Micheline Khan of Althea Therapy: 5 Things Anyone Can Do To Optimize Their Mental Wellness

An Interview With Candice Georgiadis

Ditch the emails in the evening. I tend to check my email way too often. I used to think everything was important and needed to be addressed right away. This was obviously not true and added to my stress levels. I’d then go to bed wired, thinking about all the things I needed to get done. A practice that helps me is turning off email notifications from my phone so I can rest and recharge.

As a part of my series about the “5 Things Anyone Can Do To Optimize Their Mental Wellness”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Micheline Khan.

Micheline Khan is a mental health advocate, scientist, and CEO and founder of Althea Therapy, an app to connect with culturally responsive mental health and wellness professionals in Canada, to reduce racial mental health disparities and normalize therapy for communities of colour. Micheline has spent over a decade in the scientific field, focusing on climate change and the environment. After witnessing the disproportionate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on communities of colour, Micheline moved into the technology space to design a digital solution to address a growing challenge in access to mental health support for Black, Indigenous, and racialized communities.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

I always thought I’d grow up to be a scientist — which did happen — but I never expected to run a mental health tech business. As a child, I loved the outdoors and always found a deep connection between nature and well-being. I learned to prioritize my mental health through time spent in nature from a young age. After graduating from university, I went on to become an ecologist, studying climate change and biodiversity loss. Witnessing the racial disparities and gender gaps that exist within academia and science, I became an advocate for women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) fields. I wrote blogs, spoke on panels, and joined community groups to enact change. When the pandemic hit, I saw a huge gap in access to mental health support for Black, Indigenous, and racialized communities, so I moved into the health-tech space to understand the tools and software that could help address these gaps. Since launching Althea Therapy, I’ve seen firsthand the massive shift this platform has had in the overall health and wellbeing of so many people across the country.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

After launching the Althea Therapy app, there was a brief moment when I doubted myself. I wondered if I should have gone through with putting this business out into the world with my name attached to it. Would anyone even use it or find it helpful? The next day I received an email from an app user who had agreed to share a quote with me about her experience using the platform. She told me how the app allowed her to find a therapist who could understand and illuminate the nuances of her intersectional and hybrid identity.

Her words gave me the encouragement I needed to push forward. Stories like hers are why I continue to build and grow this platform so that Althea Therapy can continue to be a resource for Black, Indigenous, and racialized communities and all our intersectionality’s.

Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?

I kept Althea Therapy a secret when I first started building the platform. I kept it quiet and only shared it with a handful of people while I was conducting beta testing. I felt that it wasn’t yet ready for the world to see. I thought the best approach was to quietly build the platform and wait until it was absolutely perfect before sharing it. Later on, I realized that this might have been a mistake. It seems that people want to feel like they’re a part of the journey and process of creating and growing a community resource, like Althea Therapy. They want to follow along and feel connected to your story and mission. What I learned was to share early and often and have a plan in place to consistently keep the community updated on my journey.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Many people contributed in different ways to my entrepreneurship journey as I pursued building this platform. I had many discussions with my family on the impact of the pandemic on racialized communities, which provided the motivation I needed to try to address this in a meaningful way. I’m tremendously grateful to have been able to have these conversations with those closest to me, and to recognize how wide and deep these inequities are because this is what motivated me to create meaningful change.

What advice would you suggest to your colleagues in your industry to thrive and avoid burnout?

I’m still struggling with this, but what I’ve learned is to give your mind and body what it needs. Small changes can go a long way, like turning off email notifications on your phone when you’re stressed or taking short breaks during the workday to recharge. As a starting point to reduce burnout, look at your schedule and determine what you can drop, defer and delegate to someone else. You don’t need to handle everything on your own. I also think you should speak to a therapist to allow yourself to step back and explore your thoughts, feelings, and patterns of behaviour so you can better manage daily stressors.

What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?

I recently read a Forbes article that reported that over 50% of the US workforce is unhappy and nearly 70% of employees are disengaged in their work. As leaders, it’s our responsibility to stimulate and inspire the best in our team because studies show that employee satisfaction leads to increased profits and more productive workplaces. So how do we achieve that? Hire with intention, have a strong wellness culture, give everyone the permission to voice their opinions and ideas, and give them opportunities to grow.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Mental health is often looked at in binary terms; those who are healthy and those who have mental illness. The truth, however, is that mental wellness is a huge spectrum. Even those who are “mentally healthy” can still improve their mental wellness. From your experience or research, what are five steps that each of us can take to improve or optimize our mental wellness. Can you please share a story or example for each.

  1. Develop a morning routine sans technology. Let the dramas of social media wait at least 20 minutes before you start scrolling. Having a morning routine in place that sets your intention for the day and starts off with gratitude and deep breathing helps to ensure that your mindset is in the right place to have a positive and productive day. I’d also recommend getting a real alarm clock and keep your phone far away from you while you sleep.
  2. Exercise to reduce stress. Since the start of the pandemic, more and more people are glued to their screens and have less opportunities to engage with others and exercise. Instead of staying home to watch Netflix, go for a quick run around the block. Not ready for running? Then, walk and call a friend. Get your body moving!
  3. Breathwork for anxiety. Last year, a friend of mine introduced me to breathwork. I had been hearing the term often at the time, but it’s actually an old practice that has its roots in yoga. It’s a form of controlled breathing used to reduce stress and boost your immune system.
  4. Give therapy a try. Therapy really is for everyone. The biggest advice I can give is to embrace asking for help and be open and honest about your struggles. Sweeping your emotions under the rug doesn’t serve you and isn’t a sign of strength. Those repressed emotions will come back to haunt you later. I learned early on in my therapy journey that trauma gets stored in the body and can trigger physical symptoms. Therapy can help relieve those symptoms, adjust how you react to stress or triggering events, and help you learn more about yourself and others.
  5. Ditch the emails in the evening. I tend to check my email way too often. I used to think everything was important and needed to be addressed right away. This was obviously not true and added to my stress levels. I’d then go to bed wired, thinking about all the things I needed to get done. A practice that helps me is turning off email notifications from my phone so I can rest and recharge.

Much of my expertise focuses on helping people to plan for after retirement. Retirement is a dramatic ‘life course transition’ that can impact one’s health. In addition to the ideas you mentioned earlier, are there things that one should do to optimize mental wellness after retirement? Please share a story or an example for each.

Many of us, myself included, tend to see ourselves as our job title. When we meet new people, we identify ourselves by what we do in our careers first. People can get so wrapped up in this identity that when it’s time for retirement, they don’t know who they are anymore. Retirement is simply another chapter in our lives. Decide what story you want that chapter to tell. What relationships do you want to nurture? What activities bring you the most joy? Give your time and energy to that.

How about teens and pre teens. Are there any specific new ideas you would suggest for teens and pre teens to optimize their mental wellness?

Studies show that 70% of people with mental illnesses notice their symptoms before the age of 18. Developing healthy emotional and social development during childhood can help lay the foundation for mental health and wellness throughout our lifetime. The pandemic has also exacerbated stressors like social isolation, anxiety, and depression. Young people can mitigate this by limiting screen time, spending time in nature, having a daily routine in place, and getting enough sleep. We also need to remember that the youth mental health crisis started well before the pandemic, so the solution has to be more than going back to normal.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?

Professional Troublemaker: The Fear-Fighter Manual by Luvvie Ajayi Jones is one of my favourite new books about how to not let fear stop you from living your life authentically by making good trouble.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

At least one in five Canadians have a mental health condition, yet the cost of treatment and support services remains high for so many. Canada is characterized by its ethnic and racial diversity; however access disparities disproportionately affect Black, Indigenous and racialized communities. On top of the cultural stigma, therapy feels like a luxury for the rich especially since it’s an ongoing process, just like eating healthy and exercising aren’t one-off activities. If I could start a movement, it would be to make mental health care free. We need to transform access to quality mental health care for everyone.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

“Everything is figureoutable” by Marie Forleo is one of my go-to affirmations when I’m having trouble solving a problem or experiencing a setback. It’s become a mindset and mantra for me; a consistent reminder that I can always find a better path forward.

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

You can learn more about us at www.altheatherapy.com. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter for mental health resources, incredible therapists and wellness professionals, and events. To join the community, follow us on Instagram and Twitter @AltheaTherapy.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!


Micheline Khan of Althea Therapy: 5 Things Anyone Can Do To Optimize Their Mental Wellness was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Liz FitzGerald of Daygold: 5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Leading a Cannabis or…

Liz FitzGerald of Daygold: 5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Leading a Cannabis or CBD Business

An Interview With Candice Georgiadis

Each state that sells cannabis has different laws in place regarding cannabis so it’s important to be aware of these laws as you plan your growth strategies for your business. What you’re able to do in one state is likely very different from what you can do in another and you’ll need to be on top of federal and state laws so you remain compliant.

As part of my series about “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Leading a Cannabis Business” I had the pleasure of interviewing Liz FitzGerald.

Liz FitzGerald is a co-founder of Portland-based CBD brand, Daygold. She earned her B.A. in Psychology from James Madison University and has worked in the sports and wellness industries ever since. Most notably, she played a pivotal role as Chief Revenue Officer for Ma Wovens. Now with Daygold, Liz is on a mission to offer elevated and thoughtful CBD tinctures that offer help you enjoy a brighter life, naturally.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the cannabis industry?

Thank you! This is such a delight for me, I really appreciate it.

As for my “backstory”, for the past fifteen years I’ve been working in the startup world, mostly focused within the health and fitness industry. Prior to that I worked in film, software, and publishing so while I’m new to the cannabis industry, I’ve helped to grow a number of young companies in a variety of industries.

I was looking for my next opportunity and was really focused on finding the right team to be a part of as I strongly believe that people are the most important part of any company.

A friend of mine introduced me to the team behind Daygold and I could tell right away that this was going to be an incredible opportunity to create a positive impact; it’s a really great product, created with a lot of research and care.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

A: The thing I’ve found most interesting since I began leading Daygold, and this isn’t a reflection of the cannabis industry but marketing in general, is how resistant people and systems can be when it comes to marketing to an older demographic. At Daygold, we believe that Baby Boomers and Gen X stand to benefit greatly from cannabis therapies, especially CBD, as many of them are experiencing the aches and pains of an active lifestyle, the stresses of everyday life, and are open to alternative therapies.

CBD has become hugely popular however the biggest consumers up to this point have been people in their 20’s and 30’s. This is great, as CBD offers benefits for people of all ages, however we’re really excited to open this door to older people and to provide them with education about how cannabis works in the body, why CBD can be helpful, the important role of terpenes, as well as what to consider when purchasing cannabis products.

At this stage in our business we’re relying on stock photography for our lifestyle images and it’s been really difficult to find a lot of compelling imagery of older, active people. Not only has it been challenging to find imagery that feels as strong as we’d like it to, but I have found a number of people, outside of our company, to be hesitant to market more directly to older people.

The lesson that I’ve learned is that there’s still a long way for us to all go to embracing older consumers, not just in cannabis but in a wide range of consumer products that are relevant for people of all ages. If we have a product that can help a wide range of people, then let’s speak to a wide range of people in our marketing and have the means to do so.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Sure, I would say the funniest mistake so far had to do with our packaging design. Our branding agency has done an incredible job with every detail of the Daygold brand, including our packaging. From the bottles, labels, and boxes, each element has been so thoughtful and creates a feeling of uplift and calm- just like Daygold.

Our shipper boxes also have lovely branding elements on each panel: our logo, our website, our tagline (A better life, naturally.) and when we received the prototypes we were just over the moon with the results and loved seeing our logo directly on the top of the box.

It wasn’t until we started to ship Daygold that we realized that our shipping label, which goes on the top of the box, covers our lovely logo completely. It’s one of those examples that you can think things through but it isn’t until you actually are sending the product to your customers that you realize the impact of each detail.

Do you have a funny story about how someone you knew reacted when they first heard you were getting into the cannabis industry?

Well, I live in Portland Oregon which is a super liberal town and very cannabis friendly so I’ve found everyone to be really enthusiastic about my entrance into the cannabis industry. I really didn’t expect any sort of reaction, but people seemed genuinely excited for me. There really seems to be a buzz around the cannabis industry, pardon the pun, that I hadn’t been aware of. Maybe it’s just that so many of my colleagues and friends recognize how beneficial cannabis is, so I didn’t get a reaction that wasn’t entirely positive.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

There are so many people that I am incredibly grateful to for all the support they’ve offered me, throughout my career. My family, people I’ve worked with, people I’ve come to know along the way; really, the list is so long! But Nina Byrd definitely deserves a shout out as she’s the one who introduced me to the team at Daygold, a fantastic product, team and brand.

The Daygold team was looking for an entrepreneur to launch the new brand and reached out to Nina, who is incredibly smart and thoughtful. She really liked the team but has a thriving consultancy and didn’t feel as though it was the right position for her. When asked if she could recommend anyone she thought of me, for which I will always be grateful. If everyone could have a friend like Nina!

Are you working on any new or exciting projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Yes, launching Daygold is such an exciting new venture. Our tinctures, which are unlike anything else on the market, have the potential to help people feel better, naturally, every day. Daygold is formulated by Dr. Ethan Russo, a board-certified neurologist and plant researcher who is one of the most well respected doctors in the cannabis industry. He drew on his 25 years of research to create our three tinctures (Calm Mind, Easy Relief and Restful Night) and it’s so rewarding to be sharing them with everyone.

Life is really stressful, especially these days, and I’ve always looked for natural ways to try to relieve stress and take care of myself. I’ve found that when I do land on a solution that resonates with me I like to share it with as many people as possible, which is why I enjoyed being a yoga and fitness instructor, and why I’m so excited to share Daygold.

Even though I exercise every day, eat well, sleep well, and follow a whole list of recommendations for de-stressing myself, I often find that I’m fighting back a sense of overwhelm. And I know I’m not alone. Daygold is another tool in my self-care toolkit that helps me to keep perspective, feel more light-hearted, and feel capable of managing my never-ending to-do list.

What I’ve found is that Daygold works well on its own, and even better when I couple it with my other practices. So I’m really excited to share information about Daygold (how our formulas are unique, how our bodies respond to cannabis, what’s important to consider when using cannabis, etc) but I’m also looking forward to sharing other self-care techniques that can help people get the most out of their Daygold (simple breathing techniques, sleep hygiene tips, etc.). We’re building a lot of supportive content that we’ll share through emails, a blog, our YouTube channel, social media posts, and more. We hope to benefit as many people as possible through our product and our information.

