Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashley Marand Iwanicki.
Ashley, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I grew up on the east coast, where my natural tendencies for perfectionism and control were only exasperated by the societal norms in that area of the country. While I adore so many things about the east coast, I quickly fell victim to the busy badge of honor, losing myself to the perpetual need to do, be and achieve more.
In high school, this played out by being overly committed to sports, extra-curricular, Advanced Placement classes, and part-time jobs, while somehow still maintaining a social life. Throughout college, my need to perform and accede extended beyond my work and to my body. I became hyper-aware of my possessions, looks and weight. A quick stint in Los Angeles during college further engrained how important it was to be pretty and skinny.
Upon graduating, I moved to New York City to work in publicity and the fashion industry. The fast pace and ultra judgmental environments were the perfect breeding ground for my body image issues to really take root. I was miserable and completely void of a purpose in life. My self-worth rested entirely on what my body looked like. My thoughts around food and fitness became so entangled and insecure that I became unrecognizable to myself. The cherry-on-top of this self-loathing sundae was that I hated my job and couldn’t stand the realities of my everyday.
It wasn’t until found my way to San Diego and completed a yoga teacher training program that my entire perspective on myself, my world and my life shifted for the better. After nearly ten years of struggling with disordered eating, body image issues and a lack of purpose, I finally learned what it meant to eat, move and live intuitively.
My yoga teacher training program served as the catalyst for so much change in my life. Shortly after the program ended, I left my corporate job to open a marketing consulting business where I’m committed to working with conscious brands in the health and wellness space whose values align with mine.
Since then, I have also become a certified integrative nutrition health coach, a Reiki practitioner and have launched my blog, Ashley Marand Health.
In my wellness-based work, I use an intuitive approach, rooted in reality to challenge, guide and empower my community to trust in themselves and to take ownership of their own, unique wellness journeys. I strive to offer content focused on many different areas of wellness that is both approachable and achievable and do so by being very raw, honest and vulnerable about my own journey. My hope is that in being vulnerable and sharing my story, I can inspire others to do the same. Because the more we authentically share and let down our guards, the more we realize that we are not alone.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I don’t feel that it’s been a smooth road to get to where I am today. But, I am grateful for the road I’ve walked because I know that every part of it has played an important role in my evolution and not only getting me to where I am today but also to where I’m going tomorrow.
There have been a lot of times I’ve moved forward in one direction and once I got there have realized that it wasn’t what I wanted to do be doing. There have been a lot of times I’ve judged myself for wanting to change directions again or have had fears around “if things were going to work out”, “would I make money”, “would anyone pay me for this”? There have also been lots of moments where I’ve doubted if I’m skilled enough, knowledgeable enough, experienced enough, etc. to be playing in the health and wellness arena. I’ve also wondered if my work is even making an impact – really a lot of the same internal struggles many of us go through when making life transitions.
But throughout the years, I’ve learned that the more I listen to my intuition – or those little gut instincts that seem to come out of nowhere – and release judgment over every time I decide to change my mind, career, life direction, etc. the smoother the road becomes. I also try to release control as much as I can and allow life to unfold as it will (kind of tough for a recovering perfectionist).
It’s really only by experimenting and trying out different things that we learn what is and isn’t meant for us and can potentially move closer to living more fulfilling, passion-fueled lives.
Alright – so let’s talk business. What else should we know about you and your career so far?
I have two businesses, I focus my time and efforts on: AH+M Strategic Consulting, my marketing consulting business and Ashley Marand Health, my health and wellness blog.
At AH+M Strategic Consulting, I guide and advise brands, businesses and personalities in the health and wellness space on various areas of marketing from integrative programs, to web design, email campaigns, social media, influencer relations – you name it!
At Ashley Marand Health, I lean on my personal experiences and professional certificates in yoga, nutrition and reiki to create content that helps my community become the best versions of themselves. Together, we explore a variety of topics from fitness and nutrition to self-care, spirituality and conscious living. My goal is to help guide as many people as I can to living a blissfully intuitive life by pairing practical science with everyday magic. Wellness isn’t about infrared saunas, luxury workouts or high-end organic foods (although I love all of those things), it’s about learning how to incorporate and adopt simple, daily practices that leave you feeling radiant and joyful. It’s about finding sustainable, balanced practices that work for your body, your lifestyle and most importantly, you.
I think what sets me apart, and what I’m most proud of, in both of my businesses is how I authentically and unapologetically show up as myself every day. I think oftentimes in the digital and social media space, interactions can lose their “human” factor. But, through both my work and how I engage with my blog community, I strive to inspire genuine, human connection.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Two of my strongest qualities are my resourcefulness and resilience.
In my opinion, if you want to be an entrepreneur, there are a lot of desirable, key qualities you should have, but above all else, I think at the end of the day you have to have the ability to just buckle down and figure things out. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t seek mentors, ask for help, or delegate work. But, anytime I have been faced with a challenge or a difficult situation, instead of asking myself “why is this happening to me”? I ask: “how can I get through this?” or “how can I find a solution?”.
You have to be willing to be the hardest working person in the room.
- Website: www.ashleymarandhealth.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/ashleymarandhealth
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/ashleymarandhealth
The following photos should be credited to @maryjoeweichel:
“Ashley Marand Iwanicki”
“Ashley Marand Iwanicki – 5”