EOT 328 - Santisha Walker

Elizabeth Esser interviews Santisha Walker, a registered nurse, author, entrepreneur and speaker based in Durham. They discuss her fitness apparel and wellness brand, The I AM Experience.

FULL TRANSCRIPT OF EPISODE
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Eoin Trainor  0:00  
The views and opinions expressed in Eye on the Triangle do not represent WKNC or student media.

Eoin Trainor  0:45  
Good evening Raleigh and welcome to this week's Eye on the Triangle an NC State student produced new show on WKNC 88.1 FM HD one Raleigh, I am Eoin Trainor. On tonight's episode, Elizabeth Esser interviews Santisha Walker, a registered nurse, entrepreneur, author and speaker based in Durham they talk about her fitness apparel and wellness brand, the I am experience. But first you have some stories from the North Carolina News Service enjoy.

Nadia Ramlagan  1:12  
A state environmental committee is considering a proposal to set a process in motion to reduce carbon emissions from power plants. It involves North Carolina joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative or “RGGI,” a collaborative effort to shrink emissions by a group of East Coast states. RGGI requires companies to purchase an allowance for each ton of carbon-dioxide pollution they produce. The petition now heads to a second commission for a vote. Joel Porter with Clean Air Carolina says environmental groups are pleased the state is taking the impact of carbon pollution seriously.

Joel Porter  1:44  
So that was a big step forward for us on a long journey through the regulatory process, but we are encouraged that they approve of our petition and regulating greenhouse gases in North Carolina.

Nadia Ramlagan  1:57  
He says states already part of RGGI have seen carbon-dioxide emissions from power plants drop 47-percent over the last decade. With that dip in fossil-fuel generation came cleaner air, fewer hospital visits, and fewer lost work or school days from asthma and other respiratory illnesses. But an energy bill being debated by state lawmakers could complicate the effort to join RGGI. Porter says House Bill 951 would enshrine natural gas and fossil-fuel use in the state for the next decade, and limit the amount of renewable energy that can be used.

Joel Porter  2:30  
All and all, we’re glad that we’re supporting a petition to get the state in RGGI, because this bill closes the state’s energy market to clean energy.

Nadia Ramlagan  2:41  
Derb Carter with the Southern Environmental Law Center says joining RGGI would put North Carolina on a path to reduce carbon emissions from 2005 levels by 70-percent before 2030, and become carbon neutral by 2050.

Derb Carter  2:55  
Which generally aligns with what the scientists are telling us we really need to do to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

Nadia Ramlagan  3:04  
Carter notes North Carolinians already feel the effects of climate change from extreme weather. He says unless the course is shifted, the state's residents and economy will see more consequences. For North Carolina News Service, I'm Nadia Ramlagan.

Nadia Ramlagan  3:23  
New survey data offer a clear picture of how North Carolina kids and families are faring, both before and after the pandemic. The Tarheel State ranks 34th in the nation for overall child well-being in the 2021 Kids Count Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Vikki Crouse with N-C Child says before the pandemic, one in five kids lived in households with incomes below the poverty line. And then, massive job losses meant thousands of parents suddenly had no or reduced income and few options for child care.

Vikki Crouse  3:53  
So we know that the pandemic took a toll on everyone, but especially parents and caregivers.

Nadia Ramlagan  3:59  
According to the report, the percentage of adults in households with kids experiencing symptoms of depression rose from 19-percent last year, to 22-percent in March of this year.
 
The data also reveal in 2020, 22-percent of households with children experienced housing insecurity, reporting "little or no confidence" in their ability to pay their next rent or mortgage payment. In March 2021, that figure has dipped to 17-percent. However, Crouse says affordable housing continues to be a pressing issue.

Vikki Crouse  4:29  
And now he's really constrained because certainly families and kids don't fare well if they don't have a stable place to live.

Nadia Ramlagan  4:36  
But she notes the expanded Child Tax Credit will likely lift more than 140-thousand North Carolina children out of poverty.
 
 Leslie Boissiere with the Casey Foundation explains both state and federal Child Tax Credit programs are critical to eliminating structural inequities in the tax code.

Leslie Boissiere  4:53  
We are excited and grateful that lawmakers passed the expansion, and we're calling on them to make that expansion permanent. We'd like to ensure that we don't have the largest-ever one-year reduction in the number of children who live in poverty, followed immediately by the largest-ever one-year increase.

