June 10, 2011
Last Updated:
March 4, 2021

One Student’s Health Struggles Lead to Her Dream Job

Venus Hicks was struggling with Panic Attacks that her doctor told her would keep her on medication her entire life when she found Integrative Nutrition. This is her incredible story of how she used what she learned in our Health Coaching Training Program to heal herself and start her dream business as a health coach.

What were you doing before Integrative Nutrition?

In 2003, I was one of many people in a post-911 world, searching for their life purpose. I became a certified FranklinCovey Personal Life Coach, but was led away from business coaching to the world of health coaching when a personal struggle with my health helped me realize the connection between food and emotions. At the time, I was taking medication for panic attacks, and when I asked my doctor for healthier alternatives that did not involve prescription medication, he told me I’d have to take medication for panic attacks for the rest of my life. 

“I love that Joshua Rosenthal sees the big picture, and called upon us students to become ambassadors of this wealth of nutrition information, and spread it within our communities.”

What led you to explore Integrative Nutrition's program?

There’s no doubt that my doctor led me to Integrative Nutrition – indirectly.  I fundamentally disagreed with his diagnosis.

Although I grew up in a family that owned a BBQ restaurant in the Historic Heights of Houston, I also had a great-grandmother that lived directly across the street from that restaurant, and she lived on natural foods – she kept a chicken coop in her backyard, and had a vegetable garden. She believed in natural remedies, and this left a lasting impression on me.

Flash forward to that moment in the doctor’s office, and I instinctively knew there was a truth I had to find to reach health, and I knew I wouldn’t find the answer sitting on the exam table of my doctor’s office.

So I began my search for natural health, I found myself enrolled at IIN, a little nervous, but very excited about the prospect of a career as a health coach.

What happened since you enrolled in Integrative Nutrition's program?

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A lot! My beloved mother, who was my best friend, passed in February 2009 of breast cancer.  Attending IIN, along with the loving support of my entire family, are what got me through.  But what helped me heal the most was the IIN training I received, from the heartfelt personal coaching sessions (not only was I assigned my very own personal coach during school, but after I graduated in July 2009, I hired another coach/former IIN grad, who helped me navigate the grieving and healing process in the wake of losing my mother.)

What did you learn at Integrative Nutrition?

I learned that I wasn’t taking care of myself. I learned how to nurture myself, and I realized the more I took care of my most basic needs, the more I engaged in positive behaviors such as yoga, outdoor exercise, meditation, positive thinking, and quality time with family and friends.

What do you love about the school?

I love that the school is truly a safe space with absolutely no judgment.  I love that Joshua Rosenthal sees the big picture, and called upon us students to become ambassadors of this wealth of nutrition information, and spread it within our communities.

Your studies led you to start a business. What's the name of your business?

The name of my business is Whole Life Central, because when I enrolled in IIN, I had a vision of opening a holistic wellness center where someone like me in 2003 could visit, and learn about all things holistic: learn how to transition to a healthier holistic lifestyle, one that includes preparing meals of whole, natural foods


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