Good morning friends! I’m back with my 3rd Q&A Series post (read Ashley’s and Simi’s!). I hope you guys love reading these posts as much as I love putting them together! I’ve heard from so many of you about how you related to Ashley and Simi’s stories so far. I do, too!

One of the most unintended and unexpected happy accidents that came out of changing careers has been getting to make so many  new friends. Don’t get me wrong, I was super social as an attorney and met SO many nice people along the way. But I didn’t have that many people in my life who felt as passionately as I did about food & wellness.

I learned early on in this journey that a missing piece to my self-care puzzle was meeting & spending time with people who share my values and purpose in life. Ashley, Simi, and today’s guest, Lana, are definitely three of those people!

Let me just start out by saying that Lana is absolutely delightful. I wish all of you could meet her in person, too! You would love her. She’s so easy to chat with, funny, and sweet. She’s one of those people I just felt like I clicked with from the start.

Like Ashley and Simi, I originally reached out to Lana when I learned about her story. If you want to have more of something in your life (like how I wanted more people in my life who shared similar values and purposes), you have to take steps to put those opportunities in your path. Just like if you were dating, people or opportunities are not going to come knocking on your door. You usually have to go for what you want.

Lana was kind of enough to make time to meet with me and tell me more about her journey from finance attorney to General Market Manager for Snap Kitchen. Her story is so inspiring! She was a rockstar attorney who wanted to head in a different direction. She put herself out there, went through a tough interview process, and got an amazing opportunity with an awesome company (Snap).

If you live in or near Philly, Austin, Dallas, or Chicago, head over to Snap Kitchen to try it! Download their iPhone app and use code SVAN-8WJ to get a $10 credit to try one of their homemade meals, snacks, or juices on the house. Or, do what I did and buy $10 worth of Barnana (<—- barnana addict).

Now, Lana’s here to share a little more of her story with you today. I hope you guys enjoy it!

q&a series hygge wellness sam vander wielen health coach

Q: Hi, Lana! Thank you so much for joining me & my hygge tribe today. For those that don’t know you already, please introduce yourself:

A: Thank you for having me! It is my pleasure to chat with you! I love following your career and the steps you have taken to direct your energy and efforts to your passion – wellness.

Q: Thank you so much! I love following yours, too. So tell us how you decided to leave the law and join such an exciting company like Snap Kitchen:

A: My transition to Snap Kitchen was a move that my gut instinct told me was right. To understand my move a bit better, let me peel back the onion. Prior to law school, I worked fulltime in banking, where I audited mid-sized companies, who had outstanding loans with the bank ranging from $10-$100 million dollars. In this role I analyzed books and records, counted inventory in warehouses, toured factories, interviewed CFOs & CEOs, and acted as the eyes and ears of the bank I represented. I remained with the bank for six years and during that period I earned my law degree in the evening at Rutgers School of Law. Subsequent to graduation, I was fortunate enough to join a reputable, large firm in Philadelphia, PA, where I practiced in the Finance, Restructuring and Bankruptcy group. While at the firm, I worked with some of the best and brightest attorneys in the city. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.

As I approached my second anniversary of practicing, I began to evaluate my next steps as a professional. I started to ask myself questions – What do I like about practicing law? What skills do I have that differentiates me from other attorneys? If there is one thing I could change about practicing law, what would that be? Am I using my inherent talents to their fullest capacity in my role as an Associate? What am I passionate about? These questions lead me to conclude that I enjoyed attacking and resolving issues, strategizing and being creative. With respect to what I am passionate about? I quickly concluded — people, food and fitness. 

When not working, I would find myself researching new recipes or restaurants or attending a new, trendy workout with a friend. In fact, it was this outside of work passion that lead me to Snap Kitchen. I was reading an article that discussed new food concepts that were coming to Philadelphia, PA, and it mentioned that a healthy, hand-crafted meal concept hailing out of Austin, TX would be setting up camp in our city! Delicious, gourmet food made in small batches that is good for you? It can’t be—or so I thought. I poked around on their website, watched a couple of YouTube videos, and read countless 5 Star Yelp reviews at their locations in Austin, Houston, Dallas and Chicago. I concluded that that this Snap Kitchen unicorn might be a real thing.

So, I checked out Snap Kitchen’s career page and I saw that they had an opening for the Market General Manager role. The role seemed to be a summation of everything I was looking for: strategy, operations, sales, people management, brand development and P&L management. In short, the role would oversee the launch and management of 9 brick and mortar retail Snap Kitchen locations in Philadelphia and the mainline. After a multiple interviews and developing a business strategy for the launch, I was extended an offer! I made the move without hesitation. It was a dream role, that would draw on my prior experiences in law and banking.

