In 2004, Jamaican MaryKay Mullally used Landmark Education’s Self-Expression and Leadership Program to found Step Up For Life, which began as half-marathon training program for women. Soon, her project became her life–Mullally gave up her old career and in addition to supporting women run, has turned Step Up For Life into a wellness coaching practice.
The difference she made in people’s lives led ABC and Prevention magazine to select her as one of finalists for their Picture of Health Contest. Mullally’s participation in the contest drew the attention of the Jamaica Daily Gleaner, a leading Jamaican newspaper. The story appears below.
Mary Kay Mullally – Taking on the Health of the World
Jamaican MaryKay Mullally is one of five finalists in this year’s ABC and Prevention magazine’s Picture of Health contest. The competition focuses on women over 40 who have made healthy choices and inspire others to do likewise.
In 1999, Mullally went to San Diego, California, to head a software development team. Four years ago, she walked away from that and a 20-year career in technology, and became a personal health, wellness, cleansing and weight management coach through her organisation, Step Up For Life.
“I reached a point where I had a demanding schedule. After four years of doing that, I had made an impact on the company and it was rewarding but I wasn’t enjoying it,” she explained. “I wanted to see what else was available for me. My children were in high school and would soon be off, so my life wasn’t centred around them anymore.”
Mullally attended a personal development seminar, the Landmark Forum, and realised her true passion. “I was able to see the barriers that were in the way of me having the kind of life I wanted. It showed me what my passion was and it was people’s health. It was a complete 180-degree turn for me.”
In one of her courses, she created a half-marathon training group. What began as a class project became a calling. In 2004, she founded Step Up for Life, a beginners’ half-marathon training programme for women. While in the corporate world, Mullally had started running as a form of stress release in 2001. “Three months before my 41st birthday, I ran my first marathon and I was as pleased as punch. Since then, I’ve done five marathons and several half marathons”.
She has also led more than 600 women across the finish line and is currently developing a wellness coaching practice.
Part of the award for ‘picture of health’ is a monetary contribution to the winner’s favourite charity. For Mullally, this would be NEADS (Dogs For Deaf and Disabled Americans). She was introduced to the association while on holiday in Hawaii. She met a woman who was wheelchair-bound and whose service dog had just died. She organised a marathon to help raise funds to replace the dog, and was able to provide three women with service dogs.
“Whether I win this contest or not, it’s just the beginning. I want to win to share my secret of how you can have vibrant health. I want to teach people how to overcome self-sabotage and live healthy, balanced lives, with physical and emotional well-being,” said Mullally.
She says most people don’t take the time to look inside themselves and their lives. “We just go through life and roll with the punches. I reinvented myself and saw that my life was making a difference in health of the world.”