Meet Natali Mendoza-Perez

Natali was born and raised in Peru to a family of seven children. Her mother, raised in a rural place near the Andes Mountains, taught her to value and savor the flavors of whole foods, grains, vegetables and fruits. Natali spent her childhood in large fields, hiking up mountains, and playing outside with her siblings and friends. She developed an enjoyment for spending time in nature and with others, and for engaging in movement for fun. Natali’s father was a body builder, and he taught her the importance of good fitness, discipline in exercising, the intricacy in exercise regimens, the value iof proper nutrition and, lastly, about injury and disease prevention. Natali’s family always emphasized leading a life of principles and values, instilling and growing her curiosity in the intrinsic and extrinsic motivations, behavior patterns, attitudes and perceptions of people around the world.

At 15, Natali moved to the U.S., with her family. After high school, she pursued a degree in behavioral psychology. After a couple of years, her curiosity for the science behind psychology took her on a path of studying biological sciences. While in college, Natali interned as a physical therapist aide and developed interventions for people with physical disabilities. It was especially in the setting of working with people with spinal cord injuries that Natali realized her profound passion and love for working with others — and the mission to help them lead better lives.

After the completion of her bachelor’s degree in applied sciences in kinesiology, Natali began to realize what it meant for her to “help people lead better lives.” It became clear to her that the quality of life is measured not only by physical abilities, but also by emotional, physiological, social, and spiritual well-being. Following this conviction, Natali shifted her direction and career goals from treatment to prevention in health education. She interned as a health coach in a pediatric obesity intervention program, worked as a health screener in a nutrition study through SPRC and the BeWell program, and currently works as a wellness advisor through HIP. She will be starting her master’s degree in public health in Aug 2015.

Natali enjoys traveling and doing treks around the world, learning about new cultures, and practicing meditation. Her wellness philosophy embraces five keys: being compassionate with ourselves and with others, listening to our bodies and their needs, quieting our minds, doing what is meaningful to us… and all of these without forgetting to play!