We had the good fortune of connecting with Iyana Anderson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Iyana, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I started my business during the pandemic, a very transitional phase in my life. My thought process behind starting Well Together stemmed from both passion and frustration. My passion flowed from my love for serving others, the positive transformations I witnessed along my wellness journey, and one day realizing that there was a bigger purpose for my life. My frustration emerged from a constant feeling of burnout in my role as a social worker and witnessing the same for many friends, family members, and colleagues. I remember reflecting on the effects of burnout on my abilities to serve my clients and fully show up in other roles in my life. At that point, it hit me that we [i.e. workplaces, communities, and society] were doing wellness all wrong. I decided to do something about it.
Without delay, my vision to introduce a new culture of wellness was clear. I envisioned a culture of wellness featuring a new dialogue around caring for ourselves, a holistic lens that honors the whole being, and innovative resources to empower and support the collective in restoring and maintaining their vision for holistic wellbeing. My vision seeks to restore representation within wellness, cultivate community, and amplify the diverse approaches to practice wellness.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Growing up, I always saw the role models in my life helping others, which led me to pursue the career path of a social worker. After completing my undergraduate degree, I began my career in Americorps, which ignited my passion for community development and inspired me to pursue my graduate degree in Social Work. Throughout my career as a Licensed Social Worker, I worked in numerous roles within the social and human services field, focusing on food insecurity, housing, mental health, and wellness, to name a few. As an entrepreneur, I partner with non-profit organizations to teach communities how to practice holistic wellness through workshops and speaking engagements. I believe our holistic approach, creativity, and commitment to developing a new culture of wellness sets us apart.
I am most proud of the solid wellness foundation I’ve cultivated along the way. My wellness foundation has empowered me to grow into alignment, build my brand, and maintain harmony between filling my cup and the cups of others. Of course, getting to this point of my journey was not easy. However, journal writing, adopting a growth mindset, constantly expanding my mind, and utilizing my support system played a role in allowing me to overcome challenges. Needless to say, each challenge also brought forth many lessons. The lessons I’ve found to be most significant include: (1) fall in love with the process of caring for yourself–mind, body, and spirit; (2) be intentional in all that you do; and (3) with each step you take, enjoy the process.
I’ll conclude with this. Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Well Together recognizes that relative to the interconnection of the mind, body, and spirit we are all parts of the whole. Therefore, we prioritize ensuring everyone feels seen, heard, and supported in every interaction.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Stairway to Heaven Trail – Spend some time in nature and enjoy a great hike. Fire and Oak – Great restaurant and bar for drinks or dinner, with a contemporary yet rustic ambiance.
New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC)- Catch a comedy show, musical, or theater performance.
Hoboken Waterfront – Enjoy the beautiful view of the skyline of New York and the surrounding strip of unique bites and delicious drinks
Jersey Shore – A visit to the beautiful beach and boardwalk with no shortage of local restaurants and attractions.
Rabbithole Farm- A lovely community garden featuring an array of herbs and providing a space for exploring and education.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
All About Love by Bell Hooks
My favorite book of all time is All About Love by Bell Hooks. Besides my admiration for bell hooks’ courage, deep critical thought, and outspoken nature, All About Love had a profound impact on reintroducing me to the concept of love. Following a breakup, I came across this book, which widened my perspective and pushed me forward along my wellness journey. Learning to love myself, accept love, and genuinely extend love were all lessons that I gained. This book inspired me to pursue the journey of healing, loving myself, forgiving, and accepting. Once applying those concepts to myself, I cultivated the internal resources necessary to begin to care for myself and others.