What exactly is the "Employee Awareness Association"?
March 11, 2013 11:29 AM   Subscribe

This group has apparently been invited to speak at our office for a free "lunch and learn" seminar. On the surface it looks all legit and something our company's HR department set up to promote health and whatnot. But my spidey-sense is tingling the more I look at the flyers and try to find out stuff on the web. Best I can tell now is that this is some kind of fluffy good-health seminar backed by a heavier sales pitch at the backend. Any thoughts? What I've found is below the fold...

So the flyers and a simple Google search show that The Employee Awareness Association is behind this seminar. The owner of the domain is Wendy Gail Rose, and that seems to mesh since the "positive thoughts!" stuff on her page matches the tagline on the website. I can't find out much more about Wendy Gail Rose except she's in LA and I'm out here in the midwest, and she's probably not flying out to my little office to do a 60-minute health talk.

Digging a little farther shows that the EAA / Wendy is looking for people to set up talks and marking it as a "work from home sales job". (This listing is from Michigan, I am not in this area FYI). More spidey sense.

Has anyone else out there encountered this group? I'm guess it's not a Scientology-class organization but they're obviously selling something, and with a possibly light Christian angle. I have no qualms about these people being invited into the office and obviously I'm not going, but if they're up to something more scammy I'd like to be able to inform my coworkers and maybe even my HR folk. Any ideas?
posted by JoeZydeco to Work & Money (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I find that Googling an organization/company/person's name plus "scam" "ripoff" etc. will often turn up any online complaints or issues. If you haven't tried that already.
posted by emjaybee at 12:32 PM on March 11, 2013

Response by poster: @emjaybee: yeah, nothing came up for me either. Even the Better Business Bureau (scammy as that is) came up blank. I'm hoping someone here on the Green has actually encountered one of their presentations.
posted by JoeZydeco at 12:40 PM on March 11, 2013

I don't have first-hand info, but find this fascinating. If you look at the newsletters page, you'll see that they are redistributing other peoples' copyrighted material left and right. Wendy is also active on Facebook, pimping something called Oxy-Silica, which she describes in a recent post as:

Oxy-Silica balances the neurotransmitters in your brain enabling you to think faster, tones muscles and helps with fat loss. It is like having the fountain of youth in a bottle.
posted by jbickers at 12:59 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I've not encountered this specific program, but bullshit like this gets held at my office fairly frequently. I find it especially annoying because you can earn points towards our wellness program (which saves you on insurance premiums if you get enough points). In my case, they are held by a "back center" that does a lot of woo- and chiropractic-related stuff. They do include some sales pitches now and then, though it's not a hard sell at all. I've been to ones that talk about actual helpful things like osteoporosis but then they also have stupid ones about "toxins" that are basically pure BS.

My final judgement is that they're mostly harmless other than the frustration of anti-science being peddled at work in exchange for insurance discounts. They let your (probably useless) HR department feel like they are putting on "programs" for the staff without actually having to do any work or spend much, if any, money. That said, I did let my feelings about it be known when they sent out a survey about the wellness program last year. Depending on your office environment, you may be able to make your concerns known in a diplomatic way.
posted by misskaz at 1:07 PM on March 11, 2013

Best answer: Best guess: EAA appears to be a company that was established to profit by matching A) companies that want no-cost, "healthy lifestyle" information delivered to their employees in a lunch-and-learn context, with B) various vendors who would gladly deliver said information in exchange for the opportunity to pitch their product(s).

Note that several of the "seminars" are to be delivered by a doctor. Another is delivered by a financial planner (who undoubtedly is looking for clients).

EAA is likely only the "coordinator" of the presentations, and has nothing to do with the actual content. They probably earn a fee from the presenter. Actual content of the presentation is probably useful information, but not likely something you couldn't learn from an equal amount of time surfing the Internet.
posted by John Borrowman at 1:07 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

One more thing: In the promotional video linked at the bottom, the name of the company is the National Center for Employee Education, which leads to a search for this.
posted by jbickers at 1:08 PM on March 11, 2013

Best answer: I also found the oxy-silica thing. Going to its website, if you scroll all the way to the bottom, there is a link to "terms, legal and herbal safety guidelines". Clicking on that takes one to a text-filled page, about halfway down, it says:

Legal Disclaimer

Statements made by Company have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. The FDA does not evaluate or test herbs. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. etc., etc.

So yep. Bullshit.
posted by Tsuga at 1:10 PM on March 11, 2013

Dude, it's a free lunch. Go, eat, find out what the scam is and report back!
posted by windykites at 2:58 PM on March 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

Best answer: If you do go, you can ask the presenter my favorite woo-question: "So, what are these toxins, exactly? I mean, not what type of thing are they -- what are the names of the specific compounds?"

If the presenter has an answer for that question, it will be the first time, in my experience.
posted by KathrynT at 3:45 PM on March 11, 2013 [5 favorites]

The upshot is that it's a "lunch" thing so it will probably be short, and it's at your office so you don't have to spend time/money to travel to it, and you can just leave if you want.

I had to go to some all-day "motivational" seminar once for work, and it was held at the local Arena. I left at lunch after being subjected to a "Jesus Rap" which was just too much.
posted by radioamy at 6:15 PM on March 11, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks, all. I guess this group is so small it's under the radar of most of the internet. Probably totally harmless, although the quackery of it all kind of bugs me. I mean really, $18.99 for Oxy-Silica on Amazon? I can get it cheaper from a local merchant! =)

Kathryn does make it sound tempting to go and be the skeptic in the back of the room. It would be fun, but I'm pretty new here and I don't want to get a reputation of being the asshole in the room. Our group is pretty small and there are a lot of semi-skilled factory workers coming that probably will eat this shit up with a spoon. I'll report back if I hear or see anything unexpected...
posted by JoeZydeco at 7:09 AM on March 12, 2013

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