Maya McNulty of Covid Wellness: The Power of Flexibility; How I Was Able To Pivot To A New Exciting Opportunity Because Of The Pandemic
An Interview With Pirie Jones Grossman
Don’t ever let anyone dim your flame. Have confidence in yourself. When someone attacks you, let it roll off. I have done that with my initiative and it has helped me move forward.
Many successful people reinvented themselves in a later period in their life. Jeff Bezos worked in Wall Street before he reinvented himself and started Amazon. Sara Blakely sold office supplies before she started Spanx. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was a WWE wrestler before he became a successful actor and filmmaker. Arnold Schwarzenegger went from a bodybuilder, to an actor to a Governor. McDonald’s founder Ray Croc was a milkshake-device salesman before starting the McDonalds franchise in his 50's.
How does one reinvent themselves? What hurdles have to be overcome to take life in a new direction? How do you overcome those challenges? How do you ignore the naysayers? How do you push through the paralyzing fear?
In this series called “Second Chapters; How I Reinvented Myself In The Second Chapter Of My Life “ we are interviewing successful people who reinvented themselves in a second chapter in life, to share their story and help empower others.
As a part of this interview series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Maya McNulty.
Maya McNulty is the founder of Covid Wellness, LLC. She is a three times Best -Selling Author, and Podcaster. She has worked with thousands of people for more than two decades creating opportunities for entrepreneurs as one of America’s most respected business branding strategists, marketer and speaker.
Maya a young female battled Coronavirus March 2020, hospitalized for 69 days, in a 30 day medically-induced coma and ventilator for six weeks. Maya, a long hauler, has had to re-learn how to walk, talk and eat again. She lost her memory, hair, voice and is still recovering steadily.
After 18 months of therapy, Maya started Covid Wellness Clinic Online Program to heal long haulers from the comfort of their home. She also started Covid Wellness Clinic on Facebook. The group helps to support Covid-19 survivors and their families with recovery support and guidance.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
I was born in Guyana, South America. My parents and my two brothers and I came to America in 1979. I was six years old. I can best remember flying on PanAm Airlines. It was my first plane ride experience. We landed in New York City, at JFK airport with our suitcases and a dream for a better life. In 1983 my family and I became American citizens. My mom worked in a factory and my dad as an Orthopedic Tech. My parents taught my brothers and I about hard work, discipline, integrity and to show up! As a kid, I was always into trouble with my mouth. My high school guidance counselor suggested I go into law. I always argued to find solutions even at a young age. It’s no wonder I am an advocate for long hauler Covid families and survivors of Covid-19.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost 300 games. 26 times, I was trusted to take the game shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I
Succeed.” — Michal Jordan
In a nut shell don’t give up! You are stronger than you think! This was the hardest fight of my life. I thought if just pushed through every day and gave 1% more, by the end of the year my health and mental attitude would improve by 365%.
You have been blessed with much success. In your opinion, what are the top three qualities that you possess that have helped you accomplish so much? If you can, please share a story or example for each.
Perseverance, will-power and positive mental attitude is what saved me.
I can best remember being hoyer lifted out of my hospital bed on to a wheel chair for physical therapy. There were many times I wanted to throw the towel in. My body suffered from terrible neuropathy and atrophy while coming out of the coma. My family was counting on me to fight this beast and not lose hope!
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about ‘Second Chapters’. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before your Second Chapter?
I was introduced to entrepreneurship in eighth grade when our class had an end-of-year project requirement to raise money for our “moving up” dance. Our class created a carnival and sold popcorn, cotton candy, balloons and handmade crafts. We even had the dreaded-by-parents- universally, win-a-goldfish game. This experience taught me about teamwork. I grew up in Schenectady, NY, and studied fashion in high school through the Vo-tech program at Linton High School where I created my first design portfolio. I had a burning desire to change the fashion industry with sustainable and recycled clothes. In 1991, I studied Fashion Merchandising and Design at Bay State College in Boston, Mass. In 1993, I was privileged to continue my studies of fashion and design in London and Paris. I also had a fashion designer mentor in the North End of Boston, Denise Hajjar. After graduating from college, I returned to Upstate, NY, and searched for a real “job” to repay college loans. I worked in insurance for about 18 months and later got fired. After being fired, I desperately tried to find a job in fashion design. With no luck, I was employed on unemployment. I took an SBA class through Empire Development, joined SCORE and found a mentor. I opened my first business Vintage Boutique in Scotia, NY. The fashion lines included recycled jeans and repurposed clothes. We also sold jewelry and a mix of new fashions. The dress shop changed the name from Vintage Boutique to Village Boutique after three months of clients and market not wanting recycled or used clothing. I learned a lot about marketing, customer service and running a business through hands-on experience.
