Gina Geremia

Gina Geremia is a Certified Forest Therapy Practitioner, Accredited NLP Practitioner and Personal Performance Coach. Having a keen understanding of human and wild behaviour allows her to design and execute a myriad of wellbeing programmes that facilitate healing and personal growth. Her expertise extends to crafting and implementing programmes tailored to diverse populations, including supporting initiatives for sexual assault survivors, adults grappling with poor mental and emotional health, and young people contending with behavioural disorders. Reflected in this work is her dedication to delivering impactful programmes that facilitate healing and personal growth. 

She tells us that, “In 2021 I started Adaptable By Design, a green wellbeing agency offering nature-based solutions that enhance emotional and mental agility through meaningful engagement with the natural world. Rooted in the belief that nature is our greatest teacher and supported with robust science, our solutions offer sustainable results. We have two flagship programmes, reN8ture and Outside,In. reN8ture is a self-referral nature therapy intervention facilitating our innate ability to be well by establishing a profound connection with nature. Outside,In is a workplace wellbeing programme introducing nature and nature experiences for elevated wellbeing, performance, creativity, and communication. 

This year I’m looking forward to designing two new programmes, a nature therapy intervention for those undergoing cancer treatment, and a nature-based programme supporting students to improve academic performance.”

What were your initial years of growing up like? Tell us about your life before starting your professional journey/venture/initiative and what inspired you to choose this career. 

I grew up on a very small, self-sufficient farm in Vermont (USA). Although land was wealthy, our family was poor, making surviving off the land a necessity. I believe this helped me develop a strong character and deep connection with the natural world which I’ve continued to deepen. Always finding inspiration in our connection with nature, it seemed a natural progression to study psychology at university. From here I made my way through a series of professional jobs in social and human services, economic development, experiential education and natural stewardship, studying and learning about human to human and human to nature relationships, connections and support systems. During this time, I constructed a vision for how I wanted to live and work in this life and in 2020 I designed the framework for what is now Adaptable By Design. 

Was there any turning point in your life that changed your journey? If so, what was it? Please tell us the backstory behind it. 

The impending end of a very large contract meant I needed to do something to replace that income. This was the inspiration for me to engage in professional training and in 2019 I decided to return to coaching, only this time working as a way to help others enhance their wellbeing. At the onset of the 2020 pandemic, when we were all forced into our homes, I was one of the fortunate ones to have access to a large area of green space. Noticing how the reduced human movement offered an opportunity for nature to return to its natural rhythm and even thrive inspired me to begin designing the services I wanted to offer.

Tell us about your goals, interests, and role models. 

My professional goals are tied to Adaptable By Design, making it a global leader in nature based solutions for elevated wellbeing. I believe that in order to elevate human wellbeing, we must preserve the dignity of all, including that of our natural environment. A healthy environment is a necessary element of living with dignity. Furthermore, when we all equally live with healthy air, water and food in a robust, biodiverse natural world, we experience sustainable and resilient natural, social and economic systems. To this end, I’d like to be involved in efforts to design nature-based programmes in other areas of the world. 

I’m inspired by so many people that it’s difficult to name just one or two role models. I suppose the most obvious are my parents, who are sadly no longer with us. My father always fostered our deep relationship with nature. My mother’s love for our landscape and neighbours also had a profound influence in how I related to it and others. Outside of family, my dear friend Sallie Traxler has been my role model since I first met her in 1994. 

Personally, I’d like to travel more and experience new cultures and landscapes. This always brings personal and professional inspiration and it would be nice to incorporate this more into my life. 

Everyone has their own set of challenges when starting an entrepreneurial journey. Still, the most essential part for others to learn is how you deal with those. Would you like to share with us your challenges and your coping mechanisms? 

My professional training has given me a very different perspective on challenges, including how I approach them. In the past I would let anxiety be a dominant emotional response. And although I can still feel anxious when presented with a challenge, I am a lot better at stepping back and taking a bird’s eye view of the situation. From November-January as work slows down, I get nervous and start wondering if I’m doing enough or trained enough or if I’ll make enough money to help support our family. It’s all very natural to be wondering this and feeling a bit of imposter syndrome. Taking that step back for a wider view gives me the chance to observe with an objective eye and see more detail, helping to understand how I can best tackle it.

What impact do you feel you have been able to create with your work so far and how would you want to grow in the next few years? 

I’m thrilled with the impact I and Adaptable By Design have had in the local area. Bringing attention to nature-based wellbeing is a huge part of my work and to that end, it’s been sensational! There are so many of us working in the world of health and wellness. We each have our own approach, style and passions. With all of this incredible skill and talent, we need to be better at lifting up one another, supporting our partners in wellbeing. This is how we make a true difference in the world. When we support and collaborate on this, we can have a much further reach. 

My focus for the next year or two is to continue to build locally and expand regionally. I’m always looking for ecotourism partners for locations to deliver my services and would love to take on a few further afield. Training others to deliver services is also on the horizon. Partnering with other organisations and service providers is very important to me. 

While the global pandemic of COVID-19 is associated primarily with adversities, it has also brought about a true boom in startups, with successful entrepreneurship in many countries. The pandemic has impacted all of us in one way or another. Would you like to share your experience on a personal and professional level? 

This time was really valuable for my personal development. My husband was working from home, giving us more time with one another. It was also an incredible opportunity to also focus on my professional development. Being on reduced hours, gave me the chance to focus on the coach training programme I had enrolled in. It was a perfect combination that catapulted the programme framework that I now deliver. 

Your journey and your vision are very inspiring, but are there any achievements or accomplishments you would like to mention? 

Building local connections and seeing the impact these programmes have on my community give me a great sense of satisfaction.

Would you like to share with our young budding women entrepreneurs the change you would like to see in the world if given an opportunity? 

I would love to influence people across the world to forge essential connections with nature and for these connections to result in elevated wellbeing and enhanced vitality of the natural world. Just imagine if this becomes so important and popular that I’m out of a job! 

What’s the most important thing you have learned in your personal life and professional journey? What is your personal motto in life? 

We impose perfection on ourselves but we are not expected to be perfect. We are better served when we focus on growth and progress. Permitting self-compassion, being patient with yourself and giving yourself the time and space to practice will result in progress 

Women are a growing force in the workplaces worldwide, standing shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts. There are cracks in glass ceilings everywhere, with many women breaking through to carve out a space right at the top of the pyramid. What are your thoughts about women’s leadership today? 

It’s been a long time coming. Women are carving out a space at the top because of all of the work our predecessors did to pave that way. Sustainable change happens gradually. When you look back on the women’s movements over previous generations you can see results. But they didn’t see as much as they wanted during their time. Working together, fostering strong, collaborative, supportive relationships and allowing ourselves to lean on one another is an important part of this process. 

With your grit and determination, you are making a considerable impact, breaking through, and serving as role models for many budding entrepreneurs. What would you want to say to our young women leaders/audience reading this? 

Be patient yourselves and be patient with the other women helping to forge these spaces. To those who have found themselves at the top or working their way to it, be kind. The movement takes many and we’re all doing the best we can along the way.

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