Ok. Thank you for all that. Let’s now jump to the main core of our interview. Despite the great progress that has been made we still have a lot more work to do to achieve gender parity in this industry. According to this report in Entrepreneur, less than 25 percent of cannabis businesses are run by women. In your opinion or experience, what 3 things can be done by a) individuals b) companies and/or c) society to support greater gender parity moving forward?

The cannabis industry is not unique in that a smaller percentage of women are at the helm of businesses compared with men. As I mentioned, I’ve been in the startup world for years and am still shocked at how only a fraction of investor dollars go to women-led businesses even though the numbers show that startups led by women have a resoundingly stronger track record of success. There are so many reasons for this imbalance, but unconscious bias is definitely a factor.

We all need to recognize that having biases is part of the human condition. Biases are shaped by our culture and environment and so the first step, on an individual level, is to recognize that we may be operating with an unconscious bias and to look at our own thoughts and behaviors and be aware of the stories we tell ourselves about other people and their capabilities.

Questioning our biases and then creating systems to keep those biases in check is super important. Companies can implement processes that help to remove bias within the interview process, a fundamental part of changing these statistics. Our company, Daygold, and our parent company True Co, started the process of removing unconscious bias by hiring a HR professional, Sara Stowe, getting really clear on our values, and making interview skills training mandatory for every member of the interview committee. This has resulted in our leadership team being 44% women and 31% identifying as other than white. The bottom line is that with the systems she has helped to put into place, we’re hiring the best people for the job and it just turns out that many are women and people of color.

We all can play a role in creating more equal representation within business and when we accept the truth that diverse teams make better teams, it’s in everyone’s interest to implement changes to remove unconscious bias.

You are a “Cannabis Insider”. If you had to advise someone about 5 non intuitive things one should know to succeed in the cannabis industry, what would you say? Can you please give a story or an example for each.

  1. I would say to be prepared to join a very unusual industry. There are unique challenges to the cannabis space because of the fact that cannabis is legal in some instances and illegal in others. For example, any cannabis product with more than .3% THC (the cannabinoid associated with intoxication) is considered illegal on the federal level but is legal in most states.
  2. Each state that sells cannabis has different laws in place regarding cannabis so it’s important to be aware of these laws as you plan your growth strategies for your business. What you’re able to do in one state is likely very different from what you can do in another and you’ll need to be on top of federal and state laws so you remain compliant.
  3. In addition, even though the FDA doesn’t regulate cannabis products at this time, it’s important to be aware of FDA guidelines and to follow them as best as possible. For example, our FDA attorney recommended that we design our packaging to follow the guidelines pertaining to dietary supplements, even though CBD tinctures aren’t officially categorized as dietary supplements at this time. These guidelines dictate the size of our fonts, what needs to be listed and in what order, etc and took us a lot of time and revisions to make sure we had them just right.
  4. These guidelines also pertain to how you market your cannabis product. Even though research has shown the myriad of benefits to cannabis, it is illegal to make any health claims about cannabis in any marketing materials. You’ll see companies making all sorts of health claims, but doing so opens your business up to major consequences. In fact our payment processor asked for us to remove a quote from Nature magazine, one of the most respected science journals, that referenced studies showing the therapeutic effects of terpenes (the aromatic oils in many plants, and a key ingredient in Daygold). Even though the quote referenced medical studies, and was from a reputable source, it was deemed a medical claim that we could not use on our site.
  5. Lastly, creating an advertising strategy for Daygold has been very unusual. The standard platforms for advertising (social media, Google) have policies in place that flag certain keywords (like THC or CBD) and it’s imperative that you stay compliant or run the risk of being shut out of these platforms altogether. So you can imagine the challenge of trying to introduce a new CBD product into the marketplace, without being able to refer to it as such and without being able to cite medical research supporting its benefits.

Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the cannabis industry?

I am most excited to be a part of an industry that is helping so many people feel better! I’ve always wanted to make a positive impact in people’s lives, which is why I became a yoga teacher and a fitness instructor, so being a part of sharing the benefits of cannabis to as many people as possible is very rewarding to me.

I’m also really excited to see what the medical research reveals about cannabis. For example, it wasn’t until the 1980’s that researchers discovered that we have an endocannabinoid system (ECS), an internal system that helps to keep many of our bodily systems in balance. The ECS utilizes endocannabinoids (cannabinoids that we make internally) and phytocannabinoids (cannabinoids from the cannabis plant) to create homeostasis. So, in simpler terms, when we ingest cannabis, we’re introducing a compound into our bodies that mimic what our bodies naturally create, and it’s used to help many of our systems stay in balance. It’s very exciting for me to learn about how our bodies respond to cannabis and I’m looking forward to seeing what else they discover and sharing this information to as many people as possible.

Lastly, I’m really excited about the people I get to work alongside in this industry. They’re passionate about cannabis, they’re hardworking, smart, kind, resilient and non-judgemental they’re just a great group of people!

Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest?

The thing I find most concerning is that we’re building an industry without a lot of acknowledgement of all the people whose lives have been devastated by the US War on Drugs. Thousands of people are still in jail and prison for possessing cannabis, even tiny amounts, while the industry is growing and thriving. I think it would be great if all companies within the industry chose to contribute a percentage of revenue to organizations that are helping to address the devastation from the policies that adversely affect communities of color. Our company has chosen to support the Prison Policy Initiative, however there are many groups (including the ACLU, NAACP, Oregon Justice Resource Center and others) doing important work to repair the generational damage created by the War on Drugs.

Also, while I am a huge proponent of the benefits of cannabis, I feel uncomfortable when I see companies making wide-reaching claims about what their product can do for patients. I’m also concerned with how cannabinoids, like CBD, are used in many products, without terpenes, or without other cannabinoids. The research shows that CBD will have a greater benefit when coupled with other cannabinoids and terpenes (the entourage effect, a term popularized by Dr. Russo). If people are ingesting CBD, without the other components, they may not get much of a benefit and then may dismiss all products as being irrelevant when really they just didn’t get the right dosage or combination of ingredients.

Lastly, Daygold is tested by independent labs to ensure safety and purity but not every cannabis company follows the same high standards and it concerns me that people may be taking supplements for their health benefits but aren’t fully aware of the safety of the product.

What are your thoughts about federal legalization of cannabis? If you could speak to your Senator, what would be your most persuasive argument regarding why they should or should not pursue federal legalization?

Cannabis is a therapeutic plant and is a balm for many common challenges. Of course I believe that it should be federally legalized, it’s an amazing plant!

As an Oregonian, I’m lucky that Ron Wyden is our senator and Earl Blummenauer is our Representative in the House as they have long advocated state’s rights (as Oregon decriminalized cannabis in the 1970’s). Recently Senator Wyden joined a team of legislators to bring forth the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act. This legislation aims to end the federal cannabis prohibition and unfair targeting of communities of color.

Wyden and other senators are putting forth important legislation. I would simply encourage them to continue to invite many voices to the conversation, including members of the cannabis industry, and medical researchers, so that many perspectives and voices are taken into consideration as we move forward.

Today, cigarettes are legal, but they are heavily regulated, highly taxed, and they are somewhat socially marginalized. Would you like cannabis to have a similar status to cigarettes or different? Can you explain?

I think that cannabis deserves to be in its own category as it is both a form of medicine and also a tool for recreation. While cigarettes are used recreationally, there are no health benefits to cigarettes, in fact quite the opposite is true. Cigarettes, and alcohol, are subjected to higher taxes due to the health impact that those substances have on our society as a whole.

Cannabis, on the other hand, is not addictive and has been shown to be very effective in dealing with a wide range of health issues. If a pharmaceutical company created cannabis, it would be heralded as one of the greatest inventions ever made!

It has been a decades-long effort on the part of the federal government to stigmatize cannabis but the reality is that this plant has so many benefits to offer us and the thoughtful use of cannabis should be celebrated.

I do believe that safety and purity of any consumable product is incredibly important. Whether it’s the food you’re buying at the store, a vitamin, or cannabis, consumers should be able to trust that systems have been put in place to ensure the safety of what they’re ingesting. While we have chosen to follow high standards with the production of Daygold, and to use independent labs to test for purity, there are no industry standards in place at the moment and there should be. It would be good to formulate standards on a federal level, made from input from many stakeholders including companies within the cannabis industry.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

My favorite life lesson quote is from Henry David Thoreau, which I’ve adapted slightly here: “If one advances confidently in the direction of their dreams, and endeavors to live the life which they have imagined, they will meet with success, unexpected in common hours.”

A friend gave me this quote twenty five years ago, when I was living in Boulder, and it has been on my wall in some form or another ever since. I’ve found this quote to be very true- that our mindset and attitude create our reality. It’s almost like magic and yet I can often find myself straying from this truth. Keeping the quote on my wall is a gentle reminder that we are in the driver’s seat and when we believe and are confident in what we’re doing, the universe opens up to support us.

So given my history with this quote, you can imagine my surprise and delight when Nina texted me the job description for Daygold and Thoreau’s words were at the top of the page. I couldn’t believe it, as I’d never seen reference to this quote within a work context before- I took it as a sign that this was likely a great company for me to be a part of, and I was right.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

At the risk of sounding far out there, I’m going to speak honestly. If I could inspire a movement in which everyone was able to connect with the fact that we are all one, that each and every one of us, along with everything in our universe, comes from the same source, that would be simply amazing.

Have you seen the motto on Dr. Bronner’s soaps? All One. Have you heard the Buddhist concept of “I am that”? While I have seen and heard these phrases, something shifted within me where I felt, deep down, that we truly are all one and that the divisions we make in our minds between one another, between ourselves and everything around us, are just constructs in our minds.

The reality is that I am that. I am that person who is on top of the world, I am that person who is lost and alone, I am that tree in the forest. I am all that, we are all one. If I could start a huge movement that helped us all to connect to that truth, and we all felt more compassion for ourselves and one another as we’re all fragments of the same whole, then I would feel as though I had made a truly important impact on the world.

And self-care plays a big role in creating compassion and connection. Since I’m more likely to feel compassion for myself and others after taking care of myself- doing the things that help me keep perspective and connected to the moment- then I see the work that I’m doing with Daygold as being a part of building this powerful movement. It is meaningful and exciting work for me and I’m excited to try to share the tools with as many people as possible to create the greatest positive impact.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!


Liz FitzGerald of Daygold: 5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Leading a Cannabis or… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Women In Wellness: Kerry Wekelo of Actualize Consulting on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help…

Women In Wellness: Kerry Wekelo of Actualize Consulting on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing

An Interview With Candice Georgiadis

Use Humor: Don’t take life so seriously; take time to laugh. For example, when the pandemic first began, it was an uncertain time for everyone. My team came up with an email chain of memes — a fun way to bring positivity and relieve stress by focusing on lighter topics.

As a part of our series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kerry Wekelo.

Kerry Wekelo, MBA, is the Chief Operating Officer at Actualize Consulting, a financial services firm. Her book and program, Culture Infusion: 9 Principles for Creating and Maintaining a Thriving Organizational Culture and latest book Gratitude Infusion, are the impetus behind Actualize Consulting being named Top Company Culture by Entrepreneur Magazine, a Top Workplace by The Washington Post, FORTUNE Best Small & Medium Workplaces™, and Best and Brightest ELITE National Winner in Communication and Shared Vision category. In her leadership, Kerry blends her experiences as a consultant, executive coach, award-winning author, mindfulness expert, and entrepreneur. Kerry has been featured on ABC, NBC, NPR, The New York Times, Thrive Global, SHRM, Inc., and Forbes.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the story about how you first got involved in fitness and wellness?

I grew up playing sports, so I was always active in some regard. Having a slower metabolism, I was encouraged to run and walk to stay healthy. After a while, I noticed the impact it had on my mental health — my mind is clearer when incorporate movement, I feel calmer, and overall, I have more capacity at work and in other areas of my life. Because I’ve reaped so many benefits, I ensure to always keep it a part of my routine.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

When I was working at Accenture, I started a project that involved shiftwork — everyone on my team was putting in 12-hour shifts. That unfortunately didn’t leave too much time for life outside of the workday. As I function better with some form of daily movement, I had to get creative to stay active. Living in a city, it didn’t make sense to run or walk outside at weird hours, so I was often on the treadmill in the early morning or late at night. It was important to me to have that time to take care of myself, so I made that a priority, even if it meant maneuvering my schedule to accommodate odd workouts.

Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?

This isn’t overly humorous, but I think it was a good lesson for me. When I first started practicing yoga and attending classes, I never stayed for the savasana pose which is the resting period in a yoga class after completing the majority of the balance and strength poses. I wanted to keep moving and didn’t believe it to be particularly beneficial. I would even walk out of class early to avoid that part of the routine. Funnily enough, it turns out I needed that relaxation to recharge. Now it is arguably something I consider the most important part of the class for me as it helps clear my head and offers time to pause and stay mindful.

Can you share with our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the fitness and wellness field? In your opinion, what is your unique contribution to the world of wellness?

Wellness has been a lifelong focus of mine. Growing up, my parents have always instilled the importance of keeping healthy and lead very healthy lives themselves. As I got older and lived on my own, I found taking care of myself and my wellbeing pivotal to my overall happiness. Incorporating movement, mindfulness, and keeping a healthy diet are something I teach my kids as well. I got involved in children’s yoga, would often teach it at their school, and found incorporating fun activities inspired them to try new foods. Based on the success with my own children, I wrote an activity book titled If It Does Not Grow Say No which provides parents with creative solutions to get their kids to try new vegetables and learn about the different ways the things you eat can influence your health.

When my kids were in elementary school, the traditional time out periods for children in their classes to calm down weren’t very effective. They need a self-soothing technique in order for that quiet time to be successful. I developed stress ball foam cubes with different breathing techniques on each side to offer a new way to teach kids to be self-reliant when facing challenges and incorporate mindfulness. I later developed many other Zendoway cubes, all with different purposes: gratitude, stress relief, and coping strategies to name a few.

At Actualize Consulting, we incorporate wellness year-round; instead of an annual wellness program, we incorporate wellness in some capacity on a monthly basis. With my internal team, we always do an email chain of the things we are grateful for that week. At a firm-wide level, we often have mindful calls where we practice an easy meditation and have various health challenges throughout the year, like participating in Alex’s Lemonade Stand’s Million Mile and weekly workout challenges.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My dad has been a great role model to me, especially in regard to how he has taught me to take care of myself. He has led by example by always incorporating movement. He is one of the healthiest people I know and has successfully avoided sugar for almost ten years. While I don’t know that I’ll ever cut out sugar entirely, it’s been a great encouragement to find what works well for me and stick with it. For example, when I was pregnant with my daughter, I didn’t consider how my normal exercise routines like running might be challenging. I couldn’t do intense exercise. My dad encouraged me to try out yoga, not only as a way to exercise but also as a way to stay mindful. Since his recommendation, I have learned to love yoga and even got my yoga teaching certification.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, exercise more, and get better sleep etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the 3 main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?

