Year Graduated: 1973, 1974
Major: Social Work; Master of Social Work
Job Title: Vice President of Government and Industry Relations, Tivity Health, Inc.
Vicki Shepard (’73, ’74) is vice president of government and industry relations for Tivity Health, Inc., a provider of health improvement, nutrition, fitness and social engagement solutions based in Franklin, Tennessee. Under normal circumstances she has a big job, but since the emergence of COVID-19, Shepard’s work has taken on a sense of urgency and importance she could never have foreseen.
A large part of Tivity’s portfolio is SilverSneakers, a community fitness program designed specifically for American seniors, the 16 million older adults who qualify for Medicare Advantage through which they are eligible for exercise and nutrition support. Tens of thousands of seniors in every state and territory count on SilverSneakers for connections to enhance many aspects of their well-being. Many live in rural areas.
“The pandemic hits and these people can’t go to gyms anymore,” Shepard said. “They are alone and socially isolated.”
After its recent purchase of Nutrisystem, Tivity is positioned to better assist seniors and others with their nutritional needs. Through the broad reach of FedEx and UPS, healthy, prepackaged food may be sent almost anywhere.
Shepard, who holds two social work degrees from SDSU’s College of Health and Human Services, said she finds great satisfaction in her role at Tivity. She feels she is making a difference in people’s lives.
Shepard credits SDSU with providing a framework for her to become an effective social worker.
“For me, a lot of that has been particularly around community organizing, effective administrative skills, and I do use some of my clinical expertise, especially when I’m walking into meetings and dealing with different political people,” she said. “It’s amazing how you can analyze someone and figure out how to work with them when you’ve got that clinical background,”
“San Diego State still has that framework and I would hope that anybody who graduates appreciates that somebody has to initiate your career and set it out in a way that is meaningful and significant. I’ve had a number of different jobs and it has been San Diego State that taught me to be a good social worker in those positions.”
Aztecs Making an Impact