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Grizzlies, Games & Great Work

WebMD Health Services Senior Program Manager Kurt Kremer has devoted a large portion of his career to health and well-being. It’s also something he clearly knows how to embrace outside of work as well. He was kind enough to spend time with us and fill us in on some of his adventures over the years.

You said you had a unique wildlife experience once; can you share the story?
My summer job during college was at Yellowstone National Park, where I spent a lot of recreational time backpacking and hiking. The exit route of one long trip led unexpectedly through the park’s major herd of bison, with no alternative (other than an eight-hour backtrack through grizzly territory). Bison can either be placid or—to the layperson—unexpectedly aggressive. Tourists run into the aggressive side every year. You’re talking to me, so I made it through the herd, but with lots of shuffling and no eye contact.

So did that make you shift your activity choices?
I grew up near Mount Hood, so being outdoors comes automatically. My family spends a week or two on the Metolius River in central Oregon every year. I’m enjoying learning to fly fish. I also love gardening when at home and have built two low water keyhole gardens in the last few years. And I’ll take every opportunity to go for a run and enjoy the Portland air.

On the other hand, a person can’t be outdoors all the time. So being indoors includes reading (not as much as I would like), watching movies (maybe more than I should), or playing board and computer games (curse the people who wrote Fallout 4!).

We’ve heard the gardens are not the only things that you build…
That’s true. Besides keeping up with house repairs and updates, I volunteer with our high school marching band, building props and working in the pit crew during competitions.

A friend (and WebMD coworker) and I also develop board games—creative work that appeals highly to the nerdy creator and project manager in me. Someday we may even make them for profit!

How would you characterize your well-being philosophy?
My philosophy centers around never being too tired for something—unless I’ve truly earned a rest. Keeping up with my family—kids, dogs, and all—and never-ending home projects are a good test of how well I’m doing on that front.

I also think it’s important to steer clear of the major conditions that take life away—often slowly—from so many of us. It can happen without our even noticing, so consciousness is key. Mentoring and learning from my adult and younger children help keep this top of mind, as does the opportunity to have our 3-year-old grandson twice a week.

What’s it like to work at WebMD? 
It’s very energizing to work with this crew, including some key leaders that allow me to have a hand in making positive contributions to our company culture and our clients. I’m especially pleased to be here because it represents my return to this industry. Previously, I worked for 13 years with health and well-being content and software. I then took an intentional left turn into management for a high-res aerial photography systems defense contractor. The people were brilliant but the work proved emotionally taxing, so I came “back to the fold” with a desire to help make life better for the people around me.

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