I think the 3 main blockages that prevent us from integrating healthy choices are patterns, peer pressure, and an all-or-nothing mindset.

  1. Patterns: Often our habits are so engrained in our lives, it can be challenging to make any changes and stick to them. For example, when I am stressed, I like to eat sweets. After recognizing that pattern, I am able to develop a strategy to ensure I am looking after my health. Instead of depriving myself, I focus on eating a full meal with variety instead of just eating the dessert I am craving as a meal.
  2. Peer pressure: When we go out to eat with others or spend time with friends, no one wants to feel like they are the odd one out. If everyone is getting dessert or is drinking, it can be hard to say no. As I mentioned before, being healthy doesn’t mean depriving yourself; just try to be aware of getting enough variety and making conscious decisions. Don’t do things because the group you are with is doing them.
  3. All-or-nothing mindset: Perfection is impossible; there are going to be days where don’t eat as well as we could have, or days where we miss a workout. Instead of striving to have a flawless routine, strive for balance. Do the best you can today because you can always try again tomorrow. Don’t give up after one bad day.

Can you please share your “5 Non-Intuitive Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”? (Please share a story or an example for each, and feel free to share ideas for mental, emotional and physical health.)

  1. Use Humor: Don’t take life so seriously; take time to laugh. For example, when the pandemic first began, it was an uncertain time for everyone. My team came up with an email chain of memes — a fun way to bring positivity and relieve stress by focusing on lighter topics.
  2. Focus on Learning: Build your confidence by picking up a new hobby or trying a new activity to help develop self-efficacy. My son and I have been using Duolingo and playing each other to learn Spanish. This has been particularly useful to me as we have opened an office in Mexico, and also allows for healthy competition with my son as we practice vocabulary. It can take your mind off of stressful situations and inspire you to always focus on self-improvement.
  3. Find Gratitude: For me, this is one of the fastest ways I can shift my mindset to a positive outlook. As a quick pick-me-up, I often mentally denote 3–5 reasons of gratitude or focus on sharing gratitude with others. The more you look for ways to be grateful, the happier you will become. Don’t focus on comparisons — stay present with what is going right!
  4. Breathe: Breathing sends signals to your brain to relax, which in turn gets signaled to the rest of your body. Every exhale triggers the parasympathetic nervous system and the rest and digest response. Take a deep breath before beginning a new task during the day or inhale and exhale a few times before reacting to a situation. It keeps me working at my highest capacity and is an essential self-soothing technique.
  5. Stay Mindful: Stress can make us feel out of control. When you first notice the feelings of stress, take a moment to ground yourself using your senses. Place your feet on the ground and rest your hands in your lap. Notice how it feels in your body. Do you feel tension? Look around and choose one or two objects to mentally describe. Are there any smells in the space? What do you hear? Take a few breaths as you go through your senses to ground yourself in the moment. I often lead this mindfulness exercise at work and many have messaged me saying how effective it is!

As an expert, this might be obvious to you, but I think it would be instructive to articulate this for the public. Aside from weight loss, what are 3 benefits of daily exercise? Can you explain?

Exercise strengthens your mental health, builds confidence, and can help encourage you to live a healthy life overall. I exercise because it helps me clear my head — I find myself spinning less in stressful situations and more swiftly moving forward to positive solutions. As you take care of yourself, this often creates other positive habits; it changes the way you view yourself and can inspire you to take on additional healthy habits as you reap its benefits.

For someone who is looking to add exercise to their daily routine, which 3 exercises would you recommend that are absolutely critical?

In my yoga training, we were always taught that opposites heal — counterbalancing movement can give your body a chance to rest and strengthen other areas. For example, when experiencing carpal tunnel syndrome in my right hand, I switched to a left-handed computer mouse. Not only does it relieve my right hand, but it also helps train my brain and reflexes.

To keep your mind fresh and relieve stress, try a grounding meditation. Close your eyes, put your feet on the ground, and take inventory of your senses. What do you feel? What do you hear? What do you taste? Focus on the present, using your senses as an anchor.

Lastly, incorporate variety into your routine. Doing the same things over and over can lead to burn out. If you always go running on the same path, try a different route. If you are tired of running, incorporate strength training. Doing so can help trick your body and keep interest in healthy habits.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?

Louise Hay’s book, You Can Heal Your Life has been a big inspiration of mine. After a tumultuous upbringing, she relied on the power of self-help through affirmations and self-care to keep positive. She discovered a connection between the mind and the body. When she used powerful affirming intentions, her health and wellbeing was strengthened. She was later diagnosed with cancer and instead of opting for traditional medicine, she intensified her self-care routine and practiced visualization; her cancer went away within 6 months. I now incorporate affirmations and set intentions as a way to better lead and take care of myself. She taught me we are all worthy of happiness and health.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Instead of dwelling in a challenge, find positive ways to move forward as it is much more productive. I coined the 3P Method of Pausing to Pivot to a Positive. In the midst of a challenge, pause to feel your emotions, then pivot out of the negativity to a more positive perspective. In every challenge there are positives, even if it is just a lesson learned. At the end of the day, life goes on, so it is better not to stress.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

Lousie Hay’s affirmations have been really influential to me because they remind me how much of our life is powered by choice. Instead of focusing on what is going wrong, we can remain grateful for what is going right. One of her quotes is, “I choose to feel good about myself each day. Every morning I remind myself I can make the choice to feel good. This is a new habit for me to cultivate.” Positive perspectives are key.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

Soccer player Abby Wambach — she wrote a book called The Wolfpack. It has been a great inspiration to my son as well, especially as he plays sports. Abby thought she should be benched because she wasn’t playing at her best. She soon discovered it was her attitude that was shaping the way she showed up on the field. When my son was playing baseball, it taught him the importance of having a positive mindset. He ended up spending more time on the field than many of the other players because he always showed up ready to play and very motivated to try his best.

What is the best way our readers can follow you online?

I send out regular tips, stories, and ideas on my email list. If you’d like to be placed on it, you can shoot me an email at kelam@actualizeconsulting.com. You can also use that email to contact me with any questions or comments. Otherwise, you can follow me on Instagram or Twitter @kerrywekelo or LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/kerryelam/

You can check out my wellness company, Zendoway, here: http://www.zendoway.com/

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!


Women In Wellness: Kerry Wekelo of Actualize Consulting on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Female Disruptors: Otessa Ghadar of 20/20 New Media On The Three Things You Need To Shake Up Your…

Female Disruptors: Otessa Ghadar of 20/20 New Media On The Three Things You Need To Shake Up Your Industry

An Interview With Candice Georgiadis

My Analyzing Diversity and Inclusion in Media project aims to identify the gatekeepers in media, to address the disparities for true representation. My project asks: How can streaming media measure, analyze, and reflect the “unmeasured loss” of a lack — specifically the lack of diversity and inclusion. This is a project to study, understand, and process the barriers to entry, the opportunities, and the erasure of other identities in a toxic culture. Ideally, this will also address a means to re-position and foster the largely excluded contributions of the marginalized makers within media. This is important to know, because excluding people is reprehensible and problematic: it also speaks to failures in supply/demand, representation, and financial opportunities. This study can find the ways and means that exclusions occur, to change how business is done and find more equitable and inclusive models.

As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Otessa Ghadar.

Otessa Marie Ghadar is a true forerunner of digital media. Not only does she have the longest running web series “Orange Juice in Bishop’s Garden,” but she also founded DC Web Fest, a first-of-its-kind digital media festival (now in its 10th year). Otessa is a champion for equality, inclusivity, and diversity in the digital realm, dedicated to empowering creatives and amplifying marginalized voices.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

Sure! A good place to start would be in university. I originally chose theoretical physics and math as my initial major, and these are fascinating and excellent subjects in which to be knowledgeable; however, my heart was with storytelling. When we talk about stories and storytelling, we are describing our humanity and what we pass on to represent ourselves.

So, I choose to switch to film and media arts because of my love for storytelling. I noticed how much time my younger siblings were spending in streaming content and noticed that a new trend was quickly emerging and my interest in the web series format sparked. I pitched the idea to my professors for my thesis project, and they essentially told me I was bonkers (during this time the web series format was in its earliest infancy and was not at all popular among filmmakers). Rather than getting discouraged, I let their criticism catapult my passion into producing the thesis, which evolved into one of the longest running web series (Orange Juice in Bishop’s Garden), with viewership in over 150 countries, a 3 x Webby Honoree, 6 Tellys, and was the springboard to follow my dreams and goals. This led to the realization that there was a need for a digital media textbook (which I wrote and published) and a digital media festival (DC Web Fest) that could serve as a platform for web series to showcase their work. I had the desire to help foster this medium for others, not just myself.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

1). Orange Juice in Bishop’s Garden is my web series that details the lives of a group of teenagers as they navigate high school in the 1990s. It disrupted the false claim of the web series format being “illegitimate” or inferior to traditional filmmaking. I was one of the first to do it, and as I suspected from the beginning, streaming trends exploded, then there came Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, etc. Orange Juice in Bishop’s Garden also smashed barriers by proving that quality storytelling and filmmaking is certainly achievable on a lower budget.

2). DC Web Fest is a Digital Media Festival in its 10th year. For us, by us, DC Web Fest is woman and minority owned and led. Our mission is to provide a safe space to share the lens by which we all view the world. All are welcome. Founded in 2013, DC Web Fest serves to entertain, educate and promote the innovative forms and diverse voices in the new media landscape. From web series to apps to games to VR, we celebrate new media in its ever-changing form. Due to the pandemic, we have evolved even deeper into the digital sphere, having just finished our second virtual festival! We are deeply excited for what the future holds for all creators!

Hysterical Womxn Podcast — a direct and personal encounter with peoples’ experience with toxic cultures, done in narrative arcs to address particular areas and experiences. (i.e workplace interactions, micro aggressions, self-care, types of abuse, etc.)

The Wild West of Film — The first industry textbook for digital media.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

My funniest mistake is ignoring my gut instinct, second-guessing myself, and talking myself out of what I know to be true. Also, don’t let teenagers have too much Red Bull. Healthier forms of energy exist and deserve to be promoted!

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

One of the greatest mentors, of course, has been my mother. It was one of my greatest joys and inspirations to work with her on my web series. Her kindness, creativity, dedication, compassion and work ethic truly inspired me, and continue to inspire me, and I am forever grateful.

I unfortunately also had a negative experience with an industry exec who set himself up as my “mentor”, however he was a predator who sought to groom, assault, and abuse others. This is too common and I say something in the hopes that transparent conversation can facilitate the change we so desperately need.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

Disruption is good when it champions and exhibits accountability. #MeToo and BLM are excellent examples of just this. Disruption is positive when you stay true to your purpose and continue helping others break through barriers. If you’re just making noise for attention and distracting with no true purpose, you may want to shift your focus. Orange Juice in Bishop’s Garden was a catalyst to many professional acting careers, and it explored the marginalized and underrepresented stories that were often shunned and overlooked by mainstream traditions. Creating this show required a lot of courage, as I received death threats by white nationalists and gay-bashers who were angered by the content and representation. I also received letters of courage and hope from teens around the world, who felt less alone, and felt they had found a community, a safe space to come out, a place in which their lived experiences and their identities were validated. It also gave others the courage to tell their stories with confidence. In the end, I choose to focus more on the latter, than the former. However creating and disrupting can be a scary thing.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

The importance of being bold, but not needing to be perfect. Failure can be an excellent teacher. Striving for perfection can clip your wings, but trying, failing, learning from your mistakes, and trying again is really important, and makes room for significant growth.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

I recently started podcasting, which I absolutely love! I am also about to publish another narrative work, a collection of short stories titled, “Stories of My Life and Other Catastrophes”. I also consider myself a life-long learner and am passionate about education — being both a student and professor (I am currently applying for a PhD program in digital media). Also, I am very excited about my data science project — Analyzing Diversity and Inclusion in Media, which analyzes the lack of diversity and inclusion in various filmmaking/media roles. These inequalities must be addressed, and I am really excited about tackling these things.

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?

Where do I start? There is still the issue of income disparities between women and men across many industries. Discrimination, exclusion, isolation, and more. Women are still being overlooked and passed up for their male counterparts. We’ve come a long way; I won’t be a pessimist. However, we do have a long way to go. This is why we need as many voices as possible! The systemic issue of trauma and assault is prevalent across all industries. This must stop. Breaking the cycle of this generational and systemic trauma is so important and I wish the women disruptors of the future a safer journey.

Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?

One of my favorite books is “The Left Hand of Darkness”, an absolutely outstanding 1970s Sci-Fi book by Ursula K LeGuin, which addresses xenophobia and the constructs around gender and identity. Also, when I was struggling with insomnia, after the passing of my mother, I found that the “Sleep with Me” podcast was a much-needed balm and salve. Sleep is an essential part of well-being and self-care and Scooter (the podcast’s creator) is a remarkable creator — his work and his on air presence are marked by sensitivity, compassion and care. I recommend both of these works to others who are looking for recommendations.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

My Analyzing Diversity and Inclusion in Media project aims to identify the gatekeepers in media, to address the disparities for true representation. My project asks: How can streaming media measure, analyze, and reflect the “unmeasured loss” of a lack — specifically the lack of diversity and inclusion. This is a project to study, understand, and process the barriers to entry, the opportunities, and the erasure of other identities in a toxic culture. Ideally, this will also address a means to re-position and foster the largely excluded contributions of the marginalized makers within media. This is important to know, because excluding people is reprehensible and problematic: it also speaks to failures in supply/demand, representation, and financial opportunities. This study can find the ways and means that exclusions occur, to change how business is done and find more equitable and inclusive models.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“I’ve learned more my failures than I have learned from my successes.” If you hold yourself accountable to your failures and learn from them, you grow greatly. Fear of failure can be a hindrance.

How can our readers follow you online?

Feel free to keep up with my personal IG @Otessa_ and my professional accounts @2020newmedia and @dcwebfest on IG, Facebook and Twitter, as well as my websites twentytwentyproductions.com, dcwebfest.org, ojinbg.com, and otessa.me.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!


