She Means Business,She Must Have Passion: Founder of i understand Reflects on Using Passion to Fuel Her Business

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by Vonnie Woodrick

As a founder of the non-profit organization, i understand, I have experienced what it takes to create and execute a small business plan and to run a full-fledged business. It all begins with a simple idea with courage and tenacity to take risks at all magnitudes. In five years, i understand has flourished into something I could have never imagined.

The passion to make a difference, the willingness to change the conversation surrounding mental health, and the drive to bring this conversation to everyday places has proven to be successful. Due to our partnership with Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, monthly support groups, speaking engagements, community partnerships, the definition petition and so much more, my organization is thriving.

I was passionate about the change that needed to happen surrounding mental health; it drove me to take risks and believe that when you do things for the right reasons, they work out the way they are supposed to. Of course, that didn’t come without worry, mistakes and countless hours of dedication. Even people I believed would be supportive, but proved otherwise, only motivated me further to prove that i understand could be a success.

The common factors among the women I spoke to about running their own businesses were passion and the desire to make a difference. Linda Anderson, who created Joy Undiluted, said, “I wanted to fill a gap between people who are not living in joy and feeling alone, with those who can help.” For Anderson, finding an avenue to show others how to experience something such as joy makes it exciting to show up at work every day.

In 1998, I had an incredible experience with Holistic Care Approach during their inaugural year. Pilates, massage therapy, and Reiki, was not as mainstream as it is today, but they managed to serve about 100 clients in the first year. Perhaps, they were a bit ahead of their time.

Now, with many looking for alternative ways to wellness, HCA has grown. With more than 6,000 clients being served through various services and treatments, they also boast that their staff cares about the “Whole you – body, mind and spirit” and believe that, “only by balancing the three can you enjoy good health.”

Determined to help others find alternative treatments for all around well-being, owner Barb Meconis stated, “I brought a lot of my belief systems, my passions with me when I bought this business.”

Meconis is an RN who worked in traditional healthcare for over 45 years and knew she could be a part of the change that was needed. Meconis states, “The current system of healthcare separates the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of our human nature with its treatments. Integrative medicine does not. We treat conditions, not diseases. Most emotional conditions manifest in the physical body, so the services we offer encompass the whole person.”

Finding joy in the workplace comes easily for Meconis. She is not only able to witness the positive outcomes and health improvements in her clients, but also is building a quality and impeccable staff and maintaining profitability.

“She means business” is a simple phrase to describe these amazing women in business who have dedicated their lives to helping others live more joyfully and judgment-free and to treating the person as a whole. They want others to be the best they can be, whole and healthy.

At times like any woman in business, they feel like Wonder Woman; someone who can do it all, while fulfilling personal and professional goals. But let’s face it – a woman in business who is also a mom can have her plate overflowing with responsibilities, and at times can easily feel like throwing in the towel.

Those times are fleeting for Anderson, Meconis and me, who have found through our work that when we have the ability to see the difference we are making, the long hours prove, “She means business.” We will get it done, all while making a difference in the lives of others. As Anderson states, “We are here to raise awareness of all things mind body soul to help people explore the many ways they can stop diluting their joy and live a better life!”

Learn more about i understand at iunderstandloveheals.org; find HCA at holisticcareapproach.com; and connect with Joy Undiluted at joyundiluted.com

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