Meet Health Coach Mary Jo Clarkson: Helping Pregnant, High-Risk Women on Path to Optimum Wellness

Friday, July 6th, 2012
This post was written by Cheryl Miller

This month’s inside look at a health coach, the choices she made on the road to success, and the challenges ahead.

Mary Jo Clarkson, RN, BSN, CHC, specializing in pre-conceptual health and wellness for FEMTIQUE, Associates, Inc.

HIN: What was your first job out of college and how did you get into health coaching?

Mary Jo Clarkson: My first job out of college was as a new staff GN (graduate nurse) on a surgical floor in a Wilmington, DE hospital. Since that time, I specialized in OB/GYN nursing, in staff, management and case management positions. I have also taught prenatal classes, and was involved in the corporate world for nine years, in the pharmaceutical industry.

My friend and colleague of several years, Judith Beaulieu, was starting a new company called FEMTIQUE. She wanted me to be a part of it, and to become a certified health coach along with her. My experience in the corporate world helped me to develop and manage business skills within a professional health coaching practice, with a focus on coaching women experiencing high-risk pregnancies.

Have you received any health coaching certifications? If so, please list these certifications.

I am a CHC (certified health coach) from HCA. I am also a member of the Association for Women’s Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nursing (AWHONN), and am currently pursuing certification as a breastfeeding counseling coach through the Academy of Lactation Policy and Practice (ALPP).

Has there been a defining moment in your career? Perhaps when you knew you were on the right road?

I always felt a ‘calling’ to help women who were trying to become pregnant or already pregnant. So when Judy came to me with her business plan, I immediately knew that was a way I would be able to help the most women.

In brief, describe your organization.

FEMTIQUE Associates, Inc. is a non-profit healthcare advocate and health coach organization providing health and wellness care information and resources for women and children, so they can attain better outcomes in their lives and maintain an optimum level of wellness.

What are two or three important concepts or rules that you follow in health coaching?

  • Complete confidentiality, with all clients.
  • The client determines his/her long-term goals and we guide them through the steps to achieve their goals.
  • We are NOT always successful in achieving all of our clients’ goals.
  • Do you see a trend or path that you have to lock onto for 2012?

    The trend is towards more community-based healthcare services.

    What is the most satisfying thing about being a health coach?

    When you see the client become empowered, because they have taken all the necessary steps to achieve their optimum level of wellness and they are accomplishing their goals.

    What is the greatest challenge of health coaching, and how are you working to overcome this challenge?

    When clients’ road blocks stop them from achieving their goals. As health coaches, we help our clients work through these road blocks by showing them more paths around and through them.

    What is the single most effective workflow, process, tool or form that you are using in coaching today?

    We utilize M.A.S.T.E.R. goal planning software. It is very successful right now.

    Where did you grow up?

    In Springfield, PA.

    What college did you attend? Is there a moment from that time that stands out?

    St. Joseph’s University and Neumann University.

    Are you married? Do you have children?

    I am married and have one child.

    What is your favorite hobby and how did it develop in your life?

    Cooking and sewing are my favorite hobbies – they both developed in my childhood from watching my Italian grandmother cook for hours with pleasure, and sewing many dresses, with just a few measurements and creating something beautiful.

    Is there a book you recently read or movie you saw that you would recommend?

    Come Home by Lisa Scottoline.

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    One Response to “Meet Health Coach Mary Jo Clarkson: Helping Pregnant, High-Risk Women on Path to Optimum Wellness”

    1. Helene says:

      I would like to know if you can work as a Neonatal Health Coach with Clinical Health Coach training or if it is necessary for you to be an RN.