Female Disruptors: Otessa Ghadar of 20/20 New Media On The Three Things You Need To Shake Up Your… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Women In Wellness: Jacqueline Reinish of Beaver Box on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help…

Women In Wellness: Jacqueline Reinish of Beaver Box on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing

An Interview With Candice Georgiadis

Become a minimalist. Get rid of your stuff! Live with things you absolutely need so you can spend time living and not spending money on possessions. Give your life a purpose versus defining your life by materialism. While people are paying for fancy cars and big houses, you will be enjoying life, family, travel, and experiences.

As a part of our series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jacqueline Reinish.

Jacqueline Reinish is a spa CEO, author, podcast host, and Founder of Beaver Box. Ready for her newest venture and inspired by the ongoing quarantine due to COVID-19 and her clients’ ample stories about their sex lives, Jacqueline launched Beaver Box, a curated box of luxurious self-care and pleasure products designed to bring play back into the bedroom. The sexy box delivers a selection of high-end items from luxury brands, each hand selected to help both couples and individuals gain a renewed sense of lust, intimacy, and passion. Her first launch, the LUXE Box, is now available, and there are further plans for themed boxes like girls’ night out, date night, and LGBTQ audiences are in the works. For more on Beaver Box, visit mybeaverbox.com, and follow on Facebook and Instagram.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

Yes, it’s been quite a journey. I began my career in the 80’s, as a young woman striving to succeed in the insurance world, hitting the glass ceiling, breaking it, and moving on to a successful career in Risk Management. The challenges of the corporate world, trains, planes and automobiles, bi-coastal living ultimately took a toll on my personal life. I would find myself booked in a spa, somewhere, wondering how to transition into this business. After twenty years in the corporate world, I bailed and went to beauty school. It was a breeze. I graduated, passed my state boards, and soon launched a spa business for a salon. After years of being single, I married, and put my career on hold to have a family. During this time, I had thoughts of writing about what really happens behind spa doors. Soon after my daughter was born, my mother-in-law became ill. Four years went by of taking care of her, until she passed. That’s a story that is near and dear to my heart. She was amazing and encouraged me over the years to write a book about my funny, yet cheeky spa experiences. My Mom was my rock. She was always by my side cheering me on, almost daily, to get the book done she could read it! So, I did, Beaver Tales, Stories from Below the Belt. At the same time, I was going through a challenging divorce and had to decide on a career. I opened a Salon and Spa! Just as we passed our one-year anniversary of being open, I finally got divorced, my father passed and then Covid-19 hit, and my business closed. With the uncertainty of re-opening my salon and spa, I had to come up with plan B in the event the business is closed permanently. After many zoom calls, texts, and phone conversations, I had an idea. The feedback was intriguing! Couples worried about intimacy during this time, spending 24/7 with their spouses, partners and alone! So why not bring play back into the bedroom and enrich relationships through personal and sexual wellness? Beaver Box was born! Today I am juggling my two labors of love and the love of my life, my daughter…and of course our rescue pooch, George.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?

There are so many! When my book Beaver Tales was launched, a local PR firm secured me an interview with Jenny McCarthy on her Sirius XM show and asked to wax her assistant producer on air! Good Lord, what do I wear, I have the mom wardrobe? And how am I going to give her producer a Brazilian Wax on air? Exciting, intriguing, and scary at the same time. This is good stress but c’mon I wasn’t a celebrity like her usual guests. My mind raced; why me? The nobody, stay-at-home mom, soon to be divorcee, who wrote stories about vajayjay waxing. Well, Jenny and I had more in common than I thought. The minute they put the headset, I won’t lie, I felt confident, relaxed and a bit nervous. Jenny was so gracious, funny and the conversation was genuine and honest. The interview followed with a comedy of events waxing her assistant on periscope. A day I will never forget for many reasons.

What are the takeaways? Step out of the box even if you are nervous, uncomfortable, and inexperienced. It’s true, it’s ok to fail. Failure does not define you, only makes you work harder. Just because you are not a celebrity, doesn’t mean you don’t have a great story. It’s ok to be you and not someone you think you should be. Go for it, new opportunities, new careers, if you don’t succeed you have your safe place to fall back on.

Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I was too confident and assumed the boxes would sell out within weeks after launch. I ordered a few hundred boxes and products, which may not seem like a lot to most, but when you add up the costs as a start up without investors, using your own money, it was a huge expense. As with any start-up you must build buyer confidence, credibility, and buzz. My biggest mistake was jumping in versus wading.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Tough question. I wish I could say there was one person but there were many because I travel in packs! My family, The Rally Girls, close friends, co-workers, public relation teams and social media followers believed in my new ventures. They supported me emotionally and without them it would be a difficult and unsuccessful journey. Is there a story about these amazing people in my life? Lots of them. I believe individually we drive our own success. It’s the circle of friends and family that provide the simple words that enable you to endure and move forward. It’s not just one moment, its many. When you second guess yourself, they say the perfect words to give you confidence to move forward. Everyone who takes on the journey as an entrepreneur will be successful if they have an onion. Layers and layers of support and guidance.

Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?

I always wanted to be a modern-day Dr. Ruth with a focus on personal and sexual wellness. I’m not a doctor, gynecologist, or sex therapist. People confide in me based on experience, conversations, and research. I don’t require a medical designation and degree to reassure people it’s ok to love who you want, when you want, and how you want. The world of sexuality has evolved into many designations. The core of who we are and how we take care of our bodies and share intimacy is universal. However, social media is degrading the art of sex, intimacy, and relationships. I want to change that. There are women who want to speak freely of their wants and needs but are afraid to. The millennials are driven sexually through social media. It would be a major undertaking, but I’m ready to educate them on how to respect sex, love and the value of family and relationships.

Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.

These are not in order of importance because they are equal in supporting wellbeing.

Become a minimalist. Get rid of your stuff! Live with things you absolutely need so you can spend time living and not spending money on possessions. Give your life a purpose versus defining your life by materialism. While people are paying for fancy cars and big houses, you will be enjoying life, family, travel, and experiences.

Family first. Seems everyone is running in different directions. Family values have disappeared. Everyone is busy, busy, busy. Then someone dies, there is huge regret, and everyone promises to get together often. Doesn’t happen. It’s time for an intervention. Pick someone in the family who is a leader and organizer. All must share in the gatherings. It could even be a weekly zoom call! Start with mandatory monthly Sunday dinner, game, or movie night. No excuses. Go old school with potluck dinners and BBQs. Our lifestyle has resorted to weddings and funerals. Even then we are too busy. Find time, make time. Life is too short.

Sex and intimacy should be a priority. There are so many studies that prove sex and intimacy is attributed to great health, mentally and physically. Stop the infidelity and work at your relationship. We get older, have babies, go through changes and our body chemistry just isn’t what it used to be. Communicate! Talk to one another, tell each other what you like and what you need. Guys, just because she likes to have a pleasure toy accompany you in bed does not mean you are not doing your job. The net of this is do not assume it’s ok to be complacent in a relationship. It is not. You will lose the one you love so find ways to romance, invent foreplay, and spice up your romp under the sheets. Make the effort, don’t just bail and cheat. It’s as simple as a snuggle, a sensual massage, candles, breakfast in bed, whatever it takes to keep the love alive. Just listen.

Pick up the phone. Stop texting and messaging. Verbal communication is critical to a successful relationship and career. We are losing our social skills by relying on texting versus person-to-person communication. Don’t hide behind technology. Expressing emotions and feelings can be misinterpreted via text. Tell them in person or verbally on the phone.

Please yourself. Many of us have struggled to be alone during the pandemic. Many don’t know how to put themselves first, even if they are not alone. Carve out time for you. Workout, cook an amazing meal, take a bath with candles, and spark up the ambiance. Don’t be afraid to explore. It’s normal to pleasure yourself. Don’t be embarrassed or feel shame. Our desires are natural. Studies show it is beneficial to your physical and mental health and personal wellness.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

Young girls and boys are being destroyed mentally and physically by social media. A few examples, teens are teaching girls ways to become anorexic, a disease that stays with most girls for a lifetime, or results in death. There are sex videos and commentary about how to give oral sex, how to dress seductively, dance erotically, and the list goes on. This applies to boys as well. I want to start a positive movement to educate parents and their kids on how this is destroying their lives and to eliminate social media until they are considered an adult at 18. I’ve seen things on TikTok that make me sick and cry. Most parents have no idea what is going on and how it is affecting their children, and I mean children! Parents allow their kids on social media in elementary school! Well, when your child gets over 2,000 friend requests from all over the country in a week, I can assure you these are not their friends from school.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

Build a more diverse focus group and familiarize yourself with all your potential audiences, they will drive your success.

Start small, so that you can manage your own expectations.

Not every business is the same; having one successful business doesn’t mean the next one will be too.

You will spend money before you make money — You must have your arms around your financial portfolio, whether you have investors or use your own money.

Have a plan to expand — If you are successful out of the gate, you need to be able to build on that and scale properly.

Sometimes you have to say no even if you don’t want — It’s hard for everyone, especially when you believe so deeply in your own business.

Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?

These are all dear to me. I wish one of these causes was saving our small business economy. Without a stable economy sustainability, veganism, mental health and protecting our environment will be lost causes. Over 99 percent of America’s 28.7 million firms are small businesses. We are dwindling away because we can’t get people back to work. There are those people who are not mentally ready. Provide counseling, educate them on the benefits of the vaccine and provide job placement. The flipside? There are millions of people who are physically and mentally capable of returning to work. They are taking advantage of the unemployment system and refusing to work because they make more money from the government just sitting at home. This drives up more costs for small business who are trying to stay open. Meanwhile small businesses are closing, losing money and lack staffing to sustain revenue and pay expenses. We should build government programs and technology to assist unemployment centers in capturing job opportunities, pool qualified workers on unemployment, qualify their job searches, and provide job placement. The current system only monitors if you apply for work. People are applying but not interviewing so they can continue to collect unemployment. If we don’t get our arms around this national crisis our economy will fail, and small businesses will become extinct. We need 99% to thrive.

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

Instagram @beaver_box

Facebook Beaver Box

Thank you for these fantastic insights!


Women In Wellness: Jacqueline Reinish of Beaver Box on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Women In Wellness: Stella Rubin of Lure Essentials On The Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Suppo

Women In Wellness: Stella Rubin of Lure Essentials On The Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing

An Interview With Candice Georgiadis

Practice Natural Wellness: While we can’t discredit the contributions of science and modern medicine to help us stay healthy, you should never dismiss the “old ways” of natural healing. While doctors will always say they know what’s best, it’s not always the case, and many modern medical treatments come with an increased risk of side effects. Always listen to your body and don’t dismiss the effects of holistic treatments and remedies. Due to increased recognition of the power of these treatments, alternative healing is widely available in most communities today.

As a part of our series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Stella Rubin, Founder of Lure Essentials.

Stella founded Lure Essentials in 2014 with a mission to empower consumers to take control of their own health and wellbeing. Dating back to her childhood in the Ukraine, she experienced firsthand a remarkable ‘ancient’ technique called cupping or ‘banki,’ a practice her grandparents skillfully used to relieve common cold and congestion. Conscious of the public’s perception that cupping causes ‘bruising’ marks and relies on fire and glass jars to create vacuum suction, she thought “there must be a better way!” This is when she set out to create user-friendly silicone cupping kits so that anyone regardless of age or experience can enjoy this remarkable holistic modality in the comfort of their home or on the go.

Stella’s entrepreneurial journey started in childhood, and she’s been a serial entrepreneur ever since. Recently, fueled by the success of Lure Essentials, she and her husband Igor, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts practitioner and athlete, also co-founded a new brand for athletes called GameOn.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you share with us the story about how you first got involved in fitness and wellness?

My journey started in a very personal place. My husband is an athlete, and throughout our marriage, I watched him suffer numerous sports injuries, not to mention the various aches and pains that come from vigorous activity. It was difficult to see him dealing with so much discomfort, and I started exploring natural pain options. It was difficult to find consistent, effective relief for him, so I became committed to coming up with a solution. My research led me to something my husband and I both experienced during childhood: an ancient, but very powerful modality known as cupping. One of the main goals behind cupping is to target specific areas of pain or discomfort and treat them from the inside out, both to ease pain and promote healing. As children, our parents and grandparents would use cupping on us to battle common cold symptoms, so we were familiar with its effects. Once I started thinking about the many benefits of cupping, I couldn’t stop — I began studying the practice in earnest, learning as much as I could about how cupping works, and how to transform the practice by applying ancient cupping techniques to more modern treatments and applications. I found cupping to be effective for not only pain, but also for maintaining general good health, easing stress and tension, and improving skin health. The more I explored and tested, the more benefits I found, which lead me to create the first ever line of DIY cupping systems on the market for self-care to help address any number of health and beauty goal safely and effectively at home.

Can you share the most interesting story that has happened to you since you started your career?

It was very exciting to discover how many professional athletes, including Olympians, utilize Lure Essentials products! Not only am I thrilled to know that Lure Essentials is able to help provide relief to such top-tier talent, but it really speaks to the fact that cupping can help you maintain good health and ease pain no matter what level of physical exertion you undertake. I couldn’t ask for a better testimonial!

Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or takeaway did you learn from that?

During the product-testing phase of development, I ended up being the guinea pig quite often, and sometimes I got a little goofy. When we were testing out our conical GLAM facial cups, I had a very silly impulse to attach one of the cups on my forehead, right between my eyebrows, and I left it on for a few seconds. The minute I detached the cup, I realized, much to my horror, that I had given myself a nice red hickey right in the middle of my forehead. As embarrassing as that was, it ended up being a great learning experience. After that little incident, we included a disclosure in all our instructions to always use lots of facial oil and keep those face cups moving at all times so no one else would end up with a surprise hickey.

Can you share with our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the fitness and wellness field? In your opinion, what is your unique contribution to the world of wellness?

To become a wellness specialist, it’s natural to think that you need an advanced degree in nutrition or physical therapy to be considered an expert. But, in truth, there are many ways to educate yourself in the field of health and wellness. I believe that I am an authority because I identified a problem and sought a solution. It was not a hasty solution, and it was not done on impulse. I surrounded myself with experts and mentors in the field, extensively studied the practice of cupping, and kept my ears and my mind open. There’s a famous saying by Malcolm Gladwell that says anyone can become an expert in anything by dedicating 10,000 hours. While formal education is important, I believe that hands-on learning and dedicated research go a long way toward achieving expertise.

