Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Heidi Schreiber-Pan, Founder of Center for Nature Informed Therapy, located in Towson, MD, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

The Center for Nature Informed Therapy is an organization that provides mental health and wellness services that integrate the natural world with mental health services and practices.

Tell us about yourself

I remember the day my research advisor said to me: "You need to pick a topic for your dissertation that you have a lot of passion for because that topic is going to be the front and center of your life for a long time." Instantly, I knew it had to include the natural world because nature had been my alley and my place of peace since my earliest childhood days. In 2015, I graduated with a Ph.D. in counseling psychology, having completed a successful investigation of nature and mental health, specifically nature's role in psychological well-being, resiliency, and spirituality. The real dream, however, was to create a living organization informed by my research.

At the height of the Covid pandemic, we celebrated the grand opening of the Center for Nature Informed Therapy at one of our partner locations, Puhtok in the Pines. I gave a fiery keynote address that spoke to how my upbringing in the European Alps had begun a lifelong love relationship with mother nature and how we can help people manage their mental health with the help of the natural world. My vision of combining my personal love for the non-human world and professional passion for integrating nature into mental health counseling was becoming a reality.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment as the founder of the Center for Nature Informed Therapy is to (re)connect people with the natural world in a deeper and more meaningful way. Hopefully, that translates into more eco-activism. In essence, my business succeeds if it nurtures my mission: "healed people heal the planet."

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Without a doubt, it's the challenges that come with managing people. Individuals bring their own personal baggage to work, and that can have a negative effect on coping skills, conflict management, and group dynamics. This is especially true for working in a field that people feel very passionate about. Hiring a new staff member who fits the culture well and who is dedicated to the mission of the organization becomes the most important skill a business owner can possess.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Create a mission statement informed by your personal and professional values. This will ensure that you don't lose your way and helps staff members understand the overall vision.
  2. Hiring the "right" person is the most important task you will do. Spend more time on this than you think is necessary. Even if you are a small business, have a team of interviewers.
  3. You can't do everything yourself. Delegate, delegate, delegate. It's the only way.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Read Brene Brown's book: Dare to lead. This book will help you become an effective leader.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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