Women In Wellness: Katie Utterback of ‘elevated aura’ on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help…

Women In Wellness: Katie Utterback of ‘elevated aura’ on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing

Embrace What Makes You Weird

The thing that makes you different or weird or unique is your superpower. I have always been told I’m very kind and a good listener, which makes sense since I identify as an empath, an intuitive feeler. When I was growing up, I resisted these characteristics, these superpowers because I didn’t think they were flashy, cool, or sexy. But now I recognize that it’s my kindness that makes me approachable. And because I’m a good listener, people are not afraid to share their deepest, darkest secrets with me, and that’s how I became successful as a coach. By just being who I am at my core. The same is true for every one of us. Your superpowers may look different than mine, but you have them. Embrace them.

As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Katie Utterback, CLC.

Katie Utterback, CLC, is the founder and lead healer at elevated aura, an international holistic coaching firm specializing in helping individuals learn to love and accept themselves especially after experiencing narcissistic abuse or other toxic relationships. Katie has been a featured guest on several health and wellness podcasts and is a frequent source on how to recover from narcissistic abuse. Her first book, Ripping Off Rose-Colored Glasses: A Narcissistic Abuse Survivor’s Memoir will be published in the Fall of 2021.

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, happy to! My name is Katie Utterback, CLC, I am a certified life coach specializing in narcissistic abuse recovery. I live in San Diego with my wonderfully supportive husband, AJ, and my fur baby Jagger.

Prior to becoming a certified life coach, I attended the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, Minn., where I majored in Communications and Journalism and received a minor in Psychology. For more than 10 years I worked in journalism, marketing, public relations, and even dabbled as a podcast host, producer, and working side-by-side with private investigators. My work was interesting, but I always felt like I was missing something in life. I couldn’t exactly put my finger on what it was that I was lacking, until that is, my world forever changed.

A few years ago, I had a life-changing experience in which I essentially was forced to realize I had grown up in a toxic household where I had been playing the role of black sheep/scapegoat for most of my life. Heartbroken and confused why previous generations on both sides of my family had not felt the need to address the alcoholism, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, mental health disorders, and more, I believed I had two options: Spend the rest of my life blaming others for my ‘bad luck’ or turn inward, work on healing the bruises on my heart, and get clear on what it is I wanted out of life.

During my healing journey, I connected with myself and was able to fully accept myself as I am who I am for the first time. As I shared my experience with others, I discovered my natural talents as a coach seemed to fill the ‘what’s missing’ void and began my journey to become a certified life coach.

My hope is that by becoming a resource, a confidante for others who have experienced narcissistic abuse, codependency, or toxic relationships, I can help you heal some of the toxic tics you may have picked up along the way and reconnect with what makes you happy. To help you rediscover what ignites a fire in your belly and what makes your soul sing.

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?

When I initially started my healing journey, I had no intention of working in the wellness space. As much as I loved the topics, I just felt it was a little too “woo woo” to make a career out of without going back to school and becoming a licensed therapist. I didn’t think anyone would take me seriously. But when I decided to estrange myself from my family of origin to protect my self-love, my mental health, my spiritual self, my relationship with my husband, I realized that my self-care tool belt that I had created to help myself heal was not “woo woo” at all and it, in fact, could be beneficial to others.

I started sharing positive affirmations, healing techniques, breathwork practices, meditations, and journal prompts on social media and the feedback was just unbelievable. I had people telling me that I was more effective in a 20-minute Facebook conversation than their therapist had been over the past five years. Even people I worked with in my day job started coming up to me and saying that I had made a comment and they decided to go to therapy after all. I was so flattered, I felt like I was creating good, so I kept going. I kept sharing my story and healing techniques, and that’s when I realized I had made a career out of the thing that I didn’t think was possible.

I’m still learning more and more every day about spirituality and the mind and the power we have inside ourselves to heal from trauma if we so choose. And let me tell you — this is not “woo woo” at all. This is tough stuff we’re dealing with, I just never realized it before because THIS is my calling. To help others heal and learn to recognize their self-worth.

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?

Working as a coach has been incredibly humbling. I’m learning to take things less personally as well as how to meet people where they are, not where I think they should be.

When I first started helping others heal and learn to love themselves, I made the mistake of believing their success or lack thereof was dependent on me and how much work and energy I was pouring into them. But I later realized when I have a client who successfully completes my narcissistic abuse recovery program and learns how to better love themselves, that’s all because they did the work. It’s not because I did anything unique or different or magical. They took the time to invest in themselves. They showed up for themselves, and that’s why they saw healing progress.

But the same is true when I have a client who doesn’t progress or doesn’t show up for every session. It’s not a reflection of me or my coaching abilities; it’s a reflection of that individual’s healing process and where they are in that healing journey during that moment.

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 was isolated for a lot of my life, that’s what happens with narcissistic abuse, so I know it sounds corny, but I really have to credit Christina Aguilera for helping me push through my self-doubt to get to where I am today.

I’ve been listening to her music since “Reflection” was first released in the late 90s and I watched her respond through music to her own ups and downs in life, from childhood abuse to divorce to being taken advantage of in the music industry. I’m usually a few albums behind her in terms of my own explorations of sexuality and spirituality, but her messages continue to resonate with me today.

Some of my favorite Christina Aguilera songs to help me feel re-charged or pull myself out of a funk include:

  • “Lotus Intro”
  • “Fighter”
  • “Beautiful”
  • “Fall in Line”
  • “Twice”
  • “Telepathy”
  • “Make the World Move”
  • “Birds of Prey”
  • “Dreamers”
  • “Army of Me”
  • “Circles”
  • “Empty Words”

The other “person” in my life that inspires me is the character “Elle Woods” from Legally Blonde. Before I start a new project, interview, call, or even meet with a client, I listen to “Perfect Day” by Hoku, which is the song that plays at the beginning of the movie. And as I listen, I try to channel the energy Elle had when she was bound and determined to get into Harvard Law School. I created a little meme and shared it on Instagram and it went viral.

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?

What a lot of people don’t necessarily realize is that when we experience trauma in our lives, it alters our DNA, our cellular structure, our being. There are studies that show that descendants of the Holocaust had PTSD passed down to them and we’ve been able to scientifically replicate this trauma phenomenon in lab mice, in which we can see the trauma-altered DNA six generations down the line. This is what is referred to as generational trauma.

Now the good news is that when we take the time to love ourselves to heal our wounds, we can actually be the cycle breaker. We have a choice to not carry these toxic attitudes and behaviors into the future. We can start pumping our cells and DNA with healing, care, and self-love, not more of the same abusive, toxic, or dysfunctional tendencies that we learned from our parents, who likely learned those behaviors from their parents, etc. And when we take the time to heal, we show up differently in the world. We have more awareness, more of an abundance mindset.

Hurt people hurt people. If we prioritize our healing and self-care instead of worrying about impressing people we may not even like in real life, we could see a tremendous ripple of goodness throughout our planet. And that’s why I started coaching. I really want to be part of the team that helps our planet come together and heal, community by community, person by person.

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.

1. Cut Toxic People from Your Life. I hear a lot of people say whenever I’m around “X” person they make me feel bad about myself. They make me feel less than or unattractive, how can I change that?

The way to change that is to surround yourself with people who inspire you to be the best version of yourself, people who recognize your worth just as you are and celebrate you for you. It’s easier said than done, but just because someone was in our lives in the past doesn’t mean they will be with us in the future. And the same applies to toxic family members. Ask yourself: If I wasn’t related to these people would I have anything to do with them? If the answer is no, act accordingly.

When we let go of the toxic people in our lives, the people we have outgrown, the people that don’t encourage us to love ourselves as we are, to have the confidence to try new things, we’re not making space for new people to come into our lives. We’re not creating the room for new friends, a chosen family, or to evolve on any level. It’s that stagnation that kills our soul and spirit and turns us into a person we don’t recognize. So, if you notice that’s you, start spending less and less time with people you suspect are making you feel less than and see how your energy shifts without them around. Watch how you bloom.

2. Say ‘No’ to Anything and Everything that Doesn’t Excite You

Burnout is real. As adults, we tend to ignore our burnout feelings because we think we have to do x, y, and z for a variety of reasons. Sometimes we don’t say ‘no’ at work because we believe if we continue to give and give, we’ll get a raise or a promotion. We don’t say ‘no’ to our friends because we are desperate to have excitement and go back to a time when we felt carefree. We may even say ‘yes’ to a date we’re not that interested in because it’s better than being alone. But when we say ‘yes’ to things we kind of want or things we don’t want at all, we’re not making the space for the things we do want. So, I highly encourage you to politely decline those events, parties, networking events, opportunities, and relationships you’re not interested in, and I dare you to say ‘yes’ to everything that excites you.

3. Move Your Body

Our emotions get trapped in our body: fear, anxiety, stress. And unless we move that energy out, it can flare up inside of us and make us feel like we’re in fight or flight mode. It can make us doubt ourselves and it can make us act in ways we wouldn’t normally behave. The key is to move your body every day. One of my favorite ways to move my body is by putting on some music and dancing, moving my body as she feels the rhythm of the music. I don’t judge or criticize or choreograph; I just listen and respond to where she wants me to move.

4. Hydrate

Just as the Earth is mostly composed of water so are the human body and the human brain. When we don’t drink enough water, the first place our body grabs its new water source is our brain. The impact is one that most of us have experienced before: we act out of character, we can’t think clearly, it’s all foggy. When we hydrate, we are nurturing our minds. Just like a plant needs water to thrive, our brains need water too. When we care for and nourish our body and mind, our body responds with gratitude. She moves easier, she’s able to rest and relax, and she can come alive with creativity.

5. Embrace What Makes You Weird

The thing that makes you different or weird or unique is your superpower. I have always been told I’m very kind and a good listener, which makes sense since I identify as an empath, an intuitive feeler. When I was growing up, I resisted these characteristics, these superpowers because I didn’t think they were flashy, cool, or sexy. But now I recognize that it’s my kindness that makes me approachable. And because I’m a good listener, people are not afraid to share their deepest, darkest secrets with me, and that’s how I became successful as a coach. By just being who I am at my core. The same is true for every one of us. Your superpowers may look different than mine, but you have them. Embrace them.

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

My dream is for everyone to spend time healing their inner child wounds. Inner child wounds are how we refer to those traumatic memories or events that are burned into our conscious or more often, subconscious. What that trauma looks like is unique to each one of us. Some have more inner child healing to do than others, but it’s all equally important.

Even if you don’t remember most of your childhood, which I didn’t remember most of mine at the beginning of my healing journey, these memories stay with you. It’s why we get a funny feeling or become emotional when we hear a certain song, a name, or smell a familiar scent, even if we’re not entirely sure why. These memories get triggered time and time again if we don’t take the time to understand our pain and heal our wounds.

Think of it this way: When you get into a car accident as an adult, do you get a little nervous when you have to pass through the intersection where your accident occurred? Do you maybe drive a little slower and panic if a car seems to be too close? A similar phenomenon happens when we encounter people and places who remind us of times in our childhood when our needs were not met. And for most of our lives, we allow this dysfunction to continue by ignoring it.

Instead of recognizing we have a hurt 3-year-old or 15-year-old inside of us throwing a tantrum and running the show when we get triggered, we turn to substances to comfort ourselves and shut up the sad voice that wants to be comforted. We stuff our feelings with tobacco, alcohol, over-the-counter medications, exercise, television, eating too much, eating too little, and sometimes, we even harm ourselves physically, instead of doing the work to learn how to love and heal ourselves.