Through years of study, practice and research, my contribution is to offer safe and effective natural solutions to people at different stages on their journey towards improving their health and wellness goals. Cupping has been transformational for our family and now it’s my mission to share it with the world. Many consumers are not aware of additional benefits of this remarkable modality that steams from easing pain in back, neck, supporting healthy immune and respiratory function, aiding in digestion to improving aging skin and reducing the appearance of cellulite. I’m proud to offer a line of products that has the potential to help so many.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful for who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My first and biggest source of inspiration is my husband, Igor. Igor’s life-long dedication to martial arts is what initially lead me to seek solutions for naturally treating physical pain. Igor holds two black belts — one in Tae Kwan Do and the other in MMA, in addition to being a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. During his athletic career in combative sports, he was no stranger to injuries. Since both Igor and I experienced the benefits of cupping therapy growing up in Ukraine, I suggested he try cupping for his rotator cuff injury. Shortly, Igor discovered that not only did he find immediate relief with simple silicone cups placed around his shoulder, but also that cupping helped speed up his recovery time which got him back on the mats practicing martial arts quicker. At that point, I realized that I may have found a solution that can benefit not only athletes, but also millions of people in search of pain relief. aving experienced results firsthand, Igor was receptive and supportive of my crazy idea to bring a little-known ancient healing method to a modern market.

Though cupping is not a new practice, when I first began to develop Lure Essentials there was very little knowledge of cupping as a solution for general self-care use. It was a long road, and Igor stepped up to the plate and helped tremendously with house chores and carrying for our 3 children, while I spent upward of eighteen hours a day to develop the brand, attend business conferences, trade shows, and travel overseas to visit our factories.

Having Igor’s support was instrumental to my success as an entrepreneur. He gave me confidence and power to build a business from scratch and I am forever grateful for his support. A few years ago, Igor left his corporate job in investment banking to join me in running Lure Essentials. Today, it is our mission to spread the ancient wisdom of cupping and make safe and effective products available to everyone.

We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, exercise more, get better sleep. etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion, what are the 3 main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?

The first, and often biggest, excuse people fall back on is time. There’s not enough time to exercise, prepare healthy meals, or take a moment to de-stress. It’s true that most people deal with a grueling everyday grind, between work and caring for a family, but it’s important to understand, now more than ever, that self-care and self-love are not luxuries. They are necessities for physical and mental well-being.

Procrastination is another blockage we often face. People like to set goals, but it can be difficult to follow through. It’s common to say, “I’ll start my diet on Monday” or “I’ll start running next month.” When you put a delay on your well-being it gets easier and easier to neglect it altogether.

Finally, I find that a lot of people are intimidated by the idea of initiating self-care. They don’t know where to start. They may be eager to eat healthy, but unsure of the best diet plan. Exercise is a common goal but finding a regime you’ll enjoy may seem an impossible task. It may be overwhelming to break an old habit and try something new. Even something as simple as taking vitamins can lead to doubt over making the right choice. My advice for this is to start slowly and make changes that feel right to you. Throw out all your junk food and load up on fruits and veggies. Start a walking routine before you commit to running. Try to limit screen time and go to bed at the same time each night to promote healthy sleep. Remember, a journey of a thousand miles starts with one step.

Can you please share your “5 Non-Intuitive Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing?” Please share a story or an example for each, and feel free to share ideas for mental, emotional and physical health.

Banish negative thoughts: I have a personal non-intuitive trick I practice often. We all know mindset is the key to achieving our goals. Your state of mind can lead you down the path to success or create roadblocks to prevent you from reaching it. Whenever I doubt myself or start to feel down, I remind myself that negativity has no place in what I’m trying to accomplish. In order to take control of those thoughts, I picture them as a computer program that has gone bad. I imagine myself hitting “DELETE” on my mental keyboard and erasing those negative thoughts. This is very self-soothing, and I will consciously repeat, “DELETE, DELETE, DELETE” until I feel I have purged the negativity and arrived in a better head space. I’ve been using this trick for years, and it has served me well.

Maintain good posture: Good posture is a secret weapon — not only is it beneficial for your body, it can also put you in a better head space. Practice keeping your spine straight and your shoulders relaxed. Good posture prevents tension from building up and will also help you look and feel more confident. The more you practice good posture, the more natural it will become, and you’ll find that your whole body will benefit.

Exercise your facial muscles as much as you exercise your body: People hold a lot of stress in their faces. Clenched jaws, furrowed brows, and a pinched expression are all evidence of tension. It’s important to let that tension go, and once you do you’ll be amazed at how much more relaxed you become. Practice simple facial movements designed to loosen tight muscles and let that tension drain away. Not only does it feel great, your skin will thank you by radiating with youthful glow and a smoother, lifted, and sculpted appearance too!

Stretch your muscles: Stretching isn’t just something you should do before exercise. You should stretch every day to keep your muscles long and limber. Without stretching, you may find that you feel ‘frozen’ in certain areas, and that can lead to stress and even injury. Cupping is a wonderful addition to daily stretching, as it helps lengthen your muscles, release fascial adhesions, promote healthy circulation and lymph flow, all of which are great for general well-being.

Practice Natural Wellness: While we can’t discredit the contributions of science and modern medicine to help us stay healthy, you should never dismiss the “old ways” of natural healing. While doctors will always say they know what’s best, it’s not always the case, and many modern medical treatments come with an increased risk of side effects. Always listen to your body and don’t dismiss the effects of holistic treatments and remedies. Due to increased recognition of the power of these treatments, alternative healing is widely available in most communities today.

As an expert, this might be obvious to you, but I think it would be instructive to articulate this for the public. Aside from weight loss, what are 3 benefits of daily exercise? Can you explain?

-Exercise is essential for good mental health. When your body produces endorphins, you’ll experience a natural lift in mood that can do wonders for both your mental and physical well-being. Regular exercise may help reduce or prevent anxiety, offer relief from depression, improve your mood, and be an overall benefit to your mental health.

-Exercise benefits your organs and physical health. Regular exercise is crucial for a healthy heart, good lung function, bone density, and maintaining muscle mass as we age. There is a proven correlation between muscle mass and healthy aging. Having good muscle mass is crucial to maintaining your strength as you age. The stronger you are, the better your quality of life.

-Exercise may help improve sleep quality. Many people underestimate the role healthy sleep habits play on your mental and physical health. Restful sleep will not only help your body operate without feelings of daily fatigue, it will also help you stay more mentally alert. When you exercise you burn energy, which is a great start to a good night’s sleep.

For someone who is looking to add exercise to their daily routine, which 3 exercises would you recommend that are absolutely critical?

Walking or running. Both are easy to do, require no equipment, and can be implemented into a daily routine pretty easily. Walking is a great way to boost your heart rate and improve your circulation. It also builds up your stamina so you can move on to running, which has incredible cardiovascular benefits. A brisk walk or a light jog each day is a great way to improve your health and help beat stress.

Planks. Planks are another simple, equipment-free option for improving your health. Doing a series of planks each day will help straighten out your posture, increase your coordination and balance, focus your mind, build up your core strength, and improve your overall flexibility.

Strength training with weights. Lifting weights regularly will help you build muscle and strength. You don’t have to be able to bench-press two-hundred pounds, even simple weight training will help you increase your strength. The best part of weight training is that it’s flexible. Start small with lighter weights and work your way up as your endurance increases.

The most important thing to remember about exercise is that it shouldn’t be a chore. Find a physical activity you enjoy, whether it’s dancing, golfing, or Pilates. If you have fun while you’re exercising, you’ll be more likely to stick with it.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?

Both Lifespan by David Sinclair and Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari have been tremendously influential. They both speak to the nature of being human, the limitations of the human race, and how we overcome them. Lifespan explores the idea of longevity and poses the question, “is aging necessary?” It offers an alternative view on aging and presents it as an illness rather than an inevitable decline. Sapiens gives a detailed history on humankind, from our physical development to social interactions, and brings up the fascinating idea that humans are rapidly evolving into “gods.” It will leave you questioning whether “humanity” will even exist in the future. It’s a captivating look at the human race, and it offers a great deal of insight as to how we came to be the society we are today.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

If I could start a movement, I would create a campaign geared toward teaching the importance of self-care and the power of natural wellness in schools, so children would be able to recognize the importance of a healthy mind and body as early as possible. When self-care becomes a way of life during childhood, the result is healthier adults. We launched the #GetCupped movement to empower people of all ages to take control of their health and well-being. Despite the hashtag, this movement is about so much more than “getting cupped.” It’s an invitation to dedicate time to practicing self-care and also explore a variety of natural modalities.

Can you please give us your favorite “life lesson quote?” Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

“If you think you can, or you think you can’t, you are right.” — Henry Ford. This quote speaks to me because it is succinct and honest: everything is in your hands. You have full control over your life and your goals. With action and a positive mindset, you can make incredible strides. The entire time I was developing the Lure brand, this concept was paramount in keeping me focused, inspired, and on the right track.

Is there a person in the world or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?

I would love to share a meal with Dr. Josh Axe who is a certified doctor of natural medicine and a co-founder of Ancient Nutrition, a successful supplement brand. After we watched Dr. Axe’s video presentation and read his blog post praising cupping therapy as an alternative medicine for pain, immunity and digestion, our team reached out to him to review some of the cupping systems we developed to do the same. We were extremely honored to see Dr Axe and his wife Chelsea praise Lure Essentials cupping kits in their Instagram Live, and it would be so interesting to speak with him again about our journey and how this ancient practice has finally hit the mainstream and recently caught on in the United States and other Western countries. I would love to pick his brains about new developments in natural medicine and how alternative medicine brands can stay on the cutting edge.

Readers are invited to join the #GetCupped Movement at LureEssentials.com and follow Lure Essentials on Instagram, Facebook and Youtube at @LureEssentials.

Thank you for these fantastic insights!


Women In Wellness: Stella Rubin of Lure Essentials On The Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Suppo was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Lessons from a Thriving Power Couple, With Samantha Franklin and Eric Trueheart of Black Yeti…

Lessons from a Thriving Power Couple, With Samantha Franklin and Eric Trueheart of Black Yeti Beverages

An Interview With Candice Georgiadis

Samantha: I would say to allow people to have access to their unrestrained creativity. When employees are allowed to infuse their irreverence, magic, and unexpected ideas into their work, that’s when they get really engaged with what they’re doing. Also, pay your employees the top of industry standards!

As a part of our series about lessons from Thriving Power Couples, I had the pleasure of interviewing Samantha Franklin and Eric Trueheart.

Samantha Franklin and Eric Trueheart are co-founders of Black Yeti Beverage, the company responsible for the new cosmically delicious, Ready-to-Drink, canned bourbon and cola cocktail, Grisly’s Cosmic Black. Their experience in their respective creative industries has informed their dynamic approach to crafting the perfect cocktails, made to bring transcendent joy, fun, and flavor to the world.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you two to your respective career paths?

Samantha: I hail from the music industry. I’m a founding member of an all-female power Pop band called the Holograms. It made its debut in the early aughts. We had a number one song on the Billboard charts! It was bombastic, rock and roll, irreverent, punk music.

On a total 180º turn, I segued into the integrative health care sector. I got my feet wet in product development and released several Nutraceutical lines. I’ve been able to wield that background experience towards our current business venture.

Eric: In terms of my background, I used to write for animated children’s cartoons. They don’t write themselves, contrary to what a lot of people think. (Laughs.) I’ve written scripts at some point or another for just about every kids’ network in town. Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Disney, I was on a show called Invader Zim years ago, which, for some reason, still has followers to this day.

I even had a podcast about drinking called The Army of Drunks. So, I guess it was natural for me to go into providing drinks for people.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you two got married?

Samantha: You know, it’s the craziest thing, there was this global pandemic that hit! We were locked in the house together. We certainly solidified the fact that we liked each other because it was just us nonstop, 24/7. Within that milieu, we created our amazing company. It was the fruit of our pandemic stir crazy.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting your business? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Samantha: A mistake we made early in the process was not delving deep enough into the arcane laws that are the U.S. alcohol regulation system. It’s so antiquated that it feels like we have gone right back to prohibition. (Laughs.)

We had no idea we couldn’t sell our product directly. We were about 75% of the way through when we discovered that you need the equivalent of a record label to sell your product to stores. You need a distributor. Bit of an oops moment on our part!

Eric: Luckily, we figured that out early. However, there was that moment we were doing our research and tracking down the source of our booze and the flavor companies. Suddenly, Samatha comes running in the room and says, “Did you know if we talk straight to a retailer we could go to jail?!” We researched more, and technically it is illegal to sell alcohol directly to a retailer.

We got a quick education in what they call the “3 tier system of the booze world.” We realized that we probably wouldn’t go to jail, but we did have to contact a few people first!

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Eric: We have an oddball approach to everything we do. We don’t put a pastoral scene with an image of a lovely sunset on our packaging. No, we decided we want a Space Yeti! When our designer suggested a rock and roll poster artist from Austin we said, ‘Yes!’ When they said things like, ‘You should put the name on the front of the can,’ we said, ‘No!’

We’ve basically approached this whole thing like an art project, and not just the packaging and marketing, but the flavor too. We went through a lot of rounds on the flavor because we really wanted it to be something different and delicious as well.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that these projects will help people?

Samantha: As far as RTD [Ready to Drink] cocktails are concerned, it’s definitely not a health food product, but it’s a happy food product! We wanted to create something that was purely joyful, vibrant, goofy, completely sans of any pretense. We’re in a healing world right now. The scene is right for a great pudgy Space Yeti. We hope people can vibe on the weirdness and enjoy the toasted marshmallow, caramel notes, and aged bourbon. Sensorial fun is what we were going for!

Eric: And we’re definitely not pretentious despite the fact that I just recently said, “We approach everything as an art project.” Maybe we approach everything as an art project that an elementary school kid would enjoy. Well, apart from the alcohol. An elementary school kid should never enjoy alcohol. I want that on the record. (Both laugh).

As far as new projects? We’re working on a couple of new flavors. Cosmic Bliss which is a toasted marshmallow cola flavor. Cosmic Blood is in the pipeline and that’ll be blood orange. We’re thinking about making Cosmic WTF, which is Winter Time Fun. Also, Cosmic STFU which is Summer Time Fun Unlimited. What will those taste like? It’s a secret…

What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?

Samantha: I would say to allow people to have access to their unrestrained creativity. When employees are allowed to infuse their irreverence, magic, and unexpected ideas into their work, that’s when they get really engaged with what they’re doing. Also, pay your employees the top of industry standards!

Eric: Yes, and fortunately for us, we are our own employees. We’re not paying ourselves top of industry standard, but we hope that day will come, some day…

How do you define “Leadership?”

Samantha: Diving in, rolling up your sleeves, and being enthusiastic. Enthusiasm is contagious. If people see that you’re having light hearted fun, it gives them permission to approach tasks the same way.

