I had the pleasure of interviewing Denise Vitola, who has over a decade and a half of award-winning, branding and integrated marketing experience. She made the shift from corporate boardroom to the world of health coaching and training as she witnessed the ill effects bad health had on her.

Her Company, Vitola Well, applies her broad background working with clients to help them achieve their health and wellness goals. Based on work and life experience, coupled with her certifications in coaching and personal training, Denise has uniquely designed “Journey to V Well” an approach to help others learn healthy habits and energize exciting lifelong lifestyle changes that are easy and adaptable for the long term.

She’s recently been recognized by Women’s Health Magazine as an Action Hero for the second year in a row for her work in health and wellness.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?

I woke up scared from a nightmare worried I never lived my life to its fullest. The nightmare was about how I kept working in marketing and PR and kept rising up in the industry, but I was empty. I was not the best person I could possibly be. I was not happy and I felt unfulfilled.

The life that has been afforded to me, with the lifestyle I was leading, was rewarding materialistically, but not emotionally.

Nightmare or bad day at work? The truth is it felt like reality. So that’s when I began to ponder more deeply about what I truly wanted to do.

Why did I have that nightmare?

What was God or the world trying to tell me?

Had I lost perspective?

I sat up in bed and looked to my right. I saw my biggest supporter [next to my Dad and Mom]. Why did he stay with me when all I did was work and prioritize so many things before my husband? Senseless things.

Happiness matters. Health matters. My husband matters. I felt out of control.

I got out of bed, picked up my phone, and started googling wellness, entrepreneurship, passion and other types of things related. I was searching for happiness really. I wanted what’s next. I wanted to laugh. A genuine laugh. Smile more. An authentic smile. I did not want to smile because of my new Chanel bag. I wanted to smile because I made someone else’s life better.

That next day, I vowed to be better. I began living better. I focused on eating well and exercising hard. I always exercised, but I needed to put my mind back in it and not make it token I could mention during my business meetings. It hit me. I needed to eliminate stress, find spirituality and make my relationships better.

Why did you found your company?

I’ve been blessed with a very successful career, winning awards for myself and my clients, so I thought I should capitalize on that and start something of my own. Working in PR and Marketing for most of my career has led me to something I’ve been wanting to do since playing sports my entire life and working out in a gym since 1989. I officially opened the doors to Vitola Well.

Vitola Well captures my spiritual journey and my passion by focusing on helping people and brands live and be well. I am determined to help the world be a better place for all of us.

The need for a focus on health and wellness is greater than ever. The health ecosystem around me really scares me and how it is not helping people live well. In fact, it is not sustainable. Costs are sky high and continue to escalate while the public continues to depend more and more on prescriptions that mask symptoms rather than heal the root of the cause. That inspires me to want to help others build healthy habits to live the best of their life. I want them to live healthier, longer lives. It’s my passion.

I want to do my part by offering services that are affordable and valuable, and the ones people truly need like how to regain energy, reduce stress, deal with post pregnancy, and aging bodies, or how to detox your life and spiritual cleansings.

What is it about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

I am challenging the norm. I am taking on big food companies and calling them out for making processed foods that are making people fat and causing cancer. I am calling out companies for not taking better care of their employees. I am calling out brands for being fake and not delivering on what they promise.

The more educated people become the better armed they will be to live healthy fulfilled lives. I am doing my part to make sure they know all those hidden and dirty secrets no one wants them to know.

We all need a little help along the journey — who have been some of your mentors?

I’ve been blessed to have many mentors along the way in my career. Lately, I admire people from afar like Arianna Huffington or Dr Mark Hyman. I am also hugely inspired by my Action Hero peers. These are a pack of women who are strong, focused and killing it. Many are entrepreneurs and others are moms. It’s great to watch them in action. They truly inspire me.

How are you going to shake things up next?

I love this question because it is absolutely something I have been plotting. I am planning to introduce group health and wellness training to debunk nutrition and fitness trends. Through small group coaching, I am going to help shift the thinking and conditioning people are custom to and propel them into wellness. I have an incubator group going right now and it has been going extremely well.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey?

You won’t be successful overnight so don’t give up is something I’ve heard this a lot in various work settings, in the media, and on social media. It wasn’t until I called my Dad to share my early fears with being a young entrepreneur that he said this very same thing to me and I began to unravel what it really meant and how it really made me feel. No one is an instant success that’s how I understood it so I continue to work hard, be grateful for what I have and blessed for what’s to come.

When I was thinking about going on my own and doing more in health and wellness and leaving a very successful and lucrative career in PR and marketing, I was told to follow my passion from several people. Those have been the few words that have made a real difference. No matter what I do, where I go or how I am doing it, I do it because I am passionate about it and that has led to many days and months of happiness. The happiest I’ve ever been.

Don’t spend time on things you should hire professionals to do like accounting and other administrative stuff. When I was getting started a very wise person told me that I have a skill and I should use that and focus on sharing that skill and not being over burdened with the administrative stuff. The logistics and paperwork can be overwhelming. I make sure I have the right support team around me so I can do what I do best and shine.

What’s a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking?

A book from a long time ago that had a deep impact is John Wooden’s Leadership book. My father gave it to me to read and it truly made a difference in my life. It showed me the tenants to being a hard worker, good person and team player.

Recently, I read Food by Dr Mark Hyman. I could not believe the similarities in beliefs we have. He has a larger platform to share our beliefs but the affirmation to what I am doing is right, made me feel extremely empowered.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂

So many…

I mentioned one above and that is Dr. Mark Hyman. I was thrilled to see I share a lot of his POV about food. I’d love to talk to him about that and how I coach people to wellness using a lot of what he has outlined in his book. I now tell all my clients to read his book.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

@deezworkoutz on insta, @denisevitola on twitter and FB

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

Originally published at medium.com