Think about it: if you were driving through the intersection where you had previously had an accident and started to get panicked, would you want someone to offer you a piece of chocolate cake or help you remember you’ve already survived the accident and listen to your fears? Maybe come up with a plan to reduce the power of that memory? I’m guessing most of us would want the latter. So why don’t we show up for ourselves in this way?

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

1. The Healing Journey is a Cha-Cha

The wellness space, specifically self-care, has this reputation of being very light-hearted, you may picture bubble baths, yoga, and smiling all the time, but there’s a very dark, depressive side to our healing journey. Especially when we are doing the very important work of healing our inner child, we must face a lot of dark demons. So, our healing journey doesn’t look linear, it’s more of a cha-cha, two steps forward, one step back. This is true not just in the beginning stages of your healing journey, but throughout your entire life. And sometimes, you end up taking more than one step back. Sometimes you can’t even figure out how to move forward. But the important part is to get back up and keep trying, keep dancing — even if you have to freestyle.

2. Self-Care Involves Only You

In my head, I imagined that I was going to graduate from my life coaching certification program with five new best friends who had the same morals, political views, and goals as me and that everyone I knew would be so inspired by my life improvements that I would have an endless stream of clients looking to heal their relationship with themselves. Well, that didn’t happen.

I’ve spent more time alone on my spiritual journey than I thought I would. But spending time alone is normal when we’re on a healing or spiritual journey. I’ve had conversations with other female coaches in the spirituality, manifestation, healing space that had similar experiences. We all spend a lot of time alone because we’re meditating, we’re working on strengthening our physical bodies, nurturing ourselves with plant medicines and foods, but we crave that close, tight-knit female friendship to share this magic with. And the same is true for my clients.

Many of my clients hope that their boyfriend or sister or whoever will be inspired by their awakening and want to join them, but that often doesn’t happen. So, if you are interested in healing or working on yourself, the lesson here is to go after what you want and not wait for others to join you. This is a bit of an individual journey. The only person we’re with for our entire lives is ourselves so start creating a version of you that you love and are happy with. Once you do that, you’ll find your tribe of like-minded souls.

3. Journaling is Cathartic and Healing

When I was growing up, I had a lot of empty diaries and journals because I was too nervous to get the words out of my head and on to paper. I had a younger sister who would do anything and everything to break into these journals and I wasn’t confident my mother hadn’t read an entry or two either. So, needless to say, I kept everything inside. What I didn’t realize was just how toxic it was to keep things inside. Not only was I swallowing pains and hurts when my boundaries were violated, but I was also ruminating on everything and anything that hurt or embarrassed me in the past.

I was like a cow chewing on grass, only it was my critical thoughts that were doing the relentless chewing, and it wasn’t on grass; my inner critic was chewing on my self-worth.

As a young adult when I moved out on my own, I began to journal and let out my thoughts, wants, needs, and feelings, regardless of how pretty they were. As I got it out of my head, on to paper, it was like the thought had been heard and left me alone. It wasn’t until I started going back and re-reading some of the past journals that I realized how much I had grown, how much I had evolved. And it was because I gave myself a chance to feel what I felt. I gave myself a chance to honor my emotions just as they are without judging them.

The same is true for you. If you can’t talk to someone or if you have a problem that is bothering you, get it out of your head onto paper.

4. Stand Confident in Your Truth

There are always going to be people who make you feel like you’re doing it wrong whatever “it” may be. But if it feels right or authentic to you, you’re doing just fine.

At the beginning of my coaching career, I was comparing myself to a lot of other people and I would panic when they would say something I disagreed with wholeheartedly. I started feeling like a fraud in this space, until I realized my words, my perspective was resonating with a whole lot of other people. What I realized is that this is one of my healing journey lessons, that black and white thinking is not only inaccurate, it’s not healthy to view things so harshly through the lens of good vs evil. Now I worry a lot less about whether my message is one that resonates with the masses because I know what I’m saying means something to someone, even if it’s just me.

5. Take Time to Play

One thing that disconnects us from ourselves is this belief that we must act a certain way once we’ve reached a certain age. But I want you to challenge that idea that having fun or taking time to play is only for kids. For me personally, I’ve started coloring and rollerblading — two activities I loved during childhood, and you know what? I feel more connected to myself. I feel more authentic in who I am which allows me to show up differently in all parts of my life.

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

I initially wanted to say mental health is a topic that touches my heart, but it’s hard to look at any of these big topics on their own because they’re all so interwoven and connected. I’m not a vegan (yet) but I’m moving in that direction because of the benefits that it has not just for physical health, but mental health, the environment, and sustainability. When I eat meat, I worry about the energy I’m introducing into my body. I worry about the environmental stress meat puts on our planet, and I worry about how sustainable our current lifestyles are, especially when it comes to consumerism. So, I’m working on reducing my meat consumption, reducing my consumption of single-use items, as well as those that are harmful or toxic to animals.

Part of working in wellness is recognizing the truth, as hard as it may be to swallow. And one of those inconvenient truths is that our man-made environment of concrete and buildings and shops has absolutely created havoc on our mental health. It has put us in a vulnerable position when it comes to sustainability too because we know we can’t continue at the pace we’re going.

As someone who has studied psychology too, I’m also aware that taking a child for a 20–30-minute walk in nature has the same effect on their brain as Ritalin; calms them down. So, in that sense, it’s hard to separate environmental changes from our mental health. We are all connected to one another and the planet. It’s time we start acting like it.

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

I’m happy to connect on Instagram, my handle is @katieutterback

Thank you for these fantastic insights!

Thank you for this fun opportunity!


Women In Wellness: Katie Utterback of ‘elevated aura’ 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: Karen Weaver of OASE Day Spa on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support

Women In Wellness: Karen Weaver of OASE Day Spa on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing

1) Eat more food that comes from the ground. 2) Pause several times a day to breathe more deeply and release all that trapped air in the bottom of the lungs. 3) Don’t take things too seriously. “This too shall pass” has become a daily mantra of mine, especially in this time of COVID. 4) Take time for yourself and release the guilt about doing that. For some reason, women have a hard time doing this, and it’s so important. 5) Try to get outside at least once a day and just play. What made us happy as kids? Mine was making Shrinky Dinks! Do more of that kid stuff!

As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Karen Weaver.

Karen Weaver is the Founder of OASE Day Spa, a Scandinavian-inspired day spa in Greenville, South Carolina. She is the daughter of a Danish immigrant and chose the name “OASE” as a nod to her heritage. OASE (pronounced “oh-ay-suh”) is Danish for “oasis,” and Karen and her team aim to offer an “oasis in the city” for every client who walks through their doors.

OASE Day Spa is a culmination of Weaver’s life’s work, bringing beauty and joy to the every day. She graduated from Clemson University with her Bachelor of Arts and Master’s degrees and later became a Licensed Esthetician through the esthetics program at Greenville Technical College. Shortly after, she opened her first business, Upstate Esthetics, offering holistic, cutting-edge skin care to clients of all ages.

Karen’s commitment to her community goes beyond the health and wellness services she and her team offer at OASE. Every quarter, the spa closes its doors to customers and opens them up to deserving women in the community, partnering with local nonprofits to give a day of rest, relaxation and beauty to women who might not otherwise be able to enjoy their services.

She currently serves on the advisory board of the League Academy counseling program and has volunteered with several local organizations in the Upstate over the years, including Meals on Wheels and Mentor Upstate. She has also used her professional expertise to train and mentor other young estheticians, appearing as a guest speaker at Greenville Technical College’s esthetics program and offering mentoring opportunities for women interested in esthetics through Greenville Technical College and GirlUp GVL. When her children were younger, she served in a leadership role through their school, volunteering as the League Academy PTA president for three years.

Weaver and her husband live in Greenville, South Carolina with their three children.

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

I attended Clemson University, and after graduation, I started out in the corporate world. Soon, my husband and I had our three wonderful children, and I volunteered during those years. As they started to grow older and become more independent, I began my next professional chapter in 2016 by going back to school for my esthetics certificate. I opened my one-room esthetics business in 2017 and grew that into a very successful business. However, I was feeling unfulfilled and a bit lonely working alone, and I knew I was ready for the next challenge. I always knew, even before I was an esthetician, that I would open a spa. Whenever I would visit one, there was a very quiet voice in my head that always said, “One day you will own a spa.” I’m not sure where that came from, but it was always there. In early 2020, I found the perfect building, renovated it during most of the COVID shutdown and then opened OASE Day Spa in August of 2020. Some people might say that opening a new business in the middle of a pandemic isn’t a great idea, but I just knew it was the right time for me to pursue my dreams. So, I did!

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?

We had several employees test positive for COVID in November, just as we were really starting to build momentum and fill the appointment book. The safety of our guests and the rest of the team is always our first priority so we made the difficult decision to close the spa for 10 days. Even though I knew this was the right decision, the financial impact for a brand-new business like ours was significant and caused many sleepless nights. Since then, we have had many guests tell us thank you for making that decision. They’ve shared that, as a result, we’ve won their trust forever. The big lesson I learned was that making the right decisions in the short term will have long term rewards. There are always unseen gifts that can come from adversity. In this case, the gifts we experienced were building trust with our guests, building a closer-knit team, and building a stronger business model.

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? Before I even opened my business, other fellow business owners would tell me that hiring and managing people would be my greatest challenge, and they were not wrong. My biggest mistake so far was over hiring and not trusting my gut a bit more. I learned to hire slower and to fire faster if needed. I learned that to protect the culture of the team, those who are not a good fit for the culture need to be released quickly to find a better fit for them.

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 hired a business coach named Sallie Holder in January 2019. She believed in my dream and helped me believe in it too. We started to build this dream of mine into reality. I also hired a company called Strategies that helped me put all of the financial tracking processes in place. I was smart enough to know that I didn’t know what I didn’t know.

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? Our focus is women, and we have created a place where women can take some time for themselves to completely unwind. As women, we often focus our time and energy on taking care of others, but this can only go on for so long before we see and feel the real results of stress in our bodies. We offer all non-toxic products and services as well as relaxation rooms so our guests can escape for a bit. We also open the spa once a quarter for our “OASE Outreach Day.” We partner with a local non-profit and invite them to select a group of women from their organization to join us for complimentary day of services, helping them feel loved and hopefully rejuvenated when they leave.

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.

1) Eat more food that comes from the ground. 2) Pause several times a day to breathe more deeply and release all that trapped air in the bottom of the lungs. 3) Don’t take things too seriously. “This too shall pass” has become a daily mantra of mine, especially in this time of COVID. 4) Take time for yourself and release the guilt about doing that. For some reason, women have a hard time doing this, and it’s so important. 5) Try to get outside at least once a day and just play. What made us happy as kids? Mine was making Shrinky Dinks! Do more of that kid stuff!

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

It would start with our mindset. I hear women every day in my esthetics rooms say all the things they don’t like about their skin and body, particularly when it comes to aging. The movement I would create would be called “Aging Confidently” — I even started a podcast to talk about this topic! Let’s focus on how to age in the healthiest way possible and start to appreciate aging just a bit more because the alternate to aging is death. Let’s enjoy these wild, beautiful lives we have been given!

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

1) Don’t over hire. Build your team slowly once you see the demands in your business. 2) Be slow in hiring to find just the right people that fit the culture you are building. 3) With a new business, limit your business hours to meet the need and then expand. 4) Don’t be so hard on yourself. You will need grace to get through the hard days. 5) Carpet padding does not come standard under commercial carpeting. I learned that the hard way!