None of us are able to achieve success without help along the way. Is there a particular person who you’re grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about them?

Samantha: We have had so many phenomenal allies since our very first phone call. Everybody has been so generous with their time and enthusiasm. From our accounting company, to our branding company, to our PR firm, to every artist that we’ve worked with, to all of our friends. This is a collaborative effort. It’s an art forward brand. Even the most straight-laced companies we’ve worked with have been able to let their hair down and have fun. We feel their passion and we couldn’t possibly be more grateful. This company was built upon the efforts of really creative, really beautiful people. We’re super happy.

Eric: Everyone we’ve worked with in this industry has wanted us to succeed, which is the opposite of the entertainment business! (laughs) It’s been great! They give us advice or recommend others who can. They help us with anything from basic information to more in depth strategies, like ways to approach sales or flavor creation.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

Eric: Well, we’re still waiting on the success part. We’re not big philanthropic millionaires just yet. We’re still on the launch pad and we’ve just started launching. The way we make things good in the world is… Being kind to animals and children, calling our parents when we can, letting older people go first in line. The usual stuff so far!

What are the “5 Things You Need To Thrive As A Couple”? Please share a story or example for each.

Samantha: D&D is a good foundation!

Eric: We just introduced her to Dungeons & Dragons. She’s already taken by it which makes my 12 year old self very happy! But it’s all about being kind to each other. Taking time to actually do fun things. We haven’t had a lot of time lately, but we’ve managed to do fun activities related to work so there’s that. Also, you should always respect your partner.

Samantha: We have a lot of fun together. We’re very informal, offbeat and quirky. As long as we’ve got a good Pandora station in the background, everything’s good! As of late it’s been vintage Ska and a lot of The Smiths. You want to underscore all you do with music and creativity and kindness!

Eric: Work in general is a lot of stress. It’s really important to be able to turn that stress off and put it away so you can actually enjoy the other person.

You are people of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

Eric: There are so many issues out there it’s hard to know what to choose. Our biggest value is that all people should be treated with respect and the same rights, no matter their race or orientation. We live in a time in particular where there’s been a lot of pushback to that idea. We are all human beings with value and potential. When we donate to charities for millions in the future, it’ll probably be around those areas of equal human rights.

Additionally, we really like animals and already donate money to ‘Best Friends,’ a no kill animal shelter.

Samantha: I’m vying for my psychopharmacological Post Doctoral degree. Behavioral health care is my passion. My dream is that the Black Yeti business will sustain me and enable me to be a practitioner of mental health care to help people. There’s a lot of anxiety, a lot of sadness in so many of us and I’d like to have an impact on helping people feel happy.

Eric: My passion is getting other people drunk. Eh, that’s not really true actually. But I may spend my retirement years as a professional bartender.

Can you please give us your favorite, “Life Lesson Quote?” Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Eric: How about, “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro,” by Hunter S. Thompson. Or, “Don’t take any guff from those swine.”

Samantha: I also like Mary Shelley’s, “Nothing contributes so much to tranquilize the mind as a steady purpose — a point on which the soul can focus its intellectual eye.”

Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

Eric: Elizabeth Warren, because she’s brilliant, tough, ethical, and good with dogs. Niel deGrasse Tyson. He’d be awesome. Or Tim Gunn, because he’s dedicated his life to passing on his passion to people eager to learn, and inspires people to greatness.

Samantha: There are so many! Dolly Parton would be amazing. RuPaul, who forged their own path through a world that didn’t know what to do with them until they showed it. Debby Harry, because she’s an apex iconoclast.

Eric: There’s too many! Bootsy Collins, because he’s Bootsy, baby. Noel Fielding. Bernie Sanders.

Samantha: Oh sweet Bernie!

Anything I haven’t asked you, but feels urgent or important to share?

Eric: We’re at this place where we’re just sort of ramping up our launchpad and just getting out there. Knowledge of our product isn’t really out there yet. So, we just want people to stick their necks out and give us a try!

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this. We wish you continued success and good health.


Lessons from a Thriving Power Couple, With Samantha Franklin and Eric Trueheart of Black Yeti… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Female Founders: Michelle Bove of DesignCase On The Five Things You Need To Thrive and Succeed as a…

Female Founders: Michelle Bove of DesignCase On The Five Things You Need To Thrive and Succeed as a Woman Founder

An Interview With Candice Georgiadis

Allow yourself to pivot , expand, retract, etc. — A business is a living organism. The industry atmosphere changes, the office dynamic changes, and so on. Allowing space to be nimble is important. Don’t get stuck in “the way we do things”; make your way flexible with the company’s core values as your foundation.

As a part of our series about “Why We Need More Women Founders”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Michelle Bove.

Michelle built DesignCase with 15 years of experience at her back, scores of awards, and a mission to push clients to think beyond the property line. Her firm works with real estate developers, government organizations, and businesses to identify what and how they will contribute to the communities they are in, with a unique look at the return on investment for both client and community.

Warmth, collaboration, and thoughtful human-centered design are the common threads that connect Michelle’s 100 plus hospitality projects to her work with non-profits and social impact organizations. Her full-service design firm focuses on architecture, interior design, and impact design as both advocate and architect.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

As the child of a craftsman, carpenter, and builder, I saw things being created around me all of the time. I had access to a full woodshop for school projects which I thought was the coolest thing. How many kids got to use a drill press to make their third grade mobile project perfectly crafted? I can’t remember a time where I thought I would be anything other than an architect or engineer.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

Meeting incredible people. Our clients are other founders (many being women), nonprofit change makers, and fearless dreamers. People are fascinating and hearing their stories about how they ended up where they are can be inspiring and idea generating.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

One funny thing, like a dark comedy… I didn’t trust my gut on a particular client. I interviewed for a project, but knew that this client had worked with several other designers in the past. I asked all the right questions. Why are you looking for someone new? What failed with those relationships? In the end I was not satisfied with the answers, but took the project anyway. The way this project blew up with a comedy of errors. It was the perfect lesson and reminder to always trust my gut, even when the money looks good and/or is needed. It isn’t worth the stress.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I truly cannot identify one single person, but can think of many. My network was really helpful; willing to listen, help, and support. From contractors to fellow designers and former professors, they all gave me valuable advice and still do. Everyday brings new challenges, having these folks in my corner gives me the strength to succeed.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. According to this EY report, only about 20 percent of funded companies have women founders. This reflects great historical progress, but it also shows that more work still has to be done to empower women to create companies. In your opinion and experience what is currently holding back women from founding companies?

Certainly if a woman wants a family, the worry about progressing your career and family at the same time can be a huge challenge. Women have to think ahead about timing, biologically and the business’ trajectory. To be honest, when I started my company I was single and at the time wasn’t sure family was something I would have the opportunity to have. Since I started DesignCase, I found my partner for life and am currently pregnant with my second child. Navigating maternity leave and a growing business isn’t easy, but having a supportive partner is paramount to my success. We have found a balance that allows us both to follow our desired career paths, with minimal outside (non-family) help.

Can you help articulate a few things that can be done as individuals, as a society, or by the government, to help overcome those obstacles?

The government can project direct help with child care in the form of monthly payments. So often families have to decide whether or not it is worth the money for both parents to work. And if it is not, typically the parent with the fuller pay check opts to keep their job and often leaves many women at home. As individuals, women, we can do better allowing ourselves to want multiple things and articulating those desires to our partners. But again, that doesn’t make it easy.

This might be intuitive to you as a woman founder but I think it will be helpful to spell this out. Can you share a few reasons why more women should become founders?

I love working with other women for one important distinction, the ability women have to be empathetic, strong, and organized. Women often have a greater ability to see an employee or client as a whole person and not just for what they are here to do. There are various dynamics to people and fully understanding your staff and your clients can only help create a greater more successful team.

What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about being a founder? Can you explain what you mean?

  • It does not mean you will be a millionaire in 5 years or less. More likely not. While some of us may find that lighting in a bottle, for others it will often take years of blood, sweat, and tears to get to a financial place that is more than just comfortable.
  • Being a founder equals total freedom. Read: you are the boss. True, but not really. Early in the process you will find that you now have many bosses. Clients, employees, and in some cases even your consultants. Each of these individuals need things from you on timelines in order to do their jobs well. So it is a lot of work, but finding the work/life balance you want early on and sticking to it can truly help.

Is everyone cut out to be a founder? In your opinion, which specific traits increase the likelihood that a person will be a successful founder and what type of person should perhaps seek a “regular job” as an employee? Can you explain what you mean?

As a founder, you won’t just work on your craft or main mission; at least at first. You will learn about business taxes, payroll, invoicing, insurance, etc. If that kind of thing turns you away from wanting to be your own boss, it might not be for you, unless you have the funding to pay others to do all of that underbelly work for you right from the beginning. Additionally, you must be willing to take responsibility for the whole business. If an employee makes a mistake, it is also your mistake and your responsibility to fix it and make sure it never happens again. All quality of business falls back to you as the founder.

Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your opinion and experience, what are the “Five Things You Need To Thrive and Succeed as a Woman Founder?” (Please share a story or example for each.)

1 — Do it for your own reasons and no one else.

  • Don’t create something to prove to someone else that you are successful. Do it, because you see no other way to meet your goals and desires in your career. If you wake up each day wanting it, you know it is for you!

2 — Set work and/or home boundaries that work for you; not the industry as a whole

  • Do you want to work from home? Do it. Do you need an office? Get one. Find the space for you to be efficient in your work. But always remember to build in time for your family, friends and yourself and stick with it. If you start the balance early and stick to it; it will become your normal and prove to your staff that you honor and value life beyond work.

3 — Know your worth and be willing to walk away from a client/ project that doesn’t want to pay you what you are worth.

  • You will sometimes hear from clients that don’t want to pay you what you are worth. They will say things like “this is incredible for your portfolio” or “we are going to do so many of these”. Don’t take the bait. If they believe they will be a success, they should want to include experts on their team. Which means paying for an expert, not an intern.

4 — Write or rewrite the rules so they work for you, but don’t shun history and what has proven to work for others.

  • When starting, look at the history of your industry to find the successes and failures in how the industry works and then build the rules that will allow you to thrive. Don’t do things differently for difference sake, but because it will bring value to your company.

5 — Allow yourself to pivot , expand, retract, etc.

  • A business is a living organism. The industry atmosphere changes, the office dynamic changes, and so on. Allowing space to be nimble is important. Don’t get stuck in “the way we do things”; make your way flexible with the company’s core values as your foundation.

How have you used your success to make the world a better place?

The mission of creating DesignCase was to Think Beyond the Property Line. To me that meant taking on clients that have a mission beyond their four walls and knowing that they impact their direct communities. It has also meant that we take on Pro Bono projects every year to help nonprofit and artist based organizations thrive and excel. And lastly, sharing our profits with non profit organizations in our community.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

I want businesses to realize they don’t need to wait until they are massively profitable to help others. Whether it is in-kind donations, monetary donations or even pro bono services. It’s incredibly important to help each other in this rapidly changing world; kindness, empathy and respect should be the cornerstone of every business.

We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

Resse Witherspoon. Her mission to build Hello Sunshine to generate content by and for women has been a huge success. More importantly, she did it for her reasons; seeing the gap in the industry and waking up realizing she had the power to make that change she wanted to see.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.


Female Founders: Michelle Bove of DesignCase On The Five Things You Need To Thrive and Succeed as a… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Female Founders: Lana Meduric of Abacaxi Keeni On The Five Things You Need To Thrive & Succeed As A…

Female Founders: Lana Meduric of Abacaxi Keeni On The Five Things You Need To Thrive & Succeed As A Woman Founder

An Interview With Candice Georgiadis

Passion. Passion will get rid of your low self-worth and will fill you up with confidence, as confidence increases the value for yourself and others around you. It wasn’t until I found my passion for swimwear that my confidence level increased, and I attracted other likeminded people into my life. When you’re passionate about something, there is some excitement your start to create but not just within you, but also those around you feel it and that’s just a win situation.

As a part of our series about “Why We Need More Women Founders”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Lana Meduric of Abacaxi Keeni.

Abacaxi Keeni swimwear was created in 2015 by founder Lana Meduric. Lana’s passion for entrepreneurship started at a young age and is now inspiring women all around the world to embrace their beautiful figures through Abacaxi Keeni swimwear.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

Sure! I always like to start off with my cultural background and upbringing. Originally, I am from Croatia but grew up in Germany for many years. As a child I don’t remember having a lot of interests or hobbies per say, but one thing I can always remember, was that my pencils and papers were always all over my floor. I enjoyed drawing different things such as animals and different landscapes. Later in my teenage years I was more fascinated sketching trendy clothes I’d see on TV. I remember one fashion show with Gianni Versace back in the 90’s and all I can remember was, when his swimwear collection was presented. I looked at the models and I saw how freely and gracefully they’d move through the runway show. This moment absolutely affected me positively. I started sketching models in swimwear, only to find out that I was more interested in sketching the swimwear design itself. All this was just a hobby, but I wanted to take my hobby to the next level when it was time choosing what I will study in college. I wanted to study fashion, but that wasn’t happening as my parents didn’t believe fashion is an industry that they liked for me to be in, as they didn’t think it was respectable as studying law or medicine. Fast forward, I ended up not studying anything and just worked at some small boutiques to earn some income. My mother would always say that I was dreaming my life away as I’d always say that I will move and live in a tropical place surrounded by lots of palm trees and warm weather all year long. My longing for living in a tropical place became reality. Miami has been home to me for 14 years now. Throughout many hurtles I managed to stay and work myself up. Almost like movie story, I cleaned homes to make an income then slowly worked myself up earning different business degrees and ultimately had a high paying career in a corporate world. I was very miserable in my career and the number of times I wanted to quit were endless but didn’t have the courage.

