Sample Interview with life and mindfulness coach, Annamarie Fernyak, founder of Mind Body Align.
Any woman thinking about finding their tribe, or seeking a community of like-minded women who are focused on living at their best in their careers and relationships, and those who are ready to live a healthy, purpose-filled, and joyful life will want to meet Annamarie Fernyak. Her new company, Mind Body Align, facilitates opportunities for women to gather in order to network, collaborate, nurture, and inspire.
Annamarie Fernyak, founder of Mind Body Align, talks about why she retired from her career at age 40 but then grew motivated to come out of retirement and start Mind Body Align, and her vision for the 21st century woman.
Q: Annamarie, thank you so much for taking the time to meet with me today. Are you comfortable with my starting right in with a question?
AMF: Yes, Absolutely!
Q: It seems like you are “in the news,” because things are happening. What are you doing now that is creating so much buzz?
AMF: I love that, “creating so much buzz.” Well, we are honoring, our mission to “collaborate and network in order to nurture and inspire.” I had a set-back last year when the building which was going to house the company Mind Body Align, became unavailable. After a short grieving period, I realized that this new development, which at first felt devastating, was actually an opportunity. The company is not about the cool space, although the new space, The Butterfly House, is amazing, it’s about facilitating authentic and empowering connections among women. We facilitate a Coffee Talk the last Wednesday of every month, at various locations, which highlights a theme and an amazing woman from the community. We also host a quarterly Wine and Align event which is strictly social – with wine, and we publish a collaborative blog, which provides our community’s women a forum to express their life experiences and share their wisdom.
Q: What motivated you to “come out of retirement” in order to start this new business?
AMF: I went into retirement in my early 40’s because I was bored, frustrated with my career, tired of feeling I didn’t have a voice in the community, and in general, physically unhealthy; stress and career dissatisfaction will do that to you. So I dropped out, literally dropped out. I quit my job, stopped going to community development meetings, and didn’t attend social functions; I hibernated for a while. Fortunately, I have a supportive husband, so my marriage remained strong. This period of hibernation allowed me the opportunity to figure things out. Things like, my wants, my life purpose, my legacy. How do I want my life to impact the world? It took a few years, but through practicing yoga and mindfulness, and with the support and wisdom of my husband and many, many amazing women, my life questions began to dissolve and be replaced by clarity and trust.
Q: Annamarie, forgive my being forward, however, this sounds a lot like a mid-life crisis; how is your experience different from that of anyone, myself included?
AMF: Ha, Ha…you nailed it! This is the motivation for Mind Body Align. My experience was what many of us experience at some time in life. I was fortunate enough to have the means and support to get me through this period; however, many women don’t have that support, or know where to find it, so I received my certification as a life coach and began coaching and teaching mindfulness. I give talks on meditation and mindfulness, and I offer tools that support personal growth and life resilience.
Q: If we agree that most of us experience a mid-life crisis of sorts, why are you focused only on women?
AMF: I get this question a lot, and the simple answer is that I’m a women; I know the language. “Women are from Mars, Men from Venus” make you laugh, but there is a lot of truth to that statement. My intention behind focusing on women is not to exclude men; it’s to give myself, Mind Body Align, permission to focus on women. It allows us to design our programs, networking events, and our facility in a way that feels safe and honors women.
Q: Yes… What about men? What if a man wants to participate?
AMF: There will be some events which men will be invited, and some which men won’t be invited. We have plans in the future to offer relationship and personal growth programs to men as well, and the facility itself, The Butterfly House, will be open to everyone.
Q: The Butterfly House, you have mentioned it a few times. What is The Butterfly House?
AMF: I love to talk about the Butterfly House. It’s a house in the middle of downtown Mansfield. It’s about 1600 square feet, so pretty small, that will be painted up like a painted lady. It will be the home of the company Mind Body Align, and possibly other start-up companies and small business entrepreneurs. The facility is intended to offer wellness practitioners and small business owners a place to work and meet. There will be two multi-use offices outfitted with technology including a color printer, monitor for streaming webinars and meetings, voice recording equipment, office supplies, and amenities for body workers including things like massage tables and bolsters. These two offices will be available for rent by the hour, half day and day. The Butterfly House will also have a yoga or workshop space that will accommodate approximately 12 – 20 people, a café and retail space, and a book loft for small meetings or co-working. There will be a really intimate gathering garden in the back of the house. Each of these areas will be available to rent, at a modest price, to the Mind Body Align member community, and will be utilized by Mind Body Align for company sponsored networking, education and community building activities.
