As a mother, public speaker, marketing maven, and preventative medicine expert, Joy Altimare is a force to be reckoned with. As the Chief Engagement and Brand Officer for EHE (which stands for “Engaging Healthy Employees”), Altimare is committed to living a healthy, sustainable lifestyle and helping others to do the same. EHE is a leader in preventative health care, devoted to empowering individuals to lead productive and positive lives through early detection and preventive disease management.
Prior to her current role, Joy Altimare worked with leading advertising agencies such as Ogilvy+Mather and Publicis, developing marketing, innovation and growth strategies for major brands like L’Oreal and Verizon before bringing her skills over to the world of mass media at Condé Nast.
Altimare’s leadership skills and her passion for diversity in positions of power have led her to thrive at EHE, as the only person of color and one of the youngest members of the EHE executive team. In her interview with Like A Boss Girls, Altimare shares her insights on everything from career to motherhood to holistic health.
Current home base: Manhattan, NY
Originally from: Chattanooga, TN
Your superpower: I’m so super, I have two: 1) Discernment; 2) Negotiation.
They both have served me well, both personally and professionally, and they work hand-in-hand. You want to be able to quickly assess the situation and person you’re speaking with/to, while being able to negotiate towards success on your terms. This is super important when picking a job (and doing your job), as well as when picking your husband (and managing through your marriage!)
What’s on your bucket list?
Taking my daughter and mother to South Africa. I want to have annual multi-generational girls trips that my daughter will always remember to compliment what she’s learning and reading about in school. She’s named after my maternal grandmother, so it would be extra special to her memory and my mom.
A woman in history you admire and why:
(This is long, but hang in there…)
Rosa Parks. Her story is so much deeper than the fact that she wouldn’t move to the back of the bus. Rosa was a wife, mother, daughter and believer. She had so much character and she was very, very intelligent. She was critical to the Civil Rights movement, as she served in a strategic capacity well before she volunteered to kick-off the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
Often known as the First Lady of the Civil Rights Moment, Ms. Parks’ activism days started much earlier — in fact, about 12 years earlier. In the 1940s, Parks and her husband were members of the Voters’ League. Sometime soon after 1944, she held a brief job at Maxwell Air Force Base, which, despite its location in Montgomery, Alabama, did not permit racial segregation because it was federal property. She rode on its integrated trolley. Speaking to her biographer, Parks noted, “You might just say Maxwell opened my eyes up.”
In December 1943, Parks became active in the civil rights movement, joined the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP, and was elected secretary at a time when this was considered a woman’s job. In 1944, in her capacity as secretary, she investigated the gang-rape of Recy Taylor, a black woman from Abbeville, Alabama. Parks and other civil rights activists organized “The Committee for Equal Justice for Mrs. Recy Taylor,” launching what the Chicago Defender called, “the strongest campaign for equal justice to be seen in a decade.”
Parks also worked as a housekeeper and seamstress for Clifford and Virginia Durr, a white couple. Politically liberal, the Durrs became her friends. They encouraged – and eventually helped sponsor – Parks in the summer of 1955 to attend the Highlander Folk School, an education center for activism in workers’ rights and racial equality in Monteagle, Tennessee. There, Parks was mentored by the veteran organizer Septima Clark. In 1945, despite the Jim Crow laws and discrimination by registrars, she succeeded in registering to vote on her third try.
As we all know, on December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, Parks refused to obey bus driver James F. Blake’s order to give up her seat in the “colored section” to a white passenger, after the whites-only section was filled. Parks was not the first person to resist bus segregation, but the NAACP believed that she was the best candidate for seeing through a court challenge after her arrest for civil disobedience in violating Alabama segregation laws.
Parks’ prominence in the community and her willingness to become a controversial figure inspired the black community to boycott the Montgomery buses for over a year, the first major direct action campaign of the post-war civil rights movement. Her case became bogged down in the state courts, but the federal Montgomery bus lawsuit Browder v. Gayle succeeded in November 1956.
Parks’ act of defiance and the Montgomery bus boycott became important symbols of the movement. She became an international icon of resistance to racial segregation. She organized and collaborated with civil rights leaders, including Edgar Nixon, president of the local chapter of the NAACP; and Martin Luther King, Jr., then a new minister in Montgomery who gained national prominence in the civil rights movement.
I just love that at the end of the day, she was an amazing woman who demanded – in a quiet, but forceful way – respect for her character and person. She would no longer permit her environment to determine her self-worth and, as she wrote in her autobiography, she said:
“People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn’t true. I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”
A present-day woman you admire and why:
Again, I have two: Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey.
Both are amazing women; but I love that Michelle has never let her light dim. Even when Barack became president, she exhibited grace and an ease that was probably difficult at times. She also projected intelligence in the choices she made, the speeches she gave, and where she used her voice. I admire her ability to be an amazing daughter, a strong partner/wife, and an awesome mother.
Oprah is just an icon. She, like me, is originally from Tennessee and I don’t think she, also like me, ever felt like she belonged in an oppressive, male-dominated world. She was not given the best opportunities early in life, but she used her abilities, smarts, and savvy nature to define her destiny. I like the evolution she’s made throughout her life, and the openness she’s displayed and shared about that journey.
Quote/piece of advice that you live by:
I have two:
- “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule but to schedule your priorities.” – Stephen Covey
- “Mistakes are a fact of life: It is the response to the error that counts.” – Nikki Giovanni
What inspired you to start your current venture?
