At the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, we often talk about the “ripple effect” – the waves of change that can spring from the efforts of a single person. Our community is blessed with a wonderful team of Ambassadors, men and women who have dedicated their lives not only to their personal health coaching practices, but also to spreading the IIN mission. This week, I am honored to present the Health Leadership Award to five exceptional Ambassadors for their contributions to our collective future of health and happiness.
Maureen Wheeler – Website – Facebook – Twitter
When I first enrolled at Integrative Nutrition, my incredibly brilliant and successful attorney sister asked me what I was going to do for a career. I wasn’t sure how to answer, because I had no idea what a Health Coach was. I had a vision of being someone who inspired transformations by being one part Oprah (transformation queen), one part Martha Stewart (domestic maven) and one part Bill McKibbon (environmentalist). My sister wasn’t sure that was much of a business plan, so I finally answered her by saying, “I just want to get paid for being myself.” As my career has evolved, it has become so closely aligned with my personal joys and passions that I can honestly say some days I am not sure if I am working or playing. When I learned that I had been chosen for this Health Leadership Award, I instantly thought back to that conversation with my sister and realized - I’ve done it! I am getting paid for being myself.
Darshana Weill – Website – Facebook - Twitter
When I was 26 years old, I was a professional musical theatre actress in New York City. I remember thinking, “Do I want to be doing this when I am 40?” The answer was no. After another year flying around the country on National Tours, carrying one suitcase of clothes and another filled with health foods, a juicer, a blender and a hot pot, I realized that I did have another interest: health and nutrition, so I enrolled at IIN. But a few months into the program, I realized I had an eating disorder and that my interest in health and nutrition was just a secret way of trying to lose weight once and for all. I do believe my body rather than my logical thinking enrolled me. I needed help. IIN taught me a new way of looking at food that moved beyond the limiting beliefs I held – like the need to count calories, that carbs were bad or that fat would make me fat. As these myths were debunked, I found a new way of looking at not only food and my body, but also my life.
Ashley Craft – Website – Facebook – Twitter
My experience at IIN has been beyond excellent, starting with the initial phone call with an Admissions Representative. Honestly, I was a little hesitant before I made the call, as I did not personally know anyone who had been through the program. However, the day my big red box arrived, I quickly realized that I had enrolled in a life-changing program and had joined a community of like-minded individuals. One of my favorite things about IIN is that they continue to support their graduates after graduation.
Chloé Lauer – Website – Facebook – Twitter
In addition to my health coaching business, I still have a full time job as a strategic planner and consultant (which I very much enjoy!). IIN gave me the confidence to request a 4-day workweek, which increased my happiness at work greatly, and I enjoyed 3-day weekends every week for 15 months. After that, I wanted a new challenge, so I requested a promotion. For the past year, I have been working full-time as the Director of Strategy and really enjoy it. Whether it means quitting your job and becoming a full-time Health Coach or finding new ways to express yourself in your current life and career, studying at IIN helps you trust yourself - to take those leaps of faith and find yourself happier on the other side.
Clea Shannon – Website – Facebook - Twitter
I truly believe that it’s never too late to switch paths or change directions and that small, consistent changes create big, lasting results. Everyone has a story. Be proud of who you are and where you’ve come from. A big step in my own success was embracing my unique qualities – everything from my engineering career to my background as a collegiate athlete to my own experience with a misdiagnosed auto-immune disease – and allowing my own personality to shine through in my work. I would advise future health leaders to pull all of your unique qualities together, and make your business and your message your own.