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

Sustainability. We offer waterless pedicures and manicures to eliminate water waste, and we use biodegradable plastics where we can. We only have one planet, and we try to do our small part in helping eliminate the tons of trash that is produced.

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

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/oasedayspa/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/oasedayspa

Thank you for these fantastic insights!


Women In Wellness: Karen Weaver of OASE Day Spa on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Women In Wellness: Erin Frankel & Alexandra Dantzig of JETSWEAT on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That…

Women In Wellness: Erin Frankel & Alexandra Dantzig of JETSWEAT on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing

Erin: Create a list of goals: We often get bogged down with the stresses of our everyday and forget little things like eating healthy, working out, or even just taking five minutes to breathe. As I became busier in both my professional and personal life, I began creating a list of lifetime goals, broken down into annual goals, yearly goals, monthly, weekly, and so forth. Not only is it effective in setting expectations for yourself, but it also provides you the opportunity to visually map out the best way to get things done. By focusing on the goals both short-term and long-term, it will inherently keep you accountable for your actions and what you can proactively do to achieve them.

As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Erin Frankel and Alexandra Dantzig of JETSWEAT.

With a unique differentiation in market positioning, JETSWEAT partners with top studios to produce and distribute original content directly to consumers on a subscription basis and is one of the first platforms to incorporate data into its smart personalization methodology- taking the experience to the next level. With over 30 studios available including 305 Fitness, Bari Studio, BK Pilates, Switch Playground, Box & Flow, and more, the JETSWEAT allows every fitness enthusiast to find what works by providing access to a variety of studios across a variety of modalities. For more information, please visit http://www.JETSWEATFitness.com. Follow us on Instagram — Facebook.

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

Erin: Before co-founding JETSWEAT four years ago, I was working as a professional food writer in NYC where I was dining out at least four times a week, ultimately leading me to start exercising more because of the social aspect of my job. Alongside being a writer, I was the 12th hire for an early stage technology startup where there was an ever changing schedule. I was constantly running around and struggled to make my yoga classes on time and maintain a solid workout routine. I kept thinking, “I’m always so concerned about making it to class!” and it begged me to analyze what kind of work I really wanted to be doing. Lexi and I came together when we both saw the rapidly growing demand for high-quality health and fitness content from home, solving the consumer pain points of rushing from class to class and drowning in one-time fees.

Alexandra: Like Erin, I was hustling in the corporate world prior to creating JETSWEAT. I was working in finance and traveled a lot for my job making it difficult to keep up with a consistent workout schedule. I often had to miss my classes so I ended up always traveling with my class DVD to do on a laptop in my hotel rooms because there was just no platform or app out there that offered real, premium studio classes, and the ones I really cared about. Through my previous positions, I was comfortable with the process of creating technology platforms and in my personal life I felt I had a good perspective on what today’s consumer really wants. JETSWEAT was a natural progression for me as I was looking to utilize the skill set that I had built throughout my various jobs in a perfect marriage between what I loved in business and in my personal life.

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?

Erin: I’ve had a really eventful, interesting life and career so ‘most interesting story’ is a bit challenging. Might that be when I interviewed Spitzer when I was a reporter at NY1? Or, most relevant and recent, was learning how to build a new team from scratch during the height of COVID- all remotely, an experience that taught me the importance of resilience, time management, and new communication skills I didn’t know I needed as a founder. In March, when the pandemic hit and all of the boutique studios closed, Jetsweat was poised for growth. There were no resources to learn how to build both a team and an entire new B2B enterprise platform through slack and zoom calls. So we had to figure it out on our own. Some of the main lessons and takeaways that came out of this? Having a virtual team is very different from working face-to-face — and requires a new set of leadership skills. Decision making accelerated when we cut the nonsense. We make decisions in one meeting and limit group calls to no more than nine people. We have increased time in direct connection with teams — resetting the role and energizing our employees. We adopted new technology overnight — not the usual years — as we have a higher tolerance for mistakes that don’t threaten the business. We’re putting teams of our best people on the hardest problems. If they can’t solve it, no one can. And, most important, it allowed me to work on developing greater self-awareness. If I can understand more about the mechanics of what personally drives my thoughts, feelings, and automatic physical and emotional responses everyday, I could make better personal choices in the face of the everyday stresses of entrepreneurship. I follow a simple framework for building self-awareness (mindfulness), which includes noticing (bringing attention to my thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations in the present moment), Labeling (assigning a simple label to what I notice/feel/think, every time you notice it), Getting Curious (without judgement, reflecting on the patterns I notice over time), Active choice-making (making an informed choice, based on my self-reflection).

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?

Erin: In the beginning of the business, we struggled with obstacles common for new companies, particularly in terms of finances and raising capital. In the first few months, we were struggling to maintain our momentum but proved to our consumers and investors that we really had something good going. That hustle and scrappiness in the early stages is incredibly important as we continue to grow and motivates us to keep challenging ourselves in our business model and the way we adapt to this new world of digital fitness in 2020.

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?

Erin: Robyn Ward, my executive coach, 20-year veteran of the technology startup space, and founder of FounderForward. About a year ago, I was invited to join Robyn Ward’s The FounderForward GROW Group , which is a highly curated group of 8 funded boss women looking to scale themselves and their businesses. My first GROW Group session was on March 10th, right when the pandemic started so this coaching group took on a new purpose for me at a time when I was overwhelmed, going through burnout after working 18 hour days during the first three months of the pandemic, and learning how to both manage and build a team remotely. Over the course of 8 months, Robyn really helped me better assess myself as founder and a leader, providing the framework and tools for my development and improvement; helped me with some real-time problem solving, trouble-shooting, and brainstorming; and provided me with a group of trusted peers- other female founders- once a month where we could collectively share experiences and similar challenges. In particular, what I gained from Robyn was how to manage my time effectively (and make time for selfcare), build my CQ (Communication Intelligence), and better manage my team and build a strong company culture. The GROW Group, and Robyn in particular, really helped me focus on myself, as a leader, and the areas that I need to improve upon to be the best leader I can be.

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?

Alexandra: We launched JETSWEAT as a solution to those feeling unmotivated to workout or overwhelmed by the digital options available. For many of us, it’s hard enough to find the time to workout so the thought of potentially wasting that valuable workout time on something that didn’t produce results wasn’t an option for me. JETSWEAT will always be a trusted curation of the best studios sharing their most premium content. Our goal is to make fitness accessible, enjoyable, and effective for everyone, regardless of where you live, when you can find time, and how you choose to move. We hope that the continued production of content and forthcoming technological advancements will motivate others to prioritize their health. Particularly during these unprecedented times, we want to make fitness a no-brainer and working out something to look forward to wherever you are.

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.

Erin:

Create a list of goals: We often get bogged down with the stresses of our everyday and forget little things like eating healthy, working out, or even just taking five minutes to breathe. As I became busier in both my professional and personal life, I began creating a list of lifetime goals, broken down into annual goals, yearly goals, monthly, weekly, and so forth. Not only is it effective in setting expectations for yourself, but it also provides you the opportunity to visually map out the best way to get things done. By focusing on the goals both short-term and long-term, it will inherently keep you accountable for your actions and what you can proactively do to achieve them.

Time Management: While this isn’t a shocking lifestyle tweak, I’m always working on managing my time in order to effectively run our business. Time management is a skill that is constantly evolving and something you can always be working towards improving. When Lexi and I started JETSWEAT, we worked together to delegate tasks and create a balanced distribution of work based on our skillsets. It allowed us to be the best we could be in our day-to-day and create the successful business that we’re so proud of today.

Alexandra:

Maintain your social life: As our business is both B2B and B2C, it’s our job to be informed and knowledgeable in the rapidly evolving world of digital fitness. Especially during the changes that occurred in 2020, we both needed to stay in contact (while socially distant of course!) with customers and people in our industry to stay current. Much of what we do is engaging with our studios and listening and learning about new and innovative ways to reach consumers. It’s especially easy as many of us are working from home to want to close yourself off from chatting with others after the work day but it’s invaluable to gain new insight and perspective from others in your space.

Be your biggest fan: At the end of the day, you should always remain the biggest power user of your product. Erin and I created JETSWEAT to solve problems that we were facing in our everyday and knew others were struggling with too. Our passion for the product creates a unique opportunity to always be looking for improvement. “How can I continue to expand my fitness goals?” or “What workouts am I dying to try” are questions we are constantly asking ourselves as we know that’s what our customers are looking for too. It’s imperative that we are honest with how we integrate the product into our lives and further improve as the world around us continues to change.

Change it up: Creating a routine is great but changing things up is often the best motivator. One of the reasons we offer so many different studios on our platform is because we want to keep things interesting for our consumers and how they experiment with fitness. It’s easy to burnout from a specific fitness discipline or feel unmotivated when the routine becomes mundane. Our goal is to create dynamic content so working out doesn’t feel like a chore. Some days you might feel like doing HIIT or intense cardio and other days you may feel like you want to try meditating for ten minutes, even if it’s something you’ve never tried.

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

Erin: If I could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, it would be to make breathwork mainstream. By mainstream I mean inherent in all aspects of our daily lives. Sounds simple, yet not really. I have always done “the work”- therapy, different kinds of meditation, a healthy diet, exercise, self help books, yoga- and I was making small improvements. But none of these modalities really stuck for me. Then I took a breathwork class and realized I was never really breathing properly. When my breathwork practitioner explained this to me it opened my eyes and my airways. This was the first I learned how everyday residual stress affected me on a physical level. I didn’t realize that my physical body, not just my thoughts, was trained to live in this state of hyper awareness. I was always ready to react. This breathing and releasing has given me the space to respond to life instead of react, something most people struggle with, especially now in these uncertain times. Breathwork experiences tend to be profound. They actually can be similar experiences to taking psychedelics. If you are unfamiliar about breathwork, it’s an active meditation using a conscious connected breathing pattern. It’s, in essence, meditation on steroids. It allows you to connect with your body and feel your energy. I would like to see breathwork taught to kids in schools, seen on tv, written in books, to the point at which we could see someone breathing mindfully anywhere and think this is normal. A movement of breathwork would help to transform the world in a way that makes people more present and connected to one another, more focused, less lonely, stressed and depressed. A movement of breathwork would help everyone to lead a life with intention.

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

Erin:

  1. Give and be open to receiving hard feedback when needed. Giving, and especially receiving, feedback when I don’t always want to give it or receive it can be difficult. Through experience, however, I realized that it is absolutely necessary. People don’t always know how they can improve if you don’t tell them — hard feedback is what we all need to be pushed to do our best. Putting my foot down, nudging someone out of their comfort zone, or asking people who work for me how I can improve and be a better leader is what has kept Jetsweat as successful as it is now.
  2. You don’t have to know all the answers, ask for help when you need it. I don’t always have all the answers, and my answers aren’t always right, but I know I can ask for help when I need it. Nobody knows the answers to everything. Knowing that I can lean on others when I need makes me feel like I can achieve anything and teaches me to be more open to others’ ideas.
  3. Learn to delegate early, invest in people/culture, and develop goals together as a team. Learn to let go. The biggest problem most new bosses and leaders face is the inability to let go of their own work. Sometimes they feel so dedicated to completing their own work that they refuse to let other people help. Other times, they fear that nobody else has the skills or abilities necessary to execute the work effectively. Whatever the case may be, your first priority needs to be to learn to let go. Start small, delegating only the smallest tasks, and gradually work your way up. Get to know your team better and improve the trust among you and your co-workers. Take baby steps and know that eventually you will have to let go of your work if you want your team to be successful. As someone who isn’t in the middle of everything, it’s easier to see the big picture. But making goals for others can have a negative outcome. People don’t feel vested in them, or you end up setting unrealistic goals because you aren’t down in the little details. I have found that by developing goals with my team, we have created more realistic expectations that they believe they can achieve.

