Business student

71-year-old CNM student finds new career in health and wellness

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – At 71, a local woman decided it was time for a new adventure. Happiness and joy is what Irene Ballard sought after the death of her husband, a Vietnam War veteran who died after lifelong complications from exposure to Agent Orange.

“It’s traumatic when you lose your soul mate, your best friend, your business partner and my best friend all at once,” Ballard said.

Her husband’s health issues fueled her passion for health and wellness. His passing prompted her to return to school and pursue a new career. “I can still hear his voice, ‘persevere, persevere, persevere.’ and that started my new journey, my second career,” Ballard said.

She earned a veterans scholarship and enrolled in several exercise science courses at CNM. “It started my journey and now I’m a yoga teacher, aerobics teacher, personal trainer,” Ballard said.

Her love of fitness helped Ballard regain her footing. Now she is excited to help many others live more active and happier lives for a long time to come. “My goal is to be 101, God willing, and be the oldest yoga teacher, fitness trainer, and health coach,” Ballard said.

Ballard is expected to graduate from CNM this year and will then launch her own coaching business.