Penelope Tiam-Fook, Founder of Tiam Wellness (formerly Embrace Organica)
(BSO’s Interview with Penelope is 👇👇👇 her bio)
Penelope Tiam-Fook’s Biography
Hello, I’m Penelope Tiam-Fook. I am a Holistic Wellness Coach and Functional Lifestyle Practitioner, and the founder of Tiam Wellness, formerly known as Embrace Organica.
What led me to become a wellness coach was my struggle to get my hormones back into balance after my pregnancy, dealing with adrenal fatigue and burnout from lack of sleep, and managing a demanding career while being a new mom that required a lot of travel.
I was exhausted and stressed-out with no recovery in site. My symptoms such as blinding headaches, surviving on coffee, and being unable to lose weight to feel like myself again really took a toll on the quality of my life.
I remember feeling underappreciated for the work I accomplished at the office, guilty that someone else was raising my child while I traveled for work, and exhausted to really enjoy motherhood as I envisioned.
Then, I discovered wellness coaching, a 360 perspective of living a better life, and studied functional nutrition from the viewpoint that what you put into your body affects how your body functions. It was during my journey of awakening to these two approaches to health and wellness that I decided to try a holistic approach to turn my symptoms around. To my surprise, it worked!
My symptoms disappeared, and I started losing that stubborn weight around my midsection and thighs. I began to feel like myself again.
I realized then that lifestyle wellness coaching was my life’s calling, and now I specialize in helping women go from being stressed out, exhausted, and unhappy with their weight to feeling like themselves again. If you’re interested in learning how I work with women to help them love their body and lives again, I would love to schedule a time to speak with you about how I can help you achieve your own wellness goals.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW
BSO: Tell us about the inception of your business.
I have always been interested health and wellness.
Growing up, I wanted to be a doctor. I remember my mom taking me, when I was a little girl, to visit a friend or family member who was in hospital. I remembered thinking how rewarding it would be to help someone get better to regain their independence. That dream got diverted in college when physics became my roadblock. I worked my way through undergraduate and graduate school, got married, then divorced while working in administrative healthcare-related jobs. Later, I worked for a national non-profit as an advocate and program director for moms and babies.
It wasn’t until a couple years after my daughter was born, that I found myself struggling with major burnout, traveling a lot for work, and dealing with postpartum recovery that wasn’t going so well. Thanks to following my intuition, I left the nonprofit world to become a stay at home mom for a while. It was during that time at home, caring for my daughter who had some health challenges at the time, that I became determined to find non-medicated ways to heal my body and rebalance my hormones. That one decision began my journey as a holistic wellness coach and functional lifestyle practitioner.
BSO: There is no typical day in the life of an entrepreneur. Share with us your a.m. to p.m.
I believe that it’s important to live what you preach at a foundational level.
In the mornings, I like to start my day with morning prayer. Some days, I may have 5 minutes to do so, but I average 15 minutes as this centers my thoughts for the day. I do either yoga or active and restorative stretching. This helps with pain management to minimize muscles spasms, particularly in my neck and shoulders. I drink a glass of warm lemon water or celery juice. If school is in session, I make my daughter breakfast, then prepare and pack her meals for school. Once she is off to school, I will eat breakfast. If I have time to workout in the morning, I’ll do that first then eat breakfast within 45 minutes of that workout. The rest of my day starts from there.
My evening routine varies depending on what’s on the schedule. I prefer to have dinner between 5 and 6 pm, but that is often not realistic in my home due to our schedules. So, we strive for 7 pm. If the weather is nice, my family and I will take a walk with our dog. Sometimes, we may watch a movie together if time permits. Often, however, we relax for at least 30 minutes before prepping for the next day.
BSO: What are your ‘can’t live without’ software applications?
Microsoft Word, Keep and Memo for notes, Google calendar and Gmail, Practice Better
BSO: What was the best advice you received when you started your business?
Be true to your story; find your voice, and genuinely be of service to your tribe while maintaining boundaries around the rest of your life.
BSO: What has been your strategy for building awareness of your business?
I’ve learned that getting to know your audience and who they are is key to how you run your business.
I’ve began with local networking, then I began testing out my market using a FB page when that was a new thing to do. When live video came on the scene on FB, I began doing live video to build the know, like and trust factor with my followers. I’m a behind-the-scenes type of person, so that was a major challenge for me. Early on, I also had practice clients so that I could build confidence in my coaching and practitioner skills. In the past year or two, as I refine my niche and who I want to serve, I’ve been testing my audience on Instagram. When school starts back for my daughter, I will visit some local business groups get to know more women locally, make connections as I’d like to do some workshops, and build a word-of-mouth referral network locally. I think this will also help with my online presence as I would like to have a virtual practice as well.
BSO: What are your proudest achievements, professional & personal?
In my personal life, that would be becoming a mom. Bringing another human being into this world…what an amazing thing to do! There is no manual. I am in awe of God’s work and the fact that He blessed me to be a parent. It’s not an easy job, but one that is very worth it.
Professionally, that may be a tough question as my career has mainly been working as part of teams. From a big picture perspective, I would say its having had the opportunity to work with a variety of moms and dads, community organizations, NICUs, and business owners who care about the health of moms and babies, to protect programs and implement awareness campaigns to help parents-to-be have healthier babies, and moms to safely make it through their pregnancies. I, myself, went into preterm labor in my third trimester and had to be on bedrest for the duration of my pregnancy. At the time, I went from what felt like 100 to 0 miles per hour, so to speak, and that sort of change has a major affect on how you live your life every day, your social life, how you contribute to your family and society.
BSO: What are you currently reading?
I can’t seem to read one book at a time. Haha! I am currently reading, I, Eliza Hamilton by Susan Holloway Scott, and The Greenprint: Plant-based Diet, Best Body, Better World by Marco Borges
BSO: What are your most rewarding charitable involvements?
I’ve volunteered for a few different nonprofits and worked for a national nonprofit.
It was during my nonprofit career that I started a program called the NICU Holiday Donation Drive. This program was created for a few different reasons, one of them being that the staff at my office wanted a way to show that we cared about our community and were not just about raising money for the cause. We had a very good relationship with the NICU nurses and director and so I reached out to them to present my idea. Once they approved, I began working internally with staff, and board members to launch the program. We even had grandmothers making santa stockings to put the items collected into the stockings. Then on Christmas day, each family who had a baby in the NICU would be presented with a stocking, or if discharged in the month of December during the Christmas holiday. Every stocking presented was presented a surprise gift. It was our way of saying, “We see you. We empathized with what you’re going through, and we want you to know we care”. It was a small way of giving a family hope.
BSO: Who has influenced your career the most?
My parents always encouraged and reminded my siblings and I to choose a field of work that we are truly interested in, where we could mature and excel. They encouraged us to make a difference and to ignore the naysayers.
BSO: What is your advice for starting a business?
Taking the leap is not for the light-hearted person.
On your journey, you will encounter failure and mistakes.
Let that be your norm, not the exception.
Let go of comparison as it is the thief of joy. When you focus on your competition or what someone else is doing, you slow yourself down and can lose the energy and passion you brought to your business.
Mind your words and what you say about yourself to yourself, as well as what you to say and how you treat others and your customers. And remember, your business will change because of the lessons learned along the way. Change can be good if you let it so don’t sweat the small stuff.