Anya Piotrowski, Ph.D. is a 2023 graduate of the PHD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University.

Anya Piotrowski at her Dissertation Defense.

From L-R: Dr. Mitch Kusy, Committee Member, Dr. Amy Lesen, Committee Chair, Dr. Heather M. Zoller, Committee Member.

Dissertation Committee

  • Amy Lesen, Ph.D., Committee Chair
  • Mitch Kusy, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Heather M. Zollen, Ph.D., Committee Member


wellness, workplace health promotion, Landscaping Wellness Model, worker well-being, participatory action research, start-up organizations, remote organizations

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This study contributes to a body of scholarship that demonstrates the benefits and need of employee-driven and defined wellness at work processes. This participatory action research study brought together a team of employees within a remote-work, start-up organization to define and design a process for implementing wellness at work for their organization. Through a participatory process that allowed outcomes to emerge from the group, employees identified opportunities to foster embodied wellness in their organization in three core areas: organizational, personal, and cross-boundary initiatives. Through a reflective collaboration, employees generated ideas and developed a plan to address employee-identified priorities that will foster wellness in their organization. What emerged from the process is a model for participatory health meaning-making called the Landscaping Wellness model that future practitioners and scholars may utilize to facilitate storytelling, idea generation, and planning processes for worker-defined wellness, thus honoring the nuanced and complex nature of wellness itself. This dissertation is available in open access at AURA ( and OhioLINK ETD Center (


Anya Piotrowski

ORCID: #0009-0009-0963-1232

Anya is passionate about putting her values into practice by centering relationships; unlearning internalized, oppressive behaviors that come with being a cisgender white woman of settler colonizer identity and ancestry in both Brazil and the U.S.; and working collectively toward community-based systems change. Her work at a consulting firm includes project design and implementation, community-centered advancement strategy, and strategic organizational development rooted in values of equity and justice. Anya has nearly 15 years of experience in higher education, including over a decade of work prioritizing reciprocal community and campus relationships for student and community partner-focused programs. She adjunct teaches World and U.S. History online for a university in East Tennessee. Anya lives across from one of the lakes in Madison, WI with a variety of well-loved houseplants. When she is not working in community or gathering with loved ones, she can be found artmaking, baking, biking, and reading.