Featured Member: Eileen Franco
Eileen Franco wants women to start thinking holistically about their health beyond just diet and exercise. As a wellness coach, she helps professional women going through various stages of menopause find wellness in every area of their lives and manage symptoms. “We tend to think that diet and exercise are the only things that we need to focus on, and it is a priority for sure. But there’s also our emotional health, our careers, our relationships, our financial health,” says Franco. Her motivation comes from her own experiences navigating menopause and health challenges while trying to climb the corporate ladder.
In 2017, Franco’s employer underwent a reorganization and she was moved from department to department. The stress of having to constantly prove herself took a toll on her physical and mental health. At the same time, she started experiencing symptoms related to menopause including physical fatigue, hot flashes, and brain fog. Before she knew it, she was also experiencing chronic stress, anxiety, and depression. Her performance at work began to suffer and she had to take a medical leave of absence. She now wants to educate women because many don’t realize that the onslaught of perimenopause and menopause symptoms can affect work performance and productivity.
It wasn’t until a visit to her doctor left her feeling without options and adequate information that she turned to holistic wellness for help. The doctor told me there were no solutions other than medication and this is my life now, so get used to it,” says Franco. She connected with functional medicine doctors and eventually found a way to naturally manage her symptoms and find relief. It was at that point that she knew she didn’t want to go back to the corporate world and found her purpose in helping women like herself. “I’m social proof of what I went through, where I hit bottom, and how I was able to recover and help them thrive in this new phase of their lives,” she says.
Just as she faced challenges in her corporate career, Franco also faces challenges being a new business owner. “When you’re in the corporate world, you have a 9-5 mentality. I’m here from 9-5 and then I’m done and it’s given to you what you’re going to do,” Franco says. “When you’re a business owner you have to figure that out for yourself and you have to obtain the skills to do so.” But transitioning to an entrepreneurial mindset is easier when you’ve found your passion. Franco always wanted to make a difference in the world and to help other people – coaching is her opportunity to do that.
Moving forward, Franco wants to help people beyond her current demographic. She envisions herself working with the husbands of women going through menopause as well as manager in corporate environments to help them support women employees by understanding their needs and creating an inclusive environment. “We have maternity leave and post-maternity leave, but we don’t have support when we’re going through this physical change in our lives and companies don’t create a space for that,” she says. As she expands, she also wants her audiences to expand to anyone who needs to find balance.
Franco’s excited about the role IAW will play in her expanding her business to different audiences. “I like the fact that I’m able to put myself out there and market myself. It’s great to be around women achievers,” she says. “They provide motivation and inspiration to me to continue on my route. To know that I’m not alone in what I’m feeling, in the struggles, and challenges I’m facing becoming an entrepreneur and seeing what others are doing is inspiring.”