The Chicago Journal

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From Hard Times to Victorious: Lessons from ‘Beneath the Skin’ by Jess Winns

Jess Winns, a Chicago native and accomplished entrepreneur, author, and speaker, shares her journey in her first book, “Beneath the Skin.” Based on her own transformational experiences, Jess outlines a framework for thinking that turns victims into victors and teaches how to transmute pain. 

It was never an easy path for Jess. She grew up in a single-parent household in Chicago. For the first half of her life, they lived in a basement apartment of a family building that felt more like a prison, with paint-chipped pipes across the ceiling and barred windows. Growing up in darkness, Jess was resolute that this would be her past, not her future. “I became determined to do whatever I could in this life so my future family never had to experience the darkness of poverty.” She began taking steps to make her dreams a reality, and in 2008, Jess graduated from DePaul University as a single mother. Struggling to find a job and passionate about providing opportunities for the community, she founded Empowering Youth Through Travel, a non-profit organization that provided overseas travel opportunities for inner-city Chicago youth. After the birth of her second daughter, Jess recognized that she needed to prioritize her family, and took a step back from non-profit work. She moved her family to Austin, Texas, with dreams of starting her own business. When life in Austin didn’t go as planned, she worked odd jobs for a while, then moved her family to Costa Rica to reset and dream for the future.

While living abroad, Jess found herself struggling as a single mom without support. She began journaling her experiences and lessons learned, with the idea that it could one day turn into something she could pass down to her daughters. This was the birth of what would become her first book- a piece of her heart that she tucked away for seven years. 

After four months in Costa Rica, Jess decided to settle back in Chicago and pursue her entrepreneurial dreams. She turned the handmade skincare she had crafted for her family into a business, affectionately named Ari Rose Body Care after her first two daughters. While building the business, she honed her skills and became a Functional Nutrition Counselor, Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner, and Leadership Coach. “I had a clear vision of what I wanted my life to look like. I wanted to own my time and create an independent and free life, and I had faith that there was something far better around the corner.” The business continued to grow, and after six years, Jess felt an intrinsic desire to share her wellness journey with others. What started as a way to support her family quickly turned into an opportunity to educate the community on wellness. 

Having focused on physical wellness for so long, Jess realized there was more to wellness than meets the eye. “I own a skincare company, but life is so much deeper than that. I felt like it was time to go beneath the skin and share the importance of developing yourself and transmuting negative energy into something positive.” Now a successful business owner and author, it felt like the right time for Jess to chronicle her personal development journey and memorialize her legacy. “Ultimately, it is all for my daughters. I want future generations to have a piece of me to hold on to, something that echoes through the years.” She encourages readers to remember that “We have authority over our lives. Regardless of your circumstances, the power is within you to make a change. Step outside the box and create a life you love.”

Going DEEPER with Dr. Barbara Swinney: Healing, Leading and Empowering Women Leaders to Leverage

Dr. Barbara Swinney is a force to be reckoned with. As a Life and Holistic Leadership Expert, Coach Trainer, Author, and Speaker, she has empowered countless women to heal, lead, and leverage their stories and strategies for life, love, and leadership. Her programs and organization, DEEPER Women™️ Lead Global, have become a platform for women in leadership to share their experiences, insights, and strategies for success.

But Dr. Swinney’s journey to becoming a successful leadership coach, author, and speaker wasn’t without its challenges. In fact, it was her own personal struggles that inspired her to DEEPER Brands™️.  After going through a tumultuous divorce and facing an involuntary shift in her career, Dr. Swinney found herself at a crossroads. She could either let her circumstances defeat her, or she could use them as an opportunity to grow and reinvent herself. She chose the latter, and through her own journey of healing and becoming an effective leader in her own life, she found her calling as a Life and Holistic Leadership Coach, coach trainer, author, and speaker.

Dr. Swinney’s platform was established to provide the space for women in leadership heal and lead from their true selves so that they may grow and develop other leaders. She believes that in order to be an effective leader, you must first lead yourself, and to lead yourself, you must know yourself. Her programs and signature events equip women in leadership with the tools and resources they need to do just that.

It’s not just Dr. Swinney’s coaching programs that set her apart. It’s her infectious energy, her unwavering belief in the potential of her clients, and her ability to inspire and motivate them to take action. Whether she’s speaking to a room full of women from the DEEPER Women™️ Lead Global Platform or coaching a client one-on-one, she has a way of making you feel seen, heard, and understood.

It’s this unique combination of expertise, passion, and authenticity that makes Dr. Swinney such a dynamic and sought-after coach and speaker. And with the launch of the DEEPER Women™️ Speak! Conference, she’s poised to make an even greater impact on women in leadership around the world.

So if you’re looking for a coach who can help you heal, lead, and leverage your story and strategies for life, love, and leadership, look no further than Dr. Barbara Swinney. With her guidance, you’ll be on your way to becoming a DEEPER, more effective leader in your life, your business, or your organization.  

Connect with Dr. Barbara Swinney at