High Tech Marketing to Nutrition Coaching During Divorce with Suzy Wood | Ep #109
Listen in as Shannon sits down with Suzy Wood, a former high tech marketing executive who uncovered her second act career while going through a divorce. Suzy went back to school to study intuitive nutrition and discovered that prioritizing health during a traumatic experience like a divorce is critical. Suzy launched her business True Wellness Within and she now coaches clients on how to stay healthy physically, mentally, and emotionally while going through divorce. She shares her story and her personal struggles and offer advice on how to navigate a second act career while maintaining health and happiness. Join Shannon and Suzy for this conversation on episode #109 of the Second Act Success Career Podcast.
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Second Act Success Career Podcast
Season 1 - High Tech Marketing to Nutrition Coaching During Divorce
Episode - #109
Host: Shannon Russell
Guest: Suzy Wood
Transcription (*created by Descript and may not be perfectly accurate)
[00:00:00] Suzy Wood: I was about seven and a half months pregnant. And then one day they called me in and said, sorry, we no longer need you.
About a week or so later, I went to return some things that I had at home from the company.
And I noticed that there was a 30 year old man sitting at my desk with the same exact title and I. Almost fell over. I did sue them and I did actually win.
[00:00:20] Suzy Wood: you know, That really left a big scar It really affected my confidence. I just couldn't understand how this could happen.
[00:01:00] Shannon Russell: Welcome back to the podcast. My friend, I am Shannon Russell, and I am joined today by my guest, Suzy Wood. Suzy has an incredible story to share with lots of highs and lows in her career. Susie began her career in high tech marketing. She worked for software companies until one day she was laid off while pregnant. Well, she sued the company, ended up getting her job back and said, no, thank you. After taking some time off, moving to Europe, coming back to the states. Susie found herself getting divorced. It was quite a toll, but she managed to shift that experience into her second act career.
She went back to school and became an integrative nutrition, health coach. She now runs an amazing company, helping other people keep up their health and work on their nutrition while they're going through divorce. Let's get into it because Suzy has so much to share with you. This is my interview with [00:02:00] Suzy wood.
[00:02:01] Shannon Russell: All right. I'm here with Suzy Wood. Suzy, welcome to Second Act
[00:02:05] Suzy Wood: Success. Hi. Thanks so much, Shannon.
[00:02:08] Shannon Russell: Why don't you start by telling us where your career
[00:02:10] Suzy Wood: began? Sure. So I graduated from college with a major in economics and a minor in legal studies, and it was a really tough economy.
I remember graduating and all my friends were either gonna graduate school or. Really not having jobs because there really weren't too many jobs out there. but I ended up landing something in international marketing, which was really exciting. I worked for a software company and I loved it.
And from there just sort of went from a few different jobs, with public relations, and, in-house and also, working for PR agencies, all relating to the high tech and software industry.
And this was kind of back in the.com days. I'm definitely dating myself, but it gave me the opportunity to move around the country. I'm originally from New York and I had the opportunity. To go to San Francisco [00:03:00] right at the height of the.com phase, which was fantastic. And then I also went to North Carolina and worked in Research Triangle Park, and then came back to New York.
So that was kind of the beginning of my, my high tech marketing career. And then it, it sort of changed from there.
[00:03:16] Shannon Russell: So many people graduate from college with one degree and end up in a different field, haphazardly or however it happens. But you enjoyed it. You enjoyed what you were doing every day.
[00:03:25] Suzy Wood: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, it was really exciting. Especially at that time, like everything technology was just taking off. So it was just like the wild West and especially going out to San Francisco and having new clients, it was just, nobody had ever done anything like this before. So, it was very exciting.
And there were some great launch parties. I, yeah, I worked with companies that, I don't mean, I don't know if they're really, some of them don't exist anymore, but at the time, you know, like I was even on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, taking some of them public. I did marketing and what I liked about it was I took the technology and I was kind of able to [00:04:00] translate it into regular people language.
