Jill Wheeler, 2014 Leading Lady

Jill Wheeler

Owner, Wellfit Institute

By age 14, Jill Wheeler knew she wanted to be a psychotherapist. As a student at Colby College, located in a Maine Wildlife Management Area, she also discovered a deep connection with nature. Today, she blends her passion for both with Wellfit Institute. When she is not teaching yoga, taking part in some sort of adventure sport or training for the next of six major world marathons (she’s halfway through them), she serves as a member of the Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples Guild and the Naples International Film Festival board. Wheeler is currently working on a joint Wellfit Institute-Peaks Foundation project to take a group of local at-risk girls to Machu Picchu in Peru, which will be the subject of a full-length documentary. She created a curriculum with leadership exercises and physical training that the participants have already begun in preparation for the trip.

Jill Wheeler - Wellfit Institute - Naples Leading Lady

Favorite local places: Food & Thought, the Salt Cave and Silverspot Cinema.


A perfect Naples weekend: Riding bikes to breakfast with my daughters Finley, 8, and Channing, 7, then kiteboarding all day, paddleboarding, and playing board games with my kids in the evening or catching a film at Silverspot.


Words to live by: “Just as a solid rock is unshaken by the wind, so are the wise unshaken by praise or blame.” —The Dhammapada


Favorite travel destination: A remote location in Costa Rica, near the border of Nicaragua. It’s the eighth windiest place in the world—adventure!


What makes her playlist: Everything from Led Zeppelin and Grateful Dead bootlegs to Dr. Dre, Eminem, Brett Dennen and yoga Kirtan music.


A surprising thing about her: I used to spin fire on chains. I learned it from a woman who had lived in India for years. It’s a traditional Maori practice called poi, and it’s really hard. I used to go to Jazz Fest in New Orleans and light my chains up and do it at parties.


Go-to fashion items: My recycled bicycle inner-tube messenger bag, Frye boots and funky, patterned leggings.


Joys of nature: There is a deeper connectedness, a feeling of groundedness and belonging in nature that’s available to everyone.


Photography by Roland Scarpa

Hair and makeup by Philip Douglas 

Styled by Ashleigh Schufeldt, Saks Fifth Avenue, Naples

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