On your site it says your originally were headed toward a career in film and entertainment, can you please tell us about your career journey and how you ended up where you are today?
I landed what I thought would be my dream job, which was working on a movie set. Being a producer's assistant, I knew I was going to basically be doing whatever they wanted me to do, whatever that was, but I didn't realize how long the hours were. We'd start at 6AM, end at 2AM, and I learned a lot, but that's not what I really wanted to do. It was a huge awakening for me because I had been through a lot in my early 20s and throughout college, so I knew that I had this passion for helping girls. I thought, 'how can I make this my job?' ...because it's not entertainment. The entertainment industry is so fake, and that's not who I am. This isn't me, and I didn't want people to get that message. So, anyway, I found out about life coaching, as I didn't have the desire to go back to school to become a guidance counselor. I went to LA and got certified to be a life coach, and got certified to be a wellness coach. Now, I work with teen girls and young women being a life and wellness coach, basically women empowerment and positive self-esteem and all of that good stuff!
So, once you had your degree, what were the first steps you took in starting your own business?
Everyone said, even if you don't know what you're doing, get a website. Don't be afraid to put yourself out there. ...So I wanted a cool name, I didn't just want a stupid name, like "LIFE COACH," I wanted it to be kinda cool, so I really fell in love with "Stixs and Stones" because of the saying, "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me." I thought that was really cool, it sticks, and girls will think I'm cool! I wanted girls to be like, "okay, she's hip, she's not just some older woman trying to tell me what to do. So I found the name, did the website, created my logo, and just started emailing and networking. I tell girls I coach who are in college that it is so important to network. I never realized how important it was, just sending out emails, making connections, not being afraid to being shut down. Plant the seeds and see what grows!
Did you get your first job offers and clients through the website, then?
I actually reached out to Waltham Daily newspaper, told them what I was doing,you know, I'm helping girls with self-esteem, and they really liked the topic, so they did an article on me, since I was working at the Boys & Girls club. So I said 'hey, do you think I could do a monthly article for parents to write into for advice?' ...since I love to write. I've been doing that for a year and a half and I get a lot of clients through that. The article gives me credibility since it shows parents I know what I'm talking about. Now, I blog for TeenLife, Your Teen Mag, Bodimojo, Elevated Existence magazine and have done guest blogs for various companies.
I almost want to say, don’t be afraid to take the leap? But I also want to say that you have to be strategic. I mean, the good thing is that I'm married, and have my husband's support. I think I'd be really nervous just quitting my job (which I did recently, after starting Stixs & Stones). It's absolutely about following your passion, because who, at the end of the day, wants to be stuck at a job they hate? Along with that and making sure you're making those smart steps forward (along with having a safety net) are all important. I always want to encourage people to "just do it!" but that's just me, and I think a lot of people are afraid of that. Fear is actually good. The unknown is good.
What is the most unexpected way live has changed since becoming a wellness coach?
I think it's made me be really honest and face my insecurities. In being a mentor, I can't say one thing and not follow that. I had an eating disorder and used to weigh myself all of the time, still do, not as much and I know it's a bad habit. If one of my clients admits to weighing herself 10x a day, I tell her how that is not good, but I can't tell her "no" if I'm doing it too, so it keeps me in check. I am being a mentor for girls and women, and I have to practice what I preach!
Who do you look up to for inspiration in your career and in your personal life?
My mom, for both. My mom is definitely my best friend and is the person to tell me if I've messed up, but is also my biggest cheerleader. She's always honest with me, so I know I can always go to her... and be like "What do you think of this?" ...and she'll be like "What are you even thinking?!" or she'll say "Go for it!"
I know when I was at a crossroads in starting to build my business while working full time, and considered quitting my job and would lose a lot of my income, she encouraged me to do it. My mom has always been an entrepreneur. She lives out in California, and it's so hard being a female in business, but she is SUCH a bulldog now. I'm learning so much from her because sometimes I think I'm too nice and let people get away with things. She's definitely my inspiration in people who have made it. She just up and moved to LA to start her own business as well, so career-wise too, I have that with her. And she can tell me "What the hell are you thinking," You know?