Explained really technical things and you know, put out a press release. You have to. Have it so journalists understand whoever's reading those publications understand. So I really liked that, that aspect and pitching stories to journalists. So it was fun.
[00:04:17] Shannon Russell: So then what made you kind of step out of that industry?
'cause that's not what you do
[00:04:21] Suzy Wood: today. Right. So I had, an unfortunate incident happen actually. So the last job that I had been working in, I was working for a software company and I was about seven and a half months pregnant. And, everything had been going really well. I'd been with them for two years.
I had gotten promoted, I had gotten some bonuses, like it was great. And then one day they called me in and said, sorry, we no longer need you. And I was like, oh my gosh. I'm. Seven and a half months pregnant. And, so I was absolutely shocked because everything had been going very, very well up until that point.
Never had any negative reports or demerits or [00:05:00] anything at all. And then, you know, so I was really upset. It was first time that anything like that had happened. Happened to me and I was pregnant, so of course very, emotional state of my life anyway. And so I went about a week or so later, I went to return some things that I had at home from the company.
And I noticed that there was a 30 year old man sitting at my desk with the same exact title and I. Almost fell over. And so I had contacted a few people and they were like, this is really inappropriate. And so I had to get a legal team involved. And I did sue them and I did actually win.
And they had offered me my job back. Of course, at that point I was, now, it took about a month or so. I mean, I was literally like eight and a half months pregnant at this point. I was obviously gonna go on maternity leave. And the last thing I wanted to do was go back to that job.
So, so I ended up not going back and I had my family ended up, moving abroad, with my husband's job at the time, and, uh, ended up having another child. But, you know, that really left a big scar for [00:06:00] me. It really affected my confidence. I kind of lost my faith in humanity. you know, I just couldn't understand how this could happen.
That you could fire a pregnant woman, and it turns out you can't because they, they had to give me my job back in the end. That was sort of how I quote won the case. Didn't really make me feel any better though. So it was, it was a shocking thing. So I took a long pause to raise my kids. I was living in England for about 11 years.
and then when I returned, then I, that's sort of when I, I pivoted to other, other things.
[00:06:29] Shannon Russell: That is a crazy, crazy turn of events to make you really rethink your entire career. At that point, I don't understand how you winning and they say, oh, you can have your job back now. Are you happy? Like, why would you wanna go back and work with them?
[00:06:47] Suzy Wood: Exactly, but that, I don't know if things have changed, at the time that's what the law was all the way up to the Supreme Court. And that, was sort of the, okay, we made a mistake, but we're gonna make it better and rectify it. So [00:07:00] we'll give you your job act that's somehow supposed to make it all, even, which obviously we know is really not the case.
So, and it was a very small company, like they were progressive and they just, you know, they said, well, we have to, you know, We have to save money, and unfortunately, your job is the one that we're cutting and, but then you can't replace, if you're cutting it, then you can't replace it with somebody, especially a man Yeah.
Who can't get pregnant, you know? Right. That's big. No, no. Mm-hmm. Yeah. So that was, it was just very hurtful and, and upsetting. So, and then my life took a different turn of events though because I, I was raising my kids and I lived abroad. Yeah. So,
[00:07:34] Shannon Russell: so props to you for taking it to court and proving, for other women that this is not right.
That company is obviously would never do that again after that. So there was a lesson learned for them and, and I think it allowed you to move abroad you don't know what that, Succession of events would've been, if you still had this job, who knows what would've
[00:07:54] Suzy Wood: happened?
Yeah. I don't, I, I can't even predict what would happen. Oh,
[00:07:59] Shannon Russell: so you go to England, [00:08:00] you have this adventure. You raise your kids, you take time off from work, and I'm sure during that time you're really, finding yourself and trying to figure out who you are. Hopefully healing from that, that incident.
And then what happens? You end up back in the states and you decide to go back into the
[00:08:17] Suzy Wood: workforce. So I moved back and I had always been interested in nutrition and living a healthy lifestyle that even actually in college, I had taken a nutrition course and it was my favorite course.