Q: We’re both RU LAW Alums — woot woot! I love how much of a go-getter you are. You saw something you wanted and went for it. So inspiring! So even exciting things can be super stressful.  How did you handle the stress of leaving a career and starting a new one? 

A: The support of family and friends was a huge help! Also, I didn’t have too much time to be stressed out. My last day at the law firm was on a Friday and I flew to Austin, TX two days later to train with Snap Kitchen for two months before returning to Philly to launch the market.

Q: Phew! That must have been a whirlwind. Was there anything you did that got you through?

A: Upon arriving in Austin, TX, I was surrounded by an amazing group of people. The Snap Kitchen veterans, who showed me the ropes, were absolutely fantastic and took their time to teach me everything they knew! Additionally, a few of the General Managers and our Marketing Manager for the soon to launch Philadelphia market trained with me in Austin, as well! Having all of us removed from our natural habitat forced us to quickly get to know each other and grow as a team – which was an absolute must considering the challenge that we had ahead of ourselves to launch the Philadelphia market.

q&a series hygge wellness sam vander wielen health coach

Q: How do you fit in exercise or movement to your week?

A: I am a planner. I like to have all of my meetings, meals, fitness and social calendar planned out at least two weeks in advance (ideally three!). I aim to workout 5/7 days per week, and I typically schedule them in the early morning or late evening. Additionally, I love to multi-task, so I may coordinate a work-out with a Snap Kitchen colleague, business contact or personal friend, allowing me to catch-up with someone and work-up a sweat! 

Q: That reminds me, girlfriend — we have to schedule a workout together! What are some of your go-to fitness classes, studios, or routines?

A: My go-to fitness class is Orange Theory in Center City. I’m a data geek. I love that you wear a heart monitor throughout the class that tracks your heart beats per minute. The data (and amazing trainers!) keeps me accountable and pushes me to my limits.

Q: That is awesome that you love OTF so much! I always encourage my clients to put their energy towards those activities or fitness classes they love most. Those are the ones you’re likely to stick to. So, Snap Kitchen makes it so easy to eat well on-the-go! Besides eating there of course, how else do you eat well with such a busy schedule?

A: Meal planning. I do a shop once a week and map out what I am going to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Snap Kitchen meals usually comprise about 50% of my meals throughout the week (work perks!!). I usually go out at least one night per weekend to a new restaurant that I am dying to try!

Q: Like Sate Kampar in Philly where we went! That was amazing. So what’s your favorite meal & snack at Snap Kitchen?

A: Crispy Scottish Salmon with a side of Maya Kamal Chickpea Chips. I like savory things. This meal keeps me full throughout the day and is soo satisfying! I love the crunchy texture of the almonds, in lieu of breadcrumbs, that coat the salmon filet!

Q: Mmm, that sounds delicious! It’s all about the texture. What are the biggest personal benefits or growth you’ve experienced since taking a leap and making such a big change in your life?

A: Learning to trust my gut instinct and follow my passion have been my two biggest takeaways from this transition. To me, if I am doing those two things, everything else will fall into place.

Q: So, so true. Finally, tips for someone out there who make want to make a big change in his or her life and doesn’t know where to start:

A: Start thinking about what makes you tick. When you are not at work, what do you find yourself reading about? What are you naturally talented at? Does the nature of your work compliment and highlight those talents? If not, what types of jobs would highlight those talents? Start researching and meeting people in those fields!

Q: That is such a great journaling or thought exercise to go through! I love that advice. Thank you so much for joining me today, Lana! I am so happy my readers will get to know you better. Now, go out and run to Snap Kitchen everyone!

Isn’t she amazing?! I told you! I love that so far we’ve met Simi, who left her career as a healthcare attorney to start her own health coaching practice and Lana, who left the practice to take a position in a growing startup focused on one of her favorite topics — food! I’m loving the Q&A series so far. I hope you are, too!

You don’t have to be an attorney to relate to their stories. I hear from so many of you who are at various stages of different careers, but you all have one thing in common: wanting change. And that was the point of starting this Q&A series — to inspire you to make the change you’ve been waiting to make. Whether it’s diet, fitness, career, relationship, or self-care related — I want to inspire you to make moves.

I offer 1-on-1 private health coaching to busy women looking to get unstuck and living fully. If you’re interested in learning more about health coaching or working together, schedule your free 50-minute coaching call (consult) with me today. 

P.S. If you or someone you know would like to be featured as one of my Q&A series guests, please email me! I’d love to hear from you (or the person you know) if you’re following your passion or purpose in life, have made a change & taken a leap of faith, or are a bada$$ girl boss.  

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