MY NAME IS
AND THIS IS MY STORY…
CEO, healthcare industry
I’m 100 percent confident this program gave me the courage to step into something bigger—a CEO role—where I can have more of an impact. Not only did I gain the tools to navigate a big job, but I also gained the confidence to do so.
Hard-driving. Fast-paced. First one in the office, and last one to leave. 80-hour weeks. Like many women, this was Maria’s perception of a leader.
“You had to push hard and drive really hard or you would not get outcomes or success,” she says of her 25 years of experience working in the healthcare industry. “We’re taught what a leader should look like, and it’s often modeled after men.”
Following this leadership archetype left Maria mentally and physically exhausted, in a constant state of overwhelm, and worried that she’d have a major health scare. Stress depleted her energy, left her restless, and put her health and wellbeing on the backburner.
“I was exhausted and on edge. I contained it well at work, but come the weekend, my partner and daughter felt it,” says Maria. “I was so tired and lacked motivation for anything else…even things that I found enjoyable.”
And it was an endless cycle. But seeing Julie’s Awaken Your Life ad about burnout and high-achieving women inspired her to make a change.
“It felt like Julie was talking about me specifically,” says Maria. “I asked, ‘How does this woman know my story without even knowing me?’”
After Maria’s first client session, she was confident she made the right decision joining AYL. She says there were two moments that most impacted her.
“First, on my first call, Julie shared that there were fires near her home, she was under the threat of evacuation, and her little one was sick. She shared her genuine feelings, and her vulnerability and authenticity as a leader spoke volumes about what a safe space this program is. It gives you permission to be just as vulnerable.”
Maria adds: “Secondly, hearing the clients’ end-of-program reflections and celebrations were absolutely beautiful, compelling, and inspiring. You heard stories about women making huge life and career shifts, finding clarity, and achieving their dreams.”
Maria set out goals to feel fulfilled by her work and to reclaim her energy, health, time, presence, and peace.
Since graduating the AYL program, Maria has relocated and accepted a new job as CEO (she was previously a senior healthcare executive) and is proudly championing feminine leadership and work-life balance.
“I’m 100 percent confident this program gave me the courage to step into something bigger where I can have more of an impact,” says Maria. “Not only did I gain the tools to navigate a big job, but I also gained the confidence to do so. I will not play small.”
She adds: “I’ve learned, it’s OK to be a woman and really lean into all the beauty and power of a feminine leader, both fierce and nurturing, and it’s helped me bring my genuine self to my team as a person and a leader. It’s beautiful to see it unfold, and I’ve received positive feedback from employees that further validates this is the way I should lead. I love my job.”
As Maria redefines and models leadership, she’s focused on committing to growth, thriving, and succeeding by investing in each employee and ensuring they feel fulfilled and empowered to contribute, grow, and execute.
“I need to feel restored and come from a place of energy to do that,” she says. “I allow myself to live and not work all the time. I’ve stepped into a bigger role but don’t hesitate to take time for myself, my family, or my wellbeing. I want the people in my charge to grow and learn this as well.”
Maria cites AYL’s foundation of holistic wellness education that tackles each layer of burnout—mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, social, and occupational wellbeing—and feminine leadership training to be integral to her success.
“I loved tapping into different schools of thought, from understanding the physiology of stress and how to rewire neural pathways—really tangible scientific elements—to the embodiment of what we’re experiencing and how it impacts our bodies.”
She proudly leverages program tools such as stress-reducing breathwork, boundary-setting prompts, and guided meditation to help ground her so she can identify and address burnout patterns and pitfalls.
“What was most powerful to me early in the program was understanding the power pitfalls—it was eye opening,” says Maria. “You get to learn how your patterns developed, recognize that they are repeating patterns, and look at yourself, what you’re doing, how you contribute, how you respond, and why. Now, I am rewiring my pitfalls and ingrained patterns one day and one situation at a time.”
Today, Maria describes herself as calm, confident, powerful, adventurous, playful, and carefree.
If you’re on the fence, trust your gut that you’re where you need to be, and really lean into this. Trust like you haven’t trusted before, and lean into this program and the support of the amazing women around you. You will see the outcomes you’re looking for