Ignite. We brought this motif of light into the wellness awards gala to recognize how all award winners light the way to wellness through individual and corporate action. Ignite recognizes how these personal and corporate journeys can strike the match that lights the wellness journey of others. Together we celebrate these local achievements, and stoke the blaze of passion for wellbeing in our workplaces and communities.

The Ignite Awards Gala is an annual wellness awards event celebrating local individuals, organizations, and community leaders for impacting personal, organizational, or community wellbeing for the better.

Individual Awards

Light of Wellness Awards

The William M. Kizer Light of Wellness Awards honor William M. Kizer, 1925-2017. Mr. Kizer pioneered the worksite wellness movement. He is Chairman Emeritus of Central States Indemnity and founded the Wellness Council of the Mildlands, now The Wellbeing Partners, in 1982. Thirty-seven years later, the mission continues reaching thousands of employees across the Midwest. The Light of Wellness Award was named in his honor in 2001.

Award Categories:

Wellness Leadership
Recognizes business and community leaders for providing encouragement, time, and resources to create a healthy workplace for all employees. Recipients are role models for strategically moving the wellness program to a top business priority. This award is specifically designated for senior level executives.

Wellness Inspiration
Celebrates employees who have been steadfast supporters and active participants in their company’s wellness program. They inspire and serve as role models for others.

Wellness Transformation
Recognizes employees who now lead healthier lifestyles and have made a significant wellness transformation in any dimension of wellness as a result of participating in their company’s wellness program.

The Illuminate Awards

The Sister Norita Cooney Illuminate Awards honor Sister Norita Cooney, RSM, 1939-2011. Sr. Cooney served as the first president of the Sisters of Mercy West Midwest Community and was instrumental in the founding of Live Well Omaha in 1995 and Alegent Health in 1996. She was known for being a champion of the vulnerable and caring for the dignity of people, and was awarded with our inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award posthumously in 2019. In 2020 the Illuminate Awards were named in her honor as they will continue to recognize leaders in community health and innovation.

Award Categories:

Lifetime Achievement Award
Honors a leader who has dedicated a lifetime to the achievement of healthier communities for all.

Health Innovator Award
Honors a key product, service, or other deliverable that a person or organization brought to the market to advance a culture of health.

Health Leader Award
Honors a promising upcoming leader who demonstrates integrity, ability and willingness to lift up the voice of the unheard, and passion for the health of all.


Organizational Awards

Governor’s Wellness Awards

This award was created to encourage businesses in Nebraska to offer wellness and health programs for their employees. It features three award categories to acknowledge the stages of implementing a wellness program, from planting the seed for wellness, seeing growth and change, and finally reaping benefits of an advanced wellness program.

You can find the award category criteria here or by clicking below. Reach out to Melinda Sorenson with further questions about applying for one of the Governor’s Wellness Award categories:

American Heart Association Workplace Health Solutions Awards

The AHA’s Workplace Health Achievement Index allows companies to qualify for bronze, silver, or gold-level award recognition based on their Index score. While multiple companies may be recognized annually if they achieve the required recognition threshold for each level, companies achieving Gold-level recognition will be eligible to apply for the prestigious American Heart Association Healthiest Workplace Award.