Meet Jess Baumgardner, Philadelphia-based pregnancy and motherhood mentor and co-founder of @thegoodfest, wellness events “created to ignite your passion for wellness + inspire you to achieve your GOOD life.” Learn more about Jess’ journey from marketing to wellness below.
Tell us about your journey to leaving your marketing career! It sounds like your choice was motivated by a desire to invest more deeply in your own wellbeing.
Yes! I finally had what I thought was my “dream job” – working at Food Network in NYC. I mean, this was the job I wanted since I was in high school and it was really cool. I got to attend the wine and food festivals, went on a European cruise with chef Anne Burell, and helped the network launch new products like wine and cookbooks. NYC also introduced me to the wonderful world of wellness – and it was at this time that I started to rethink what I was putting in my body and how much I was stressing myself out. Up until this point, I thought I was being ‘healthy’ if I only consumed low fat foods, yet I hardly ate anything green! As I became more aware of what my body and mind needed, I became more aware, too, of what it didn’t. And I realized during this time that the fast pace of marketing and advertising and NYC that I had been chasing my entire life was actually the worst thing for me. I found out that I could make a career of helping people do the same work I had just done on myself, and then created an exit strategy. I did not just jump right in- I took it slow, moved back to Philly, got another marketing job, started to build my business and take on clients – and then – when I knew that I enjoyed it and could make it work – I left marketing. And to be honest – my life kind of came full circle as I’m now my own marketing agency in essence – working for my own brand, but also the brands that I work with on my platform.
Tell us where your journey has brought you today! You work with women in pregnancy and motherhood – what does that work look like? What inspired it?
I started back in 2013 as a health coach for women. During this work I realized how many of us have issues with our hormones and a lot of my client work started to actually move into infertility (alongside their doctors, of course). I always felt the most aligned when one of my clients would text or call that they are pregnant. Fast forward a few years and I’m now a mom of 3. It’s smart to have a niche, it helps you to become an expert. Can I work with someone to help them lose weight before their wedding? Of course. But what work makes me happiest and what do I know best? Motherhood. All stages of it. I’ve experienced loss, pregnancy, birth, postpartum, trauma, NICU, mom of multiples – and I feel I am most equipped to help someone on this path.
Now I am a Pregnancy and Motherhood Mentor. There is a wide-held belief that motherhood is the most important job…yet it receives the least amount of support. My goal is to help you prioritize that support. Feel more informed, empowered and confident about pregnancy, birth and motherhood. Feel lighter. If I could give one thing to all moms or moms-to-be, it would be this – a mentor.
We love GOOD Fest – how did that come about? What can attendees expect from time spent at GOOD Fest? Anything coming up we should know about?
Jen and I started doing small dinner clubs and cooking classes together in Philly. Kate and I met through Instagram and over coffee, started talking about a wellness festival where we could bring everyone together to experience the wellness offerings philly had to offer (so, essentially a walking tour of food places and studios). We ended up finding a venue, joining forces with Jen to capitalize on the work we have already done in Philly, and getting almost 400 people to believe in the idea. I still remember calling sponsors with no proof of concept, telling them how we need to get this community together not only for each other, but to experience the amazing brands that are out there. Our goal with the GOOD Fest has, and will, always be connection. Connection to amazing souls of the attendees, speakers and brands who are a part of the day. Many leave inspired to start something new.
Coming up – we have a pop up in Philly on 9/22 with Katie Horwitch, Ashlee Piper, a tough topics panel, breathwork and meditation. Tickets are available at thegoodfest.com!
How has being a mom influenced your thoughts about wellness? What does that look like in your family/ with your kids?
Oh gosh. I was a bit aggressive with wellness before I became a mom – so the biggest change is that I’m so much more relaxed. When I came back to Philly from NYC, I was very anxious. I spent months in acupuncture trying to get to baseline. I would bring my vitamix everywhere…my own food to vacation. I thought my kids were going to be perfect eaters. Ha! Now, I am much better balanced in this thinking. I still feel I am taking great care of my body and my kids, but it’s just not what 27 yr old Jess would expect and that’s okay! This is where I like to fall in to help moms. Getting lost in google and perfection is something we all do, especially with our first – and I wish I had a sounding board, a mentor, to talk to instead of my computer. It would have saved me a ton of stress ….and money. (I legit bought everything left on our registry because I thought we needed it. It was a lot of money. Let’s just leave it at that, ha!)
Any favorite or go-to recipes for back to school time? What’s in your ideal lunchbox (as an adult)?
My kids literally change their minds about what they like hourly. So I keep a lot of different options around. MY ideal lunch is fresh sourdough bread with avocado and an egg. I’d also like something crunch next to that – a few chips or even carrots with dip. And then- something sweet, of course. Ideally I will have made some sort of lightly sweetened chocolate chip cookie or brownie to enjoy all week. If not – I will go to the local bakery or coffee shop for a treat.
What’s your favorite Lavva flavor/favorite way to eat Lavva?
Vanilla is my favorite and I love to eat it plain or with fresh strawberries. The flavor is so good! I usually have it after a smoothie in the morning because it gives me something to “chew” without a ton of sugar.