How do you reinvent yourself in your second chapter?
I have a strong purpose, a burning desire and persistence. I realize that even small steps matter, and if you’re changing one life for the better you’ve accomplished your goal.
One of the most common causes of failure is the habit of quitting when one is overtaken by temporary defeat. To avoid failing, many history makers have reinvented themselves and their business model to thrive in a global economy. Henry Ford designed a high-end car his employees couldn’t afford. As a result, the company morale plummeted until he offered his employees a chance to afford the car at cost. As a result, sales increased as did company morale. Kenneth Cole certainly reinvented himself in a big way and has landed his shoes in practically every woman’s closet! He founded his American fashion house in 1982. He wanted to preview his line of shoes at the New York Shoe Expo at the New York Hilton but couldn’t afford the purchase of a hotel room so inquired about parking a trailer two blocks from the Hilton Hotel. Upon discovering that permits for trailers were only granted to utility and production companies, Cole changed the name of his company from Kenneth Cole Incorporated to Kenneth Cole Productions and applied for a permit to film the full-length film, “The Birth of a Shoe Company.” In two and a half days, Kenneth Cole Productions sold forty thousand pairs of shoes, while chronicling the beginning of the company on film. Talk about resourcefulness!
Another person who has completely reinvented herself is Barbara Ann Corcoran, an American businesswoman, investor, speaker, consultant, syndicated columnist, author and television personality on Shark Tank. She founded The Corcoran Group, a real estate brokerage in New York City, which she then sold to NRT for $66 million in 2001 and shortly thereafter exited the company. One of her famous quotes is, “My best success came on the heels of failure.”
Oprah Winfrey was told she would never make it as a daytime talk show host. What I’m saying is that as Americans, we have the capacity to make decisions ourselves and to dream big and be bigger than ourselves.
My number one advice to those with a desire to reinvent one’s self would be to find a mentor. Don’t hire a mentor. Mentors are everywhere if you simply ask. I’m honored to have a leadership mentor, a product design mentor, an SEO mentor, a branding mentor, a course creation mentor and a medical mentor because I’m raising better Covid-19 awareness. All of my mentors operate multi-million-dollar businesses. They are free! I don’t pay them a dime. I just asked, “Would you be my mentor?”
We have launched Covid Wellness Clinic online program. Covid Wellness, LLC is dedicated to the support and education of families and individuals living with serious and debilitating long covid. These are the Covid- 19 long haulers. Covid Wellness Clinic advocates for better services in the health system of care, strives to educate the public about the effects of long haulers, to eradicate the stigma and supports Covid- 19 research and science.
With Covid Wellness LLC, I’m working with HR departments so they can share it with people at no cost or low cost. This way, we are able to alleviate the financial burden I felt, and others are feeling. Our program will help people understand where to start. This way there is hope. I feel that the reason I survived is so I can give people hope, and if I can make someone’s life better and more worth living, I am answering the code like the doctors did for me. Over 675,000 people have died in the U.S.A., and I am incredibly lucky that I survived. In that surviving, I ask myself what I can do to improve the life that I have? Medicine is a catastrophic failure when it comes to that, and the cost is unbearable to family’s which is causing a mental health problem. They are making it so difficult some people are committing suicide. By putting a bandaid on one problem you are opening another can of worms. We need to provide better health insurance, because, quite simply, people don’t know what they don’t know.
Can you tell us about the specific trigger that made you decide that you were going to “take the plunge” and make your huge transition?
When I woke up in the ICU bed after a month on the ventilator, 69 days in the hospital, ten months of physcial therapy, I hadn’t fully healed as projected by doctors and therapists. I needed more care and because Covid wasn’t text book, I created one! With Covid Wellness Clinic Online Program, The aftermath of Covid-19 is sky rocking with no end in sight! I’m working with HR departments so they can share it with employees at no cost or low cost. This way, we are able to alleviate the financial burden I felt, and others are feeling. Our program will help people understand where to start. This way there is hope. I feel that the reason I survived is so I can give people hope, and if I can make someone’s life better and more worth living, I am answering the code like the doctors did for me.
