To Top

Conversations with the Inspiring Elba Fernandez

Today we’d like to introduce you to Elba Fernandez.

Elba, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Thank you! I’m really excited to share my story with you guys. Yes, my name is Elba Fernández, and my story is all about challenging social conventions, believing in yourself, and chasing your dreams no matter what stage of your life you are.

About five years ago, I started the path to make very important changes in my life. Today I can say that my world and priorities have transformed completely. I am who I want to be, I do what I want to do, and I am where I want to be.

For more than 15 years, I worked in the Advertising Industry, marketing for big Ad agencies and clients in Madrid, London, New York, and Miami. I’m a hard worker who always strives for great work, which helped me grow in my career quickly. Career growth went hand-in-hand with more responsibility and money, of course, but also an exhausting life that was built merely around my job, with little time for myself.

As my responsibilities increased, so did my stress levels. My time to exercise, enjoy life with friends and family was almost null, and my eating habits and overall health were in detriment.

I became really unhappy and started to question myself whether all that was worthy.

The answer was a clear and loud “NO”.

A few years earlier, I had learned the most important lesson in my life, one that, in the end, became the main drive for me to seek a change. As fate would have it, I witnessed both the terrorist attacks of New York (2001) and London (2005). Through the chaos, impotence, and fear I learned that life is too valuable to waste it by being unhappy and unhealthy, doing things we don’t like, or being with people who don’t make us happy.

Yes, it took me about 10 years to realize the incongruity of my own life, but then, I decided it wasn’t too late to change it. There was one thing I knew for sure: the change was not going to come to me miraculously, I needed to take action.

I quit my Advertising job to go back to school and educate myself on what I loved the most: health and wellness. I’ve now started a new career and business that I’m passionate about.

Furthermore, I’ve learned how to listen and nurture my body in ways I had never thought of before. Most importantly, by implementing easy healthy eating and lifestyle habits, I started to experience the long term positive results. I turned 40 this year and I feel healthier and more energized than I have ever felt before!

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
No, it wasn’t a smooth road of course. My inner voice had the answer to the question I kept asking myself for years but I was initially not ready to listen to it. Social conventions, family and friend’s expectations… even what I thought were my own expectations! They all were a huge barrier for my change. Leaving a Director level position, at one of the best Ad Agencies in the World, after a 15 years career was seen as a “professional suicide” 😉

This is when I thought the experiences from the two terrorist attacks I witnessed had a message for me: “life is too short to live it being unhappy or doing things that don’t fill you”. Yes, I wanted to quit a career that gave me a lot and through which I traveled and learned from incredible people. BUT that was NOT the end of my life and, luckily, I was still alive and free to start over and try other things…Who said I couldn’t?

My learnings and recommendations for you if you are also seeking for a change:

  1. Stop the hectic lifestyle, breath life and get to connect with yourself. The first and most important step in my journey was to spend time alone with myself. I had spent so many years working 10-12 hours a day and being stressed that I didn’t even know what made me happy.
  2. Believe in yourself and never give up. Don’t listen to those who say “this is impossible” or “that is too difficult”. You are capable of achieving everything you want if you really want it.
  3. Make sure you have a clear goal and start taking little steps, big or small it doesn’t matter as long as it’s towards that goal.
  4. Celebrate victories and learn from failures. Both are an important part of the process.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the story. Tell us more about the business.
As a Holistic Health Coach, I practice a holistic approach to health and wellness, which means that I look at how all areas someone’s life connect. Relationships, exercise, career, and spirituality are just as important to your health as the food you eat. Your mind and body are physically connected, one can’t work without the other and that is why it’s extremely important they are in sync.

I recognize we are all unique individuals with unique food and lifestyle needs. Our genetics, the place we live, our body needs and our goals in life are very different; therefore there isn’t a single solution that works for everyone. What works for me may not work for others.

I believe in the importance of eating for nourishment (not just to satisfy hunger) to stay healthy and prevent disease. When we fuel our bodies with the best foods and nutrients, we nourish ourselves from the inside out: we have more energy, feel happier, control weight, our skin glows…

We can’t control aging, but with a healthy lifestyle, we can control how we age.

My education now includes:

– Certified Holistic Health Coach by the Institute for Integrative Nutrition®.

– Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate by the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and eCornell.

– Masters Degree in Naturopathy Science by FUNIBER (in progress).

I do one-to-one coaching sessions and also partner with a healthy cooking chef to organize monthly classes in Miami where we teach how to buy healthy, the importance of doing so, how to read nutritional labels, etc. and then we all cook healthy dishes together.

What do you feel are the biggest barriers today to female leadership, in your industry or generally?
Luckily, I don’t think there are barriers for us women anymore. Maternity and family could be the only thing, perhaps, that still represents an emotional disadvantage for us, but I do believe modern couples should be able to share family responsibilities.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Andres Patiño Photographer

Suggest a story: VoyageMIA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in