has a long track record of spearheading product development initiatives in the health and wellness space. Debbi is a Certified New Product Development Professional (NPDP), and is responsible for the strategy, development and execution of employee-focused habit change products.
Prior to her current role, Debbi was Vice President of Marketing and Product Development for Onlife Health. She spent 5 years as Divisional Vice President of Health and Wellness Products at Health Care Service Corporation, and she served as Director of the Vitality Wellness product.
Debbi is passionate about product life cycle management, and is most energized when she is in the throws of bringing marketing strategies and product concepts to life. She can also be a real geek when it comes to writing business cases. Debbi lives in Nashville with her husband, Dave. Together they have five kids and a newly adopted chocolate lab, Addison.
Bree Miller, Brand, Marketing + Product Development
Bree’s creative mindset fuels the way she build brands and businesses -- always keeping experience, authenticity and value in mind. She is passionate about making time for play and creation, and the majority of her life outside of work is spent knitting, coloring, reading, playing with her dogs, ingesting as many Americanos as humanly possible and working out at her local CrossFit gym (3% body fat loss in 2015!). With 10 years of experience in integrated marketing, brand and business strategy, Bree is a self-titled intrapreneur who specializes in quietly (and sometimes not-so-quietly) building things behind the scenes.
Prior to joining Habits at Work, Bree founded the creative firm, Kindred Labs, where she worked with startups and big businesses to clarify their purpose and bring their vision to life in the form of brand and business strategy. Previously, she was a senior strategist at Health Brand Group, where she consulted with companies in the health and wellness industry to align their vision and channel their efforts into building and evolving authentic brands. As marketing manager at KLS Edition, Bree developed and led integrated marketing efforts for B2B consulting firms. Bree holds a Master’s in Public Relations and Advertising from DePaul University.
Amanda Beemer, Brand, Marketing + Product Development
Amanda’s humanities-based education meant she was destined to become a lawyer or university professor, until a graduate program suddenly inspired her to change course from academia to advertising -- specifically, brand strategy. She set her sights on the wellness industry because she perceives it to be the holy grail of career opportunities -- a chance to pursue her academic passions with more real world implications (than writing obscure journal articles, of course).
Prior to joining Habits at Work, Amanda has been a small business owner, an off-premise beverage buyer and the brand planner/events coordinator for the underground catering group she co-owns and operates.
Amanda relishes the opportunity to study work, leisure and everyday life from the perspective of branding. She believes in creating products and services that help people actively live better lives, and therefore keeps the experience of the end user as her focal point. She is currently working on learning Italian and weaning herself off her habit of researching PhD programs.