Until the year 2020 arrived. Just like many others, I was affected by the epidemic and got laid off. When I tell you the amount of relieve, I experienced in just a matter of seconds after I was told that my job was letting me go. It was a big relieve! A sense of happiness reached my nervous system, and I was just calm and collective at the same time. I knew something huge is coming my way (intuitive) and I just need to surrender and accept in a time with many uncertainties. One thing to note, throughout my years working in corporate, I never gave up the love of sketching swimwear and even designing new styles. I even connected with a swimwear manufacturer during mt Colombia travels back in 2017. I told him about my passion I had for swimwear, and he offered me his help to create my dream swimwear collection whenever I felt ready. I was ready to start creating my brand back in 2019 and contacted him. We worked many months together, so he’d understand my vision. Fast forward to 2020, about two weeks later after I was let go of my job, my mass production of swimwear arrived. I was speechless yet knew this was the sign from the Universe telling me I am on the right path, as this was the beginning of my swimwear brand Abacaxi Keeni.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

When I started my brand last year in the middle of the pandemic, my main goal was to reach as many women as possible in order make sales. I’d say for the first 8 months I barely sold anything. At some point I became impatient thinking creating accounts on different social media platforms, and owning a decent website, sales will magically appear. Wrong! I had to switch up my brand awareness approach and more importantly my mindset. My whole mindset was set up wrong. I knew I had to change my overall approach towards my business. I was desperate and this desperate energy didn’t attract anything positive towards my business. I had to switch my mindset from “I have to make X- amount of money by a certain amount of time (desperate energy), to “I like to connect with women on a personal level (grounded energy). I started reaching out to different event organizations throughout Miami, sharing my idea to participate as a vendor in different events. I connected with different women owned businesses to see if they were open to collaborate with me. I created different small events showing my swimwear on all types of models prior to Miami Swim Week (biggest swimwear fashion show in the world).

From April to July, I participated on a weekly basis at different pop-up events, music fests, bar and restaurant openings. The amount of exposure I gained for my brand was positively overwhelming. I met a great number of women who not only became my customer but also my biggest cheerleaders. So many different doors started opening. I was invited to participate in swim week as an emerging designer, different collaboration opportunities came my way, the brand was featured in two online magazines and one store in Miami decided to buy some of my bikinis and sell them in their store. Changing my mindset and opening my mind up for a more intimidate approach towards women was game changing. Brand awareness presents itself in different ways, after all, consumers want to be aware of the brand before they can decide they’d like to become a customer. The best way to reach this for me and my brand was through connecting with women one on one.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

It is not a funny mistake, but it is a silly mistake that I like to share. I was in the process of switching manufacturers as my previous manufacturer didn’t work out. The process of finding a new manufacturer was very time consuming and nerve racking as I needed my sample pieces for my new collection to be ready for my show in swim week. I connected with a manufacturer in Turkey. We spoke for a couple of weeks via email and several zoom calls to discuss all formalities. I felt confident with his knowledge and answers he provided to me throughout the whole process.

I provided him with my sketches and tech pecks for him to calculate the time to complete the samples. In the end, I had to send over the most valuable thing, which is my artwork that is used to create all the prints for my swimwear. I trusted him and didn’t create an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) to protect my artwork. Once I sent the artwork via high resolution file, I never heard back from the manufacturer. After weeks of trying to reach him, and being in angry, I stopped, and accepted the fact that my artwork was stolen and now being used by someone else. This was a huge learning lesson. Building trust is important, but even with that trust you still must make sure to protect your product because in the end it’s a business. Despite everything I still had to ensure to find a manufacturer who was able to produce my samples which I did. I was able to find another manufacturer and presented my new sample collection at Mimi Swim Week on time.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Absolutely. The one and only person that I will mention here is Helem Milian. She is an angel that was sent from heaven, without her Abacaxi Keeni wouldn’t be where it is today. I was introduced to Helem many years ago by a mutual friend of us who thought that Helem would be a great fit to help me start with my brand in terms or marketing and photos. I showed Helem my Bikini sketches and colorful prints back in 2017, I expressed my vision and that this has been a lifelong dream of mine. She immediately asked if she can be part of it which surprised me as I just met her, but my intuition felt good about her and that’s when our journey began. Helem was the only person who took my idea serious and genuinely wanted to help bring this baby alive. The brand was launched back in 2020 and since then Helem has been my photographer, marketing director and Social Media specialist. Both of us developed a vision for this brand that absolutely aligned. Without Helem Abacaxi Keeni wouldn’t even be close to where it is today.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. According to this EY report, only about 20 percent of funded companies have women founders. This reflects great historical progress, but it also shows that more work still has to be done to empower women to create companies. In your opinion and experience what is currently holding back women from founding companies?

Fear of failure. How often have I heard women say, “I’m scared to start my own business”? “I don’t know if anyone will buy my product.” I am not a good salesperson.” What will my family/friends think?” All these questions are leading to one common thing: The fear of failure. Fear is a “survival emotion” which absolutely helps us avoid dangerous situation and that’s healthy. But this is not the fear I am talking about. The fear I am talking about that holds many women back is having a negative attitude towards failure. Failure doesn’t make us a bad person. To me, I see each of my failures as valuable life lessons that brought me to where I am now. My failures brought me confidence, a stronger mindset and more encouragement to do better next time. How? You may ask. By deciding to be down and feeling all of the sad emotions (I don’t believe in “numbing” sad emotions) for as long as needed, and then pick yourself up and don’t stay in those emotions by choosing another path or goal. People, family and friends will always judge, we can’t control their emotions or thoughts, so why lose sleep over it. Don’t get me wrong, failures will feel uncomfortable ad unpleasant, but they will help you open other opportunities, opportunities that will teach you new things in order to get closer to your next goals — whatever they maybe.

Can you help articulate a few things that can be done as individuals, as a society, or by the government, to help overcome those obstacles?

As an individual, it is utmost important to educate yourself before entering the world of entrepreneurship, and before you let your self-sabotaging thoughts stop you before even starting. Do your research and don’t rush into this phase. You can get so much valuable information through the internet, social media, YouTube, Tik Tok etc. for free. You must invest in time. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a mentor, someone who is successful in the business you like to be in or similar, not only will you expand your neuropathway believe system, but you will receive so much knowledge and get introduced to other successful people that can give you great advise and even help you with funding your business. In the end you are the product of what you surround yourself with, so you might as well start surrounding yourself with people, who can help you with starting your entrepreneurship journey. Linked In is an excellent source to find a mentor. If you don’t have an account sign up it’s free! We should be more helpful towards women who are planning on becoming an entrepreneur. Successful Female entrepreneurs should invest or buy products of women owned businesses especially the once who are startups. That may not make a tremendous change in terms of sales but does certainly uplifts your confidence level. I can’t say it enough, but social media is a powerful way for reaching thousands of people, by sharing a post about a product or service of another woman owned business can be very successful. Supporting women through social media isn’t time consuming and the best of it’s free!

This might be intuitive to you as a woman founder but I think it will be helpful to spell this out. Can you share a few reasons why more women should become founders?

By nature, we are mend to be leaders. The prefrontal cortex in our brain is by nature more active which leads to better decision making, collaborations and gives us a strong sense of empathy, and this alone is an absolute must have in a leadership position and in becoming a founder. We are so magic! Even Dalai Lama says in one of his beautiful quotes: The world needs leaders with compassion. That means the world need more female leaders. Biologically, females have more sensitivity about other’s wellbeing.

What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about being a founder? Can you explain what you mean?

I have two myths within my personal experience that I like to dispel. When I first started my entrepreneur journey, everybody pointed out my age stating I am too old to start a brand. Hey, I am only 36 years young! The best time of my life is now, the best time for me to start this journey is now. Companies like Walmart, Twitter and many more were started by entrepreneurs well beyond their 30’s and older. I absolute believe that a greater success can be reached the older you get as an entrepreneur due to the life experiences and connections we gain as we get older. Don’t focus your attention on what is being glamorized currently on many social media platforms in terms of being young and starting your business — it’s never too late to start. Second myth: I must invent something new. Not true at all, in fact, inventing something totally new that doesn’t exist, is very challenging, time consuming and are at highest risk to fail as we as consumers may not be ready for it. Unlike with products or technology that already exists, like there are hundreds of different bikini brands, dating apps, bread products, email marketing software applications etc. Improve on an existing idea as the market already exists and sprinkle your own magic to it in order to make it different.

Is everyone cut out to be a founder? In your opinion, which specific traits increase the likelihood that a person will be a successful founder and what type of person should perhaps seek a “regular job” as an employee? Can you explain what you mean?

Absolutely not! Not everyone is made to become an entrepreneur / founder. I’d say from what I have learned throughout the years before becoming self-employed, it does require a special mindset and attitude to run your own business. Not everybody in the world has the personality and resources to do this either. Consistency, determination and a huge amount of patience are traits that not everybody has withing them. Those traits are not naturally in our DNA, it takes lots of work to acquire such traits and to consistently use those to get to your success level you desire. If everyone would be able to become a founder /entrepreneur than who would be able to provide us all services that require a person to work in a “regular job”? People in general tend to not like to take risks and that’s ok. Most people enjoy a fixed income, ten days of vacation each year, clock out at the end of the day and not worry about any work-related stuff until you clock back in the next day. I just never was this person, who is ok with anything “regular” I felt this itch of being self-employment for many years. I always took risks I’d say the biggest risk I took in my early twenties was to leave my country Croatia and my parent’s home to pursue a new life because I had a calling an intuitive ping. That was my first taste of risk, going into an unknown country and barely speaking the language, but I felt unstoppable and went for it. Interestingly, a recent study showed that, 25% of U.S. entrepreneurs are immigrants and 51% of U.S. startups valued at 1Billion or more have been founded by immigrants. I’m not surprised, as people like me leave their families and countries for a better opportunity, are faced by many obstacles and hardships which most often leads to success in the long run (level of success varies) as those same hardships and obstacles teach us to be more perseverance, a big component that is needed reaching success.

Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your opinion and experience, what are the “Five Things You Need To Thrive and Succeed as a Woman Founder?” (Please share a story or example for each.)

  1. Passion. Passion will get rid of your low self-worth and will fill you up with confidence, as confidence increases the value for yourself and others around you. It wasn’t until I found my passion for swimwear that my confidence level increased, and I attracted other likeminded people into my life. When you’re passionate about something, there is some excitement your start to create but not just within you, but also those around you feel it and that’s just a win situation.
  2. Education. It’s great to have a passion, but if you don’t invest time in educating yourself in how you like to make this passion successful, it will just stay a passion — which is fine if that is what you want. Be smart! I am not referring smart on an intellectual level but start understanding the process of starting your business as there are so many stages in building a business. In the end, it’s your business you are planning, so learn as much as you can and surround yourself with people who already have a successful business or are on the same entrepreneurial journey as you.
  3. Money. Let’s not sugarcoat this subject. Money is an essential part of developing a business. In order to grow your passion, you must feed it. When I started my entrepreneur journey, I had ca. $15,000 in savings (not enough but enough to start). When I was let go of my corporate job in the middle of the pandemic, I didn’t panic as I knew I had enough savings to survive. In order to bring in more money, I left my apartment moved in with a roommate and sold my car. On top of all, I have been investing in my business for a couple of years before I started doing it fulltime. Now, I don’t mean you have to do the same, but having savings is crucial before you leave your save job to pursue your entrepreneur journey. Nobody ever told me how expensive it is to keep a business alive and for it to keep growing. This is not for you to get discouraged but for you to understand the importance of money and the financial side of it. The idea is to not go use all your credit cards and max them out. This will just create frustration because the money you spend won’t just come in next month nor the following months. Depending on what type of business it is you like to do, you may be eligible to apply for a loan. Depending on your credit history and your past employment history you may be able to apply for a micro loan. These types of loans will give you a maximum amount of $ 20,000 (that is why they are called micro loans the loan amount is tiny) and you can pay it back within 5 years. Be prepared to make a business plan. If you don’t like the idea of loans (like me) consider grants, which I did and I received a $10,000 grant. There are so many grant opportunities for women in business more than ever before! Money should never be the factor for you to not pursue your dream of becoming an entrepreneur. You want this to work, and you will do things that will make your business grow, such as taking a part time bridge job which helped me tremendously with paying all those fixed costs in my business. Make sure your bridge job aligns with your business as it can help you receive valuable lessons for your own business.
  4. Consistency & Determination. There is no short cut or easy way to become a successful entrepreneur, if that would be the case than we’d see majority of people doing it. To master anything in life, it takes showing up and practicing consistently. I’d say by nature I always been consistent with things I pursued, which helps me now with building my business tremendously. This entrepreneur journey is testing my consistency and patience level on another level. Patience was never my strength, but I can tell you I turned it into my strength within one year of pursuing my business. Keep up the consistency level.
  5. Support. It is a very important factor to succeed and thrive, just as with anything else in life, but more so when you start this entrepreneurial journey. The journey of entrepreneurship can get very lonely and frustrating, having a strong support system can uplift your spirit and make you keep pushing yourself to not give up when times get hard. I don’t have a support system. That is ok. My family doesn’t believe in my business, nor do they think I am capable of being an entrepreneur. Even close friends don’t think much about it and see it more as a hobby. Doesn’t feel great at all but then I kindly remind myself that I am doing this for myself and not to please others. This is my journey, and I am worthy enough to start pursuing my passion and turn it into something valuable. I am brave enough to walk a path in life that most people won’t, for that I am grateful for.

How have you used your success to make the world a better place?

It was always very important to me to create a swimwear brand in an ethical way. Find a manufacturer who practices ethical working standards for its employees, and who can provide me with high quality fabrics that are ethically sourced and feel smooth on the skin. On top of that, it was utmost important for me to find Manufacturer who was able to use low impact dye (dye free from heavy metals) on the swimwear fabric, meaning no acids, formaldehyde or chemical finishes involved in the process of transferring the artwork into the fabric. without using harsh chemicals as those chemicals are damaging soil and biodiversity, which in the long run will destroy the fabric. After doing some lengthy research I found the perfect manufacturer who created my first collection. I believe we, not only as consumers but more so brands and manufacturers become more aware of the global environmental state we are in and its correlation to fashion. The fashion world is slowly waking up as more consumers want to know where their clothes come from, what material is used, what ethical process is used in the overall process of making clothes etc. My contribution and goal for this year toward taking a stronger part of slow fashion is to use 100% biodegradable fabrics for my second collection. This is a big and exciting step for me. Each step, no matter how small that step may be, is a step further bringing more awareness to the world’s clothing and textile industry and its responsibility towards mother earth.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

Not sure if this is a movement but it is something I am currently creating. For many years I suffered from anxiety, and I was looking for a place in Miami to connect with other women that experience the same suffering in order to find healing together. Stil doesn’t exist to the level that I like to create now. I realized many of don’t want to talk about mental health as we get shamed for it and get categorized as crazy. Throughout the years, I found great healing through mindfulness such as meditation and breath work. I educated myself with the help of different therapy styles, books and visiting workshops about mental health. Everybody just talks about a healthy gut, heart, kidney, bladder (which is great) but what about a healthy brain? Your brain health should be your number one concerns when it comes to your overall health, as your brain controls everything, your thoughts, how you feel and act and how you get along with others. I like to create a safe space for women who are or are not suffering from anxiety or depression, and for women who just want to be heard and seen. In this circle I offer women to express themselves freely without facing any type of judgement of others and help with their healing journey through mindfulness. Additionally, I will be able to offer coaching sessions one on one (I am certified and have a degree in Psychology) for those who need more clarity and a deeper understanding. I can’t wait to build this circle in the end of September.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.