I have always been an advocate for women and wellness. As early as five years old, I can remember waking up early for summer swim team, being 13 years old and joining my dad for a bike ride as he trained for the next triathlon, or pitching the opportunity to transfer my PE credit into the practical hours needed to earn my ACE certification as I led a step aerobics classes at my all-girls high school.
Even now, I am known as the early-adopter among my group of friends. I crave new information about how to maximize our lives through healthy habits – physical, mental and spiritual. I’ve have always understood the connection between the mind and behavior, and now I am a vocal champion of cognitive lifestyle behavior as a leading contributor to performance and productivity.
When I’m not leading the marketing and revenue efforts as the Chief Engagement and Brand Officer for EHE, I spend my time working with women wellness entrepreneurs (dietitians, physiologists, and mindfulness coaches).
How is your company making a positive impact and/or generating change in your industry?
The vision and mission of EHE is ambitious and necessary.
EHE is the only health care company in America specializing in prevention. We work with our customers to help them achieve better health, improved productivity, and greater longevity. EHE provides “surround sound care” – a year-long care partnership that is innovative, compassionate, and approachable. EHE looks at how a patient eats, moves, and thinks, and works with them to develop a comprehensive blueprint for developing and maintaining holistic health that last all year long.
We co-invest in our patients’ health by partnering with each of them in a meaningful way. EHE mentors will provide clear, compassionate advice and tools for addressing a patient’s concern.
At EHE, we are diligent about our efforts to change the dynamic of health care in America through prevention. We appreciate the value of prevention and at our core, we believe that preventive lifestyle and wellness is the connective tissue that helps us become our best self.
What is one thing you and/or your company have accomplished so far that you are most proud of?
We have re-engineered the process, the product, and the service – the overall delivery of the product. We are pioneering the consumerization of health care.
What is one major milestone that you would like your company to accomplish in the next year?
Reach more people, save more lives.
What is one project/deal you are currently working on that you are most excited about?
Some key content and lifestyle partnerships that will transform the way we think about health care and wellness across generational needs.
What, in your opinion, is one of the biggest challenges facing your industry today?
Complacency and a lack of creativity.
What is a trend in your industry that you foresee becoming popular in the future?
Digital transformation, AI, and enhanced machine-learning algorithms to engage and retain consumers.
What is one of the greatest challenges you have personally faced at this job?
I have faced a couple. I’m the youngest member of my executive team, and I’m the only person of color. While I’m a person who formulates my opinion based my experience with a particular person, I understand that many people prejudge me and my capabilities (i.e, exhibit prejudiced behavior towards me) before they even meet me. So, I would say that one of the greatest challenges I’ve faced in this role is being underestimated, which can make me feel like I’m being undervalued.
I also lead one of the largest cross-disciplined teams in the organization, so I often find it challenging to find the balance of managing strategically while possessing empathy. Basically, being human and having very human interactions while being professionally successful and meeting revenue.
We have a real dilemma. As a 105-year-old company, we have a very blended employee workforce. We have members of our team that have been with us for 35 years, and “newbies” who joined us two weeks ago. We have every generation in our employee base – from millennials to Gen X, Gen Y and Baby Boomers. Just like many companies, we are trying to navigate, motivate, and innovate within a multi-generational workforce.
One of the most interesting things that happen when you’re trying to create productivity across disciplines and multi-generational, varied-tenured teams is that you realize you cannot hire and fire your way to success. You have to create an environment centered around values of mutual respect, transparency, collaboration, and security. It is difficult to do, but when you succeed, it becomes the most interesting exercise of human behavior, which all marketers geek out on.
It has been very interesting to observe this complex matrix of employees co-existing and, oftentimes, thriving, as we transition the company completely – from our working environment, our product, and our modality of delivery, to the shifting from an analog to a digital world. It has all been an interesting learning experience.
What were you doing before your current role?
I was leading the integrated team to bring additive manufacturing and machine-based learning to the orthotic industry, while pioneering the first DTC (Direct to Consumer) channel within the category.
What is one piece of advice you’d like to give to other female founders & change-makers?
You take yourself wherever you go, so like yourself, love yourself, and be happy with yourself.
Are there any great resources you have discovered that you would like to share?
Find the resources that get you through the day:
Also, I love podcasts. Here are some great ones:
One Bad Mother: One of my favorites because it tackles some of the most difficult subjects through laughter. Hosted by Biz Ellis and Theresa Thorn, they try to take the sting out of very important topics through community, understanding, and sisterhood. Every week, they talk about the highs, the lows, and the embarrassing moments of mommy-hood while acknowledging the stress that comes along with working every day. Recently, two of my favorite episodes were about how to be comfortable with nagging (I mean, am I a nag or just a freaking good mother?) and how to live with mommy guilt (while I’m not perfect, my child is whole, complete, and healthy – so, let’s go to work). One of the best perks: They provide credits to the soundtrack of the shows, so, at least I get to discover good music while satisfying my neurosis and calming my own mind. Note: They are hosted by the best community: Working Moms Against Guilt.
This is Your Life™ has become a great resource for me as I’ve excelled in my career. Hosted by Michael Hyatt, this is a great weekly podcast dedicated to the concerns, distractions and anxiety that most high-performing leaders face. I find it comforting as I navigate the executive suite to see that I’m not alone in my concerns around work-life integration (“balance” is a misnomer), cultivating new relationships that go deeper than networking, and integrating mindfulness and emotional growth in my everyday interactions. This is serious-talk.
Fun fact about yourself:
I love to cook – and bake – and I host a weekly “orphans” Sunday dinner for friends in my apartment.