Today I'm happy to introduce Hialee Howard, the latest person to be featured in the When I Grow Up series. Hialee and I were in the same class in high school, so obviously that means we are Facebook friends! I noticed she'd been talking a lot about Soul Food online and I wondered what in the world it was and what she was up to now. So I invited her to tell me - and you - all about it!
As a child, I wanted to be a nurse when I grew up.
How close (or far) is your current career from that dream? Even though I don't consider myself a medical professional, I do consider myself a healthcare professional. I help people eat healthy and stay fit! So to answer that question, I believe Iʼm not too far off from my childhood career choice.
What is your official job title? I am the sole owner/operator of my own small catering business called Soul Food. Aside from that I am a 200RYT yoga instructor. I would call myself a nutritionist/chef/yoga teacher!
Ok, now what does that really mean? Soul Food is intended to help people eat healthy wholesome foods without the prep time. I started out making pre prepped meals and have grown to meal plans, catering, and snack options.
What is a typical day like? Each day I teach 1-3 yoga classes. Some days that starts at 6 am, other days it starts at noon. Between teaching classes, I organize and prep food for any orders I may have that week. My job is a lot of self-discipline to work during the hours I have available for that day.
How did you end up in this career? I graduated from college in 2008 with a degree in kinesiology and had no idea where I was going in my life. I got a job, worked for a year and decided my real passion was food. I went back to college and got a second bachelors degree in dietetics. I knew I loved the field but still wasnt sure what I would do. The more I learned, the more I fell in love with helping people eat REAL food and stay healthy doing it. I started teaching yoga because of my mentor, Allison Candelaria. She is the owner of Soul Yoga and it has been such a dream working with her!
What kind of education or training did you complete for this career? This career is a tough one! You have to have a strong passion for it and sometimes take some scary chances! There are so many different directions to go for someone in the nutrition field but if you want to succeed, GO TO SCHOOL! There are so many things going on in the nutrition world and if you aren’t well educated, it’s easy to get distracted and coerced into the latest trends and scams. Always back your career with a strong education.
Do you have any other career dreams? What do you want to be when you grow up? My dream is to open a store front for Soul Food and be able to prep food and sell it in the same space. This is definitely a goal of mine and will hopefully happen sooner than later!
Any last thoughts or encouragement for others trying to decide what they want to do “when they grow up”? I think the biggest piece of encouragement I have for young people is to figure out what you want to do before you graduate. College is so expensive these days and so many kids continue to go not knowing what they will do when they graduate. I tell kids all the time to get their gen eds, and take a break if they aren’t sure. See what’s out there and where your passion lies. Then when youʼre sure, go back and get your moneyʼs worth. I also don’t think that it’s necessary to go to college right out of high school. 18 is so young to be expected to know what you want to do for the REST OF YOUR LIFE! There’s nothing wrong with taking a couple years after high school to get a job and find some independence. Whats’ the rush?
Thanks again to Hialee for sharing her story! If you are in the OKC area you may want to check out Soul Food or Soul Yoga. I've been to a few classes at Soul Yoga and I love it! Soul Yoga was voted best yoga studio by the Oklahoma Gazette this year, and your first class is free, so check it out :)