Why I did not study something like that. I don't know. I thought it would do better with economics degree. It was always in the back of my mind and, , just always tried to eat healthy.
Um, you know, I mean, I made sure I exercised and ate really well. And, you know, do things so I could live a healthy life.
And when I moved back to the States, I ended up getting divorced. Which was an awful experience. It was terrible, but it did end up leading to a whole other career path. And it was, Just around the time. And as we were finalizing everything covid [00:09:00] happened and I thought, well, I'm going to,, you know, use this time to reeducate.
And so I went back to school and I did an online program. And I became an integrative nutrition health coach. And now I actually work with newly single people on getting control of their life after the stress of divorce. And I help them with reducing their stress.
Getting control of their life, finding more balance and just increasing their energy all around just so that they can feel better, they can use their, this situation that they've been in that, is very stressful. They can use it as a launching pad so that they can build their best life going forward.
Everybody deserves to live a wonderful life, and just because you've been through a divorce doesn't mean that that's not possible for you. So I, I work with them to help them, you know, recover from that trauma move on. And really get control of their lives again.
[00:09:50] Shannon Russell: Oh, Susie, what a resource you are to these other women.
Do you focus on just women or is it women and men?
[00:09:56] Suzy Wood: Most of my clients are women. I do have a, I have a Facebook [00:10:00] group, that's a support group, called the Divorce Detox, and they're men and women in there. And I also do some events, in person and men and women come to those. So, most of my clients do tend to be women.
Maybe they just relate to me more, or women like to connect in that way. And often women are the ones who seek out help a little bit more than men. But of course, I'm happy to work with men as well.
[00:10:20] Shannon Russell: Well that is really just fantastic that you took this event in your life and what you were going through and realized, what you were going through could really help others. And to pivot and put that all together in a new career path is really, inspiring.
[00:10:37] Suzy Wood: It's so easy to go down a very slippery slope in the wrong direction when you're going through a traumatic event, whether it's, you know, a death of a spouse or divorce or some other traumatic event in our lives, that's when we are most vulnerable and we go for all those foods that really don't serve us very well.
You know, the salty, the sweet, the, the comfort foods, those high carb foods, maybe even alcohol. And, and [00:11:00] it just plays with everything that's going on in your body, your metabolism, your sleep, it's already disrupted. It's already at a kind of a heightened, you know, point. And now we're just adding fuel to the fire.
So when you're going through a traumatic event, it's even more important than ever to look at how you can find calming techniques, eat properly. Stay hydrated. They're really simple things, but your mind isn't where it normally would be, and it's really hard to think about all those things.
So when I work with people who are at the beginning or early stages of their divorce, it's really just about maintenance. Just try to dece your diet, eat clean ingredients. You should be able to pronounce everything that you're eating. So if it's a packaged item, flip that box over. And if you can't pronounce the stuff, put it back.
Shop the perimeter of the supermarket and eat all the fresh foods, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, lean, protein. I have three rules with food. They should, food should stand on the ground, come from the ground, or swim in the water. [00:12:00] This is assuming that you eat meats and meat and, and seafood.
But you know, fruits and vegetables come from the ground. And nuts and seeds come from the ground. Legumes come from the ground. Proteins stand on the ground, you know, think of beef and, and chicken seafood swims in the water. Right? So those are basically the principles of what the foods we should be eating.
And we shouldn't be having these chemical ingredients because it really plays with our mood. And, you know, mood affects your food and your food affects your mood. Mm-hmm. It goes both ways. And we get into these cycles when we're in a bad mood. We end up eating wrong foods, and when we eat the wrong foods, we're in a bad mood.
So we gotta try to break that cycle. so when you're going through a a stressful event, it's really important to look after yourself. And that's really the, the essence of integrative nutrition is looking at lifestyle factors as well as the foods that we eat, because you can't have one without the other.
