Five Questions: Karleen Sakumoto, Manager, Employee Health and Well-Being

1. How long have you been at King County and what was your first 

I have been at the County for over 30 years, but I have worked in several different departments during this time. My first job was as a Program Analyst in what is now the Office of Performance, Strategy and Budget (PSB).

2. What are the main responsibilities of your job?

Karleen Sakumoto, Employee Health and Well-Being

I am responsible for the County’s Healthy Incentives program. My job involves a wide range of activities to make Healthy Incentives a success. This includes talking with labor leaders about what our benefits should look like, meeting with health care professionals about services they provide, and coordinating with other County employees who help us deliver the program.

3. What do you like most about your job?

I love my job because I work with a great team! Everyone on the team is positive, creative, and full of energy! They understand that when our program is successful, both employees and King County win.

4. What’s new with the Healthy Incentives program?

The big news is that Healthy Incentives for 2014 is not going to start until February 14. We have a new Healthy Incentives vendor named StayWell, and they have needed a little more time to get ready. We are using this extra time to host some new goal-setting workshops to get people really motivated. There will be a new pilot program to help employees with stress. People will see improvements to existing programs, thanks to technology. And we will be reaching out to two groups of employees – Transit workers and Facilities Management Division custodians – who have had historically low rates of participation.

5. What advice do you have for employees who would like to improve their health?

There are so many factors to improving and maintaining one’s health. Don’t be overwhelmed. Identify one specific thing you want to work on, set a reasonable goal, and be easy on yourself when you have setbacks. Most importantly, think about who you are doing this for.