What did you do to discover that you had a new skillset inside of you that you haven’t been maximizing? How did you find that and how did you ultimately overcome the barriers to help manifest those powers?
I realized that Covid-19 didn’t happen to me, but for me. Through the power of prayer, mental strength and fight for survival evoked an even stronger willpower to live a life of purpose and make a stronger impact with my second chance at life. The world is less because of those who lost their lives to Covid-19. Those of us given a second chance have become a vessel for change and impact post Covid-19.
How are things going with this new initiative? We would love to hear some specific examples or stories.
After 18 months of therapy, Covid Wellness Online Program has created a network of over 1400 members healing from the comfort of their home. The Covid Wellness, LLC helps to support Covid-19 survivors and their families with recovery support and guidance. Covid Wellness Online Program is also being recommended by hospitals and doctors worldwide. Learn More: www.covidwellnessclinic.com
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My husband has been my cheerleader from day one. He has literally carried me through my entire Covid experience. And I mean literally. He carried me on his back to the car to drive me to the hospital, when we didn’t even know what Covid was! I was exposed to it at my gym, and when I began feeling bad, it came on quickly. I am now dealing with long hauler Covid, and each day is a struggle. With my husband and family behind me, I find the strength to help others.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
Thankfully, on July 26, 2021, the Biden/ Harris administration passed the bill recognizing long Covid in the Americans with Disabilities Act. That’s something I played a small part in. I’m really proud of and something naysayers couldn’t understand.
Did you ever struggle with believing in yourself? If so, how did you overcome that limiting belief about yourself? Can you share a story or example? What hurdles have to be overcome to take life in a new direction?
I’m not perfect and valuing self worth is something most struggle with. I’ve often challenged my positive mindset and mental attitude with continuing education and learning.
My own mental challenges, I have to persevere and push through it. I don’t believe you need to be in the hospital to start a new direction, that is just what happened to me.
I can best remember lifeless in my hospital bed at Sunnyview Rehabilitation Center thinking, how can I make my Covid experience help others? Barely being able to hold my cellphone, I reached out on Facebook messenger and asked for help on how to get more help for Covid long haulers. Many simply sent me a thumbs-up and were dismissive. I soon realized this was a new disease and a direction had not been laid out yet.
In my own work I usually encourage my clients to ask for support before they embark on something new. How did you create your support system before you moved to your new chapter?
Covid-19 blindsided the masses. Sometimes we have no choice but to go all in and make a change for humanity with humility.
My number one advice to those with a desire to reinvent themselves would be to find a mentor. Don’t hire a mentor. Mentors are everywhere if you simply ask. I’m honored to have a leadership
mentor, a product design mentor, an SEO mentor, a branding mentor, a course creation mentor and a medical mentor because I’m raising better Covid-19 awareness. All of my mentors operate multi-million-dollar businesses. They are free! I don’t pay them a dime. I just asked, “Would you be my mentor?”
Starting a new chapter usually means getting out of your comfort zone, how did you do that? Can you share a story or example of that?
Many entrepreneurs move out of this invisible line called a comfort zone when their ready to grow mentally, emotionally and financially. They keep their circle tight when creating new verticals. Naysayers, haven’t walked in my shoes, so how could they possibly know what I am going through? One of the things I’ve done is block them out mentally because there are a lot of people with opposite opinions not backed by fact, and compliance. One of the ways I do this is to either tune them out gently or delete. They are simply expressing their opinions, and so am I. The difference is I back up what I say with facts.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
- Don’t ever let anyone dim your flame. Have confidence in yourself. When someone attacks you, let it roll off. I have done that with my initiative and it has helped me move forward.
- Be yourself.
- Don’t stop.
- It’s ok to say you’re tired.
- Keep learning.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I would like to erase the stigma surrounding Covid long haulers. If more doctors, insurance companies and healthcare workers were educated about this disease, lives would be forever changed for the better.This is the reason we have launched Covid Wellness Clinic, LLC online. Covid Wellness is dedicated to the support and education of families and individuals living with serious and debilitating long covid. These are the Covid 19 long haulers. Covid Wellness Clinic advocates for better services in the health system of care, strives to educate the public about the effects of long haulers, to eradicate the stigma and supports Covid 19 research and science.
We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them. :-)
Warren Buffet! He’s intriguing!
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Connect with Maya McNulty: 518–788–8123
Learn More: www.covidwellnessclinic.com
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!