Nadia Ramlagan  5:10  
She adds more than half of Black children have historically been ineligible for the full Child Tax Credit because their household incomes are too low, compared with 25-percent of white children. For North Carolina News Service, I'm Nadia Ramlagan.

Lily Bohlke  5:30  
Groups advocating for clean energy say Governor Roy Cooper's recent commitment to expanding North Carolina's offshore wind capacity will bring economic benefits to the state. North Carolina has among the highest offshore wind-energy potential in the nation, with its long coastline and shallow outer-continental shelf. Jaime Simmons, with the Southeastern Wind Coalition, says in addition to being a carbon-free source of power, expanding offshore wind could create tens of thousands of new jobs.

Jamie Simmons  6:00  
Some of these major location decisions are being driven in large part by the states or regions with anticipated projects. So these development goals set by Gov. Cooper make a much stronger case for these manufacturers to locate and invest in North Carolina.

Lily Bohlke  6:16  
North Carolina is facing a 10-year moratorium on all offshore energy leasing starting in July of 2022. Simmons says pending legislation would exempt offshore wind from the ban. In the meantime, she says there's work to do to get existing wind-energy areas ready for leasing – Wilmington East and West in the southern part of the state – and prepare for development of new projects to start immediately when the moratorium ends.
 
Simmons says offshore wind will be an essential part of the move toward a carbon-free grid – and that it marries well with solar energy. When solar starts to produce less in the day, around early evening, offshore wind usually is blowing the strongest. She adds that the high generation capacity of individual offshore wind projects is key.

Jamie Simmons  7:04  
You're really talking about rethinking what baseload power means. Offshore wind is really the only renewable energy that could replace the capacity from a coal facility or natural-gas facility.

Lily Bohlke  7:19  
Cooper's proclamation outlines targets for offshore wind energy of 28-hundred megawatts by 2030 and 8-thousand megawatts by 2040. His administration notes 8-thousand megawatts could power more than 2-million homes. The order also aligns with the state's clean-energy plan signed in 2018, which aims to reduce power-sector greenhouse gases 70-percent by 2030 and to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. For North Carolina News Service, I'm Lily Bohlke, reporting.

Elizabeth Esser  7:54  
I'm Elizabeth Esser with WKNC 88.1 Eye on the Triangle. Joining us today is Santisha Walker, a certified nurse, entrepreneur, speaker and author based in Durham, North Carolina. We discussed her fitness apparel and wellness brand, the I Am experience. Santisha, thank you so much for joining us on Eye on the Triangle. 

Santisha Walker  8:13  
You're welcome. Thank you for having me, Elizabeth. I'm excited to be here.

Elizabeth Esser  8:18  
So you wear many hats. You're a certified nurse and entrepreneur an author, speaker. Would you mind telling our listeners a bit about your professional background and how you got to where you are today? 

Santisha Walker  8:29  
Sure. So yes, I am a registered nurse. I've been a nurse for seven years, I actually received my nursing degree from Wake Technical Community College here in Raleigh. And then I went on to get my master's in nursing from Gardner Webb University. And so as far as my nursing background, I have worked at Wake med, I was a cardiac nurse on intermediate step down unit, I worked at a private practice in Raleigh for neurology, I've done homecare, supervisory visits, I've worked in assisted living, long term care and rehab. So I have a really broad knowledge of nursing. And as you know, I'm not your typical traditional conventional nurse, I believe in stepping outside of the box and using my nursing knowledge to help others outside of the bedside setting. I'm also a wellness coach. And so I thought it would be great to pair wellness knowledge with my nursing health care information that I have and then make you know the best of that and be able to help others outside of that setting. I am here from the Raleigh Durham area and I reside here at RTP. And so I try to reach out to the community and partner with others who are making a difference in the lives of others as well in the healthcare wellness setting. So I have a broad range of knowledge. 

Elizabeth Esser  9:43  
So what is the I Am experience and and what inspired you to create it?

