The UW has an amazing array of resources—health, arts, culture, science, athletics, and more. Right now it can be hard to access all that makes this place great because of information overload. It is also challenging to connect with people who share similar interests, but work in different parts of the University. The goal of The Whole U is to make all of this a little bit easier by fostering community, sharing ways to stay healthy, and promoting the great benefits and services available to UW faculty and staff. Please watch President Young introduce The Whole U:

The Whole U encompasses a lot, so information is curated around our six program pillars: staying healthy, being active, eating well, life events & changes, volunteerism, and engaging personal interests. Here is what else you will find:

  • A new employee discount program that includes a Whole U Fitness Network of discounted gyms and fitness studios and a Farm to Fork Network of discounts on fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • An events calendar that includes fun, community building activities, like an attempt to break the world record for the largest kettlebell workout, and smaller and more intimate learning opportunities, like cooking demonstrations in Lander Hall and lunchtime seminar series featuring UW experts. We aim to make these events regular and responsive to your needs, so if you have an idea for us, please let us know at wholeu@uw.edu.
  • A toolkit to minimize the logistical burden of starting new interest groups or activities. From how to host your group on the UW’s internal Google+ site to marketing, room reservations, accommodating participants with disabilities, preferred vendors, and creative ways to utilize limited budgets to provide prizes and incentives to your participants, this toolkit can help bring good ideas to life without running afoul of our workplace guidelines. The Whole U team is also available for consultation if you would like to talk through an idea and take advantage of the many ways that we can support your work.
  • Fantastic things are already happening all over the UW that help bring our community closer together: yoga groups, book clubs, art committees, recipe swaps, and more. At The Whole U we want to celebrate these activities. Please let us know about what you are doing and we can help recognize, honor, and support your efforts.

At the heart of The Whole U are an amazing group of ambassadors that represent all parts of the University and are committed to sharing the program within their own departments, encouraging participation, and helping to adapt Whole U offerings to best fit the culture and schedule of their corner of the UW. Ambassadors also provide feedback to The Whole U team so that we can be more responsive to your needs. You can find your department’s ambassador listed on the Ambassador page.

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 unique needs of our unique community. What will The Whole U be in the coming year? We’re listening to you. Please send us your ideas. We don’t know exactly what the future holds, but we’re working to build something 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!


Robert Lindsley, Ed.D. Director

rbl8@uw.edu · 206-616-1393 · Read Posts

Hi everyone, my name is Rob and I am the director of the Whole U, which means I spend most of my time working with big picture aspects of the program like design, strategy, partnerships, and evaluation. It also means that I work for U! (I know. Sorry.) Seriously, though, this program is designed to be responsive to your needs and interests, so please do let us know how we can do that better and we will.

Tell us a bit more about yourself, Rob, you ask? Sure thing. I grew up in the Atlanta area, but have lived most of my adult life either in Boston, where I did undergrad and graduate school, or overseas. In grad school I studied human development, and then worked for a number of years throughout Asia and Africa for an international development organization helping to design and run programs that expand health and education opportunities to underserved populations. My fiancé, our cat and I moved here from Indonesia in February of 2013 and have yet to stop talking about how much we love Seattle. We are an active bunch (minus the cat) and like to get outside, eat good food, and participate in anything that has to do with animals. I’ve also maintained a daily meditation practice for about 5 years now, so if you are interested in ways to support a meditation practice in your workday, please let me know. Looking forward to getting to know you all as the program progresses!


Melissa Maxwell Creative Lead

mlissa@u.washington.edu · 206-543-1557

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 Marketing & Communications Director

kmishra@u.washington.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 for UW Human Resources. 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 six-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, Ph.D. Social Media Specialist

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

As the social media specialist, I run the FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Google+ accounts. Please contact me if you know of an event or resource The Whole U should share. I’m new to UW—started November 2013—so I love learning about all the amazing things that are happening around campus. I’m also the website’s editor and am looking for contributors. If there’s something you’d like to write about, please contact me about writing a single guest post or becoming a regular contributor.

Originally from Michigan, I’m an avid Euchre player and am always up for a game. I moved to Colorado in 2005 to pursue my Doctorate in Organizational Communication and Cultural Studies from the University of Colorado Boulder. During that time I taught public speaking and studied hipsters. I also met my husband, who convinced me to move to Seattle. Before coming to the UW, I was a narrative strategist for a digital strategy firm in Capitol Hill. I could not be happier to be part of the UW and The Whole U team. If I were to start an interest group, it would probably be a literary mixer or a film club. My weakness is my yellow Labrador, Romeo.


Thomas Winston Thorpe Web Manager

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

Hi, I’m Thom Thorpe and I’m the Web Manager for Human Resources as well as The Whole U. 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.


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!


Marti Young Wellness Propagandist

marti.young@uw.edu · Read Posts

Marti Young’s incessant internal monologue: I need to become a morning person; there aren’t enough hours in the day as is. Train earlier in the day; it’s too hard to get back around to it after I’ve let the quiet of the morning evaporate into the regular chaos of the house. Coffee!!! Respond to nagging emails. Wash my car. What has happened to its hygiene anyway? Call Mom. And while you’re at it, make it a more regular thing. List for the market: greens, cauliflower, certified humane chicken, berries or melons, whatever looks decent. Husband is speaking at noon. What to wear? Dinner for 30 tonight. What to wear? On a plane tomorrow. Pack. More coffee. Get my roots done. Pick up Mike’s shirts. Quinn, seriously, you’re eating my bath towel? List: new towel. Again. Maybe hit Costco this time. This is getting expensive.

And so it’s no wonder that I’m thrilled to be joining The Whole U team. I need more help getting organized and managing personal fulfillment than anybody. Let’s find lots of reasons to hang out: run, bike, Crossfit, Paleo potlucks, poetry salons, dancing, motorcycles, horses, doggie dates. Whatever. I’m here. Let’s bust it out.

Marti created a kettlebell workout for UW faculty and staff. Register for this free handbook.