Q: The Mind Body Align member community, are you going to be a “Members Only” organization?
AMF: Well, the answer is yes, and no. Many of the classes, workshops, and services offered at The Butterfly House will be open to anyone, members and non-members alike. The Butterfly House facility will be available to rent by Mind Body Align Members. This allows the company, Mind Body Align, the opportunity to nurture a community, as well as create a safe and structured environment for entrepreneurial growth. Becoming a member will also provide a variety of benefits and discounts, the details of which can be found on our web site. Some of the educational programs and wellness services will be offered by Mind Body Align Members at The Butterfly House, and some will be offered by Mind Body Align at the Butterfly House and other area locations. So, Mind Body Align is an entrepreneurial incubator of sorts, and The Butterfly House is the facility that will house the amazing wisdom, talent and heart of the programming offered by Mind Body Align and its member community.
Q: Yes, You have Mind Body Align, the company, and Mind Body Align members and both will utilize The Butterfly House to work and offer workshops and classes.
AMF: Perfect! You’ve got it!
Q: Who do you see as your target member?
AMF: All of the membership details are listed on the website, and to keep it simple, I would say we have three distinct types of members. The first, which is the basic membership, is the woman who wants to be part of the community to attend classes, special events and hang out socially at The Butterfly House. The second is the wellness practitioner, like a massage, reiki, or cranial sacral therapist, an acupuncturist, a life or health coach, mental health therapist or counselor, someone who teaches personal growth, physical health and wellness, yoga, meditation and mindfulness. This membership category will receive discounts on renting space, which will be a huge benefit. The third tier of membership is the most expensive, and of course, offers the most benefits. This is for the woman who is really devoted to personal growth. They are invested in attending classes, workshops and the annual retreat. This member may not have a small business of their own, however, they can see many ways they can use the space for their own book clubs, private women’s groups, and or friend gatherings, and think that the ability to rent the facility would be a huge benefit.
Q: So, Annamarie, how do you see Mind Body Align, and The Butterfly House helping women?
AMF: Ha, ha, you seem to be asking for my vision? Are you sure you’re prepared for the answer?
Q: Sure, hit me with it.
AMF: I feel like I need to use a metaphor in order to explain.
AMF: Imagine the current landscape is a landscape of dry grasses; in some areas there is sand where even the grass won’t grow. In this landscape, a few trees dotted here and there. Some of the trees have leaves, some flowers, some barren and close to death. Mind Body Align moves into this landscape. Its team builds a little house and digs a well; they see the beauty and possibility in this landscape. The Mind Body Align team begins to water – very carefully at first, and with great care, and over time, the almost-dead trees begin to sprout leaves, the trees with leaves begin to flower, and the flowering trees begin to send out seeds. The grasses in the field begin to turn green, and the seeds that have been spread begin to grow.
Well…you can see where this is going. Imagine that over time, there is a forest and a meadow with flowers, and bees and critters. Mind Body Align is now watering, with love and a great amount of care, as we build The Butterfly House. The women are here and they are ready, at first to receive what we have to offer, and then to give back, when they have flowered, in order to build an amazing community that far exceeds even what we can see in our dreams.
Q: You have an amazing vision, and I wish you the best. Thank you for your time.
AMF: Thank you so much! I appreciate that you are interested in Mind Body Align and The Butterfly House.
Q: How can people find out more if they are interested?
AMF: The best way to access the most up to date information is to check out our web site, MindBodyAlign.com. There is information on membership, events and classes, and our blog which features amazing stories by wise women. Sign up to receive our emails. We send out a newsletter once a month and weekly or bi-monthly blog posts.
# # # About the Founder: Annamarie Fernyak is a life and mindfulness coach living in Mansfield, Ohio, and the founder of Mind Body Align. In her past life she was an interior designer known for creating peaceful spaces. Annamarie has lots and lots of loves including husband and family, yoga, meditation, downtown Mansfield, reading, and kayaking. You can reach Annamarie directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.