Harmonizing Wellness: Rachel Withers’ Journey from Ballet to Student Well-Being Advocacy

by Jerome Knyszewski

"Embrace a wellness practice that cares for every dimension of your well-being journey – where balance blooms, true health thrives."

Rachel Withers, is the Property Director at Student Facility Management powered by Venite. Her dedication and expertise have allowed her to carve a niche for herself within the student accommodation industry. To date, she manages over 2000 Purpose-Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) beds.

Rachel’s strategic planning skills have been key to maximizing property performance, driven by her unique leadership style. Her style was shaped and inspired by a background in dance, which instilled discipline, precision, and creativity to her endeavors. These qualities, combined with her ability to adapt to changing trends, have enabled her to steer her team effectively in the dynamic world of student accommodation.

Adding to her impressive portfolio, Rachel co-authored the book ‘Success’ with Jack Canfield and ‘Cracking the Success Code Vol 2’ with Brian Tracy. These works not only showcase her understanding of success principles but also demonstrate how she applies these principles in her professional life.

At the heart of Rachel’s work is her commitment to creating a supportive, safe, and thriving environment for students. She firmly believes in providing more than just a place to live; she strives to create a holistic and purpose-led home that fosters personal and academic growth. Her unwavering dedication to support students as whole humans make her a standout figure in her field.

Name: Rachel Withers

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Table of Contents

You began your career as a Professional Ballet Dancer with the Royal Ballet. How do you believe your extensive background in Dance has shaped your philosophy towards overall wellness?

Rachel Withers: Yes! I began my career as a dancer, which I believe absolutely has had a profound impact on the way I prioritise wellness in my day to day. In Dance, discipline is key to moving up the ranks, especially in a sport such as Ballet where the slightest tension can create a difference.

As a Dancer, I created wellness routines that worked for me and ensured my muscles, mind, and spirit were up to the task. In Business, it is very much the same. To truly create a life and business where our wellness is top priority, we must have a strong routine, and the discipline to carry that routine out.

For example, if you want to send 24 hours unplugged on the weekend, it’s crucial to create discipline to ensure you are able to keep your word to yourself. The world of dance instilled a deep passion for routine into me, that I carry into my day-to-day, so that I am utilising routines that work for me: mind, body, and spirit.

You believe that students thrive when they are taken care of in all areas– emotionally, physically, socially, and mentally– versus simply giving them a place to stay. Can you expand on this ideology of comprehensive student wellness?

Rachel Withers: All aspects of our lives are equally important. As humans, no one part matters more, but sometimes, in our pursuit of wellness, we get distracted and give one area our focus.

For example, if we are working towards a healthier diet, we might focus strongly on the physical, but neglect the emotional. If we are struggling with our relationships, we may struggle with our work, focus, and productivity. Conversely, if we are overworking, we may struggle in our relationships.

For students, I believe that all things are interconnected and seek to educate and apply that perspective. If you are not addressing all aspects and faucets of your health, you won’t be able to maintain and experience true, optimal wellness.

You believe that healthy students create a healthy world. How can we all contribute to the health of students and overall, our world?

Rachel Withers: Students are the next generation of change-makers, world-shakers, and contributors to society. When I am working with students at our company, StudentFM I focus on their wellbeing in every decision I make. A way that we can all contribute to the health of our world is asking ourselves how our youth and students would feel?

Consider the student experience and perspective. So often, we become focused on our busy schedules and troubles that we forget to realise students shape the vision of the future. If we want that vision to be an empowered, strong vision, we must first empower the students in our care and prioritise their overall health and well-being.

What do you believe is one of the biggest challenges facing students in wellness in the modern world?

Rachel Withers: Being constantly plugged in is a major stressor for students who are learning to navigate the responsibilities of the world while balancing their studies.

Hearing the constant ping of notifications and the buzz of text messages causing students to feel frazzled, distracted, and unfocused. I believe the remedy is mindfulness, turning your phone on silent mode, and even, if possible, unplugging for a few hours to create a calm sanctuary for your mind.

What are some daily practices you recommend for students that seek to maintain optimal wellness?

Rachel Withers: A wellness practice that encompasses all forms of wellness is so important. The advice I give students is to find a practice that touches all aspects of wellness.

For Social Wellness, seek to find a community of like-minded people where you can vent, grow, and learn together. For physical, incorporate exercise, or walks, into your daily routine. The building blocks of our wellness include: social wellness, emotional wellness, physical wellness, mental wellness, and spiritual wellness.

To be comprehensively well, we must find a practice for each of these building blocks that resonates for us.It’s important to denote that every student, or person, will be different. The wellness strategies that soothe me are not necessarily the wellness strategies that would resonate for you.

It’s crucial for students to be playful in trying new strategies and practices, but also to be discerning in knowing which practices feel right for them, and which are best left to someone else.

Your company launched a Podcast, The Campus Chronicles, to discuss topics of student wellness. What type of challenging or “taboo” topics do you hope to dispel myths around in The Campus Chronicles Podcast?

Rachel Withers: With the rise of platforms such as TikTok, there is so much opportunity for information. Some healthy. Some… less so. With The Campus Chronicles Podcast, we hope to create a place where students can come for advice and information on the struggles in their life and learn from world-renowned experts in their field.

Contrary to a TikTok Video, our episodes are long-form and take a deep dive into the topics we cover– discussing their root causes as well as strategies to keep them at bay.

So far, we’ve had the chance to cover everything from boundaries to gender differences to neurodiversity and back again. Our hope is that no topic is left untouched and that we provide all helpful information to students, as they are the core focus of everything, we do here at Student FM. “

For me personally, the podcast is a passion project. Our students are the leaders of the next generation. I want them to have quality wellness information at hand so they can make the best decisions for themselves and those around them.

What is your last wellness tip to share? Is there anything upcoming for you, the Campus Chronicles Podcast, or StudentFM which is powered by Venite, your Property Company?

Rachel Withers: As far as what is next for StudentFM and Venite, we will continue to provide great experiences that emphasise the importance of holistic wellness for our students! You can learn more about us here: https://venite.com/

For The Campus Chronicles Podcast, we hope to uncover deeper conversations and opportunities for growth for our students. You can listen along at the following link and leave us a review: https://www.audible.com/es_US/pd/Campus-Chronicles-Podcast/B0CM6BMR9L

For me, personally, I’m excited to continue my mission to support students on their journey toward holistic wellness.

Jerome Knyszewski, VIP Contributor to WellnessVoice and the host of this interview would like to thank Rachel Withers for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.

If you would like to get in touch with Rachel Withers or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page

Disclaimer: The WellnessVoice Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

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