WITS Work Comes Full Circle with New Board Member Rachel Alkon

Rachel Alkon joined our Board of Directors a month ago. A leader in the food and sustainability space, she specializes in communications and public affairs. She is the Founding Principal of Alkon & Co., with numerous prior positions held at food and farming companies. Deeply motivated by this work, Rachel has been a member of the Wellness in the Schools family and it is a pleasure to now officially welcome her to our Board. 

What brought you to Wellness in the Schools? 

My great aunt Marilyn Katz, a talented writer and retired academic, was one of Wellness in the Schools’ original volunteers over a decade ago. In the early days she advised WITS on communications. Years later, while pursuing a master’s in Food Policy at New York University, I had the opportunity to join WITS as a communications advisor and build on Marilyn’s work. 

Why are you passionate about wellness? What does “wellness” mean to you? 

My father’s side of the family is devoted to “healthy” habits that increase the odds of living well into old age. This means eating mostly nutritious food, cooking with high-quality ingredients, exercising daily, and spending time enjoying the great outdoors. As a kid, Poppy Morris showed me how to select the perfect produce at the Sweet Pea Fruit Exchange on Long Island; introduced me to long walks; and my grandma Norma (now 97) taught me about stretching and yoga. Every time I see my grandma, even today, she asks, “do you have time to exercise?” Grandma swam into her 90s! 

Inspired by these early experiences, today, as a mom of two young kids, I’m figuring out my own family wellness routine: a balance of healthy fun and a bit of indulgence. 

What has your experience been like founding your own communications firm? How does it apply to your experience at WITS?

My firm Alkon & Co. partners with purpose-driven founders and CEOs to raise awareness of their businesses; solutions to some of the most pressing global issues, from climate change and gender equality to the global nutrition epidemic.  During the pandemic, I took a leap of faith to launch the firm, with only one client. Reflecting on the decision, it was the best one I’ve made. I’ve never found work to be so rewarding. I’m partnering with brands I admire and have the opportunity to weave my passion for food, sustainability, and social impact issues into my work every single day. 

What are you most looking forward to doing on the board with WITS in the future? 

WITS is paving a better future for millions of school-age kids. I’m excited to partner with the team to help spread awareness of the mission so that the organization can continue to expand its reach and impact on the next generation. 

What is your favorite wellness practice? 

I am addicted to movement; it is an integral part of my daily life. Some days this means leaving my desk to take walking virtual meetings with clients and colleagues, and others it is a hike with my family, or a yoga or pilates class. 

What is your favorite meal or healthy snack to make?

Cookie and Kate’s healthy banana muffins. I rarely have the right ingredients, so I often modify based on what’s actually in my pantry.