Finweek English Edition - - COVER -

While she may make it all look easy, Raleigh ad­mits that she has en­coun­tered some se­ri­ous ob­sta­cles on the way to achiev­ing this dream.

“My big­gest chal­lenges are find­ing spon­sor­ship for na­tional projects, and con­vinc­ing oth­ers that health is a wor­thy in­vest­ment,” she says. “I dream big and am do­ing my best to make na­tional change to the fright­en­ing sta­tis­tics that are tes­ti­mony to South Africa’s cur­rent health epi­demic. Pre­ven­ta­tive health, how­ever, can be a dif­fi­cult idea to en­dorse. I want to in­stil the idea that tak­ing ac­tion now de­ter­mines the qual­ity of your fu­ture.”

De­spite these chal­lenges, Raleigh is clearly op­ti­mistic about the fu­ture and her abil­ity to spread the mes­sage of well­ness and ac­count­abil­ity.

“We are in the throes of a well­ness revo­lu­tion, with the me­dia serv­ing as the big­gest game-changer,” she says. “The In­ter­net, YouTube, blogs and so­cial me­dia are cre­at­ing in­stant and free av­enues for the pub­lic to learn more about their health and fit­ness.”

Raleigh points out that doc­tors, hos­pi­tals and ther­a­pists are no longer the “only sources of health im­prove­ment and mon­i­tor­ing” – in­deed, wit h t he v a s t amount of gad­getry now avail­able, people can mon­i­tor t hei r own heart rates, count calo­ries, track work­out progress and even de­ter­mine the qual­ity of their sleep.

“Be­ing ‘ healthy’ is no longer a for­eign con­cept, re­quir­ing the sup­port of ex­perts, but one that we can con­trol and im­ple­ment our­selves to a large de­gree,” she adds.

En­cour­ag­ingly, Raleigh points out that this trend is also mak­ing an im­pact on cor­po­rate at­ti­tudes to­ward em­ployee well­be­ing. While it’s too early to start do­ing star jumps in the board­room, Raleigh says that well­ness is clearly be­com­ing a pri­or­ity.

“We’re see­ing the likes of team build­ing events, cor­po­rate chal­lenges and on-site gym fa­cil­i­ties emerg­ing in the workplace,” she says. “Since a good por­tion of your em­ploy­ees’ time is spent at work, this en­vi­ron­ment stands to ben­e­fit the most from a healthy life­style.”

So what fu­els this am­bi­tious fit­ness fundi turned busi­ness­woman, be­sides su­per-food smooth­ies and morn­ing yoga?

“I am learn­ing my way around the busi­ness world, and I love the in­no­va­tive ideas and in­ter­est­ing people I come across, all shar­ing the same pas­sion of striv­ing to make a dif­fer­ence,” she ex­plains. “I love that small businesses in South Africa have grow­ing sup­port, as well as a pow­er­ful com­mu­nity el­e­ment of in­fra­struc­ture. The real pas­sion, though, is the in­dus­try I work in . . . I feel there is no greater cause than im­prov­ing health and ed­u­cat­ing, and equip­ping oth­ers to do the same.”

Lisa Raleigh, well­ness ex­pert and founder of SUNfit

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