There was a point in her life that Joanna emotionally and physically hit a wall. Traveling four times a week for her high-pressure corporate job and in the middle of planning her wedding, she found herself barely sleeping, getting sick often, and in an overall unhealthy state. “I wasn’t taking care of myself, and I felt totally maxed out,” Joanna says. “My stress was through the roof, and I just felt like there was no way to balance it all. That’s when I knew I had to make a big change.”
This need for change led her to explore things she’d always been interested in, like meditation, yoga, nutrition, and coaching/consulting. So she began to immerse herself in health blogs, books, and magazines. It wasn’t until she became certified in plant-based nutrition, integrative health coaching, and yoga nidra (a type of meditation which means “yogic sleep”), that she began to feel much more balanced, even amidst the busyness of the day-to-day.
In 2015, Joanna founded Wandering Wellness, a Washington, D.C.-based lifestyle and health consulting business dedicated to helping busy people find peace of mind and body. “It’s so interesting when your passion becomes your day job,” said Joanna, who is also the CEO. “It’s an incredible feeling—things just click into place in a way that feels right. I feel like the stars have aligned for this.” In her role as a wellness consultant, every day is a bit different. She works with clients one-on-one in person and via phone, teaches easy-guided meditation, cooks and experiments with healthy recipes and in-season ingredients, and blogs about her successes and experiences. “It’s been incredible to see the changes in people’s lives,” she said. “Even weeks or months after we’ve worked together, I’ll get notes or emails from former clients sharing an anecdote or a healthy recipe, or thanking me for some small inspiration they still utilize in their lives. It’s such an honor.”
Joanna earned her bachelor’s degree in English and art history from the University of Virginia. She currently lives in D.C. with her husband, Taylor, who is also a 2005 SSSAS graduate. Joanna’s brothers Ken ’90, Jeff ’95, and Joe ’07 are SSSAS alumni, too. She has kept in touch with many classmates throughout the years and cherishes the faculty, who made a lasting impression on her. “Many teachers at SSSAS impacted my journey to where I am today,” she said. “I’ve learned so much from them and my friends at SSSAS, and I really treasure the memories made. It is a special place!”
Next Joanna plans to expand her business to include cooking classes at a kitchen store on Capitol Hill and additional corporate wellness workshops. “The path certainly hasn’t been a straight line; I still sometimes feel like I have to pinch myself when I realize that I’m teaching meditation, healthier habits, and wellness workshops as my profession because I enjoy it so much. I’m just trying to embrace and roll with it all,” Joanna said. “I’m so very grateful.”