Soul Sister Scoop: Finding your tribe to shine!

One thing I love about life coaching and teaching Pilates is the variety of people I get to meet. Actually, come to think about it, I don’t just like this about my job, I like this about life. There are so many interesting people out there and we can literally meet them at any second and any where.

For example: I met an ex-boyfriend in the line at a bank, met one of my dearest friends randomly at work whilst looking for a flat mate in London – she was in a totally different department than me at the time. I met my husband on a beach in Portugal – the list goes on.

Ok, so now it sounds like I mostly pick up men in random ways  – haha, promise I don’t! But you’ve got to love it when these “accidental” meets turns into a business opportunity, a trip to Iceland, or you score a husband out of it!

You never know who you’re going to meet next and how that will change your life. That’s why we spend quite a bit of time talking about networking in my “Ultimate Career Bootcamp” course, set to launch Oct 5th.

One of my more recent random connections was meeting today’s Soul Sister, Ashley Hilmes. Ashley came to an Aerial Pilates workshop in spring this year. We started talking after class, something she admitted she hardly ever does, and by the end of our conversation it was like love at first sight!

Co-founders of Vega Vitality: Dr Stephanie Moore, Ashley Hilmes RN and me!

It turned out that Ashley was the co-founder of VEGA Vitality – a collaboration of experts with a unison goal of helping their clients achieve optimum wellness. They believe that vitality comes from a deliberate and well-executed effort to nurture one’s mind, body, and spirit. It is cultivated from self-awareness and the intrinsic desire for happiness.

It just so happened that her team was missing a life coach! A couple of days later I met up with both the founders: Ashley and Dr Stephanie Moore. In a couple of minutes the deal was sealed. I was so honored and excited to be part of this amazing team of ladies.

But Ashley and I have so much more in common than just our views on female empowerment. We also shared a past of travel and career transitions to name a few. She’s had to take some serious career risks and today she’ll share them with us and hopefully inspire you to follow your passion to create your dream career!

Hanneke: How did you come up with the VEGA Vitality concept?

Ashley: I have been a nurse in the cardiac ICU for nearly a decade. When I originally decided to start learning about skincare and injectables it was really coming from a selfish place of needing more balance. Being an ICU nurse is intense and I was feeling burnt out, and quite frankly, my own heart was breaking as I watched people and families go through tragedy after tragedy.

Once I started seeing people for esthetic consults I realized a few things: 1) I loved doing it – I was actually surprised at how much I liked it 2) I’m good at it – I have an artistic eye and it comes into play here 3) I could give my clients SO much more – I wanted to give them more.

I love to get to know people and their stories. I use my time with my clients to try and get to know them and also for them to get to know me. Through this process I did my own little social study of what people need to live in a state of happiness and vitality. This self-directed study showed me that so many people were struggling with health issues, pain, body image, emotional stress, life transitions, and the list goes on. I would think, (sometimes I would even say aloud) “I can fix your wrinkles, but you really need more.” That thought is really what drove the whole concept. I am very familiar with the world of western medicine but people need more. I need more. And so, the concept of VEGA was born.


H: How did you know it was time to leave your nursing career and pursue your dream career?

A: Nursing was, and still is, also a dream career for me. I know from the time I was a small child that I would be a care provider. I knew it was time to pursue other things when I found that I wasn’t capable of being as present as I wanted to be.

Nursing is so special because it puts you in a position to see people at their weakest and most vulnerable moments. I always want to be present and able to give of myself for my patients. There was one particular patient that I love dearly and after 9 months of caring for her I felt depleted. I needed a change, some balance. After she had her heart transplant and I knew she was going to be okay, I went to South America for a couple months. When I got back I went to 3-week intensive yoga teacher training. My biggest take away from yoga teacher training was to identify when I was making choices from a place of fear and to instead choose love. This is when I decided to create a new life and career. It didn’t just happen- it took time, effort and faith.

Now I co-own and operate VEGA Vitality and I am still a nurse. I usually work one day a week at Mass General or the Brigham and I still love it. It feeds my soul and I feel extremely lucky to get to do two things that I love so much.

Ashley Hilmes

H: What’s been the biggest lesson you’ve learned being in a start-up so far?

A: Honestly, there have been SO MANY LESSONS! Trust yourself. Ask for help. Lead from your heart. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. You better laugh at yourself so you don’t cry. Timing is everything…. and about a million other clichés. They’re all true.

H: How’d you pick the name?

A: VEGA is the name of a star. We love the concept of following your true north, reaching for the stars, and our official tagline “Choose to Shine”. The VEGA journey thus far has been incredible…I don’t have a doubt in my mind that the stars have aligned to help make this dream a reality.


H: What’s your best beauty secret/tip?

A: There is no beauty without happiness. You have to choose to shine and it happens from the inside out.

VEGA Vitality is more than beauty and more than wellness– it is a lifestyle. We offer acupuncture, reiki, nutrition services and life coaching alongside beauty services such as facials, peels, micro needling, botox, fillers, and more. VEGA also coordinates multiple adventure + wellness retreats each year. Next up is Iceland in November (We’d love to see you there, a few spots still available – click here for more details.) followed by Nicaragua in January (sold out).

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