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Hidden Gems: Meet Emily Wilkins of The Shades of Wellness

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I always dreamed about being in the healthcare field. I just knew I would manage my own health and wellness company someday by aiding individuals on how become the best version of themselves through healthy living. Ultimately, I found a sense of peace and gratification when I chose to help individuals through their lowest moments especially those who looked like me. Additionally, I come from a long family history of chronic disease such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and more. So, it was imperative to me that I not only beat the odds but make a difference but make a difference in the African-American community. However, at the age of 17 years old, I was diagnosed with two life-changing autoimmune disorders, Lupus and Sjogren’s. Both also categorized as chronic conditions, my passion for making a difference only became stronger. Shortly, after being diagnosed I  experienced discrimination that many African-Americans and minorities face in our flawed healthcare system. I then knew my passion was deeper than just a passion, it was God preparing me to serve in my purpose. African-American women like myself are often silenced or discredited when expressing their emotions concerning their health concerns. My passion for healthcare, improving the disparities in women of color in it, and making a positive impact in my community led me to establish the health and wellness platform… The Shades of Wellness, a one-stop-shop for women of color to improve their overall health.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
To be honest, no, it hasn’t. After being diagnosed with lupus and Sjogren’s, I developed anxiety and depression. I had to make so many life changes due to my condition that caused fear and doubt. I doubted myself a lot and questioned God. Like who me? You want me to lead this walk? And the question was yes, he did! It was tough. Having an idea is just the first step of moving towards your purpose… You have many more steps to go. It requires a lot of praying, self-discipline, affirmations, planning, planning again, failing, finding the courage to try again, research, etc. My biggest challenge of it all was sharing my vision that God instilled in me to others… Big mistake! Their feedback was sometimes more discouraging than helpful. I learned when you have a vision or idea from God, it’s from him to you only. So don’t be discouraged if not everyone agrees with your purpose, just keep moving forward. Learn to decipher constructive criticism from people that don’t want to see you win.

We’ve been impressed with The Shades of Wellness, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
At Shades of Wellness, we are committed to providing holistic health and wellness services that coach, educate, provide resources, and rebuild the patient-to-physician relationship. We unite women to openly discuss issues often swept under the table, and we empower them to take charge of their health, despite the existing barriers to a longer lifespan. Ultimately, we seek to help women adopt healthier lifestyles. At SoW, our mission is to help women of color adopt healthier lifestyles. We do this by curating spaces to connect with one another and through health and wellness services, community partnerships, evidence-based prevention strategies, advocacy, and health education. We focus on the mind, body, and spirit.

This enables us to integrate health, fitness, and wellness practices to improve the quality of life, including preventing diseases and assisting in aiding ongoing health conditions in our community. We offer women health and wellness coaching, cooking and fitness classes, in-person and virtual wellness seminars, nutrition support, and meditation exercises. The biggest take away is we offer an exclusive network for women seeking a healthcare provider to meet their needs. Moreover, we create a space for women to connect, share their experiences, and help uplift others.

We’re always looking for the lessons that can be learned in any situation, including tragic ones like the Covid-19 crisis. Are there any lessons you’ve learned that you can share?
Life is inherently risky. There’s only one big risk you should avoid at all cost, and that’s the risk of doing nothing – Denis Waitley.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Photographer: SnapsbyAsh_ Ashley Jean Hair stylist: @Tbanksthehairsaint Thaddeus Banks Makeup: @Makeupwithmiki Michelle Moore

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