Wellbeing Coaching

wellbeing coaching for students, faculty, and staff

Wellbeing Coaching is a free service through the Office of Wellbeing that is available for students, faculty, and staff on the Reynolda campus.

What is Wellbeing Coaching?

Wellbeing Coaching is an evidence-based practice designed to help you reach your personal health and wellbeing goals.  Health and wellbeing coaching is structured around the changes that you want to make in your life when you are ready to make them – you are empowered through this process to identify the life you want to be living and are not told by a coach what your life “should” look like. 

Certified health coaches meet one on one with you to provide support and accountability to reach your health and wellbeing goals over a period of weeks together. Coaches apply strategies and practical skills as they partner with you to work through lifestyle challenges and to help you reach a quality of life that is meaningful, self-sustaining, healthy, and value-driven.  If you’re ready to make healthy, goal-directed changes in your life – Wellbeing Coaching is for you!

What types of goals can Wellbeing Coaching support?

  • Stress Management
  • Resiliency
  • Time Management
  • Sleep Hygiene
  • Chronic Disease Management
  • Self Care
  • Lifestyle Management

Program Structure

Traditional Coaching

The Office of Wellbeing is offering sessions for wellbeing coaching starting in late January.  Clients will meet with their coach for an initial session, and then bi-weekly for the next ten weeks, for a total of 5-7 sessions.  Sessions will be scheduled directly with the coach and there is some flexibility to accommodate skipping a week or moving a session, if needed.  Sessions will be 45-60 minutes long and will take place in-person or via zoom.

To register for traditional coaching, an initial session appointment can be made by selecting a coach below and then clicking the scheduling button linked below their background information.

Drop-In Coaching

We will be offering drop-in hours for students to find out more about what coaching has to offer, to talk through making a decision, set up a daily schedule, or to discuss other short-term goals.  Drop-in coaching offers the opportunity to see what coaching is like as you look at situations from all angles and get a different perspective, without a longer-term commitment.  You can choose to move to traditional coaching after a drop-in session, but it is not required.

Mondays2-3pm (in-person)Ashley Hawkins Parham
Tuesdays4-6pm (in-person)Adriana Piekarewicz
Wednesdays11am-1pm (virtual)Adriana Piekarewicz
Fridays11am-12 pm (in-person)Michelle Ford
If you would like to meet outside of the available times linked above, please email wakewell@nullwfu.edu.

Meet our Wellbeing Coaches & Schedule a Session

  • Adriana Piekarewicz, MS, CHWC

    Adriana Piekarewicz

    Adriana has always had a passion for health and fitness. However, her mission is to help others develop the strategies needed to reach the best versions of themselves. She wants to create a safe space for others to process their emotions and discover what they need to feel balanced, healthy, and fulfilled.

    Adriana did her undergraduate studies at Duke University where she graduated with a B.A. degree in Psychology and a Markets and Management Certificate. Following her graduation, she decided to pursue her M.S degree in Sports Psychology from Florida State University, graduating with a published thesis in the spring of 2013.

    Adriana has worked with athletes of all abilities, from youth athletes to Division 1 collegiate athletes, helping them achieve peak performance. Additionally, she works in the Office of Personal Career and Development where she works 1-on-1 with students, helping them edit and revise their resumes/cover letters to help them navigate the transition from college to career.

    In her personal life, she experienced a multitude of obstacles and setbacks in the 4 years she spent training for her goal to qualify for the 2020 USA Olympic Trials in the marathon. These struggles provided her with a unique perspective of the difficulties that we all face in the pursuit of our dreams. Ultimately, when she did qualify and got to compete at the Olympic Trials, she realized that the journey is just as important as the destination.

    While she is still training, her primary focus is to give back to the community and to help others achieve their hopes and dreams. She believes in the notion that each one of us has a unique potential and purpose, and with the use of strength-based inquiry, positive psychology, and smart-goal setting, she wants to help you discover what that purpose is.

    Adriana’s first language is Spanish and she is comfortable conducting sessions in Spanish, if preferred by the client.

  • Ashley Hawkins Parham, MA (’12), NBC-HWC

    ashley hawkins parham headshot

    Ashley is a dedicated ally to those who decide that it’s time for a change and are ready to take steps towards becoming a healthier, happier and more holistically well you.  What’s amazing about the coaching experience is the opportunity to engage in self-exploration and growth through a relationship that gives you support and holds you accountable for the changes you want to see in your life.  Whether you come to coaching with a specific goal in mind or with a vague sense that it’s time for a change, Ashley is here to meet you exactly where you are on your path and then move forward together towards a healthier and happier you.

    Ashley’s journey towards Wellbeing Coaching began early in college, where she fell in love with the study of psychology – specifically, with understanding how our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors develop and how they can change over time.

    Ashley dedicated time as a student and professional over the last 15 years to understanding the science of behavior change and motivation, addiction, risky health behaviors in college students, personality and personality change, character development, post-traumatic growth, mindfulness and meditation, the mind-body connection, and resilience.

