Meet the Newest Fibromyalgia Coaches and Advisors (January 2016)

If you have been following me for a while, then you know that my personal coaching practice closed to new clients back in July 2015. There simply wasn’t enough of me to go around. I couldn’t coach everyone who was reaching out to me for help, particularly after my book was published. It was an awful feeling!

So I decided to do something about it. In September 2015, I founded the International Fibromyalgia Coaching Institute, and began training the very first Certified Fibromyalgia Coaches and Advisors. On Sunday, January 31, 2016, they graduated.

I am very honored to introduce you to the first graduates of the International Fibromyalgia Coaching Institute! I highly recommend each Fibromyalgia Coach and Advisor on this list. If you are looking for someone to help you with your fibromyalgia diagnosis, please reach out to one of these lovely ladies.

Meet the Newest Fibromyalgia Coaches and Advisors

Brenda FaverioBrenda Faverio (New York) was diagnosed with Sjogren’s Syndrome in 1999 at 34. Over the years, diagnoses piled up. In 2015, Brenda lost her young niece to autoimmune disease and cancer. This, combined with turning 50 and watching many family members struggle with autoimmune diseases, resulted in an epiphany. She was “sick and tired of being sick and tired.” Brenda became a Certified Health & Wellness Coach and joined IFCI in order to help working women with chronic conditions like herself to find improved health/wellness and balance in their lives. Brenda continues to work as a Speech Language Pathologist and Board Certified Behavior Analyst with children/families on the Autism spectrum in addition to her coaching practice. She lives in Long Island, New York with her husband and their 2 dogs and 2 cats. Their home is also a revolving door rather than an empty nest for her three young adult daughters. You can find Brenda at:


Julie VitoshJulie Vitosh (Ohio) has over 20 years in Human Resources as a Manager/Director.  During her career, she has developed good people skills thru employee coaching/counseling, developing and leading mentor groups, managing employees and training and development within different organizations. Julie is a Certified Life Coach and Certified Youth Life Coach and can’t wait to work with young women newly diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Julie’s website is:


Kate StrausKate Straus (Pennsylvania) worked in the education field for over ten years before fibromyalgia changed her life’s path. With a background in special education and early childhood intervention, she has compiled a tool box of skills to help those with differences navigate life to make them the best that they can be. Kate has learned, herself, that while fibromyalgia can be an obstacle, it has also revealed strengths that she did not know she had. She is easy to work with, listens well, and is compassionate. She looks forward to using these strengths, her background, and her newly learned knowledge from the International Fibromyalgia Coaching Institute to advise others with fibromyalgia to learn how to live their new “normal” life. Contact Kate through her site at:


Laura HolcombLaura Holcomb (Texas) received her first diagnosis with autoimmune disease at age 12. As her journey continued, she received additional diagnoses, the most challenging was being diagnosed with fibromyalgia nine years ago. Laura’s proudest accomplishment is her family. She has been married to Joseph for 25 years and is mother to Ann, a junior in college, and Will, a senior in high school.  As Laura learned to balance another chronic illness while being a stay at home mom, she found strength in her Christian faith. Laura’s easy going, attentive, caring and loving style allows her to support and encourage Christian mothers as they learn to find their own balance and thrive while living with fibromyalgia. You can find Laura at:


Melissa SwansonMelissa Swanson (Wisconsin) is a chronic pain patient, advocate, and author. Through her Facebook page, she offers positive encouragement, medical information, resources, and support to 16,000+ fibromyalgia and chronic pain patients.

In addition to her own blog, Melissa has been published in ProHealth, Living Well with Fibromyalgia magazine, and the NFMCPA’s “Advocate Voice” newsletter. Melissa just wrote about her experience in becoming a Certified Fibromyalgia Advisor in her ProHealth article, Everyone needs a Coach in their corner.

