Here’s the story: My life was planned out at a very early age. By age 13, I knew I wanted to work in advertising. I was going to move to New York City after graduating from Penn State to work in a top agency, and in a few years open my own advertising agency. The End.
So then why are you reading a website about Mandy Enright, the dietitian? Well, life actually did go according to plan, only falling short of starting my own agency. After climbing the ranks from Super Intern to Group Supervisor in the advertising world, I realized something important: I was MISERABLE. Despite a shoe collection I continue to envy to this day, my stress levels were through the roof, my health was in a bad place, and I was not a pleasant person to be around (which my husband continues to reaffirm to this day). So what changed?
Finding fitness and nutrition literally saved my life. To combat stress and find a hobby outside of work, I started taking classes at a local kickboxing gym. But that wasn’t enough for me – I want to be awesome at kickboxing. So I hired the head trainer to teach me his ways. When he opened a new location of the kickboxing gym, he asked me to teach. And I laughed and said no way. “I’m an Advertising Executive, not a fitness trainer.” Or at least that’s the story I told myself. But when I thought about it, I figured what’s the worst that could happen – I find something to keep my mind off work and get a free gym membership. Perfect plan.
But what happened during that first year was something more. I was helping people become healthy. And they were thankful for it. I came in, taught my class, and didn’t have to stay hours afterwards catching up on missed emails or writing meeting reports. It was FUN. I smiled and laughed. My enthusiasm was rewarded by being brought on board to help coach a nutrition and fitness challenge the gym was running. And that’s what ignited the flame. I decided to pursue a career in nutrition and create my own path.
Leaving Advertising behind was scary. It was all I’d ever known and all I’d wanted to do. But I soon learned I couldn’t keep pushing a round peg into a square hole – something wasn’t working anymore and I needed to find a new route. Just shy of 30 years old, I went back to school and sat in classes with students almost half my age. I was motivated to make this new career work, and as a result achieved a 4.0 GPA over the next four years and was awarded the “Excellence for Outstanding Academic Performance” award when I finally graduated from my Rutgers Dietetic Internship in 2014. Along the way I found yoga and added Registered Yoga Teacher to my growing toolbox.
But I never forgot where I came from. I still love advertising and communications, and my brain continues to be wired thinking of strategic approaches to promote brands. I gravitate towards communication and writing opportunities because that’s part of who I am. Plus, it’s more exciting to be in the media versus coordinating for someone else to be the expert in marketing materials.
Along with my newfound nutrition and fitness expertise, I now have a hero’s complex of wanting to save those I left behind. In other words, I feel it is my duty to go back and educate those working in Corporate America about how you can in fact be healthy working a demanding job, it just takes some Planning, Accountability, Verbalization of your goals, and a supportive Environment. And bringing in a former advertising executive to run a company Corporate Wellness program is the perfect place to start.