You can eat salads from morning till night. It doesn't mean you're going to be healthy if your career is not good, if your relationships are not where they need to be, if your health isn't right, [00:13:00] if you don't have social life, joy, creativity, spirituality, your home environment, all these kinds of life factors need to really be in balance in order for us to really lead a healthy life.
Because when they're out of balance, that's when we have cravings. As I was saying, that slippery slope, if you're in a bad place with your relationship, the first thing you're gonna be doing is probably going for those unhealthy comfort foods or the sweet and salty, foods because , you're just so much more tempted to do that because you're in a bad, emotional and mental state.
[00:13:34] Shannon Russell: I can totally see how you just go down that spiral of what can I control? Okay. I can control what I'm consuming.
[00:13:40] Suzy Wood: I tell my clients, you know, if you're soon to be ex or your ex does something bad, you know wrong to you, you know, fight back with a salad.
Yeah. Right. I mean, do something good for yourself. Like they didn't. Pick the kids up when they were supposed to, or they didn't pay you the money that they were supposed to. You know what, instead of, being angry and going diving into [00:14:00] the potato chips, have a salad, right? Oh, have, have something healthy.
Do some go for a walk. Do a meditation. Yeah. Fight back with something that's going to be something good for you because then, then you are in control, and then you feel good. And when you feel good about that, you're gonna do the next thing that makes you feel good. Right? And you build on that.
[00:14:19] Shannon Russell: Oh, I love that. If they're doing something not nice to you, do something nice to yourself to just absolutely grow above. Oh I'm just curious, when you decided to dive into this program to learn more about intuitive, nutrition and health coaching, did you know then that you wanted to niche down to people who were going through divorces and trying to help them?
When did you realize that that was your ideal client?
[00:14:43] Suzy Wood: Yeah, actually I didn't, I was sort of going in a little bit more just to learn about how I could be lead a healthier life myself, and also help family members. And I have two boys, so, I wanted to, lead by example and I thought it would just be a really interesting thing to study.
So, no, I had no [00:15:00] idea, that I would end up helping divorce women, but, You know, when you start looking at a target market, often you look at lived experiences, right? And so I was like, well, that's something that's kind of unique about me. I mean, there are a lot of people have been through divorce, but not in the integrative nutrition world.
Some of my friends, I remember talking with them and they're like, you know, you're doing so well after your divorce. You're like the poster child for divorce, which I'm not really sure if that's a compliment or not, but I. I wanted the divorce, I wanted to move on. I was excited about my next new chapter and I feel like I was living my best life.
I got rid of the toxicity and I'd never thought I could do it. And then I did it and I felt amazing and my friends noticed and it just sort of made me think, well, if I could do it, maybe I could teach some other people how to do it. And that's kind of how it started. And I started with my Facebook group, the Divorce Detox, and it's just a supportive place.
It's a place for community and kinship. Very often [00:16:00] when you're going through divorce, you have a ton of support while you're in the process. You've got lawyers, you've got financial people, obviously friends and family are, are hopefully always there, but you have all these professionals, hopefully a therapist, that's a good person as well to have on your team.
But then you finish, you end up with this like a hundred or 200 page document. And then they're like, okay, good luck. Let us know if you need anything else. And that's it. And you're just sort of left. There isn't a lot of support out there. So that's where, I come in so I can really help people get control of their lives and just find more balance and, feel like they can get their energy back and get their life back in control.
It sort of all just sort of grew from, you know, just sort of one little idea.
[00:16:41] Shannon Russell: How did you start thinking, okay, well how can I monetize this and truly make this my second act career and make a living off of this and build a business?
[00:16:51] Suzy Wood: Having people in the group and also, it's sort of hand in hand with my private practice. So I see people one-on-one for coaching. That's really the bread and butter, you know, [00:17:00] through the Facebook group. It's a nice way to connect with people. And I do monthly calls, free monthly support calls.
They're usually, Beginning of the month on a Saturday, and we get together on video call and it's just really nice people from all over the country. So it's amazing and it's a, it's just an open space where people can come together and share ideas. And the last time we had, we had two people who were going through divorce.
