After 4 years of training and competing as one of a handful of women in the sport, I was approached with a unique opportunity to coach middle school students in grappling (kinda looks like wrestling), which was my specialty. The head of the program, Emil Verbovski, a long time PE teacher and strength and conditioning coach asked for the best female grappler in the region who could teach. Pulling on my heart strings due to tough times in my own youth, I couldn’t say no. I ended up driving an hour each way just to teach one self defense class to young teenagers every day. Yes I just said that, like a blessing in disguise type of cliche.
After observing my dedication to this role, Emil offered to add value to my commute. However, the offer didn’t come across in the most eloquent way. It went something like this “Mary, I hear you’re training for a rematch. You’re very likely to lose. You don’t have the upper body strength to win the championship. I train a couple guys in the evening for their MMA fights. After you’re done teaching, I can help you get stronger so you have a chance.” About 6 months later, I hung the 1st place plaque on his office wall. Largely due to his guidance, I was able to win my rematch. Emil is now also the man I’m happily married to 8 years later, and we continue to push each other to be our best, yet have patience for the pace individual to ourselves.
I finished that year of teaching and wanted to continue making a difference in peoples lives through health. I chose to attend graduate school and specialize in clinical nutrition and research. Definitely not a schedule that supports full time grappling… so I transferred my athletic drive into triathlons, which happen to be a lot nicer on my neck and back than grappling as well as an outdoor sport I can enjoy for many years to come.
A couple key professors ignited my passion for chemistry, science, physiology, and pathology which then resulted in my licensure as a dietitian. In 2003, I started my career at a pediatric hospital and continue serving amazing kids and families to this day. Over the years, I’ve realized my specialty lies in the therapeutic behavior change relationship. In many a clinical setting, often with acute illness and emotionally challenging outcomes, I’ve been able to form an alliance with my patients and families to impart knowledge with empathy and help others see their capacity to move along their path to wellness.
Naturally, after being blessed with a family of my own, I became an even better health care provider, mentor and educator. So, here I am, circling back to an entrepreneurial mindset and ready to partner with you, offering real life tips to enhance your journey to live your best life!