The Whole U launched in January 2014 to foster community, promote holistic wellness, and share the great perks available to UW faculty and staff. Here’s a snapshot of our first year:

Whole U - By the Numbers

The Whole U – By the Numbers


17,621 Non-Unique Participant Interactions

  • 52% Pro Staff
  • 32% Classified Staff
  • 12% Academic Personnel
  • 4% Retiree/Other

Pillar Breakdown

Being Active
  • 69 Articles
  • 47 Events
  • 10 Social Groups
Eating Well
  • 41 Articles
  • 7 Events
  • 1 Social Group
Engaging Interest
  • 95 Articles
  • 12 Events
  • 4 Social Groups
Life Events & Changes
  • 24 Articles
  • 2 Events
  • 2 Social Groups
Staying Healthy
  • 43 Articles
  • 11 Events
  • 22 Articles
  • 2 Events

* Does not include partner events co-promoted by The Whole U or activities only promoted to members of a social group under The Whole U umbrella.

Virtual Training

3,296 Total Participants

  • Kettlebell: 637
  • Running / Walking: 662
  • Stair Climb: 871
  • Stretch & Flex: 383
  • Yoga: 743

The Whole U Discount Network

  • 214 Discounts in 2014. Included built in network.
  • 42,585 Discount network accessed.

Website Stats

  • 1,016 Average Daily Pageviews
  • 354,439 Pageviews
  • 119,829 Users

5 Most Engaged Organizations / Groups

  • School of Medicine
  • Finance & Facilities
  • College of Engineering
  • Medical Center
  • Arts & Sciences

Community Enhancers

  • Guinness World Record Kettlebell Workout*: 1,465 Participants
  • Photo Day: 1,294 Participants
  • Ovations: 922 Participants
  • Scavenger Hunt*: 750 Participants
  • Stress Less Holiday Challenge*: 553 Participants
  • Summer of FUNction Challenge: 398 Participants
  • Whole U Section at Husky Athletic Events: 575 Participants
  • Yoga Challenge*: 700 Participants

* Event held on all three campuses.


You can learn more about our first year here.

Meet The Whole U Team


Lauren Updyke, MS ACSM HFI Assistant Director

updykl@uw.edu · 206-221-3450 · Read Posts

Hi everyone, I’m Lauren, the assistant director for The Whole U Program. I have spent 13 years of my career in Health and Wellness and believe my purpose in life is to motivate others to live their lives with happiness and health. “Can’t” does not exist in my vocabulary. I truly believe we can do anything we desire if we put our mind to it and establish a goal. Don’t be surprised if we start a virtual walking and running club and enter fun races together! I can be contagious and just may change your life. I am all about breaking records together.

I have my Masters in Exercise Physiology, am an avid marathoner and Certified Personal trainer through the American College of Sports Medicine, and have virtually coached (yes, online) over 10,000 individuals from all over the world with weight loss and running. I also managed the Wellness program at Duke University and Hospital for 13 years. I just started at the UW, but already love being a Husky and am so thrilled to be a part of The Whole U team. My role is to provide faculty and staff with awesome resources to begin or continue their health journey, discover cool discounts in the area, plan fun events for UW faculty and staff, find other passionate leaders within the UW family, and lead our Ambassador team as we roll out new and exciting opportunities!

Quinn Russell Brown

Quinn Russell Brown Writer

qbrown31@uw.edu · 206-221-5935 · Follow on Twitter · Read Posts

I graduated from our bustling Bothell campus in 2013. After that, I joined the newsroom at The Daily Herald in Everett, where I worked on the website, wrote stories, took pictures and made videos. I came to The Whole U to do a lot of those same things, only now my beat is the faculty and staff of the University of Washington.

I spend my free time watching old and new movies, studying photography, following the news, and exploring Seattle with my girlfriend. My favorite perk of being a UW employee is the library access. That makes me sound pretty grown-up, so I’ll balance it out by saying that I love taking baths and I have a childlike vulnerability to candy, particularly Lemonheads.

UW Steph Garb

Stephanie Garbaczewski Marketing and Events Consultant

sgarb@uw.edu · 206-221-6302 · Read Posts

I develop and execute fun events and activities for UW faculty and staff to be active, stay healthy, and thrive during life events and changes. I’ve always enjoyed managing events and caught the bug as a student at UC Santa Barbara. 12 years later, I’ve been lucky to work on hundreds of events for countless clients including: Anheuser Busch, Luis Palau, OSU, Southern Comfort, PCMA, Starbucks, two Olympic Organizing Committees and of course, the University of Washington!

