Good News: Local Love

Watkins Wellness encourages employees to get more involved in philanthropy

Watkins Wellness — a California-based hot tub manufacturer of brands like Caldera Spas, Endless Pools, Fantasy Spas and Freeflow Spas — has supported its local community for more than 30 years. In 2019, the company established Watkins Cares to encourage employee involvement in its philanthropic efforts.

“At Watkins Wellness, we are passionate about making a difference in our community. We wanted to bring awareness to our community partnerships and encourage our employees and their families to join us in giving back to those in need,” says Silvia Rocha-Espina, the company’s new vice president of people services.

The Watkins Cares program educates employees and their families about widespread needs, both in the community and globally, and empowers employees to help others, explains Kristin Sedgwick, brand manager for Freeflow and Fantasy Spas. Employees receive paid time off to volunteer at an organization of their choice. In addition, Watkins Cares provides monetary support to a number of organizations.

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Since the pandemic, Sedgwick says Watkins Cares has encouraged employees to bring new charities to the table via its Lunch and Learns, a time when employees and upper management discuss possible charities to support. “While we might not be able to physically volunteer at all of these locations, we’ve learned about new charities and creative ways to give back without the in-person options,” she says. “It’s kept the very essence of Watkins Cares and the team mentally going, despite physical distance.”

This year, the company added an online platform for employees to share announcements, events or fundraisers for charitable organizations they care about. The goal is to keep employees engaged, says Rocha-Espina, so the program will continuously evolve. “Compassion goes a long way, and we need more of it,” she adds. “As a company, we need to set that example.”