Santisha Walker  9:48  
Sure, so the I am experience. So my mission with that is to basically offer individuals a fitness and wellness experience that's going to empower them to intentionally cultivate the best version of themselves and reflect it out to the world. And so my vision was to offer a fitness apparel from a quality brand that everyone can trust. And then also tag on to that wellness products that they can use while they are actually working on their physical body. And so where this idea came from, I actually came to me during the pandemic, right, everyone was home, we were all going through a lot. myself as a nurse, I was still actually helping in the bedside setting, doing what we call PRN, helping in different COVID units in the area. But when I was home, I actually decided to focus more on my actual fitness and physical fit as far as my physical body. And so I began working out more. Before the pandemic, I would go to the boxing gym and try to work on my body, but I got really lazy with it. So I decided to incorporate more physical activity for myself. But also I want it to center myself emotionally, spiritually and mentally, right. And so with every, at every news station, every time we turned around, there was something negative being mentioned or or new breaking news, I should say about Coronavirus, and about COVID and about the number of deaths and so it was taking a toll on everyone, including myself. And so what I wanted to do was become very still very centered. And so I begin positive self talk, I begin to incorporate heavily, I was doing it before, but I really want to focus on positive affirmations. And so during my workout sessions, which I would work out early in the morning, go ahead and get it done for the day, I began playing affirmations in the background. So while I was doing my HIIT Workout, I had affirmations going. And that really helped me during that vulnerable time when I was working out to center my mind and to speak to myself in my body. And I just took it from there. So I thought you know, what, if this is helping me Who else could this actually help? You know, because when we working out that's a very, it's empowering, but it's also very vulnerable, right? Because you're questioning yourself, can I do this, I have to reach this goal, I have to feel better. So you're vulnerable, but you're also empowering yourself to keep going and push past that threshold. And so that that's when it came to me, you know, it would be really cool to you know, come up with an apparel that people could actually put on when they can actually when they see themselves in that apparel, they will be empowered, right. But then also add products or add something to that, that would allow them to continue with the empowerment, mind body, soul and spirit. And so that's where it came from my husband's nonprofit organization, Carolina united flag football club, they actually had access to Nike apparel, and so I tapped into his resource and I was able to get great you know, quality apparel and use you know, use the I Am brand to go ahead and put something great out there for individuals.

Elizabeth Esser  13:03  
And so I understand that the brand is not just a fitness apparel brand. What all does it offer?

Santisha Walker  13:10  
Yeah, great, great. Okay. So this is this is the fun part right because there are several fitness apparel you know, you can athleisure is everywhere. But the thing that says that I am experienced a part is we offer an I am fitness wellness kit, right so that I Am exclusive wellness kit is basically 10 subjects that those who purchase the apparel can choose from it's complimentary. And so you choose one of those subjects with your apparel purchase. And I'm actually sending you information based on my nursing and wellness knowledge that will help you to incorporate that into your life. So there are daily practical guides, they're invaluable resources that are reputable that you can you can believe and trust in, there's evidence based information that's provided on that particular topic. So each time you purchase an apparel, you can choose a new topic to go along with your apparel. So that I am exclusive wellness kit will be included with your package with your actual apparel that you receive at your doorstep. Okay, so another product that I included was the I Am energy workout mix. This was this was a really fun project. And again, like I mentioned before I was working out right but what I wanted to do was put I am affirmations on top of energizing beats So when we work out we want something that's just going to keep us going and especially when we reach that peak, right, we have to push to that threshold. And so what I wanted to do was incorporate Im affirmations with energizing beats so that you can actually listen to it for while you're working out. So it is a 30 minute audio. And so these are professionally engineered beats that are done by the professionals. I know nothing about studio work. So I reached out to Hatton Brandon CO and they were able to reach out to their resources their team and put together the I am energy work out there. And so again, that's complimentary. It comes with your apparel, you can only get it once you purchase your apparel. But that's actually to help your mind stay in that positive mindset while you're working out. And I actually had some someone reach out to me and she said, You know what, I actually listened to it after I finished my workout. And so that you can carry it into your everyday activities. And the other, the other, this is not really a product. But the other thing that I offer is I am empowered private group. And so that is a private Facebook group, you have to have an entry code, you have to answer questions to be able to get in. But once you purchase your apparel, then you actually get access to that group to be held accountable, and to be empowered on a daily and weekly basis. And so it's not just me posting information as a healthcare professional. But it's those that are in the group, were asking questions, Hey, what are you guys doing about this? How are you guys being empowered this week? This is what I'm doing. Right. One of the things I posted yesterday was Hey, guys, like I had a little bit too much sugar last week, and, and I didn't really take in as much water this week, I am, you know, being held accountable to drinking more water. And so they hold me accountable to that. So yeah, I wanted to definitely partner wellness products,

Elizabeth Esser  16:15  
and you have a background in healthcare and business. And you've been able to successfully merge these two passions in your career. Was creating a brand like the I am experience always a goal of yours? Or is that something that just happened along the way?

