With my health coach certification from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN) in 2019, I decided to combine my formal nutrition and herbal medicine training with my alternative health care passion. This passion is now expanded to include sharing of information and knowledge to help others.
Here is how it began…
My health journey began in the early 1980’s when first subscribing to Prevention Magazine. The basic health education provided in this magazine led to an interest in knowing more about “alternative” health. Then, through my chiropractor, Justin Kelley, I became more familiar with the differences in western medicine and alternative approaches. However, my corporate career and later, entrepreneurship, kept this interest as an avocation.
In the early 2000’s I attended a workshop by David Winston, world-renowned herbalist. After that session, I knew that studying the medicinal properties of herbs would be my next step. However, due to a lot of life interruptions, this journey was delayed until 2006. Unfortunately, one of those “life interruptions” was the failing health of my mother. I wasn’t able to help her with any alternative health support as her last chapter unfolded. My frustration with this situation provided me with the incentive to now take the first step in formal learning – David Winston’s Two Year Herbalist Training Program. I then followed with the one-year graduate program. Then, the business I started in 2006 (Handlon Business Resources – HBR) got very busy as well as my community commitments. However, the use of healing herbs became a part of my family and friend relationships and remained an avocation.
In 2018 as I was seeking to take HBR part- time, I wanted to further my “alternative” knowledge. While doing some contemplation and soul searching that summer, I realized that the missing piece for my knowledge was a nutritional understanding. The exploration of potential schools took me to several master level programs – but they weren’t the right fit. Then, remembering that a friend had gone to a nutrition school in NYC, I followed up and began my path to IIN. I entered the accelerated program and became my own experiment as I tested the theories and learnings provided. This has led to a more healthy lifestyle both in personal and food choices…and attaining a weight set point that I thought was gone with the college years.
My professional history…
I have been an active member of both the Lehigh Valley business community and non-profit community for over 40 years. During that time, my avocation had been wellness and environment. Until recently, wellness and environment remained an avocation. In 2018, that changed. I was looking to take Handlon Business Resources part-time and increase my focus on wellness and environment. With that focus came the creation of a new website – www.bodyconstruction.me and writing a book to share the information I have gathered over 30 years.
Handlon Business Resources (HBR) LLC, is a short term project management partner to executives and business owners in implementing the long, overdue recommendations to move the company forward. In Stephen Covey’s matrix, HBR addresses the important, non-urgent priorities. My new journey in the wellness lane is housed in HBR LLC.
Some of the honors that I have achieved over these years includes: 2014 recipient Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation MVP, 2014 recipient of the YWCA of Bethlehem Woman of the Year, 2011 recipient of the Lehigh Valley Suites Award for Management Consulting, 2007 recipient of the PA Best 50 Women in Business, 2004 recipient of the US Small Business Administration Women In Business Advocate – Philadelphia Region, The Morning Call’s – Lehigh Valley “30 Who Shape the Valley” and “Women to Watch” as well as Niche Magazine’s Top 100 Retailers Nominee. Other awards include the Chamber’s Athena Award (1988) and The Hillside School Service Award (1996).
I have been blessed with the opportunity to support both civic and business activity throughout the Lehigh Valley. Although somewhat scaled back now, I am still engaged with two boards: Rising Tide Community Loan Fund Board and WDIY Public Radio Board (88.1 fm).
Past Board experience included: the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation’s General Board for six years and chaired the Local Sourcing and Business Diversity Council for 8 years; Board of the Moravian Book Shop and Women’s Leadership Institute at Cedar Crest College Advisory Board. I also served on the Business Advisory Committee for the Mayor of Bethlehem PA. Additional Board experience includes: Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber, Small Business Council, DBA- Bethlehem Merchants Association, SouthSide Film Institute, South Bethlehem Historical Society, Executive Women’s Council, Allentown YWCA, Allentown Neighborhood Housing Association and The Hillside School. I had the honor to be a keynote speaker at area events as well as presented position papers at the American Bankers Association in Atlanta, Retail Lending conference in Boston and the Iacocca Institute at Lehigh University. I am proldu to have been a founding member of the Women’s Business Council of the Chamber (1982) , co-founder south Bethlehem’s First Friday (1998) and founding facilitor for The Lehigh Valley Meet the Buyers Expo – 2011-2019).
Since 2009 I have been able to showcase Lehigh Valley small businesses and wellness organizations as a community host on WDIY 88.1 fm (NPR) with a monthly radio show, Lehigh Valley Discourse.
I am a graduate of Penn State University (WE ARE!) with post-graduate business courses at Muhlenberg College and Bucknell University. I consider myself to be a “leading edge millenial” as I have changed careers about every 5 years – financial services, call center management, retail & commercial lending, higher education, community & institutional recreation, community health planning, retail business owner, corporate mergers & acquisitions. However, Handlon Business Resources is now 15+ so that tendency finally settled down!
As a “senior” I have challenged myself by taking several courses: David Winston’s Center for Herbal Studies, two year and graduate program; Tom Peter’s Excellence Audit Facilitation (I am one of 10 in the &S) for his Future Shape of the Winners program and most recently, a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, the world’s largest nutrition school and has Integrative Nutrition Health Coach certification.
As I look back over this career, the variety has supported the wellness journey that I am now on.