In late 2013 I was asked to be a Whole U Ambassador and was thrilled! I’m a huge proponent of wellness, education, and leading healthy lifestyles. I volunteered to be the stage manager for the Largest Kettlebell Workout and after we broke the Guinness World Record, I knew there were so many more events to come! I’m constantly dreaming up creative seminars, workouts, and programs that are “By UW, for UW” and enjoy the opportunity to showcase talent in our UW community. When I’m not planning the next big event you can find me running, biking, hiking, enjoying a patio, or trying a new yoga pose at a hot vinyasa studio.

Chiara Iacoviello

Chiara Iacoviello Marketing and Events Consultant

chiarai@uw.edu · 206-221-5935

Ciao! My name is Chiara and I am a marketing and events consultant at the Whole U. The first thing you’ll notice when you meet me is my Italian accent! I was born in Rieti, a small town in Central Italy. After I graduated college, I decided to move to California to pursue an MBA in Marketing and International Business. I thought I would stay in the U.S. only a couple years, but eight years later…I’m still here! I have always had a love for cooking and after graduating I followed my passion and created a business which organized culinary events, all with a focus on authentic Italian cuisine. Soon after, I started a partnership with Mario Andretti’s winery in Napa Valley to help them launch their new series of culinary events. My adventure at legendary Mario Andretti’s winery ended when my husband and I decided to relocate to Seattle.

Now I’m ready for my next adventure at the Whole U! There are so many things that I am passionate about; it’s hard not to fill the whole page. I love opera, the symphony, the ballet, interior design, reading, hiking, biking, travelling, learning foreign languages, exploring new places – whether it’s a new restaurant, park, beach or neighborhood – and cooking, of course cooking! But if I had to pick my favorite thing of all, it would be sharing a meal with my family; sitting around the table, creating memories and enjoying each others’ company, while savoring a yummy homemade meal over a conversation and a bottle of wine. I am so happy to be part of the Whole U. This job gives me the chance not only to work on things I am passionate about, but also discover what your passion is, and try to find more and more opportunities for you to follow that passion.


Melissa Maxwell Creative Lead

mlissa@uw.edu · 206-543-1557 · Read Posts

Not long ago I was asked, “If you could have any talent in the world, what would it be?” At the risk of sounding overly impressed with myself, my response was, “I would choose the talent I was born with: creativity.” Why? Well, it allows me to spend my days doing exactly what I love to do—make things!—and, as Creative Lead of The Whole U, I get to design the look and feel of our awesome and amazing new employee engagement program! If you need advice or assistance creating promotional materials or swag for your own Whole U-related event, give me a shout. I’d be delighted to help.

When I’m not in “design mode,” you’ll likely find me preparing for an upcoming endurance event. I’m what’s considered a late bloomer when it comes to running, as I’d barely broken a sweat since high school. But after turning 40 (and then some), I decided to give it a whirl. To date, I’ve crossed the finish line of eight half marathons and two full marathons, so am living proof that ANYONE can run 26.2 miles if they put their mind to it.


Kimberly Mishra Executive Director of Marketing, Communications, & Engagement

kmishra@uw.edu · 206-685-3845 · Read Posts

You know how the last bullet of most job descriptions reads something like, “other duties as assigned?” Well it is that bullet that has shaped my career path and has allowed me to turn my love of shiny, new things into a workplace strength. I love jumping in the deep end, figuring out how to swim, and leading through change. I also love telling stories, helping others connect, and advocating for the end-user experience.

In addition to working on The Whole U, I serve as the director of Marketing, Communications, & Engagement. With over a decade at UW, I have started to bleed purple. I love this place and its people. Connect with me if you have ideas on how to better promote The Whole U, new ideas for events, or to offer me advice on juggling the demands of parenting (I have a seven-year-old adorable monster) with career and the remnants of a social life. When I am not working or chasing the adorable monster, I am at yoga, throwing ridiculously elaborate dinner parties, or chasing the next shiny new thing.

