Today we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Brooke Schneider and Dr. Nicole Lewis.
We work with a lot of women at two integrative mental health clinics in Fort Collins. Dr. Brooke is a psychiatrist and Dr. Nicole is a naturopathic doctor, and we provide holistic mental healthcare. A couple of years ago, after seeing two almost identical female patients struggling with depression and isolation, we realized that we had an opportunity to connect these two ladies! We decided to start WOMEN STRONG, an online women’s wellness program that promotes health education, connection, and empowerment.
We wrote a curriculum covering what we feel are the basic foundations for wellness: Mindset, Nutrition, Physical Health, Self-Care, Exercise/Movement, Stress Management, and Mental/Emotional Health. Next, we set out to build a community of like-minded ladies committed to supporting one another along their wellness journeys. Our curriculum includes lessons, exercises and daily challenges, plus live interviews with female experts on a range of health topics! We offer a mentorship program and provide an online forum to build connections and receive support and understanding from other women.
We know through personal experience that we are stronger and happier when we regularly interact with uplifting and supportive women. We know that we feel wonderful when we have the opportunity to support other women in being their most fabulous selves. We love encouraging really great self-care and challenging women to put themselves first for a change. We are cheerleaders and kind, nonjudgmental ears for one another, and we get so much joy and inspiration from our community of strong ladies!
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome? Any advice for other women, particularly young women who are just starting their journey?
It’s definitely been a curvy road, but I’d say that’s not unexpected when building a program like this one while simultaneously working our “day jobs” and raising young children.
The biggest struggle is that we have so much information to share. We are constantly challenged on giving just the right amount of information so our ladies feel knowledgeable and empowered without being overwhelmed. The goal is to be direct and efficient. Each section of our curriculum has an education component paired with actionable steps. EDUCATION + ACTION = CHANGE. And that’s what we are going for!
Currently, we are finishing up our Women Strong E-book for those ladies who prefer to work through the curriculum on their own (without our community membership). AND, we are transforming some of our expert interviews into a Women Strong podcast! We hope to eventually hold Women Strong retreats so our community can connect in person and practice amazing self-care together!
Advice for other women… Surround yourself with good people who lift you up when you’re down, inspire and challenge you to stretch beyond what you see as possible, and bring out the best in you! Trust the journey and know that you are on the perfect path for you!
We’d love to hear more about Women Strong.
Dr. Brooke is a child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist practicing integrative psychiatry in Fort Collins. Dr. Nicole is a naturopathic doctor, a doula, and a prenatal and postnatal coach. She practices naturopathic medicine in Fort Collins with an emphasis on women’s health, hormones, genetics, and pregnancy/birth. We see patients together for collaborative care visits when appropriate, and we each see patients individually at two outpatient mental health clinics. We are the creators of Women Strong. We are most proud of our ability to empower women, decrease stigma around mental illness, and bring women together into a supportive community. What sets our program apart are the live expert interviews. We get to talk to experts in many different fields and our members get to ask these women their own questions! The information the experts have been sharing is mind-blowing and so empowering!
Do you feel like there was something about the experiences you had growing up that played an outsized role in setting you up for success later in life?
Dr. Brooke: My parents had their own business and often “talked shop” at the dinner table. They were very creative, inspiring, and passionate about making a difference in people’s lives. They taught me “PMA”, our family’s acronym for “positive mental attitude” and modeled a strong work ethic. My parents got sober when I was five years old and I grew up hearing their story of recovery. I knew that given my genetics I was at risk for addiction too, and this kept me on a healthy path, and one with an emphasis on mental health and well-being. I was always an athlete and a very active kid. I played soccer in college and this was when I realized how common body image and confidence issues were for young women, no matter how athletic, smart, beautiful, or seemingly successful they might appear to be from the outside. A few of the girls on my team and I actually participated in a focus group for Nike with other female athletes where we got to discuss some of these issues. I went through my own mental health journey in adolescence and early adulthood and struggled with body image and self-confidence at times. During my college years I became passionate about improving self-esteem for women! I found strength, understanding, and empowerment through sports and my phenomenal female teammates and exercise partners.
While managing a fitness center and working as a yoga and aerobics instructor after college, I developed my passion for healthy living and deepened my self-exploration journey. After gaining a ton of self-confidence through several years of self-actualization work, I was able to go to medical school where I discovered psychiatry. Looking back on my life’s journey thus far, it all makes sense and lines up, but while traveling the windy path, I often wondered if I’d ever get to where I was supposed to be…turns out I was right where I was supposed to be the entire time, every step of the way. I’ve had a lot of incredible and generous female mentors in my life. My mom has always been my best friend and rock – she is such a kind, empathetic, honest, and fun person who can always lift me up. I have been so lucky to have amazing friends (many fabulous females!) who teach me so much and have supported me on my journey. Dr. Nicole is Women Strong embodied, and she has become one of my most cherished female teachers! My joyful, spunky, and phenomenal daughter is my source of peace and inspiration. She reminds me every day that love is all we need, and girls rule!
Dr. Nicole: Being raised in a military family has had a huge impact on my life. If you’re not 10 minutes early, then you are late! The structure and discipline helped me to be focused and successful in school and many other areas of life. As I get older, I feel myself turning more and more into my father, which I have realized is not necessarily a bad thing! (haha!) My mom has always had a huge influence on me. She is an engineer and has been for over 35 years. Being a female in a male-dominated industry is challenging. Her confidence and belief in herself that she can do anything anyone else can do has translated to a confidence in me that I can do anything. I was raised being told that I am smart and capable, and so I have always believed that. Growing up, I went to a faith-based school but my mom talked to me a lot about spirituality and encouraged me to believe in whatever resonated with me. We can be a very competitive family if you’ve ever met any of us it is quickly very obvious. I think this combination of competitiveness and confidence has helped to make me who I am today.
I am fiercely independent and can be to a fault. I have had to work to allow myself to recognize and receive help when I need it. I have always been more comfortable being a caretaker and putting other people’s needs before my own. Co-creating Women Strong with Brooke has been a joy in creativity and expression. I love empowering other women to be their best selves, and it is an opportunity for me to recognize the areas of my life that continue to need work. Through this process, I have developed a love for personal development and mindset work. I am so passionate about everything that we have to share, and I can’t wait to help as many people as possible!
- Women Strong Membership is $47 per month.
- Website: www.womenstrongtogether.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/women_strong_together
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/womenstrongtogether
Dr. Nicole Lewis