    As a certified Health and Wellness Coach, Ashley first gets to know your experience and goals for change.  In combination with her expansive background knowledge around the human condition and how to change our behaviors – you’ll work together to develop the steps needed to reach your unique health and wellness goals.

    National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach logo
    DEAC Allies logo
  • Karen Richardson Dunn (’86), MDiv (’11), CHC

    Karen Richardson Dunn is a certified health coach through Duke Integrative Medicine. Her vision of health coaching is to help her clients define their vision of a healthier, more joyful and fulfilling life, and working with them to achieve this vision through evidence-based behavioral-change models. Karen has long been fascinated with the question What is wellness, and wholeness? – a journey that began when she served as both a hospital and hospice chaplain. This journey deepened in her role as planning coordinator with WFU School of Divinity’s Food, Health and Ecological Well-Being program, and as an associate director for the NC Council of Church’s Health and Wholeness initiative. While Karen, an ordained minister with the United Church of Christ, believes that spirituality is an important aspect of wellness, she has worked with people of many faiths, and of no faith background. Karen, a proud Double Deacon, is also an environmental activist, an editor and a writer, and the mom of two fine sons, students at UNC and USC. She looks forward to working with you to achieve your vision for a life of wholeness and well-being.

  • Michelle Ford (’10), CHWC

    Michelle Ford headshot

    Michelle seeks to be an ally and partner to clients who want to make a change and improve their quality of life.  She enjoys working with clients on a variety of topics and seeing them take steps to make sustainable lifestyle changes.  She loves working with clients to seek progress over perfection in all aspects of their lives.

    Michelle has always been interested in health and wellness and graduated from Wake Forest with a degree in Health & Exercise Science.  After graduating, she worked in physical therapy and then in sales for a few years until she needed a lifestyle change.  After returning to Wake on staff, Michelle found her niche working in the Office of Wellbeing.  Through her work supporting the Wellbeing Coaching program, she discovered a passion for health and wellness coaching.  She is excited to work with clients at the university and help them make progress on achieving their goals, managing stress, and finding fulfillment.

    In her personal life, Michelle is a mother to young children and is passionate about supporting parents who are constantly juggling responsibilities.  To support her own wellbeing, Michelle enjoys reading, taking walks, and traveling with her husband.

    deac allies logo
  • Virginia Zell, MPH, CHES, NBC-HWC

    Virginia Zell

    Virginia is an ally to her clients, helping them discover their strengths, and supporting them as they find their own way to thrive and maintain healthy lifestyles.

    Virginia holds a BS in Nutrition and Dietetics and a Master’s in Public Health from UNC Greensboro. She is also a Certified Health Education Specialist. She has several years of experience working as a public health nutritionist and as a lactation educator. She is passionate about educating others about nutrition and overall health and well-being. Virginia became fascinated with health coaching when she was in graduate school and has become a Certified Health Coach.

    She finds health coaching rewarding and enjoys helping others achieve their health and wellness goals. Virginia provides her clients with a safe and non-judgmental space for them to share, explore new possibilities, and work on their well-being goals. Virginia has experience working with clients on time management, stress management, healthy eating, increasing physical activity, weight loss, balancing work and life, self-care, and goal setting.

    In her personal life, she likes to do mindfulness breathing exercises and go for walks when she needs to de-stress. Virginia also enjoys baking, reading, playing sports, hiking, spending time with family/friends, and traveling with her husband.

    Virginia’s first language is Spanish and she is comfortable conducting sessions in Spanish, if preferred by the client.

Drop-in and traditional sessions are open!

To make an appointment for traditional coaching, select a coach and click the scheduling button linked below their background information.

Do I want to see a coach or a counselor?

The differences between counseling and coaching can be confusing.  Both options will work with you to empower and enable you to move forward to a more positive life experience.  Both services ask for your input and perspective rather than giving advice and telling you what to do. 

The main difference is based on where your focus needs to be in order to live fully present and able to thrive – either on healing or on growing to reach your full potential.  If you have a wound, pain, or hurt that aches whenever anyone pokes it or that is invasive enough to affect your daily functioning, then counseling might be a better fit right now.  Many people start with counseling and move to coaching as they heal mentally and emotionally.  If you are focused on setting goals or changing your lifestyle in order to build healthier life patterns, then coaching might be a more appropriate starting point.

Wellbeing CoachingCounseling
Goal is to help people thriveGoal is to help people gain mental health
If you say, “I want/desire it to be better”If you say, “I need it to function”
Focuses on changing behavior,
building strengths, and setting goals
Focuses on emotional and mental healing
Is about results and solutionsIs about solving problems
Deals with conscious awareness and goalsOften deals with underlying issues and
unconscious drives
A coach cannot act as a counselorA counselor can also act as a life coach
Provides goal-setting and skill development
through collaborative conversations
Provides diagnosis and treatment
Focus on what the client wishes to transformFocus on gaining insight
Private, not confidentialConfidential

For any additional questions regarding Wellbeing Coaching, please email wakewell@nullwfu.edu.