Lexi:

  1. Don’t aim to only be liked. A leader has to be someone that people look up to, someone who sets the course, and someone who needs to make the hard decisions. These things don’t always go over well with a crowd. A leader isn’t a pushover, a follower, or someone who has to make everyone happy. The goal is to help your employees succeed. Being liked is great, and people like working towards a cause they feel vested in, but as a leader you need to stay true to yourself and your goals.
  2. You can’t approach everyone the same way. Everyone is different. Employees will react differently to everything you say. It takes time to understand what motivates different employees. For some, it’s simply the idea of helping the company succeed that makes people work harder. Employees like to be recognized for their accomplishments in different ways. Recognizing how your employees work, and knowing that this takes individual attention, is important to being a successful leader.

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

Erin: Mental Health, 100%. This goes hand in hand with what I said about breathwork. 2020 was a year that has gone where no one ever could have imagined. Life as we knew it (and planned it) changed quickly as a result of the pandemic. We are beings who thrive on consistency and we are currently living each day with a sense of uncertainty and unease. Additionally, we have been social distancing, self-isolating, or quarantining for 10 months and if you are anything like me, there are days where I am starting to feel like my living room walls are closing in on me. We miss our family, our friends, restaurants, sporting events, and special gatherings as each day passes. Isolation and social distancing, along with the continued barrage of difficult news, can increase symptoms of depression and anxiety. Even if you’ve never experienced feelings like this before — or been officially diagnosed with these conditions, the feelings associated with these vast changes and general uncertainty breed perfect conditions for changes in your mental health. We all know how important it is to stay physically fit, even if we don’t always do things like eat right and exercise regularly. However, many of us underestimate just how important mental health is to our overall wellness. Our emotional state of being influences so much of our lives. When we have a strong hold on our state of mental health, we can deal with everyday problems better. We’re more resilient and have closer relationships. And, good mental health has a huge influence on our physical well-being. As co founders of a fitness platform, we truly believe mental and physical wellbeing are equally as important and have taken the steps to ensure we give equal importance to both on our platform, which is why we have continued to add more and more meditation, mindfulness, and breathwork classes to our platform over the course of the past ten months. To say that mental illness is an important topic to talk about is a massive understatement — we need to talk about it to chip away at the attached stigma.

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

@jetsweatfitness


Women In Wellness: Erin Frankel & Alexandra Dantzig of JETSWEAT on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Women In Wellness: Dr Ingrid Yang on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Jour

Women In Wellness: Dr. Ingrid Yang on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing

Travel- if there is one thing that makes us feel more alive and at the edge of our comfort zone, it is travel. It can be travel to connect with nature, see old friends, meet new friends, try new foods, experience foreign cultures. That is why I lead yoga retreats in a different place every year — so that people can come and have new experiences with me, step out of their comfort zone, but all with the grounding of yoga and breathwork.

As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Ingrid Yang.

Dr. Ingrid Yang is a physician, certified yoga therapist, Reiki master and an advisory board member at wellness company obVus Solutions, where she contributed her expertise to the breathing exercises featured in the new minder® posture corrector + breathing coach app. When not practicing medicine, Dr. Yang leads yoga trainings and retreats all over the world, with a special focus on kinesthetic physiology and healing through posture modification, breathwork, meditation and mind-body connection. Dr. Yang has authored two books: Hatha Yoga Asanas and her latest release, Adaptive Yoga, published in November 2020.

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

I am a physician, former attorney, yoga teacher, Reiki master, author of two books including my latest, Adaptive Yoga, and medical advisory board member at wellness company, obVus Solutions. Having had many different careers, I feel I am truly living my purpose as a physician, advising and educating people on their health. I started practicing yoga because I needed it on a very personal level. But my story is far from straight and narrow, and I’ve often had to ask myself really hard questions at times when the “right” answer seemed impossible to find.

In college, I was a type-A go-getter in New York City, full of ambition and energy. Yet the stress and pressure I put on myself felt suffocating. I was anxious and rigid, both physically and spiritually. Luckily, a friend recommended yoga to help ease my emotional inflexibility. Yoga taught me was that I could just breathe in each moment; I did not have to prove or accomplish anything. I could just breathe and exist. I had never felt so relieved. It was the best gift I could have ever received.

During law school at Duke I taught a lot of yoga, both to relieve stress and hone my skills. I took hours to prepare for each class scouring through yoga books, drafting outlines, and practicing in front of the mirror until I had the plans memorized. Yet it didn’t feel like work because I loved it so much. It was a process, but the hard work paid off as my weekly classes grew from 10 to 60 people within a year, and close to 100 by the end of law school. It was rewarding to have so many students benefit from a practice that I held so close to my heart.

After graduating, I moved to NYC to practice law but quickly realized that a corporate life would not fulfill my desire to make an impact in others’ lives. When my closest aunt passed away that year, I saw that our time on Earth is too short to live a life unfulfilled. So, I packed up my things and moved down to North Carolina to open a yoga center. It was scary. I was leaving a promising career as a corporate attorney at a large, reputable law firm to follow this “pipe dream” to found and run a yoga center. Without question it would not be the most lucrative path, but I decided to take the leap, based on gut instinct alone. Little did I know that, despite all the fears that I had and all the uncertainty ahead of me, this decision would put me on the path towards realizing the life I was born to live. So, I opened up Blue Point Yoga Center and, using money I saved from practicing law, built it from the ground up — no walls, no floors, just a vision. I am proud to say that Blue Point still stands today, a thriving multi-location yoga center in Durham, NC. And while there were hiccups along the way, the right opportunities and people — investors, contractors, teachers — always presented themselves at just the right moments. And I witnessed that — the minute that I would start to stress about something — the solution would come naturally and elegantly. It just goes to show that when you are on the right path, the entire universe aligns to clear the passage for you.

While running the center, I began to realize how connected yoga is to physics, kinesiology and human physiology. The way that we practice pranayama speaks fluently with our respiratory mechanics, and the transitions between postures logically connect to the biochemistry of our brains. As a child I had always wanted to be a doctor; however, I never believed I was smart enough. During my tenure at Blue Point I became more interested in medicine and devoured books and videos on our physiological inner workings. I started to teach through that lens, and because my yoga center was near to the Duke Medical Center, many of the doctors and nurses that attended my classes encouraged me to consider a career in medicine. Although I initially shrugged it off, I began by dipping my toes into pre-med classes at a local college and, after multiple applications, was finally accepted at medical school. Though medical training was grueling and exhausting, yoga provided much needed balance and kept me grounded. With the

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?

I think the most interesting thing about my career is that, while it may appear to be a success, it was also riddled with failure. At times, it felt like every turn in the road brought about obstacles to challenge me, leading me to tough questions: How much did I want this? How dedicated was I?

It took me three tries to get into medical school. Then, I failed the first step to my medical certification boards (by one point). My med school threatened to hold me back a year, but I powered through, retook the test, and achieved a great score. Then, halfway through residency, I realized I had chosen the wrong specialty, and switched to Internal Medicine, where I had thrived previously. There was a lot of crying and feelings of disappointment and inadequacy. But I was so sure in my heart this was the right path.

After each hurdle, I continued to forge ahead, despite feelings of self-doubt. I felt like I had no other choice — this was my destiny. But today I am in the specialty that is perfect for me (I work as a hospitalist), with a medical group I love, in La Jolla, a city that I hope to always call home. Each failure taught me an important lesson: failing does not mean you are a failure. What defines us are the actions we take after the failure. Do you reflect and learn from the failure, get back up, and keep moving? Or do you take on the victim role and give up? There is always a choice. And I can guarantee you that the most successful people you know and admire have failed over and over again until they succeeded. Failing is all part of the process, and we must choose to take it in stride.

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?

My biggest mistake was believing that if I just muscled through something that it would turn out the way I had envisioned. When you are a student, if you study harder, put in longer hours, then you can achieve the outcome you want. I was used to that because I had spent so much time in school. But the most important lesson I learned from that is to follow your instincts and pay attention to what the signs are telling you. Did a challenge arise to signal you to take a different direction to get to the same place? Or to ask you to turn around altogether? Often, the key is to sit still in order to know your heart’s greatest hopes and receive the answers. Remaining rigid would have caused me to stay in a medical specialty that was not the right fit for me. Instead, taking a step back in order to think about my values and goals led me to the right decision.

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 am going to name someone I’ve never met: Michael Alan Singer. He is the author of The Untethered Soul, a book that unquestionably changed my life. The book allowed me to be courageous enough to ask myself difficult questions during what felt like impossibly challenging times. It allowed me to examine the limitations that I placed on myself and decide whether I would move past them or remain imprisoned by them. It taught me to be bold and brave about sharing my vulnerabilities and connecting in a real way with myself, with others, and with nature.

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 consider myself first an educator, then a physician. My job is to educate patients so that they can make informed decisions based on their personal value systems. I am a huge fan of knowledge acquisition because knowledge is power. And if I can empower others by sharing knowledge, I feel that I have done my job. But in all, my patients teach me so much more than I can ever teach them. I have sat aside dozens of people on their death beds and they never say: “Gee, I wish I’d been in the office more instead of seeing my kids,” or “I wish I’d bought that expensive purse.” They say, “I wish I had reconciled with my estranged son,” or “I wish I had apologized to my wife for making her feel unseen during our marriage” or “I wish I had traveled to my parent’s homeland before it was too late.” These are the lessons I have learned from them. What is life really about? Where do we, as humans, find meaning In our connections?

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.

  1. Travel- if there is one thing that makes us feel more alive and at the edge of our comfort zone, it is travel. It can be travel to connect with nature, see old friends, meet new friends, try new foods, experience foreign cultures. That is why I lead yoga retreats in a different place every year — so that people can come and have new experiences with me, step out of their comfort zone, but all with the grounding of yoga and breathwork.
  2. Stay curious — having a curious outlook will help your mind stay young and resilient. Asking questions of yourself, your spouse, your parents, strangers — staying curious about the world around you will allow you to experience the world in a manner which feels fresh and new every day.
  3. Move and exercise! — it is the number one (and only proven) way to delay Alzheimer’s dementia, improve your cardiovascular health, decrease your risk of cancer, and improve your overall quality of life.
  4. Use technology to your benefit, not your detriment. Tech tools like the minder® app (to which I contributed my expertise) can help track wellness goals and prompt healthy habits including good posture and proper breathing (essential for lung health, so important during a pandemic). But know when to turn off technology. Use it to benefit health, but put it away when done for the day.
  5. Sleep! — the brain needs time to rejuvenate, so be sure to make sleep a priority. Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Try to get at least a solid 8 hours every night. It’s the #1 guaranteed way to make you more efficient, productive, and stress-free.

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

We are in the midst of an unprecedented global pandemic. Now more than ever, we need to look to natural, proven methods to build our lungs, relieve stress, and improve emotional health. As a medical doctor and yoga teacher, I understand the benefits of how both good posture and proper breathing can not only build our lungs, but also alleviate stress, increase self-esteem, and improve positive mood. My advice is to take big deep breaths regularly (that alone improves your posture and brings oxygen to your muscles, which helps you feel invigorated). Technology can be our biggest ally here: studies show that people who wear wearables such as minder are more likely to take steps towards achieving their health and wellness goals by adding encouragement and motivation.