What do you think is the best piece of career advice she has given you?
Oh, wow, there's a few. Starting my own business and making new connections every day were scary to me. In the first year of business, I was getting bummed out that more wasn't happening because I was networking like crazy, doing workshops and meeting people. My mom told me to be patient. She was absolutely right--patience is so important! Also, she has always told me to follow my passion, which has gotten me to where I am today.
Who is the most inspiring woman in your life thus far (that's probably your mom)?
Yeah, my mom.
Who and what are healthy and positive influences for women?
I think that's really rare, trying to find some.
Yeah, that's why we were interested to see you have a background in entertainment and communication, as so many companies seem to promote negative life influences...
Yeah, and seeing the behind the scenes is so crap. One time, we were filming a scene in the movie, and had a lot of extras... we had to fill the stands to look like a NJ Nets game... and when I went to the bathroom to wash my hands, there were all of these young girls throwing up! It's not like they were even actresses (which is sadly normal for that industry), they were just basically paid to be in the movie and to be unseen. So, it just hit home how that is not the message I want girls to receive.
I really like companies like "I'm That Girl," and I don’t really turn to celebrities, I mean, Demi Lovato, because I like her honesty, and I think it's nice that she's been open with what she has dealt with, but I can't think of anyone in entertainment or athletes. Really, I think it's just real people you see that are struggling and to see what they have overcome who are the most inspiring.
We love your service of offering your clients their individual "roadmap" to health. Without giving too much away, where do you suggest clients start? Do you think that women have trouble identifying this in their own lives?
I think what I'm seeing is, actually, my friend and I are doing an e-book on "body love," because I'm seeing that women in their 20s are struggling with the question of "who am I?" along with their insecurities, about anything, really. Most of the girls and women I have come across have an issue with their weight. They don't like it, they want to be thinner, no one likes who they are or how to celebrate that. I find this to be really sad! No one wants to be what they see, which is just not real. It's about trying to see that find what makes someone happy and how to get them to that place. That's what my business is about, what is your realistic goal, and how can I help you get there. It's about celebrating your uniqueness, celebrating being healthy. Being really thin, that is not healthy. Being happy and loving yourself from within is the most important thing.
The one thing I didn't know in college and early 20s (I'm going to be 30 this year, ugh) ...that I learned is that, you have to love yourself first, or else no one else will love you. I didn't understand that with men, but I do now. Without loving yourself first, you won't get the respect you deserve. That's what I always tell girls, because I see a lot who do not, which is really sad.
You're an ambassador for the Boston’s division of LevoLeague. We've been to one LL event and got a lot out of it. What do you think is the best part of that community for gen-Y women and how do you suggest our readers can get involved?
Well, I think that one, it's a strong group of women, which I love. I think that a lot of the women are career-driven, and they want to have it all. Which, we totally can! I think it's really cool seeing women in their 20s wanting to go somewhere with their career. It's something I did not give much thought to, myself, and was just wandering around in NY when I lived there. What I've learned a lot and what I've seen in this community is that making connections with women, and seeing that women really want to get somewhere in their career is a drive in itself, along with exploring how can we get there?
Your readers can get involved by coming to our events, which are awesome! We're actually doing a fitness session... this month we're getting involved with yoga on the Esplanade (which is free), so we'll do that in the morning, and night since that's easier for some people. Hopefully, a monthly happy hour as well. Everyone has voiced that they want a book club, which we did once, but I think we should start that again, which we plan to do.
If there is something you could tell your younger self, what would it be?
Oh, there's a laundry list... I think mostly, "What the hell was i thinking?!" It's probably to have more confidence and really love myself, to trust that I'm doing the right thing (I always second guess myself). I mean, having your own business is hard, because there is no one telling you what to do, you're navigating on your own. But, I trust that this is my passion and I know that I will make it work out in the end. I think a lot of women are afraid to have confidence because they don't want to come off cocky, but confidence is an amazing thing!
Thanks, Marthé for participating and helping young women of Boston discover their most confident, fabulous self! We are looking forward to collaborating with you in the future!