Margaret Murray UW

Margaret Murray, Ph.D. Communications Strategist

murray4@uw.edu · 206-543-5007 · Follow on Twitter · Read Posts

I came to UW in November 2013 to help launch The Whole U. I thought it was my dream job and I was right. In the first year I got to be part of the World’s Largest Kettlebell Class, a campus Scavenger Hunt, Ovations Talent Showcase, and so much more. As the editor of The Whole U’s website, I shine a spotlight on some of the incredible faculty and staff achievements that happen here every day. If you know of a story we should tell, please let me know. I’m also the point person for The Whole U’s FacebookTwitterInstagram accounts so please contact me if you know of an event or resource we should share. I love learning about all the amazing things that are happening around the UW!

I’m a firm believer in the power of public education. I earned my Bachelor’s in Mass Communications from Michigan State University and my Doctorate in Organizational Communication and Cultural Studies from the University of Colorado Boulder. If you ever want to talk about Detroit (my dissertation topic) or play a game of Euchre (my favorite card game) please let me know!


Thomas Winston Thorpe Marketing, Communications, & Engagement Assistant Director

twthorpe@uw.edu · 206-221-6997 · Follow on Twitter

Hi, I’m Thom Thorpe and I’m the Assistant Director of Marketing, Communications, and Engagement. Before joining the University of Washington, I filled the roles of UI/UX designer, Web developer, project manager, and business strategist for several Seattle-area startups. I have also created and managed several startups of my own. My areas of focus are around usability, accessibility, analytics, business strategy, and business development. I’ve won many awards for my work, including a Webby Award in 2009. I’m also no stranger to the world of education, having started my career at Loyola University Maryland, after receiving my degree in Psychology.

I currently live in Seattle with my better half and two neurotic cats. It’s not uncommon to find the two of us at estate sales, antique malls, or vintage stores looking for that next amazing piece for our collection. When not on the hunt for antiques, we love trying new restaurants and visiting vineyards in Eastern Washington. We also love being outdoors; on a sunny weekend, there is no place that we would rather be then on our bicycles touring this great state of ours.

Now you know who we are, but what The Whole U is depends on you–your interests, your passions, your availability, and your willingness to reach out to us so we can better meet the needs of our unique community. Please send us your ideas. We don’t know exactly what the future holds, but we know The Whole U will be for UW, by UW.

Is The Whole U required? Does it cost money?

Participation is voluntary and is funded by UW Human Resources.

How are events scheduled? Do you take into account different shifts, schedules, and locations?

Part of being responsive to people’s interests and availabilities means that the times and locations vary. Large events will typically be at lunch on weekdays in a central location to engage the maximum number of people. For smaller events, the location and timing depends on the target participants. For faculty and staff leading their own activities, it remains up to the activity leader. The toolkit contains advice on scheduling to maximize participation.

Is release time available for participation in Whole U activities?

Typically, activities are scheduled to take place during lunch breaks or weekends. When your work schedule conflicts with a Whole U event, it is up to you to speak with your supervisor about the possibility of attending.

We encourage you to stay connected to The Whole U website for information on upcoming events, resources and discounts, but please do so in a way that is appropriate for your unit. If there is any ambiguity with your schedule or the policies that govern your workspace, please talk with your supervisor.

How does UW Medicine’s Social Networking Policy and Guidelines affect participation of faculty and staff who are involved in patient care?

UW Medicine employees should limit their use of The Whole U program’s social media elements in hospital or clinic space to rest or meal breaks, unless social media use has been previously approved by a supervisor.

I see that you include information on volunteerism. Does this mean that I can get release time to volunteer at a non-profit organization?

Participation in Whole U events or service opportunities is on a volunteer basis that exists outside of your normal work responsibilities and is not covered by release time.

What is The Whole U’s Comment Policy?

The Whole U is a moderated website, and reserves the right to not post submitted comments. Please submit your comments at any time, and they will be approved and posted as soon as they can be reviewed-the next business day if not sooner. Generally, we will not post comments that:

  • Are not related to the topic, or are clearly spam.
  • Do not demonstrate mutual respect for the University, University employees and other individuals, including use of abusive or prejudicial language, personal attacks, or unsupported claims.
  • Contain commercial links in support of a business, service, or product.

We will not edit comments. If a comment contains any of the above, or is otherwise considered inappropriate, it will not be approved for posting.

Thank you for visiting our website. We look forward to your comments!