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

  1. Haters gonna hate. But seriously — there will ALWAYS be nay-sayers. They may feel threatened by you, jealous, or maybe something about you triggers them. Whatever it is, it is not about you. Keep doing what you’re doing and don’t pay any mind to those that have nothing nice to say.
  2. Know your values. Be very clear about your values and you can then more easily make important decisions when you are coming from a place where you can remember your purpose and values.
  3. Maintain healthy boundaries. It is impossible for you to be everything to everyone all the time. In order to do well at what you are focused on in the present moment, you must be able to take a step back and not be pulled in every direction. That links back to remembering your values and staying on the path that helps you maintain these values.
  4. Surround yourself with those that support you and believe in you. Because in the moments where you doubt yourself (and there will be plenty of those moments), those people will sense that and share their belief in you, and by proxy, allow us to believe in ourselves again.
  5. Do only what you love! There are so many things in the world that you CAN do, but what MUST you do? I have been asked how I’ve been able to accomplish “so much”; it does not feel like that much to me, but the only reason I have accomplished anything is because I have only done what I love doing in the moment. In this moment, it is practicing medicine and spreading the good word of mindfulness and breathwork. And when you are doing what you love, it truly does not feel like work at all.

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

Mental Health. We are the masters of our own destiny. If you suffer from anxiety, there is a way out that is not just about pills. You can use breathwork, mindfulness techniques, connection to others. And none of those things have side effects!

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

Thank you for these fantastic insights!


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

Women In Wellness: Natalia Sadowski of ‘NB Natural’ on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help…

Women In Wellness: Natalia Sadowski of ‘NB Natural’ on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing

The health of your mind must start with the right attitude that must align with this philosophy. It can start with something simple like the practice of positive affirmations to help you carry the day and overcome obstacles that are a part of everyday living. Starting the day with a positive attitude changes the entire perspective and makes each obstacle a challenge instead of an annoying snag.

As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Natalia Sadowski.

Natalia Sadowski’s personal struggle with problematic skin led her to pursue a career in the skincare industry as a licensed medical aesthetician. At NB Natural, Natalia focuses on manufacturing the highest quality products, planning and attending beauty, cosmetic and wellness conventions and events, client and distributor education, and corporate administration.

She also performs and educates estheticians on how to execute the Plasma Fibroblast Non-Surgical Facelift at the NB Skin Institute. Natalia has a Bachelor’s degree in Health Science from the University of West Florida.

In her free time, she enjoys exploring the great outdoors and practicing yoga.

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?

A few years ago, I was experiencing intense hormonal acne breakouts. My skin was a mess and I tried everything to try and clear up my skin. It wasn’t until I did the research, consulted with an esthetician and started using high quality skincare did my skin clear up. This experience led me to start a career as a medical esthetician. I’ve been an esthetician for four years now and I love helping my clients heal the damage and develop healthy looking skin.

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 many interesting stories while working for NB Natural. The most interesting story so far has been being featured on Worldwide Business with Kathy Ireland. The entire experience widened my horizons and expectations of what I can do.

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 am a bit of a perfectionist. Sometimes you can get caught up in creating something just right that can take away from other areas of the job. I’ve learned to not take things too seriously and to not get “bogged down” when something doesn’t work out. No matter how hard I try, it’s not realistic to expect perfection every time. There are too many moving parts and conditions. No one can anticipate or account for them all. You need to reflect, reassess, learn from it to get ready to do better the next 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?

I have to say that my father has had a great impact on me. My dad was born into very humble beginnings and immigrated to the U.S. as a boy. Through hard work, education and sheer determination he achieved much success. He instilled that fierce work ethic, and relentless perseverance in all of us. We have the opportunity to work alongside each other and I have the chance to watch him in action. One of the biggest takeaways that I got from my father was not to be afraid to take a risk after assessing the pitfalls.

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?

Working for NB Natural has allowed me to help develop products that treat the cause of damaged skin instead of just covering up annoying symptoms. Wellness is not just taking care of your mind and body, but also your skin. The skin is your largest organ that is easily visible and creates far-reaching social and psychological implications and should be cared for.

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.

  1. Health and wellness is a philosophy with multiple actions which are interconnected toward the same goal.
  2. The health of your mind must start with the right attitude that must align with this philosophy. It can start with something simple like the practice of positive affirmations to help you carry the day and overcome obstacles that are a part of everyday living. Starting the day with a positive attitude changes the entire perspective and makes each obstacle a challenge instead of an annoying snag.
  3. Take care of your health by eating healthy as every condition can be improved by eating well or made worse by eating poorly. Eat close to nature and avoid processed foods high in calories but devoid of nutrients. It will allow you to maintain suitable weight as excessive weight is inflammatory and causes harm that shortens the healthspan.
  4. Your body was made to be worn out and not made to rust. Inactivity is associated with chronic disease which you want to avoid. Increase your physical activity with simple actions like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or parking the car further away to create an opportunity to walk.
  5. Make a point to exercise on a regular basis as regular exercise produces an anti-inflammatory effect on the body and refreshes the mind.
  6. Drink plenty of clean water to stay hydrated. Decreased hydration leads to dry, reddened and flaky skin which is less efficient in keeping out sensitizing chemicals, pollutants and microbes. Hydration maintains the health of your skin and other organs.
  7. A simple stretch first thing in the morning will loosen tight muscles, release the tension and improve your posture.
  8. Use a sauna or exercise to elicit sweating to remove toxins from your body that can only cause harm.

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

Going natural and going toxin free in all aspects, especially skincare. Take care of yourself while helping the environment. Many products on the market today are full of harmful or toxic ingredients. These toxins end up being absorbed and can cause harm. Some cosmetic ingredients can impair the skin’s protective function. This loss of protection can occur from the use of cosmetic products which upset the balance in hydration, produce inflammation and sensitize the skin. Use formulations that come with anti-inflammatories, antioxidants and nutrients such as hyaluronate and hydrolyzed collagen that the skin needs to stay healthy.

Stop feeding your body poisons that come from harmful addictions or risky behavior. Incorporating these activities into your daily life will help improve your overall health.

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

  1. Having a balance between work and personal life: You need to be able to manage both your career and your family life and friends. It’s a balance that you have to be aware of and maintain to do your best for those who depend on you.
  2. Surround yourself with good people: Having good people around not only elevates your personal performance but is a key to a less stressful life.
  3. Communication: communicate with your clients and respond to their calls. There is nothing better than personal contact to provide explanations, discuss a plan, answer questions or just reassure.
  4. Always keep an open mind: keeping an open mind can lead to more opportunities and a more positive outlook than staying in the comfort zone, which feels secure but limits your personal growth.
  5. Always look forward: mistakes will happen in any company, don’t dwell on the past but learn from it, and look forward to achieving the goals that you strive for.

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

Veganism can improve one’s health in regards to blood pressure, cholesterol, and other health aspects. A vegan diet excludes all animal protein like dairy, meat, and eggs. Many people are not aware that dairy may contribute to acne. Some clients who removed consumption of dairy and meat products experienced a cure of their acne. We also must become more aware of sustainable and eco-friendly policies and processes that are healthy for us while helping the planet.

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

Website: http://nbnatural.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/skin4life2.0/

Thank you for these fantastic insights!


Women In Wellness: Natalia Sadowski of ‘NB Natural’ 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: Tracy Nathanson of ‘Pace of Mind’ on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help…

Women In Wellness: Tracy Nathanson of ‘Pace of Mind’ on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing

Create routines. This is something I wish I knew years ago, but thankfully I know now and am doing it. When you create a routine, you create predictability which can now be particularly helpful. These last several months, my family and I have gathered together to watch the evening news. While the news hasn’t always been good, it is a time for us to stop what we are doing and gather together.

As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tracy Nathanson of Pace of Mind.

An avid runner, Tracy founded her practice Pace of Mind in 2019 when she sought to combine her love of being active and the outdoors with traditional counseling. In each 50-minute session, Tracy literally walks forward with her clients to manage stress, address challenges, and overcome obstacles, while learning a more positive way to move through life.

Tracy started her career in television production and got a Masters degree in broadcast journalism at NYU. In her work as an assignment editor and booking producer, she interviewed people from diverse backgrounds and was always drawn to their unique personal narratives. Soon thereafter, Tracy got her MSW from Fordham University’s Graduate School of Social Service and a Post-Master’s Certification in Advanced Clinical Practice from New York University’s Silver School of Social Work.

Tracy is a licensed psychotherapist specializing in the treatment of anxiety, depression, relationship issues, life transitions, low self-esteem, career challenges and stress management. Her goal is to provide a fresh way to engage in talk therapy by taking patients off the couch or out of the office and into the fresh air.

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

The idea for the company first came to me during a run with friends in Central Park several years ago, but it took me a while to act on it! I have been running my whole life — since my teens — and one of my favorite things has been doing group runs with friends. I have noticed throughout the years that the group runs turn into therapy sessions where we run and talk about our problems. Of course, we take breaks from chatting when we are running up hills! I always feel good after these runs — we are getting good cardio and an endorphin rush combined with unloading to each other and feeling supported. I remember thinking, hey, maybe there is a business here where I can meld my professional life — being a therapist — with my passion — running and walking outside.

I started researching run and talk and walk and talk therapy. I found a few therapists doing it in California, Florida and warmer weather areas but not many doing it in New York. So, I thought, let’s give it a try!

Finding a name for the business was really important. I wanted something that spoke to the mind-body connection. When my brother-in-law Steven came up with the name Pace of Mind, that was it! Having a name really acted as a catalyst and got me moving to launch the business.

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.

I always think — how many psychotherapists are working with their clients as the sun is rising? Probably very few, if any! My first walk and talk client was a working mom with two children. This was pre-Covid and she was commuting to her office every day. She had a very busy schedule and asked if we could do our walk and talk sessions before the kids got up and she got her day going. Naturally, I obliged. So I got up while it was still dark and met her when the sun was coming up.

Since we started working together, we have seen some beautiful sunrises walking side by side. I know my client really appreciates getting a mind and body “tune up” in one fell swoop. It feels very efficient. I have other clients with very busy lives who respond really well to this model and most have never had traditional therapy per se. That is really one of the main takeaways. Walk and talk therapy provides a gentle way to try out the waters. It feels less threatening than traditional face to face therapy and moving can be very liberating and help you open up more.

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 launched the business offering individual and group walk and talk sessions. The individual sessions were one on one and the group sessions had four to six people maximum. For the groups, I had two types: groups that I co-facilitated with experts (for instance, a nutritionist, a career counselor or a gynecologist) and groups that I led myself. The expert-facilitated groups were popular and well-attended. What I struggled with were groups that I was going to lead individually. These groups focused on more personally-driven topics such as separation and divorce or parenting children with emotional and behavioral challenges.

I had clinical training in both of these areas and thought these groups would take off but they didn’t. In retrospect, I can now see that strangers may have felt uncomfortable sharing such personal information with each other in this type of environment. I have facilitated group therapy sessions in an office setting before and individuals with these issues may feel more comfortable in this setting. I will say though, that one of the groups I lead alone is a big hit. The topic is empty nesting. I will continue to explore new topics and themes for both types of groups.

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 amazing, amazing mom who recently passed away helped me in so many ways. She made me do therapy in my early 20s. I was so reluctant but she deeply believed it would help me. I was a child of divorce and had a lot of unresolved and misplaced anger that was turning inward. Therapy felt so validating. Here was someone really listening to me and helping me better understand myself and my actions. Never before had I slowed down to think and understand why I did things and how they affected me and my relationships. It was so eye opening and empowering and really changed my life. This is why I became a therapist years later. I really saw the transformative power of therapy and wanted to share it with others. I have my mom to thank for this.

