Kent Fortune is the CSBJ’s Healthiest CEO, thanks to the example he sets for his employees at USAA’s Colorado Springs campus.
Kent Fortune is the CSBJ’s Healthiest CEO, thanks to the example he sets for his employees at USAA’s Colorado Springs campus.

USAA Vice President and General Manager Kent Fortune throws himself into health and well-being — for himself and for his employees — with what seems like endless energy.

“The kickball tournament will be this year, so I’ll play kickball,” he said. “I play in the softball league, I do the bowl-a-thon annually for charity, and I’ll do the pickleball tournament.”

“I work out at the fitness center here [at USAA] at least three days a week, which allows me to see what’s going on and make sure we’re delivering there.

“I’m not very good at it, but I do dabble in running. I do 5Ks here and there; the Turkey Trot, the Creepy Crawl, the Veterans 5K,” he said. “I’ll wear really bright colors so the employees can see me — it’s a good conversation piece as they’re passing me.”

As well as championing a range of fitness and health initiatives across the Colorado Springs campus, Fortune constantly comes up with ideas for employees to play sports and tackle new fitness activities — and he makes a point of joining in too.

“Here at work I try to do most things because I think it’s so important for me to lead from the front,” he said. “If I’m out there being active, I think it shows the employees that they can take their time to do that.”

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When he’s not at work, leading by example, Fortune also plays golf, works out at the YMCA, and takes long walks with his wife, “relaxing in the Colorado scenery,” he said.

Fortune helped introduce the leadership step challenge and pickleball to the Colorado Springs campus, and helped secure the resurrection of the Rocky Mountain Corporate Cup games.

During his tenure, the campus has become more fitness-focused, and renovations currently underway are building new wellness and relaxation features into every part of the facility.

“The workforce coming in, they want more work-life balance,” Fortune said. “They’re going to work hard, but they also want to play — especially in Colorado. They want to spend time with their families, get outdoors, find that balance.

“I think it’s really important to show them that if I can do it, you can do it  — and show the importance of being helpful in health and wellness — hopefully we’ll all live a longer life.

“We need to role model that so when they look up to their senior leaders, they can aspire to that,” he said. “Actions speak louder than words.” n CSBJ

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Helen Robinson is a graduate of The University of Queensland, Australia, and has worked in print media in Australia and Canada as well as the United States. Her beats include cybersecurity and aerospace and defense. She joined the Colorado Springs Business Journal in 2016.