The Hippo


Apr 18, 2019








 What are you really into right now?

I hiked my first three 4,000-footers in the past few months.

Joe McCue
Wellness coordinator


Explain what your current job is.
I am responsible for planning, managing, running, facilitating any and all wellness-related activities throughout the Department of Transportation. ... That includes [things like] setting up a mindfulness class … CPR training [and acting as] liaison with our different vendors. When one of our employees has a question about Anthem — they went to their doctor and their breast cancer screening wasn’t covered, or something like that — I’ll work on that for them on their behalf to the degree that I can, given confidentiality rules. 
How did you get interested in this kind of work?
I never intended it. My original degree is actually in mechanical engineering and I did that for several years. … [Then I] got a cancer diagnosis. I started looking into things for myself: acupuncture, massage therapy, whole food nutrition … anything and everything that I thought would help me with my own health. … It led me to a massage therapy school in northern California. ... I’ve been a massage therapist for about 16 years now.
What kind of education or training did you need for this?
It started out with the massage therapy practice and then I realized I could help more people if I became a personal trainer, so I got certified as a personal trainer. Then I realized I can help even more people if I became a wellness coach, so I went through that training and became a coach. And then, I was living in Illinois around 2010 … and I was actually teaching in a community college in their wellness program, and a full-time position was becoming open but you needed a master’s degree, so I looked around at different degree programs. I didn’t really see anything I liked that fit who I was. Then I found that DePaul University has a master’s program where you can create your own degree. So I created a master’s degree in organizational wellness. 
How did you find your current job?
I had, at the time, and still have, a private practice in Portsmouth, where I work on my own clients. … I just happened to be on … LinkedIn or Indeed or one of those job sites and I saw the job posted. I literally applied for it thinking nothing would ever come of it. … Lo and behold, I got a phone call a couple days later to set up an interview.
What’s the best piece of work-related advice anyone’s ever given you?
I remember one of my teachers in my massage school … made the point that if you don’t ask for it, you’ll never get it.
What do you wish you’d known at the beginning of your career?
I wish I had known earlier … all the options that were open to me. Because, when I first started it was just as a massage therapist and I thought I would just work with clients one-on-one for the rest of my life.
What is your typical at-work uniform?
It depends. If I’m in the office, it’s business casual. But I have to go out in the field a lot. So depending on where I’m going, I may have to wear regulated protective clothing: steel-toe boots, maybe a hard hat, reflective high-visibility jackets or vests, things like that.
What was the first job you ever had?
I was a dishwasher for a restaurant down on Hampton Beach in the summer. 
— Ryan Lessard 

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