IIN is celebrating International Women’s Day all month long by featuring graduates who are using their IIN education to build impactful businesses that focus on improving the health of their communities around the world.
Haile Thomas, Class of 2017, shares her story below. To learn more, check out her websites: Haile V Thomas and The HAPPY Org.
IIN: If you had to choose one word to describe your IIN experience, what would it be?
IIN: What inspired you to enroll in IIN’s Health Coach Training Program?
Haile: I initially enrolled in IIN’s program because I had encounters with quite a few adults who doubted and belittled the nutrition knowledge I had acquired on my own. So I enrolled to feel more secure in my health advocacy and the education I was called to bring to my community.
Through IIN’s program, I was immersed in a whole other side of wellness that is an invaluable piece of the work we do through HAPPY today. The emphasis on holistic wellness and the interconnectedness of our relationships, environment, mind-set, physical activity, and food choices taught me the importance of nourishing all those areas. To create true well-being, all elements need to be nurtured. With this knowledge, I recognized I had a tremendous opportunity to instill this messaging into my nonprofit work. This enables us to help young people understand these concepts and the value of prioritizing their health as early as possible.
IIN: What does “wellness” mean to you? What does “success” mean to you?
Haile: To me, “wellness” is multifaceted. It means cultivating awareness, compassion, patience, and love for your body, mind, spirit, and journey as a human – being nonjudgmental of your process/the ups and downs and changing in ways that are supportive of feeling good in your body and who you are.
To me, “success” is following your own path, engaging in things that light you up, and not altering who you are or making decisions based on the opinions/expectations of others. There is nothing more gratifying on the daily than living a life that you feel is uniquely yours, not modeled off anyone else’s perceptions of success.
IIN: What advice do you have for women entrepreneurs?
Haile: When you genuinely and humbly see yourself as being of value and having something valuable to contribute to the world, you radiate that and attract those in your life who recognize that in you, too. Become your biggest cheerleader and acknowledge your own worth. Furthermore, create connections with people, not based on status or career path but on the light that they share with others on micro and/or macro scales.
IIN: What advice do you have for younger entrepreneurs hungry to make a difference in their communities?
Haile: It’s great to be hungry, but it’s essential to know what you want to eat and how that impacts you…so I recommend leading with intention. With entrepreneurship and activism becoming “trendy” in recent years, being clear on your intentions is more important than ever. Understanding what your why is rooted in creates something grounding that keeps you secure and resilient as you come across challenges, opportunities, and moments of growth on your journey. It truly helps you discern what is best for you and your goals.
IIN: Anything else you think the IIN community would love to know?
Haile: Our personal stories and health journeys are potent tools for impact and connection to our communities. We can’t afford to forget this – there is power in our challenges and vulnerability. During this time in the world, tapping into our shared experiences and nurturing ourselves and others is genuinely indispensable.
Want to join this amazing global community of change makers? Get our free Curriculum Guide to learn more about the program that can jump-start your health transformation and help you create a lucrative, fulfilling career.