We had one person who was 10 years out of her divorce and a few people in between. the people who are at the beginning learn from the people who have already done it. And then, The people who've done it actually feel good, like, oh wow, I could teach somebody else and I'm in a good place in that area, but, oh, I hadn't thought of that aspect.
So we all learn from each other. But, some of those people do become my, one of my. Personal clients and I coach them one-on-one. And I have a five month program that I work with people and we set very specific goals. One month, three month, five month goals.
And I walk them through the program and it really is meeting them where they are because, you know, it's not about me having an agenda and saying, okay, today's lesson is going to be this. I meet them [00:18:00] where they are because everybody's gonna come to the table with a different situation. You know, people get divorced for all sorts of reasons.
Sometimes they're the ones who left, sometimes they're the ones who were left behind. And there's different emotional, and situations that, that come with most of those scenarios. And people have different medical conditions and people have different, you know, if they were talking about food, food intolerances or conditions or, medical situations that.
Aware of, everybody's gonna be, going through the program slightly differently. But , I also teach, locally in community colleges and some continuing education programs. So monetize the business that way.
And and then I also put on in-person events. I just had one recently. It was an in-person divorce detox event, which was great. We had, a bunch of different speakers. And, it was just really nice place for people to come together, share ideas and learn, how they can improve their lives after divorce.
Wow. I love
[00:18:52] Shannon Russell: that you can take. Something so personal to you that happened and create this whole new life for yourself that is also helping [00:19:00] others. I feel like that must just fill you up in so many ways that not only can you, support yourself, you're supporting yourself in growing this business, which is something that you hadn't done before, and you're seeing it impacting other people.
That is, has to just fill you up in a way that you could have never imagined when you were in , the high tech world and doing
[00:19:20] Suzy Wood: marketing. Yeah. I mean, it's completely different running your own business. I've never done anything like that before. I never thought I could. Yeah. I didn't really have the desire to, I just sort of, in high tech it was very much, kind of clocking in and out.
There was travel here and there, but your typical, you know, desk job, I guess. And this is something completely different. Every single thing I do, I create. So there's a lot of freedom with that. There's less a lot of anxiety with it too. But, I welcome people to my Facebook group and I design a little welcome, image that I post in the group.
Every email I create, I've written it myself. And I've had to learn a lot of new things. Like I had to learn an email service, [00:20:00] provider and how all of that works and set up sequencing emails. I had to learn about landing pages. I never heard of the landing page before. I didn't even know what that was.
All the graphics I've designed my own business cards. I've designed my whole program. It's, it's just amazing. So there's a lot behind the scenes that happens and , that's really fulfilling besides actually helping people.
And seeing that they make some progress, , moving on in their lives. I mean, it's amazing. I get off every client call just feeling absolutely amazing. And sometimes like, to me it's just, it's something that could be very simple. Like I've just reminded them to take some time to go for a walk or take some deep breaths and they just, they're so in their head or in their moment that they just didn't even think of that.
Or, one client, she got into kickboxing, we were talking about just moving your body more, and she was like, well, I really like kickboxing. I'm like, great, go for it. Make that an activity, make that permanent. I have plea people get off of, being addicted to soda.
So that's really rewarding. They're definitely cleaning up their diet in that way. I've helped people lose weight. [00:21:00] I tell people, get energy, and then meet people as well because when you're feeling more confident in yourself and you feel better, you look better, you have more energy, you can put yourself out there and maybe, find a new relationship, whether it's a romantic one or not.
But coming out of divorce, very often people, eventually they do want to meet other people again. And especially platonic relationships, because often friends are the casualty of divorce. So, you wanna find a new network of people. And I myself, I moved to a new town about four or five months ago, and I really like to hike and be outside.
And you could see me now I'm sitting in my back garden because I love being outside. And I asked on a Facebook group of our local town if there was a hiking group and there wasn't. So I started one within 24 hours. I had 131 people in my Facebook hiking group. I couldn't believe it. Yes. Wow. And we've now done hikes.