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?

During the past nine months, we have seen the Covid pandemic take a huge toll on the psychological and emotional well-being of millions of people around the world. Anxiety and stress levels are at record numbers and many individuals are experiencing isolation and loneliness like never before. It is really hard. It feels very overwhelming and many people I know complain of feeling stuck — literally and figuratively. If you live in a cold weather climate, you are looking at being indoors for the next few months and feeling trapped. Walk and talk therapy gets you outside. It gets you moving. It gets you talking to a trained therapist. It helps you feel less isolated and alone.

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.

I have six!

Reframe. This is learning how to think about something differently and in a more expansive way. It can be particularly helpful if you have negative thoughts about a situation or event in your life and it is causing you to feel anxious or sad, for instance. If you “reframe” this thought and think about it differently, perhaps you can feel better. Our thoughts are very powerful and can influence the way we feel and the way we act. Don’t you notice if you have positive and hopeful thoughts about something, you feel better?

Be active. Since the pandemic began, I have never seen so many people walking outside and also doing indoor zoom workouts or Peloton for instance. There is a recognition that getting cardio not only is good for your heart and your health, but also good for the mind.

Get outside. Fresh air and vitamin D goes a long way and we know vitamin D helps boost your immunity. Particularly in the winter months with shorter daylight hours, it is important to experience daylight and sunshine to help combat possible Seasonal Affective Disorder. There is a concern that this may be heightened this winter with many already experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Mindfulness. Hit the pause button every day — at least for a few minutes, and engage in a mindful activity where you can slow down your brain, enhance your focus and be present. This can be as easy as doing a few minutes of deep breathing.

Build or Join a Community. To help address feelings of isolation and loneliness that may feel particularly acute right now, be a part of something. I know for me, being part of a yoga community through Instagram and Zoom classes, has been really helpful during this time.

Create routines. This is something I wish I knew years ago, but thankfully I know now and am doing it. When you create a routine, you create predictability which can now be particularly helpful. These last several months, my family and I have gathered together to watch the evening news. While the news hasn’t always been good, it is a time for us to stop what we are doing and gather together.

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

Walk and talk therapy. We have seen this greater appreciation of nature and the outdoor culture as indoor spaces and experiences have become more limited and restrictive. People are walking, running, hiking and spending a lot more time outdoors. There are several mental health benefits associated with outdoor exercise such as walking. It can help manage stress, boost your mood, reduce symptoms associated with depression and anxiety and improve your sleep, among other things.

Clients I work with say they find walk and talk therapy easier than they thought it would be in terms of being able to open up and feel comfortable/less intimidated. This may be particularly helpful to men who may tend to avoid therapy because of the negative stigma attached.

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

That’s a good question! Here are some of the things I wish someone had told me before I became a therapist.

  1. You can’t fix someone so stop trying and resist the need. There were times early in my career, when it was hard to tolerate my client’s distress so I just wanted to “fix” the problem. I would get into this problem solving mode where I would offer up solutions. I wanted my client to get immediate relief, but of course, I learned that you cannot “fix” someone. You can help someone feel validated, heard, supported and empowered to help themselves and work in tandem with them.
  2. You don’t always have to talk. Listening and listening actively is an integral part of therapy. For someone who likes to talk, this would have been difficult advice to stomach but as a therapist, it is so important to listen. It helps clients to talk aloud and be heard. As a therapist, we help our client clarify their issues and feel less overwhelmed.
  3. Be mindful of your profession when dealing with friends and family. Sometimes my son wants me to be his mother and not put on my “therapist” hat. It is important to know when and where to be a therapist and offer advice, especially if it is unsolicited.
  4. Being a therapist can be emotionally draining and difficult. It has been especially challenging these last several months when I have been working with clients who are in a lot of distress and are feeling lonely and isolated. Walk and talk therapy has definitely been very helpful for them.
  5. You are always going to wonder how your patients are doing after you terminate with them. I wish someone had told me this. I mean, you develop a trusting therapeutic relationship with your client. You have become invested in their journey and share their joys and sorrows through different stages of their lives. You learn to let go.

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

I am so glad to hear mental health in that list because it truly is so important, now more than ever. We need to do a better job of destigmatizing treatment and removing some of the taboos that are associated with seeking and getting treatment. In recent years, we have seen celebrities like Michael Phelps and Oprah work hard to bring awareness around mental wellness to all communities. We really need to provide mental health services that are more affordable and accessible to all. I really see walk and talk therapy gaining traction in the coming years as we continue to embrace outdoor culture and see the many benefits gained from this fresh air alternative. I see walk and talk therapy as this active reframe where we are working and walking together on the go to address problems. Thinking on your feet can be freeing and help you see things in a more positive light.

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

You can follow me on Instagram @paceofmindtherapy and on Facebook.com/paceofmindtherapy


Women In Wellness: Tracy Nathanson of ‘Pace of Mind’ 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: Jasmine Chen of ‘LIFE Intelligence’ on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help…

Women In Wellness: Jasmine Chen of ‘LIFE Intelligence’ on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing

So what can you do instead of ruminating? Do structured problem-solving. Break down problems and decide on a course of action. First, dig deep and get to the root of the problem. Ask “why” something occurred, 5 times till you get to the bottom of it. Define that root cause as the problem. What is it you’re really anxious about? Who is involved? Then, list possible solutions. Think of this as one big brainstorm. Choose the idea you think is best and evaluate it. How much time and effort will it require? Write a solution statement. Then, to avoid overwhelm, break that solution statement into much smaller steps. What’s one thing you can do this month? This week? Today? Right now?

As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jasmine Chen.

Jasmine Chen is CEO and founder of LIFE Intelligence, a science-backed problem-solving app for your self, career and relationships. A Princeton and Harvard Business School graduate, Chen had followed a traditional finance path, previously at hedge fund Marcato Capital, global private equity firm the Carlyle Group, and Mergers & Acquisitions investment banking at Merrill Lynch. She realized that type-A professionals like herself needed a practical, efficient, and private approach to mental, career, and relationship health. This led her to developing LIFE Intelligence, the digital wellness tool users now liken to a “DIY” therapist, career coach, and relationship counselor in one.

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

Growing up, I was always a psychology nerd, curious about what makes us do and say certain things. I was also obsessed with self-development: I used to write lists of things I needed to work on! As I would later find out, type-A people often struggle with such perfectionism, and research shows that the most driven people are also those most plagued by social-emotional differences that make them prone to anxiety and depression.

After Princeton, I entered the world of finance, starting in Mergers & Acquisitions Investment Banking, then Private Equity, Harvard Business School, and a hedge fund. It was there that I realized: As an investor, I had all this research and analysis to back up my stock picks. But why hadn’t I put the same sort of rigorous study into my most important investment: me?

So, I took my skill set studying stocks and applied it to the biggest life questions I had. Today, the result of that effort is a science-backed digital course and problem-solver, LIFE Intelligence. LIFE applies the rigor of stock research to your daily decisions, goals, and conflicts, for a uniquely type-A approach to wellness.

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’m constantly a work in progress, and I’m amazed by how often I still go back and refer to the contents in LIFE Intelligence and gain new insights each time. For example, I’ll still find myself feeling frustrated, envious, insecure, or helpless, and have to head right back to the app to “fix” those emotions. But, that’s what mental and emotional training is all about: it has to be done as many times as I’ve done multiplication tables, before it becomes second nature.

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 parents continue to be my greatest inspiration. Both are Taiwanese immigrants, and I think that mentality lends itself a lot to entrepreneurship. After all, picking up and starting fresh in a completely new country takes a lot of bravery, hard work, humility, and grit.

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?

LIFE Intelligence is a two part, science-backed tool to optimize your whole life — your self, career, and relationships.

The first part is proactive learning, for preventive mental health education.

The comprehensive learning aspect of LIFE Intelligence is the education I wish I’d gotten over two ivy league degrees. I got to a point in my career where I wondered: how much stress, anxiety, miscommunication, regret could we avoid if we’d simply learned such self-management skills earlier? In LIFE, we’ve curated hundreds of scientific studies into one concise drip course. Each morning, you get 5 minutes of snippet reading and reflection, encompassing mental wellness, self awareness, values and goals, regret and time management, decision making and bias, stress and social support, dating and attachment, communication and conflict resolution, and leadership and teamwork. We also show how each of these topics, traditionally discussed in silos of therapy, career coaching, or relationship counseling, are deeply interrelated. Missing any one piece of that picture misses the full well-being picture and cure.

The second part is an immediate problem-solving tool, like having a “DIY” therapist, leadership coach, and relationship counselor in your pocket. We saw that most soft skills or wellness trainings fail to stick because if only addressed over weekly or monthly meetings, we fail to practice skills in the moment. Per the forgetting curve, we lose 40% of what we learn almost immediately, and 80% is gone just days later. So, in LIFE we offer coping and communication exercises for you to practice multiple times a day, anytime they feel frustrated, anxious, envious, or insecure. Whether prepping for a date or fighting with a significant other, you can take a breather and get grounded or dig deep into whatever it is you’re feeling to get an instant fix.

So that’s the change I hope this creates on the individual level: 1) preventive education, and 3) proactive problem solving skills.

But the hope is that really as a society, we’ll use this from early in our careers to develop deep awareness of self and empathy for others. What could this mean? At the family level, how many divorces could we prevent? At the company level, how much miscommunication could we avoid? At a society level, could we develop empathy for our neighbors and learn empathy for those with opposing beliefs?

That’s our end goal at LIFE.

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.

  1. First, it’s boring but we do have to cover the basics. Drink water and eat healthy. It is estimated that 90% of the body’s serotonin is made in the digestive tract. From bowel movements to eating, your gut is like a second brain. Take care of it with probiotics and water. Exercise. This is often prescribed as a first line of defense against depression: even 10 minutes is sufficient, so go for a walk around the block at the very least. Keep a sleep schedule. Science shows that the strong relationship between sleep and depression/anxiety goes both ways. Those with insomnia are 10x more likely to have depression and 17x more likely to have clinical anxiety.
  2. Second, Practice Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It’s the most widely researched form of therapy, but is so simple anyone can do it themselves in a few minutes using our app. The cognitive model says that the “reality” we experience is just our interpretation of events, or our immediate thoughts about them. Change your thoughts, change your feelings, and change your behavior. For example, thinking “I can’t do anything right” might create a feeling of hopelessness that leads to behaviors like giving up. On the other hand, thoughts like “I could have done some things differently” might create interest which encourages reflection and growth.
  3. Third, stop ruminating. Ruminating means playing thoughts over and over in your head, like a record stuck on repeat. We may overthink about situations that bother us or worries about the future. While some worrying is normal, rumination creates a vicious cycle where negative thinking conjures more negative thinking. Ruminating has been associated with a variety of negative consequences, including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, binge-drinking and binge-eating.
    What’s more is, those who are ruminating often do so with friends, and this makes matters even worse. Have you ever been in a group of friends commiserating over shared misery? Social support is a key element of relationships, but verbal rumination is actually associated with even more brooding. Verbally ruminating with friends, called “co-rumination,” can have an adverse effect on social networks if your stress spills onto others. Friends who extensively discussed negative feelings reported a contagion effect: both those divulging how they felt, and those listening, felt worse afterward.
  4. So what can you do instead of ruminating? Do structured problem-solving. Break down problems and decide on a course of action. First, dig deep and get to the root of the problem. Ask “why” something occurred, 5 times till you get to the bottom of it. Define that root cause as the problem. What is it you’re really anxious about? Who is involved? Then, list possible solutions. Think of this as one big brainstorm. Choose the idea you think is best and evaluate it. How much time and effort will it require? Write a solution statement. Then, to avoid overwhelm, break that solution statement into much smaller steps. What’s one thing you can do this month? This week? Today? Right now?
  5. Develop a healthy relationship with control. In the above exercise, problem-solving is great if we can control it. But, the reality is that most things in life we cannot control, and that causes us great stress. Humans have an innate aversion to losing control. Even infants exhibit anger over loss of control, learning “no” as one of their first words, or getting upset when they can’t feed themselves. Perhaps a teen seeks control and rebels against parental rules. In turn, those parents also seek to control their child! We would love to control other people, but they would love to control themselves: it’s a never-ending tug-of-war. So, when you feel out of control, remember that while you can’t control others, you’re 100% in control of yourself, and let others feel like they have control, too.

