Jennifer Stukey

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Location: Columbia, MD
Founded: 2009
Industry: Healthcare

Jennifer Stukey

Awaken Wellness, LLC

After spending years studying acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, Jennifer Stukey was growing a small practice while renting space from a wellness center in Columbia. One morning, she received a call informing her that the space had burned down overnight. “Literally from the ashes, I formed the vision for my company,” Stukey says. “When the fire occurred, the only surviving remnant of my practice was a list of my clients. I realized I had two options: Give up or move forward. Without a place to practice, I initially established a temporary home office. The tasks ahead of me were almost overwhelming, but I decided to dream big and started looking for office space.”

Quick Tip: “Most things happen for a reason — a reason that is usually unclear to us at the time.”

Awaken Wellness’ business model provides practitioners with a support system to become successful full-time acupuncturists, massage therapists, yoga instructors and Chinese herbalists. “When starting out, many practitioners are transitioning from other jobs and face many challenges growing their small practices into full-time practices,” notes Stukey.

Unlike many other wellness centers, Awaken Wellness accepts medical insurance for acupuncture. At first, Stukey was resistant to venturing into the world of insurance, but she realized that by accepting medical insurance, she could bring acupuncture to people who otherwise would be unable to afford it. In addition to her role at Awaken Wellness, Stukey works in the Chinese herbal medicine master’s degree program at Maryland University of Integrative Health. She is involved in the clinical portion of the program, where she supervises students’ interaction with their patients.