We get a bunch of people, and I make a point every time we come together, right at the beginning, I go around, we all introduce ourselves, so we get to know each other. [00:22:00] We all live in the same town and we've had people who were in their, I don't know, late twenties, and then to people who are retired.
So we're coming together. And again, I love this community and kinship thing. I think it's a, it's a running theme in my life, bringing people together and, and that's been wonderful. So, you know, it's a great way, you just have to put yourself out there, come up with a little idea. Maybe you join a book club, maybe you take a class at a local library.
It doesn't have to be anything terribly expensive. , there's so many opportunities in all of our towns, we don't necessarily, you know, I. Have that, I don't know the, gumption maybe to put ourselves out there. And sometimes you just need a little nudge and that's, you know, that's the coaching part of being a health coach.
[00:22:41] Shannon Russell: And I'm thinking back to, I always like to find a thread from the first act to your second act. And you were working, you were building up these startups in the marketing aspect, right? Yeah. And here you are building up your own business and having to learn all new types of marketing to really [00:23:00] promote yourself and.
It's so interesting that they always say when you work for someone else, you're helping to build their dreams. And when you work for yourself, you're building your own and you truly are doing that. Susie, , you're using your past experience in a different way to build something for yourself and for others.
[00:23:17] Suzy Wood: Yeah, you made me think of that because all the skills I learned in public relations and marketing have come. To be so incredibly useful right now because, for example, we did, this event a few a week ago, this divorce detox in-person event. And it, you know, there aren't that many in-person events and so it was, you know, it was quite challenging, putting it all together.
And so I reached out to a local reporter, at a local paper and I said, Hey, we're doing this event, nothing like this has ever been done before. And I pitched him the story and he wrote a phenomenal article. In the Scarsdale Enquirer, our local paper where the event was happening, all about the divorce detox, and it was fantastic.
The minute the article came out, we had a whole bunch of signups.[00:24:00] Exactly attributable to that article. Makes the power of public relations. Yeah, but I had those skills that I learned 20 years ago. I dusted them off and, you know, put them to good use and you know, even though. some of the other skills are a little bit outdated.
Like we used to do direct mail. Nobody does direct mail anymore, right? But it's the same kind of concept that, you know, you're writing emails and you're reaching your audience. It's just much more targeted now because it's on email. So again, it's those writing skills that I used to have that I, you know, in my high tech career, I'm putting them to use now.
So yes, my marketing skills have definitely come, in handy. For sure this new reinvention. It's a
[00:24:37] Shannon Russell: reinvention. Oh
So what is one piece of advice that you would give to someone who is starting their second act today?
[00:24:45] Suzy Wood: I would say, talk it over with some close confidential people, get their ideas, do a little market research.
And, figure out if, you think you have something that hasn't been done before or a new twist, because I think that's really important. [00:25:00] Something new that people haven't seen before. That's, everybody is so specialized these days and I think that's what I've done is really specialize, not even, not just with integrative nutrition, but finding, you know, working with divorced people within integrative nutrition.
Mm-hmm. So specialties are, are key. I love that.
[00:25:17] Shannon Russell: So where can my audience connect with you, Susie?
[00:25:21] Suzy Wood: Well, I can be reached at e on email. It's Suzy, suzy@truewellnesswithin, anybody who's going through divorce or is coming out of it can also please join my Facebook group, which is the Divorce Detox with True Wellness Within.
And I'm also on social media, under True Wellness within Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn. So I'd be happy to connect with, with anybody in your audience.
[00:25:44] Shannon Russell: Wonderful. I'm gonna make sure to link to everything in the show notes so everyone has everything, readily available, and I just love your story so much, Susie.
I'm so glad that we've had a chance to chat and thank you so much for all you're doing to help others.
[00:25:59] Suzy Wood: Thank you. [00:26:00] Thanks for having me, Shannon. It's been great. Thank you.