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

First, we need to start seeing whole-human “LIFE” health as the new mental health

Because our self, career, and relationships are intertwined, missing any one piece of the wellness puzzle misses the full picture and cure. That’s why productivity tools, dating, and leadership shouldn’t be addressed in silos. They are all part of LIFE Intelligence because they all affect our mental health, and vice versa.

Emotional intelligence encompasses self awareness, and understanding your own emotions and behaviors. It involves self-control as well, being able to cope or problem solve situations with ease. It also requires social intelligence, and how our words and actions affect all those around us. We teach all that, and more: if you make a bad decision or miss goals, of course that’ll affect your mental state. If you get into a fight or go through a breakup, of course that will affect how you feel. Our goal is to spark a movement toward not just emotional intelligence, but LIFE Intelligence.

Second, preventive education needs to become the norm

We learn multiplication tables before we become physicists, and we learn English vocabulary before we become novelists. Why don’t we learn emotional intelligence as a prerequisite before we become leaders?

My vision is a world where we all share one common language for self-and-other-management skills. In elementary schools this is beginning with Social Emotional Learning (SEL). But, we have a long way to go in making such training part of every adult’s development. Having such education become part of corporate wellness and learning and development programs can help employees collaborate and thrive. That’s why I really do believe that it is essential that wellness is not just a voluntary benefit, but something in which everyone partakes. Our daily moods, distractions, decisions, and words affect all those around us. By all gaining the same training, we can gain a shared experience and common language for stronger corporate culture.

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

First, you don’t know what you don’t know. Innovation is inherently a constant journey of figuring things out. Second, a lot of people will care. A lot of people won’t. Some will say they care but actually not. Just find the ones that do care, and appreciate them. Third, take care of your own mental health. I feel blessed that I’m in a unique situation where I get to use my own product, and get to spend time researching solutions for just about every problem I face — and then relay those findings to readers like you! I still use LIFE daily, and even after having written the content, gain new insights each time.

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 such important challenges. My wheelhouse happens to be in mental health. My focus at Princeton was on healthcare and public policy, and so I tend to approach mental health from a slightly paternalistic standpoint. I do believe it’s a pandemic, one that is exacerbated by COVID-19, but was already so prevalent before. We need to treat it from a preventive-care standpoint, much like a vaccine, giving people the tools to cope with moods, communicate through conflicts, and become self-sufficient in managing difficult life situations.

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

Website: https://www.lifeintelligence.io/

iOS App: https://apps.apple.com/app/id1518619206

Android App: https://www.lifeintelligence.io/android

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jasmine-lifeintelligence

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jasminechenLIFE

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lifeintelligenceapp/

FB: https://www.facebook.com/LifeIntelligenceApp/

Thank you for these fantastic insights!


Women In Wellness: Jasmine Chen of ‘LIFE Intelligence’ 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.

Gail Gumminger of ‘Innovative Connections’: How To Thrive Despite Experiencing Impostor Syndrome

You are not alone. Recognizing, acknowledging and sharing feelings of inadequacy can help you manage negative thoughts and disrupt the feelings of isolation. Breaking the silence about your feelings can be incredibly freeing. A problem shared is a problem half solved.

As a part of our series about how very accomplished leaders were able to succeed despite experiencing Imposter Syndrome, I had the pleasure of interviewing Gail Gumminger, Executive Director at Innovative Connections, Inc

Gail Gumminger is the executive director at Innovative Connections, a consulting firm focused on enhancing organizational effectiveness by supporting leaders and teams with change management, culture and leadership development. Gail is an accomplished leader with broad experience in both the public and private sectors. She has spent most of her career working with healthcare organizations to develop strategy, build high performance work teams, implement change initiatives and accomplish organizational goals.

Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’?

From a young age I developed a love of sports, all sports. I enjoyed playing and participating, watching, and reading about sports figures and sports heroes. I was able to play in high school as well as college and I believe sports provided me the opportunity to find my “tribe” and develop a strong work ethic. While in college, I gravitated toward the sciences and graduated with a liberal arts degree in nutrition. My first job out of college was at a hospital as a registered dietitian. In that role, I enjoyed supporting and educating others as they pursued their personal goals and/or life changes. I thrived working with a great team of healthcare professionals providing service from a preventive, proactive angle. I also loved learning and in time was able to complete my master’s degree in public administration with an emphasis in healthcare administration. It was at that point in my career that I began to take on leadership opportunities that evolved over time. I blended my sports background and love of learning to form my leadership style. Now fast forward twenty-some years and I find myself coaching and supporting executives on their leadership journeys.

Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?

As I mentioned earlier, I was part of an incredible and high perfomring team early in my career. We worked hard, had a lot of fun and made a difference in people’s lives. I was promoted from team member to leader of the team in my first formal leadership role. There were challenges to that transition that I did not anticipate. I found myself reaching out for help for the first time in my career which was not easy to do. At the same time, I enrolled in my graduate program and began learning new and exciting management theories and process improvement tools. I found myself believing I was the brightest bulb in the box after earning this new degree. I built up unnecessary resistance and I found myself in unchartered waters. I lacked critical self-awareness and self-management skills to navigate the challenges of leading a team. I soon found myself out of a job and I let everyone down including myself. Through this wake-up call of an experience, I learned to trust your team and yourself, ask for help when you need it, listen and develop an ownership spirit. An ownership spirit is the mindset to make a choice to respond as an “owner” versus react as a victim when faced with a decision.

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

Personally, I believe Innovative Connections is unique by bringing an authentic loving style to our work. We truly love what we do and the people we work with. Love is one of our values and we live by it. I believe that fundamentally, we see all people as resourceful, credible and whole. That is how we approach our work with others. When we start there, we start our conversations from deeper and more meaningful places.

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?

I have been blessed with several individuals who have helped me along my journey. When I say they helped me, what I really mean is that they cared about me deeply, challenged me directly, and provided love along the way (even when I made mistakes).

My college athletics coach had a significant impact on my life. She was tough, direct and made things fun. She cared about me as a person first and as an athlete second. She coached me back in the early 80’s and we still stay in touch 37 years later!

The second person I want to recognize for helping me early on in my career was the Director of the Wellness and Health Promotion service line at my first job. This individual was my boss who gave me the opportunity to step up and lead the team, encouraged me along with way, gave me honest feedback and ultimately made the tough decision that I was no longer meeting expectations. That was extremely hard on our relationship even though it was the right thing to do. I learned so much from her and learned to appreciate her decision in time. Today, some 25 years later we have remained close friends.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out the experience of Impostor Syndrome. How would you define Impostor Syndrome? What do people with Imposter Syndrome feel?

Imposter Syndrome is defined as a state of intense self-doubt that is generated by emotions of inadequacy and insecurity. Typically, one or a combination of all three elements including perceived competency, significance and inclusion are compromised, creating self-doubt. An estimated 70% of the U.S. population suffers from imposter syndrome at some point in their lives. People who suffer from this have feelings that they don’t belong, that they are not as good as everyone else and that they should not have been chosen for their role. In addition, people with imposter syndrome often put themselves under a lot of pressure to avoid failure and exposure to their perceived inadequacies. It is quite common for people with this to feel like a fraud, worrying that at any time they will be discovered.

What are the downsides of Impostor Syndrome? How can it limit people?

I think we are realizing that anyone can experience imposter syndrome. Unfortunately, over time, the effects can be harmful. True to form, those individuals experiencing imposter syndrome typically have a strong inner critic that is constantly confirming that any accomplishments are the result of sheer luck. With that constant messaging, it is hard to break the cycle. In time, the inner critic wins out and eats at our self-confidence and identity if not properly addressed.

How can the experience of Impostor Syndrome impact how one treats others?

When feelings of inadequacy and insecurity sink in, we characteristically see various trends in behaviors which can negatively impact others and an organization as a whole. For those experiencing imposter syndrome, there is a tendency to dial up more perfectionistic and controlling behaviors to “cover up” their perceived inadequacies. An individual might also hide and/or retreat from other people and opportunities. They can become less vocal, shy away from providing input, pass on promotions and it is possible that their overall contributions become strained.

At times, we may see these individuals working longer hours while also taking on busy work that strains their capacity and bandwidth. This creates the spiral of a work addiction that is all about constantly seeking validation that comes from working but never feeling fulfilled by the work itself. In this situation, it becomes increasingly difficult for those experiencing imposter syndrome to ask for help as this may disclose an unwanted vulnerability.

We would love to hear your story about your experience with Impostor Syndrome. Would you be able to share that with us?

I believe that my experience as a first-time leader from the example earlier in the interview was certainly filled with doubt and insecurities. Looking back, my inner critic was dominating my experience. I did a good job at feeling sorry for myself, feeling overwhelmed with being busy and never asking for help. I certainly underestimated my abilities even while others believed in me. I didn’t know what I didn’t know.

Did you ever shake the feeling off? If yes, what have you done to mitigate it or eliminate it?

Since that situation was so significant for me, I knew I needed to learn from it to avoid it from happening again. I would say that throughout my leadership career, the imposter syndrome has crept in at times when I perceived the stakes to be high or the problem insurmountable.

I realized quickly that it was up to me to implement personal strategies to manage my inner critic. I began finding ways to increase my self-awareness, realize my triggers and re-route my perceived inadequacies. I learned to listen deeply, develop critical thinking skills to separate fact from fiction and commit to regular self-care. I also re-created my “tribe” with friends and family who have my best interest at heart. I call them my Board of Governors and enlist their advice and input frequently. It is always a work in progress.

In your opinion, what are 5 steps that someone who is experiencing Impostor Syndrome can take to move forward despite feeling like an “Impostor”? Please share a story or an example for each.

Here are a few powerful tips that I would recommend to anyone experiencing imposter syndrome or who may have imposter syndrome tendencies:

  • You are not alone. Recognizing, acknowledging and sharing feelings of inadequacy can help you manage negative thoughts and disrupt the feelings of isolation. Breaking the silence about your feelings can be incredibly freeing. A problem shared is a problem half solved.
  • Learn to separate fact from fiction. The only difference between a person who feels like an imposter and one who does not, is the way they manage their thoughts. You, and only you, have control over how you feel. By learning to redirect your thoughts, you can redirect your response to situations. I highly recommend adopting an internal process whereby you identify things that are in and out of your control, things that are in and out of your scope and those things that are true and those things that have no validity.
  • Accept that you are human. Perfectionism is unrealistic and exhausting. All of us make mistakes, it’s the way we learn and grow. Give yourself permission to not know all the answers, and to ask questions that will help you grow stronger. Also, look at your goal posts: are they too high, too low or just right? Consider re-working the goal or your appraisal of your performance towards meeting the goal.
  • Practice self-compassion. Start tuning in to your inner critic’s voice. When you hear it, replace self-criticism with self-appreciation and worthiness. Surround yourself with people who love you unconditionally. Self-compassion is a building block to self-confidence. Take feedback seriously but not personally.
  • List your skills and accomplishments. Make a list of your career successes and the challenges you overcame to get where you are. Give yourself credit for your achievements and reference this list often. Celebrate you!

