When Marie Frohlich, CCAS BA ’85, studied anthropology at GW, she didn’t know she’d one day be a holisitic health coach, collaborating with both individuals and organizations that seek sustainable wellness solutions.
But as Frohlich explains, “anthropology is the study of man, and GW’s program was grounding and broad. I still marvel at the amazing classes I was able to take.”
Read on to learn about Frohlich’s journey from anthropology major to health coach entrepreneur:
GW: What drew you to studying Anthropology at GW?
MF: It actually started digging for old bottles with an 80 year old neighbor back in the hollows of Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia and took a big leap when I was working with my uncle for several seasons on a biblical archeology dig near the Dead Sea in Jordan. It was an amazing journey and exploration, building passion for learning more about how man evolved to the civilization we know today.
GW: What do you love about being holistic health coach?
MF: We are all seeking balance in our lives. Knowledge is power. Knowledge about food as medicine and a chance to reflect on how we are feeding ourselves not only through food, but also through our work, our relationships our environment and our thoughts honors the individual as a unique bio-individual and the work culture as a unique entity with their own special needs.
No one method or diet works for everyone anymore. I hold the space for this reflection and provide the recipes, food samples, recipe demonstrations, research and resources that meet personal and organizational culture needs. It all starts with my client’s goals to improve their own health. My goal is to add new exploratory information in so the not-so-good stuff just falls off and away.
I love providing workshops and hands-on learning as well as working with individuals on the phone. A six-month commitment of two one-hour sessions per month can mean a life-style change for years to come. I also work with a Vital Wellness Team at the Coaching Center of Vermont that brings in meditation, gardening, and energy work for workplace wellness. As an herbalist, I complement my practice with healing spices and herbs for winter health and reducing stress.
GW: What has been the most challenging aspect of this career? The most rewarding?
MF: Great question. The most challenging has been the self-employment aspect of running my own business: marketing, networking virtually and in person and thinking about new ways to inspire and engage friends, family, community, colleagues and the world. But self-employment has also been the most rewarding aspect of my career. In addition to the joy and gratitude of helping others feel better and find that “aha” moment, I also find self-employment rewarding because it challenges my imagination and my creativity and has me working in many different circles and silos of people and cultures that inspire and engage me to learn more, create more ways to share what I learn and be more grounded in that knowledge.
GW: How did choosing GW affect your career?
MF: GW offers such a great environment for learning because it draws people from all over the world in a city that has the Library of Congress (which I will never forget) and a huge wealth of resources to compliment any area of study. I think the impact of my time at GW paved the way to be comfortable with diversity, fear – less in an increasingly fear mongering world and supported a world view that embraced eco-system thinking (yes, holistic) and an open heart and mind for integrative pursuits.
GW: What advice do you have for aspiring health/wellness coaches, or for anthropology majors?
MF: Anthropology Majors: Think outside the box. Consider what other areas of study can compliment and infuse the cross-disciplinary and integrative work that will provide a broader base for your work and ultimately make you much more employable. It was important for me to “dig” deeper into what a degree in this fascinating field could teach me. I combined my anthropology major with a minor in geography to marry the tools of technology with the study of man and his footprint on the world culturally, physically and spiritually. Having the opportunity to study Tibetan Medicine in the school of medicine with doctors was also a part of this approach.
Aspiring Health and Wellness Coaches: Data abounds for the need to bring health and wellness coaches into the workplace. Stress factors due to today’s competitive and global economy have American workers working longer hours for the same or less pay than they would have made 20 years ago. Chronic disease is rampant and doctors are not trained in nutrition, they need prevention and health coaching support for their patients. Getting to a culture of health in any organization will be essential to the bottom line and to our future economy and spirit. I am happy to chat with anyone interested in this area of study.