Melissa’s blog has been chosen as one of the Best Fibromyalgia Blogs multiple times. In 2015, Healthline said, “[Melissa’s] blog has just about everything you need to read on the pain and exhaustion brought on by the illness. Look for treatments, must-reads, facts, and more. This married, full-time working mom is a true warrior against the debilitations of fibro.”

If you’re looking for a cheerleader to be in your corner with a bit of “tough love” when needed, then Melissa is the one for you. She understands the struggles of trying to balance family life and work while living with the challenges of fibromyalgia and its evil sidekicks.


Rebecca SinkuleRebecca Sinkule (Texas) was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 2006. Since then, she has been dedicated to helping others with fibromyalgia and increasing awareness of this condition. With a genuine, professional, and empathetic advising style, she looks forward to working with women who have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia and are in Recovery. Rebecca has been in Recovery herself for over 13 years and is eager to help guide her clients through the challenges of having fibromyalgia while effectively managing their Recovery.  She also has an interest in working with those who also suffer from anxiety and panic disorder.  Having been plagued with anxiety and panic disorder with agoraphobia in the past, she is keenly aware of the complexities of living with a both chronic pain condition and an anxiety disorder. You can find Rebecca online at:


Sandra MezaSandra Meza (Texas) is a Certified Health & Wellness Coach who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia about seven years ago. She lives in Odessa, Texas, in an area known as West Texas. Her goal is to help young adults like herself, at an age where they should be enjoying those first years of adulthood, cope with fibromyalgia and take back control of their lives without feeling confused and helpless. Sandra wants to show young adults that nutrition can play a crucial role in the way the disease manifests its pain. Contact Sandra through her website:


Simone CohnSimone Cohn (England) studied reflexology at the British School of Complementary Therapies in Harley Street London which ignited a passion for bodywork therapies. In 2000, she embarked on a Bachelor of Science Honours degree specialising in Therapeutic Bodyworks at the University of Westminster. After her degree, Simone built up a successful business and large clientele as a bodyworker. After she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 2013, Simone took a year off from her business to focus on healing herself. This included working with and studying pain management, complementary therapies and nutrition, all of which she has incorporated into her current work.Simone recognises that every-body is different; she sees each person as a beautiful masterpiece of life. Your body tells her your story. Her vast experience as a practitioner has also taught her that habit, lifestyle, medical conditions and stress play a huge factor in how our body ends up. Simone’s extensive training and experience makes her an excellent practitioner, but what makes her unique is her own issues with physical and emotional pain. This has helped her become the strong and empathetic practitioner she is today. Simone believes that despite fibromyalgia being a disorder one will have to live with forever, it is not something you have to suffer from on a daily basis. Learn more about Simone at:


Tamie GalbreathTamie Galbreath (Nevada) has a desire to help people, which has led her to pursue a degree in psychology followed by a Master’s in education.  Her compassion led her to work with some of the most underprivileged students in her area. During her teaching career she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and had to learn how to cope with her symptoms while continuing to work full-time.  As her teaching career comes to an end, Tamie is embarking on a new journey as a Fibromyalgia Advisor.  Her goal is to assist others in learning how to balance their life situations since being diagnosed with fibromyalgia.


Terry McSweeneyTerry McSweeney (California) retired from teaching in June 2014 as an award winning high school English and Public Speaking teacher. She was chosen as one of the top 10 teachers in her district three times and also was nominated for People Magazine teacher of the year. Terry brings her positive attitude, sincerity, honesty, passion, determination, and courage with her to help those like her who have fibromyalgia. Her courage has been with her since 1996 when she fought and won her battle with colon cancer. Terry works with mature women who have lived difficult lives, but are determined to change through the power of education. She looks forward to helping these caring, determined, and compassionate women continue their quest to set a positive example for their family members by stepping outside of their comfort zone to become their own best advocate so that they can enjoy life to its fullest. Learn more about Terry at:


Tami Stackelhouse



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  1. Congratulations Coaches/Advisors! Congratulation Tami for the successful completion of your inaugural course of IFCI!

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