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4 women that overcame ill health and went on to build business empires


Adala Bolto (top left), Monique Bolland (top right), Peta Shulman (bottom left) & Chloe McLeodis (bottom right).

These four women have overcome different illnesses, or periods of unhealthiness, in their lives, and have later gone on to build their lives as successful female entrepreneurs.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, they are all in the health & fitness industry, as their times of being unwell have lead them to find a solution and help other people who may be going through something similar.

Each woman has an inspiring story in their own right, and also a thriving business that has been built off the back of it.


Monique Bolland

Monique was initially diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) at the age of 22, and as a result, her dad took her on an international research mission to seek out the advice of neurologists, nutritionists and naturopaths to develop an integrated approach to treating the symptoms of MS.

As a result, they ultimately ended up creating a business out of their travels and research, called NUZEST. NUZEST is now one of the most successful supplement companies in Australia who are known for having the cleanest green powder on the market as well as vegan protein powder. Their goal was to help others maximise and improve their nutrition.

Monique manages her MS symptoms by havingTysabri infusions each month to reduce the frequency of MS relapses. If she does relapse, she is given intravenous steroids to reduce the inflammation and try to minimise the damage. Day to day, she exercises, eats well, meditates and nourishes her body.

NUZEST started in 2012 with distribution in New Zealand and Australia. In the past seven years they have established distribution in 15+ countries from the USA to South East Asia, the UK, Middle East and throughout Europe.

As an example of what that growth looks like in numbers – NUZEST produced less than 10 tonnes of Clean Lean Protein in their first year. In 2019, they are on track to produce in excess of 250 tonnes!

Monique is now 36, pregnant and lives a perfectly healthy and active lifestyle due to evidence-based complementary therapies and lifestyle changes.

Adala Bolto 

Adala Bolto has a strong passion and dedication to fitness with more than 12 years in the industry. She has excelled in her career as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor, specialising in tailored programs for 1:1 female client and small group training.

Adala lost a whopping 18 kilos after her second pregnancy which led her helping her clientele even more. Adala Bolto, who is now 40, was on maternity leave. She had put on weight, getting to a size 14 (she is usually an 8) and had two kids under two years old so getting free time to herself was a challenge.

As her passion for fitness grew and her loyal clientele continued to smash their goals, Adala saw a gap in the Australian market for a bespoke fitness program targeting younger women. In July 2017, equipped with a clever idea and a strong business plan, Adala teamed up with business partner Fernwood and co-founded ZADI Training.

Now, ZADI Training is set to make its mark in the fitness industry with ambitious plans to roll out many locations both locally and internationally.

Peta Shulman

Peta founded GoodnessMe Box after suffering a health condition 5 years ago, discovering she had an autoimmune disease that left her bedridden for 3 months.

Her doctor ordered her to cut out all processed and artificial food, which at first was overwhelming… However, she then turned nutrition into a passion as she started discovering new whole foods and healthy snacks. Her passion for finding these products led to her creating the largest health food sampling service in Australia, where for just $25 customers can sample 7-10 full sized products – allowing those products to be seen, and for customers to save money.

Peta has been up for a number of accolades, including being featured in Smart Company’s ‘Smart 30 Under 30’ in 2018. GoodnessMe Box turned over $1 million dollars in the first 12 months of trading and they have 125k followers across their social channels.

Chloe McLeodis

Chloe has built her business off the back of her suffering from IBS, and how she has now used it to help others. She was inspired to create The FODMAP Challenge to help individuals determine the triggers of their IBS after recognising just how many people are suffering from IBS and require better support in this. Chloe loves seeing the improvement in each individuals quality of life once they are able to make better decisions about their food choices.

Chloe’s key areas of specialty are in IBS and food intolerance, along with sports nutrition and nutrition for arthritis and inflammatory joint disease. Chloe is also co-owner of nutrition consultancy business, Health & Performance Collective, the lead author of the cookbook Anti-Inflammatory Eating, and consults to the Parramatta Eels NRL squad. She also regularly blogs on this website, her personal website, and contributes to other publications.