Meet A Deac

Wake Forest has a holistic approach to wellbeing, with eight dimensions of wellbeing we focus on for our campus community. So for today’s Meet A Deac, I am pleased to introduce you to one of my colleagues from the Office of Wellbeing, Michelle Ford (’10).

Wake Forest faculty and staff headshots, Tuesday, October 1, 2019. Michelle Ford, Wellbeing.

Michelle, so glad to have you as this week’s Meet A Deac! Will you please tell me your job title and how long you have worked at Wake? My title is Program Coordinator, Office of Wellbeing and I have been at Wake for four years.

Tell me a little about your educational background. I am a Wake graduate myself! My major was Health & Exercise Science, and I graduated in 2010.

So we have both lived the Wake experience as students, and then administrators. How would you explain your job in layperson’s terms? I work mostly behind the scenes supporting several programs and services in the Office of Wellbeing. I have also recently become a Certified Health & Wellness Coach, and have begun working with students, staff, and faculty through our Wellbeing Coaching program. Our coaches meet with clients to learn what goals the client has related to their wellbeing, and then we help them develop and take action steps to move toward those goals. I love that this process is so individual and can be so impactful.

Let’s go deeper on that point, since you help coach people. What would you say to a student if they asked for advice on how to make the most of their college experience? Invest in groups and people who matter to you and be open to that being different than at other times in your life. Be open to new ideas and new perspectives. Do things you might not ordinarily do, just because they are available and accessible: take a class outside your major purely because you’re interested in the content, go to concerts, recitals, and speakers, and study abroad! These are things that can broaden your horizons in really meaningful ways.

And if you were coaching a parent or family member, what would your advice be? There are so many people on this campus who care deeply for students. If you or your student have a problem, there are people who want to help and resources to help. This isn’t a place where it feels like students fall through the cracks, and as a parent (of young children), I think that would feel reassuring to me. Also, encourage your student to take advantage of the wonderful opportunities that are available here: study abroad, cultural events, concerts, speakers, and the arts.

People’s wellbeing has been an ongoing concern during COVID. What was one of your pandemic challenges? Trying to figure out how to work from home with children at home!

Wake Forest students walk through the halls of Tribble Hall between classes on Thursday, February 8, 2018.
Wake Forest students walk through the halls of Tribble Hall between classes on Thursday, February 8, 2018.

Do you have a favorite place on campus? I don’t know…I love the whole place! Having been an undergraduate here, I have memories all over campus and it feels like home in many ways. I do love the way that some of the older buildings (Tribble Hall) feel like a maze at first.

What do you like best about working at Wake Forest? I love the people here. They are passionate, hardworking, smart, and kind. I feel a great sense of community here.

Ready for the lightning round questions?

Logo for "The Daily" podcast

Book(s) you are reading now, or podcast(s) you are listening to: I am a dedicated listener to The Daily podcast and also follow Good Inside with Dr. Becky. I’m currently reading The Wisdom of Your Body by Dr. Hillary McBride.

NPR logo

Favorite music: NPR. Is that a genre? Or country music or the Hamilton soundtrack.

Schitt's Creek (tv show still)

Favorite TV/movies/Netflix, etc.: Schitt’s Creek, Ted Lasso, Parks & Rec, Call the Midwife.

Websites or apps you frequent: Facebook and Instagram.

What would be a special indulgence for you? Bingewatching Netflix shows.

Introvert or Extrovert? Extrovert.

Something most people don’t know about you: I was a Poteat Scholar when I was a student here!

What question didn’t I ask that you want to answer? “What are your wellbeing practices?” I take walks, read books, and try to practice giving myself grace the way I do for other people. I am learning more about practicing mindfulness and embodiment. I also love to travel, because it reminds me that I’m not the center of the universe.

Many thanks to you, Michelle, for all you do to help our students (and our campus) attend to our wellbeing!

Reminder to all – the Meet A Deac archive is here.

— by Betsy Chapman, Ph.D. (’92, MA ’94)

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