H. Howells, Founder and Coach, Agents of Change Coaching
I traversed a winding path before launching Agents of Change. At age 18, I escaped a small, southern, rural community and headed to a large northern university, where I fell in love with the cosmos and studied astronomy and physics. I ventured next to the southwest, where I taught these subjects in the beautiful desert of Arizona. There, I forged a deep connection to nature and thrived in the sun. When my job evaporated, I followed a boyfriend to live in Oaxaca, Mexico. I intended to write a novel there, but instead ended up working as a musician in a small band, and became mostly fluent in Spanish. I loved Mexico more than I had foreseen, and I weathered a national identity crisis before returning to the United States on my own, to wait tables and play guitar in bars at the beach as I prepared to enter veterinary school. At each step, I sought adventure and fought for self-sufficiency and independence.
In grad school, I struggled with the permanence of my career decision. I was much more certain about my decision to marry and start a family – a whole new adventure which made my life richer than I dreamed it could be. I completed veterinary school in 2010, intending to treat agricultural animals. Instead, I found myself in small animal practice, where I quickly spiraled into burn-out and exhaustion. I felt trapped by my educational debt. There was no time for music, relaxation, or joy. Trying to hold my head above water in a demanding profession, I was unable to care for myself or my health with any consistency or success. Worse, I felt like a failure caring for others! I was irritable, unable to be present for my family, and badly in need of connection.
I resuscitated my veterinary career by giving back. First I simply listened to others. Then I began coaching other veterinarians, as a way to save myself. Over time, I became more and more fired up about the idea that life could - no, SHOULD be different: that health, vitality, vulnerability, presence, joy, and connection should never take a back seat to our daily chores. I spent the years between my burn-out and the present working on myself - stumbling in my attempts to be a better human, and learning everything I could about coaching myself and others.
In 2018, I founded Agents of Change Coaching to live more deeply into my reason for being – to create wellness through empathy, laughter, and love. I improved my health; and I regained focus, connection, and joy. Make no mistake about it, I am still a work in progress. But I believe that coaching is always mutual, and I have much to learn from everyone I meet. Change comes for all of us, and I want to write the coming chapters of my life, rather than just turn the pages of my days. Let me help you pick up the pen to write yours.
Experience and Certifications:
BA in Physics from Brown University – 2001
DVM from Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine – 2010
Power of 10 Graduate through Colorado Veterinary Medical Association – Sept 2015
Power of 10 Coach for Colorado Veterinary Medical Association for 3+ years
Facilitator/Leader of support group for veterinarians for 4 years
Founder of Agents of Change Coaching – Sept 2018
Primal Health Coach Certificate from Primal Health Coach Institute -- May 2019
Certificate in the Foundations of Positive Psychology from University of Pennsylvania – planned for 2019
Strengths Coaching Certification from Gallup – planned for 2020
What is Ancestral Health?
Also sometimes called the Primal or Paleo lifestyle, this health paradigm acknowledges that the environment we live in today is far different than the environment in which we evolved over the last two million years. The Western diet and sedentary culture that surround us now have made us prone to ailments such as obesity, overweight, heart disease, and other metabolic disorders – diseases that were virtually non-existent prior to the last 10,000 years. By eating whole, nutrient dense foods, and adopting exercise and lifestyle habits similar to those of our primal ancestors, we can move toward optimal health by aligning our efforts with our genetics. While diet is of central importance, ancestral health also stresses the importance of physical movement, sleep, sunlight, play, learning, and community as being crucial to our overall wellbeing.
About the Butterfly:
Edward Lorenz, pioneer of Chaos Theory, posited that “the flap of a butterfly’s wings can be instrumental in generating a tornado.”* Chaos Theory teaches that small changes in initial conditions can lead to huge changes in outcome, in systems that are complex and chaotic. This speaks to the unpredictability of life, but also to the power we each have to change how we feel, how we live, how we relate to one another – in ways bigger than we can imagine when we begin.
*(From his 1972 talk at the 139th meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.)