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. 🙂

Brian Daniel Norton, a psychotherapist, and executive coach was quoted in the July 7, 2020 article, “These groups are most at risk for Imposter Syndrome but there are ways to manage it,” said:

“When you experience systemic oppression or are directly or indirectly told your whole life that you are less than or undeserving of success and you begin to achieve things in a way that goes against a long-standing narrative in the mind, Imposter Syndrome will occur.”

His thoughts reinforce the sad reality of the inequalities that still exist and the harmful negative consequences both intended and unintended. I would suggest that our greatest work is to recognize our societal inequalities and repair the systemic issues so that all people are free of the perceived narratives that hold them back both personally and professionally.

We are blessed that some very prominent leaders 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, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them 🙂

I think it would be great to spend time with Wynne Odell, co-founder of The Odell Brewing Company. She is an amazing person with a wonderful story. I have an immense amount of respect for her and what she has accomplished. A conversation with Wynne would be very enlightening and inspirational.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Our website is InnovativeConnectionsInc.com and we always welcome connections via LinkedIn or Facebook. Readers can find my personal LinkedIn here.

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


Gail Gumminger of ‘Innovative Connections’: How To Thrive Despite Experiencing Impostor Syndrome was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Simon Ball of ‘Tuscany Now & More’ On The Future of Travel in The Post Covid World

I think consumers are going to travel less but demand more for their money. Everyone is going to have to rely less on automation, less on applications, bots, aps and invest in human expertise. Renting a villa in Italy is not cheap, between flights, car rental and the villa rental it all adds up — at least in our market. If I were a client, I would expect to be able to pick up the phone and speak to a person that has not only been to the property I am interested in renting but can tell me about the local area and Italian culture. It comes down to providing constructive and honest advice, which will result in a wonderful holiday experience.

As part of my series about “developments in the travel industry over the next five years”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Simon Ball, Founder & CEO of Tuscany Now & More

Tuscany Now & More is a luxury villa company devoted to providing properties in the most beautiful country in the world, Italy. Originally founded in 1990 by Simon and Barbara Ball, this family run business offers exquisite rental properties, each with their own story to tell, throughout the length and breadth of Italy, in Tuscany and beyond.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

It is a very long story but in short, I grew up in farmhouse outside Florence, we started to rent it out 35 years ago and I started Tuscany Now & More five years later. I was educated in art and architecture, so I fell into the business almost naturally. My wife is from Florence and plays a very important role within our company, as do our two children who form part of the sales and marketing team.

What is one of the most interesting parts of your role?

You get, well at least I get, very involved with the owners of the villas. Many bonds are formed when you take a home that is completely adored by an owner and offer it to strangers — you step into someone else’s world. That is what makes my role so special, people share their secrets and tell you about the bad, as well as the good.

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 morning, I arrived at a new villa to take some photos. I started work, and after about two hours the owner of the villa phoned me asking me where I was. Incredibly I was at the wrong villa and should have been at the next property just 700 yards further down the road.

What do you think makes your company stand out?

I always say that we are different, not necessarily better but different. We care for our property owners and our clients — their problems become our problems. We are approached with houses to join our portfolio daily, but I always say that our villas are only as good as the owners and managers; that is what really makes the experience.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”? Can you share a story about that?

Not burning out in the travel industry is a difficult challenge. If you truly care about what you do, it means you are on call 24 hours a day — anything can happen in this industry. I take the philosophy that you can only do your best and you need to be able to rely on those you work with to sustain you. We have a strong solid relationship with our staff on the ground and work together with them to overcome all problems that arise. The villa rental market is a competitive one and it is not easy to beat large companies with thousands of villas in their portfolio. What distinguishes us is our quality of service, knowledge, and experience.

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?

My father and mother gave me this opportunity, they raised us in Tuscany and trusted me to rent out their home — I’m very grateful for that foundation.

Let us jump to the core of our discussion. Can you share with our readers about the innovations that you are bringing to the travel and hospitality industries?

Over the last few years, we have been focusing on improving the services we offer and translating our clients’ requests into a reality. Each booking is dealt with on a personal basis, with staff that really know the product they are selling and its location. This has never been more important than throughout Covid-19, our guests have really relied on our staff to provide tailored advice and ultimately a safe and secure holiday experience.

Which “pain point” are you trying to address by introducing this innovation?

This approach is expensive and takes a huge amount of time.

How do you envision that this might disrupt the status quo?

I do not think that this will disrupt the status quo but in today’s world it is all about quantity and reducing costs to increase margins.

Can you share 5 examples of how travel and hospitality companies will be adjusting over the next five years to the new ways that consumers like to travel.

I think consumers are going to travel less but demand more for their money. Everyone is going to have to rely less on automation, less on applications, bots, aps and invest in human expertise. Renting a villa in Italy is not cheap, between flights, car rental and the villa rental it all adds up — at least in our market. If I were a client, I would expect to be able to pick up the phone and speak to a person that has not only been to the property I am interested in renting but can tell me about the local area and Italian culture. It comes down to providing constructive and honest advice, which will result in a wonderful holiday experience.

You are a “travel insider”. How would you describe your “perfect vacation experience”?

For me, its traveling as little as possible. Staying put once you arrive at a destination and being able to enjoy the real things that are on hand in the local rea.

Can you share with our readers how have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

That is a difficult question, what is success? Money, influence? It is personal relationships that make me, and my business thrive, that is what I find most rewarding. I learn from others all the time — both from a personal and commercial perspective. Helping and sharing with others is our innate nature, small things and small actions. Tuscany Now & More donates 10% of our gross profit to a wonderful NGO in Guatemala that takes in women and children, feeding them and providing them with an education in a protected environment.

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. 🙂

I would copy what Suor Marcella, the founder of the NGO in Guatemala did. Feed, sustain, protect, and educate those that have nothing. Please visit these websites for more information: www.maniamiche.net/ and www.maniamiche.org/en/.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

I enjoy my privacy so am not on social media but please do follow Tuscany Now & More.

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


Simon Ball of ‘Tuscany Now & More’ On The Future of Travel in The Post Covid World was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Amanda Ma of ‘Innovate Marketing Group’: 5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Began Leading My…

Amanda Ma of ‘Innovate Marketing Group’: 5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Began Leading My Company

Hire Slow, Fire Fast– There are so many talents out there, but not are a good fit. You have to know your company culture and what you and your company stand for. Then look for those folks.

As part of my series about the leadership lessons of accomplished business leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Amanda Ma.

Amanda Ma is the Founder and Chief Experience Officer of Innovate Marketing Group (IMG) an award-winning event and experiential marketing agency based in Los Angeles. Innovate Marketing Group is known for producing remarkable corporate events by providing fresh ideas, infrastructure and logistics. Clients include TikTok, East West Bank and more.

Born in Taiwan and raised in Arcadia, CA, Amanda studied business at Boston University in Boston, MA and studied abroad in London, UK. Her entrepreneurial journey began in 2006 as the Co-Founder of Fresh Events Company, Inc. and Co-Founder of Pamper Me Fabulous in 2008. She then founded Innovate Marketing Group in 2014, which through her leadership has flourished into one of the most distinguished event management and design agencies both locally and nationally, with a team of dedicated event professionals that are ready to help bring client events to the next level.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Early on in my professional path, I encounter event management and realized I have a talent for it.

Something that I was passionate about and good at.

Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey?

With no customer based established, I started from scratch. No funding, no clients just a sense of confidence and that I want to refresh how events are being experienced.

Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?

I had an opportunity to change paths after my first business but then realize this is what I love so started another agency focusing on corporate events. Where the first events agency was corporate & lifestyle.

So, how are things going today? How did grit and resilience lead to your eventual success?

Pre-pandemic we were doing all live events. From Office Grand Openings to Big Conferences to Influencer event. We had just finished a high-profile event in Washington DC working with the White House as well as TikTok Office Grand Opening. After the pandemic, we pivoted so now we also offer Virtual Events and Events To Go Kits in order to continue to offer value to our clients.

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?

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

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

  • Have a strong network/tribe- Other business owners who can provide ideas, be a source of support. You also know you are not the only one going through it.
  • Exercise- After the pandemic I started a morning walk routine. Just 30 minutes a day. I used this time to embrace nature while moving my body. I often will be listening to an audio book/podcast which inspire a lot of new ideas.
  • Take a break- Event can be quite stressful. Remember to take breaks to recharge. Its important for your mental health and overall health. This way, you can be a better boss, leader and resource to your clients.

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 inspired and helped me along the way. My Entrepreneur Organization forum, my network, my family, my tribe, my team at Innovate Marketing Group, and so many others who continue to be my champion through the pivot and this journey. Through this experience, I felt extremely grateful for the network that I have because they give me the power to push forward.

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

I sit on the board of Entrepreneur Organization (EO) as the Diversity & Inclusion Chair. I was a former Co-Chair of the Asian Business Association Los Angeles’ Board of Directors and former Emeritus Board of the Asian Pacific Community Fund.

During COVID, I implemented the following to support the community:

  • I joined the board of Entrepreneur Organization (EO-LA) as the Diversity & Inclusion Chair.
  • I joined the California Events Coalition as advisory board to help advocate, support, educate, and provide resources for the events industry community in California.
  • Virtual speaking engagement to educate the 100+ non-profits who to navigate their events/live experience during this time and what resources are available. E.g. Virtual events, virtual team building, etc.
  • Promoting local restaurants
  • We put together an ‘Overcoming Crisis’ webinar panel to be a resource to the business community leveraging our network.
  • We collaborated with various other groups to put together virtual events covering topics such as mental health, diversity & inclusion, etc that benefits the community.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my company” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

  • Hire Slow, Fire Fast– There are so many talents out there, but not are a good fit. You have to know your company culture and what you and your company stand for. Then look for those folks.
  • Company Values– Having company values are very important. Now we use our values to hire, review and embody in our company culture.
  • Positive Attitude– I cannot tell you how much I appreciate this now. When I hire people, I look for folks with positive attitude. People who have a more positive outlook, when things get hard, they see glass half full and try to think of a solution. It always drives the energy level up at work. Event management can sometimes be quite stressful, so we need more positive attitude to balance that out. During my interview, I love asking the candidate to tell me a joke, the joke does not have to be good, more just if they can have some fun and more take things so seriously.
  • SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) — Have a system in place and document them is what helped my agency grow. The SOP needs to be established and updated every year to ensure its still relevant.
  • Join Entrepreneurs Organization (https://www.eonetwork.org/)- a community of business owners. When I first started, I had to figure out everything myself one by one. With this network, you get access to some brilliant businesspeople that can help propel your business forward.

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. 🙂

For everyone to do one thing for others once a week. Create more kindness and joy in this world.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

https://www.linkedin.com/in/amanda-ma-1314343/

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

Thank you for this opportunity to share my journey.


Amanda Ma of ‘Innovate Marketing Group’: 5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Began Leading My… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.