By Megan Sayles, AFRO Business Writer
Report for America Corps Member
For Julianne Neal, entrepreneurship runs in her blood. While growing up in Liberia, her grandfather owned the second largest poultry farm in West Africa. Her grandmother not only founded the elementary school Neal attended, but she also operated her own beauty salon.
“I think I draw a lot from them, and then just naturally have that entrepreneurial bug in me,” said Neal.
The physical therapist transformed her passion for pelvic health into New Woman Physical Therapy and Wellness, a center that specializes in abdominal pelvic health; bladder and bowel health; and pregnancy and postpartum recovery. Its name was inspired by Neal’s grandmother’s salon, New Woman International, and it opened in Pikesville, Maryland in 2020.
When working as a physical therapist for other healthcare providers, Neal realized she had less autonomy over the clinical treatment for her patients. By operating her own center, she can give patients the quality of care that they deserve. If she thinks they require other services in addition to physical therapy, she refers them to other practitioners.
“I try to look at the whole person, not just the one body part,” said Neal. “I’ll ask them questions about their stress management or their level of motivation. I try to take that holistic multidisciplinary approach.”
Neal knew she wanted to open New Woman Physical Therapy and Wellness 10 years ago, but her student loans prevented her from taking up entrepreneurship. She decided to become a financial coach, which helped her to settle her debts. Now, at the center, she offers financial wellness classes for new moms and one-on-one financial coaching upon request.
Currently, Neal is ramping up the center’s wellness workshops. She offers a virtual labor and delivery class that informs expectant mothers on labor positions, injury prevention and other strategies to make the process smoother.
“The baby doesn’t read the plan, but the moms feel more prepared going in and knowing what to expect or movement strategies that they can use to help make it as smooth as possible,” said Neal.
She also offers a free incontinence workshop, which teaches people how to engage their pelvic floor muscles during functional activities such as exercise.
In the long term, Neal wants to have other practitioners, like acupuncturists and massage therapists, on site so that the center can provide more wellness services. In the near future, she wants to create classes for stress management and mindfulness.
Help us Continue to tell OUR Story and join the AFRO family as a member – subscribers are now members! Join here!