August 25, 2012
Last Updated:
March 4, 2021

Two Friends Cheer Each Other Towards Achieving Their Dreams

At Integrative Nutrition, some of our most successful students are those who enrolled with a support buddy. From a friend or sibling to a spouse or a parent, having someone to encourage you and hold you accountable can make all the difference!

Here’s an inspiring example about the power of pairs. We interviewed these two friends (and current co-workers), Zia Burleigh and Kelly Dollinger, Class of 2013, who are cheering each other towards reaching their biggest goals.

What were you doing prior to enrolling at Integrative Nutrition?

Zia: Prior to enrolling at IIN, we were both increasingly frustrated with our corporate jobs, recognizing that the work lacked in purpose for the lives we ultimately want to create. We were both making dramatic changes in our personal lives to become healthier and more physically fit, and we loved sharing our progress with one another – which continued to bring us closer. Kelly found out about IIN and enrolled earlier this year, and she convinced me that the program was a good fit for where I am in my life as well.

How has doing the program together enhanced your experience?

Zia: Having someone to bounce ideas off everyday is priceless. We could talk our men’s ears off about what we’re thinking, but it’s not the same. We help each other talk things out, brainstorm, edit, and research ideas. We’re doing everything at the same pace. We’ve conquered logos and we are beginning to work on our websites.

We continue to be each other’s cheerleaders. There is nothing like having a strong support system. We both have our significant others, but having each other to go through this with, both emotionally and technically, has been an incredible blessing. We are so thankful for each other. Who knew that the work we fell out of love with in our government jobs would be the foundation for a friendship that would transcend its beginnings? There is indeed a blessing in all things!

How did your life change after enrolling?

Kelly: Everything changed. I’m a type-A personality so I began to see everything in my life through the lens of a Health Coach. I look for potential clients and take mental notes, organize my health books into a library, think about future blog posts, continue to learn to cook new foods and try new things. When you find work that you love, it’s 24/7. Everyday my alarm goes off and it says, “Make decisions consistent with your vision.” Before IIN, I didn’t really have a vision for myself.

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Zia: Knowing you have a purpose is affirming and life changing. Since enrolling at IIN, I’ve had this incredible sense of peace. I live everyday with such optimism.  Before I was going through the motions, sort of like a zombie. I knew how to walk the walk and talk the talk, but I was miserable on the inside because I didn’t have an expectation for my future. IIN helped to change all that for me. Now I know I have an amazing future in front of me, doing something I believe in and that I absolutely love. Everything I do is aimed at how I can be the best Health Coach possible for my clients, my family, and my friends. I visualize my success and verbalize my intentions everywhere I go. It doesn’t even feel like school or work for me. I’m having the time of my life. 

Which teachers have had the greatest impact on you so far?

Kelly: Andrea Beaman gets me pumped up when she talks, especially about disease (my father died from cancer last year). I could listen to John Douillard talk about Ayurveda for hours (actually I did – two hours last weekend!) Also, I’ve been in the DC world of politics for the last eight years, so I love learning about why our country is so overweight and unhealthy. I was excited about the premier of HBO’s Weight of the Nation like most people were excited about Batman. Nerd alert!

Zia: Robert Notter really inspires me. He makes me realize that I can totally do this. I appreciate all the tools and resources the program provides, especially on the entrepreneurial side of things. Kelly and I have an advantage, in that we have strong marketing and communications experience already. The idea of creating our own business is something many people only dream about, and because of IIN, we’re actually doing it!

How are you setting yourself up for success while still in the program?

Zia: First and foremost, we are bracing our brave men for this huge life change. We are amazingly lucky to have such loving, supportive and trusting men who are essentially taking this plunge with us. We are leaving very stable, high-paying careers to chase our dreams. Our significant others have a lot of faith and trust in us to get behind such dramatic and unconventional shifts, and we realize we could not do this without them. Mike and Zakee, we love you!

We are also saving our pennies and working hard to stick to budgets to help aid in our transitions. We realize that setting priorities for our business development is important. We try not to go crazy with our spending, or upfront investments, until we have advanced a little further in the program and are ready to see clients.

We’re both looking forward to meeting all of our other classmates at the IIN Live Conference in October. See you there!

We are so IINspired by this supportive friendship!

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