Female Founders: Lana Meduric of Abacaxi Keeni On The Five Things You Need To Thrive & Succeed As A… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Women In Wellness: Megan Joy Brynok on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s…

Women In Wellness: Megan Joy Brynok on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing

An Interview With Candice Georgiadis

Breathe! So many of us are shallow breathing as we go through our days busy, stressed or on the go-go-go. This will put your body right into fight or flight mode and compromise our digestion, detox pathways, hormones, immune system, mitochondrial function and our entire nervous system. So stop and take deep breaths as often as you can. Whenever you catch yourself frantically running from one thing to the next, stop and just take 3–5 deep breaths in through your nose and out through your nose. Feel the sensations in your body. This can instantly bring you into a calmer state of mind and more relaxed.

As a part of my series about “5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing a Functional Practitioner in women’s health and certified personal trainer, Megan Joy Brynok.

After a decade-long career in the Western Medicine Healthcare system as a Nursing Assistant, Ultrasound Tech and Lab Instructor, Megan decided to follow her heart and soul calling of becoming a Functional Practitioner in Women’s Health. She is also a sought after fitness expert and speaker in women’s health virtual summits, aspiring author, podcast host of “The Balanced Woman Podcast”, and creator of the comprehensive Self-Care system in her signature one-on-one program, SHE Code. With an extensive background in healthcare, three years as a fitness competitor and a long journey of her own health struggles, Megan is obsessed with helping women get to the root causes of their symptoms, eliminate stress and increase energy while building a balanced lifestyle they love.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the story about how you first got involved in fitness and wellness?

Of course! I was always active as a young girl growing up, actually very much a ‘tom boy’. When I was 17 I got my second job at the tanning salon and gym facility right down the road from my highschool. This gave me the opportunity to create relationships with trainers and athletic coaches, and really create a love for fitness and lifting weights.

I continued to dabble into fitness for years, but in 2018 my husband deployed to the Middle East for an entire year and I wanted to dedicate my time to something productive. That’s how I found NPC bikini competitions, won my first show and I was hooked for three years! I also became a Certified Personal Trainer during that journey in 2018 while still working Full-time in healthcare, and opened my online fitness coaching business shortly after.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

Oh wow! There’s so many… I’d have to say making the decision to walk away from my successful career in healthcare. I had a ‘guaranteed income’ of nearly 6 figures so it provided some financial security, but it was sucking the life out of me. I had my health coaching practice on the side that was hardly producing any income at the time. We just bought our house, and one morning I got ready for work, packed my lunch, sat at my kitchen island and said to myself “I just can’t do this anymore”. So, I woke my husband up and told him I know I sound crazy but I just know it’s going to work out. Something inside of me told me i’d be taken care of and to put my faith over my fear. It was scary and a little stressful if I thought about it for too long. But here i am 7 months later, happily ‘retired’ from conventional healthcare and I couldn’t be happier. Oh and the financial success is definitely a perk as well.

Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?

For sure! Well I was training a friend at the gym, and we had just stopped our treadmills for a warm up jog. I hopped off to grab the towels for us to clean them, and somehow I didn’t turn the treadmill belt off completely because it started back up again. I wasn’t paying attention and I stepped right onto the belt, face planted and flew backwards. I can laugh about it now because I didn’t get hurt and at the time my ‘gym crush’ was there and I felt mortified. From then on out I never stepped onto the belt of a treadmill, always the sides where there’s no chance of that ever happening again!

Can you share with our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the fitness and wellness field? In your opinion, what is your unique contribution to the world of wellness?

I can sit here and tell you how much of a nerd I am about human health, biology, anatomy, physiology, fitness, nutrition and all of the things — or, that I love to learn and everytime I achieve one academic endeavor my husband and family will ask — what’s next? I can also sit here and talk about my degrees in science, all the letters after my name (CNA, CNS, CPT, RDMS, RVT, FDN-P), or the tons of crazy stories and situations I’ve been in throughout my career.

But in my opinion, being an authority comes from personal experience and true impact on others more than anything. Between caring for patients one-on-one in clinics and hospitals for years, competing in the NPC as a bikini competitor for three years, and experiencing struggles in my own health with total burnout, a miscarriage, Leaky gut, hormonal disruptions, autoimmunity and thyroid dysfunction — I know how much it means when someone listens, understands and is willing to help every step of the way.

My absolute favorite part of what I do is making people feel heard, understood and confident in our ability to work together to find the root causes of their symptoms and heal. So many of us feel frustrated, dismissed and discouraged in our ability to ever feel as energized, fulfilled and happy as we’re meant to.

I think that my unique contribution to the world of wellness is that as a Functional Practitioner I am not just running specialized tests and uncovering root causes of problems, but I am also empowering those who invest in themselves to completely transform their health inside and out. I love helping women with their mindset, time management, stress management and developing compassion and grace for themselves along the way. Building balance inside of the body and mind, as well as on the outside with their family, career, personal time and lifestyle is the most transformative.

I also believe that education is one of the biggest missing pieces for people to have confidence and conviction in their decisions. Part of my mission is to educate women to gain body literacy and understand how to work with their body, instead of against it which part of that is cycle syncing! It’s fun and incredibly empowering! It’s also important for people to have the knowledge of how to get well and live well forever, so that they can teach others to do the same.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

If I’m being honest, there are so many incredible mentors and people who I am grateful for that have helped me achieve success in my career. My personal success is attributed to so many vulnerable, inspirational, and impactful thought leaders, many of which don’t even know I exist. I am so grateful to have access to social media, podcasts and books to receive the knowledge, inspiration and motivation that reminds me how capable and worthy I am. There’s so many outstanding humans who are out there sharing their stories from rags to riches, or from their death bed to achieving optimal health, or anything in between. It shows us that we all face adversity, but despite that, anything is possible for any of us, when we believe in ourselves.

And like so many other people, I always struggled with never feeling enough. Whether that was smart enough, pretty enough, strong enough or just straight up GOOD enough. But we have the power to choose what we consume. And I’m a firm believer that you are the sum of the five people you surround yourself with. So, if that means letting go of unsupportive or toxic people in your life for an inspiring book, podcast or course from a thought leader — do it. Invest in yourself. We all have the same 24 hours in a day and we are all choosing to invest our time, energy and money into things everyday. For me, I choose to invest in what’s going to require me to get uncomfortable and grow physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and financially.

The first time I invested in myself was hiring a certified personal trainer (Val) who made me feel like she was just as invested in my success as I was. That was in 2018, and ever since then I’ve hired 2 fitness coaches and 4 business coaches because I know that every single time I exchange the financial investment, it requires me to show up and level up to the next best version of myself. To be healthier, wiser, stronger, richer, etc. I was on a path to self-destruction with people-pleasing, partying, alcohol and an abusive relationship. Now, years later, I believe in filling my cup up first and trying to get it overflowing, so that I can show up as the absolute best version of myself for my loved ones, clients and anyone I connect with. I’m just so grateful for some of my favorite amazing thought leaders (Amanda Bucci, Tony Robbins, Angie Lee, Dr. Bruce Litpon, Dr. Joe Dispenza, Dr. Axe, Lori Harder, Dr. Hyman, Rebecca Cafiero, Brook Castillo, and honestly SO many more).

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, exercise more, and get better sleep etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the 3 main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?

Sure! So number one reason, and really the top reason that I’ve seen over the years is the all or nothing mentality. We make big promises to ourselves that we’re going to change, and that’s usually trying to change everything at once and go from 0–60 overnight. It’s important to understand that our brains don’t work like that. We have to set up micro goals that are aligned with the big goal and get the needle moving in the right direction. I call it habit stacking in my practice. Anytime you’re trying something new and your brain isn’t running off of its subconscious habits or routines, then it takes more mental bandwidth. Which is why after a few weeks, or a few days even, it often feels too hard and people resort back to old habits that may not be serving them.

I’d say the second reason that comes to mind is feeling overwhelmed or frustrated. Overwhelmed because there are so many resources out there that try to oversimplify yet overcomplicate health and wellness. Especially on social media. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had women and clients come to me and tell me they had no idea where to start because they don’t know what’s actually healthy for them or right for their body. And many times of us have been socially conditioned by society, Dr’s and social media that being healthy means being on diet or being restrictive for some reason…. Which leads me to my next block I always see…

Which is feeling as though we need to be restrictive or count calories. That’s a diet. And being healthy has nothing to do with a diet. It’s adopting the mentality of nourishing your body and focusing on the abundance of delicious whole foods that will promote optimal function and health… rather than focusing on what you ‘can’t’ have. I work with women every single day who have tried various approaches to diets that never last or felt too hard and they felt like a failure. But it’s not their fault. I think diet culture has a lot to do with our skewed perspective of what being healthy really is. You have to enjoy it and love it, which is exactly what I’m all about. But also having balance and knowing how to live your life guilt free as well.

Can you please share your “5 Non-Intuitive Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”? (Please share a story or an example for each, and feel free to share ideas for mental, emotional and physical health.)

Absolutely, I love this question.

1. Breathe! So many of us are shallow breathing as we go through our days busy, stressed or on the go-go-go. This will put your body right into fight or flight mode and compromise our digestion, detox pathways, hormones, immune system, mitochondrial function and our entire nervous system. So stop and take deep breaths as often as you can. Whenever you catch yourself frantically running from one thing to the next, stop and just take 3–5 deep breaths in through your nose and out through your nose. Feel the sensations in your body. This can instantly bring you into a calmer state of mind and more relaxed.

2. Endocrine disruptors! Get rid of them! There’s thousands of them in our everyday products — including plastics, receipts, personal care products and more. You don’t have to bubble wrap yourself, but this is something you don’t want to disregard. Your endocrine system is basically your hormone system and you don’t want this system disrupted. These toxins are a huge stressor that will wreak havoc on your systems!
I teach my clients to swap out 1–2 things at a time. When you run out of “x” then just replace it with “y”. Bye-bye harmful product, hello safe product for you and your family.

3. Sleep! We all know sleep is important but most of us aren’t getting enough of it. So I’d say prioritize bedtime and be consistent with it while being intentional about 7–8 hours of sleep. It’s also important to understand that many of us also struggle with getting to bed because of blue light from our cell phones, tvs and devices. This confuses our body and makes it think it’s daylight. So dim your lights and grab blue blockers, and I always say get off all electronics at least 1 hour before bed to honor your circadian rhythm.

4. Workout first thing in the morning. This is when your cortisol is highest, you’re able to burn the most fat and your body has the most energy. Make sure you eat something before a workout though. Fasted workouts truly do more harm than good. Working out first thing will also prevent us from letting our excuses get in the way later on in the day. If you workout in the morning, even for a quick 20–30 minutes you’ll feel way more naturally energized and ready to conquer your day.

5. Daily reflection and celebrating even the smallest wins. Sometimes the seemingly large gap between where we are and where we want to be can perpetuate negative thoughts. Instead, be sure to reflect every single day on at least one thing you did to move the needle forward in the right direction. Focus on all the things you did right, instead of dwelling on anything you did wrong.

As an expert, this might be obvious to you, but I think it would be instructive to articulate this for the public. Aside from weight loss, what are 3 benefits of daily exercise? Can you explain?

  1. More natural energy! Exercise is proven to increase your energy levels, even for those who struggle with fatigue. Of course we want to honor our body and if we have significant fatigue focus on low intensity workouts that rejuvenate us. Exercise is a great natural energy booster!
  2. Better moods! Exercise can make you happier and give you that post-workout high, which is why I think it’s an easy addiction. We get those endorphins flowing and these feel good chemicals make us happier, less stressed and less anxiety, which I think we can all use.
  3. The power of goal setting! By committing to reaching an exercise goal and achieving it will help you build integrity with yourself. Doing what you say you’re going to do. This builds self-trust which is so important for innumerable reasons. You can enjoy the endless benefits of exercise plus the confidence that comes along with it. On the inside and the outside.

For someone who is looking to add exercise to their daily routine, which 3 exercises would you recommend that are absolutely critical?

  1. Planks. There are so many benefits to this exercise including a stronger core, better balance and better posture. It’s a true test of your strength.
  2. Push-ups. This is a great exercise that will also test your true strength abilities while also targeting your arms, back and core.
  3. Squats. Body weight, dumbbell or barbell. Squats are a core compound movement that gives you strength in your glutes, hamstrings and quads. This is important to maintain appropriate posture as well. And of course, it will define and shape your backside to look great on those jeans!

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?

I definitely have a few, but the most impactful was “Biology of Belief” by Dr. Bruce H Lipton. I listened to this on audible first, and I couldn’t stop pausing it, taking notes and sharing excitement about this book. It’s so aligned with my beliefs about our health, biology and mindset. It personally empowered me to understand the importance of stress management and prioritizing my mental health, as stress and anxiety create the chronic stress response in our systems that changes our blood chemistry and creates disease.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I love this question, and thank you for positioning it in such a positive way. I have a deep desire to create a movement in our education systems for young women, specifically in high schools to understand their bodies and health. As women in the reproductive age group, we have a biological clock nobody else has — our infradian rhythm. It’s important to understand the natural ebs and flows of our hormones and the different cycle phases because our bodies need different things in the different phases. This is life changing information that gives women so much empowerment and grace with themselves when they understand what’s going on with their body.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

“May your choices reflect your hopes not your fears.” While this definitely reflects my life personally and professionally with clients, I think it applies to all areas of life. It speaks volumes of the power to trust yourself and don’t let those self limiting beliefs hold you back from what you really want to do in life. That you’re worthy and able.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

I would absolutely love to have a private lunch or breakfast with Lori Harder. She’s been one of the biggest influences in my life through her podcast and social media. I love everything she stands for and her story of how she constantly overcame her trials and tribulations while finding success.

What is the best way our readers can follow you online?

I love hanging out on Instagram @meganjoy_wellness , my Facebook page is Megan Joy Brynok, and I have a private Facebook group called Nourished and Balanced that any women who are interested in optimizing their health, getting free workshops and trainings while learning about their body can join us! Also my podcast “The Balanced Woman” is where we dig into things as well.

https://www.instagram.com/meganjoy_wellness/

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!


Women In Wellness: Megan Joy Brynok on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.