Santisha Walker  16:31  
Great question. So it happened along the way. You know, if you do a little bit of research and background on me, I am a true like, nurse entrepreneur, what we call nursepreneur. And so I consider myself a serial entrepreneur, because I love taking ideas, I love taking things and my creativities and bringing them to a full finished work and bringing them to fruition. And so no, I it's so funny, I had never envisioned myself, even launching a fitness line, right. But I have a business degree. And I always tell this story. I have a business degree. And I concentrated in marketing. But I never envisioned that I would be an entrepreneur. And I know that's like an oxymoron it's contradictory. But when I went to college back in 2001, you know, I didn't know what I wanted to do what to major is I said, Hey, if I get a business degree, I could always use it at some point in life. And then after graduating I in college, I kind of had an idea. I wanted to be a nurse, but I was close to graduating. So I graduated. But becoming a nurse, I didn't become a nurse to even partner the two worlds. It wasn't until later I realized, oh my god, I have all of this knowledge, I have a business degree. And my husband actually brought that idea of, you know, going into consulting and starting my own business. And so eventually I'm merged the two. So I did not set out to be a serial nursepreneur, I did not set out to launch, you know, a fitness line, I do believe in submitting my mind, my body and my will to the will of God, my Creator. And I do believe in allowing him to order my steps. And so throughout life, life is very secure. You know, very, you know, it's a windy road. And so I just believe in just following him and doing what he's telling me to do. And it's been a success so far. Success, meaning I have empowered a lot of people along the way. That's how I measure my level of success. So, you know, no, I didn't set out to do it. But I did. I do believe in not being boxed in and just you know, submitting myself to God and letting him use me in that way.

Elizabeth Esser  18:38  
And as a registered nurse yourself, you have a specific passion of empowering nurses professionally and in life. How have nurses and other health care professionals responded to the I am experience?

Santisha Walker  18:51  
Yeah, so they responded great. I actually had a giveaway I launched actually the day like nurses week was my first inaugural launch of the brand. And so I had nurses like reach out to me that was actually a giveaway that I offered. And one of the one of the nurses won, but they've responded positively. I will say just in general, nurses are amazing. We're the powerhouse of healthcare. And I'm happy to see that we are moving along and becoming used to nurses operating outside of that traditional setting. But it's it is still a pool every once in a while to get nurses to see another nurse operating outside of just having all scrubs and starting IVs and running to codes. And so I have had a positive response. But I think as nurses hear more about this and realize, Hey, you know, this is something you guys can tap into as well. I think there will be even more a better response but so far it's been it's been good. I actually have a nurse who was a part of our inaugural launch. And so she has actually been putting it she's a she's an ER nurse at Wake med and she's actually been she's an ambassador. And she's been putting helped me get the brand out to other nurses as well. 

Elizabeth Esser  20:05  
When is your next release?

Santisha Walker  20:07  
Yeah, so my next release is actually, this Friday, June the 25th. I'm not sure when this will air, but it is June the 25th. And so I release the fourth Friday of every month. And so if you missed the first release, or the most previous release, you can also always subscribe and then you'll get a heads up with that next release is coming. So the 25th of June is my next release. And the releases are available only for one week. And so you have to almost get in there why you can you know, while the getting is good. And then once that, that that seven day is over, then the next release is not until another three or four weeks.

Elizabeth Esser  20:44  
And finally, where can listeners find your merchandise? 

Santisha Walker  20:47  
Yeah, so they can find it at WWW.theIAMexperience.shop So that is the I am experienced dot shop. And then once they go there, they can see all of the amazing information and yeah, all the good stuff.

Elizabeth Esser  21:04  
Santisha, thank you so much for joining us.

Santisha Walker  21:07  
You're welcome Elizabeth, thank you so much for having me.

Eoin Trainor  21:11  
And that is it for this episode of Eye on the Triangle. Thanks for tuning in. If you have any questions, comments, ideas or would like to get involved, shoot us an email at public affairs@wknc.org. We'd love to hear from you. Stay tuned for usual programming. We'll see you next time.
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