by AMY LEHRER | photo by Zeena Gregg Photography


A Dodge Ram pickup slammed head-on into Angela’s car at over 55 mph, changing her life forever. Prior to this accident, Angela Pennella was a star athlete in New Jersey. She was the 6th grader who had made the traveling softball team and the freshman who had earned a basketball varsity letter. She motivated every team she played on, collected trophies, won a volleyball scholarship to Quinnipiac University, lifted weights, and became an exceptional student who graduated from college with a 3.54 GPA.

Then on May 24, 2002 emergency responders cut Angela out of her car and raced her to a level 1 trauma center where a family member identified her by her feet. Despite a traumatic brain injury, broken ribs, a lacerated liver, a punctured lung, numerous internal injuries, and needing over a thousand stiches to her face and body, Angela survived.

During Angela’s arduous recovery, she found clarity and her life’s purpose. She credits her survival to her mental and physical strength and her “Don’t Stop Believing” attitude. Her traumatic event changed her perspective. She had been an achiever who pursued success at the expense of personal dreams and life balance. Now that she recognized the fragility and preciousness of life, she wanted to focus on inner contentment and helping others achieve it too. She explained, “I felt a responsibility to use what I learned to inspire others and make an impact on the way they live their lives!”

In an effort to help others create a healthy work-life balance, she became a strength coach for the mind. She revealed, “The most rewarding aspect of my job is to give people hope by re-framing their thinking and changing their perspective.” One satisfied client, Larry, expressed, “Thank you Coach Angie for helping me to work my way through some unexpected life challenges and relationship issues with the assistance of a simple but constructive and methodical plan of action.”

For those wishing to change their lives, Angela offers advice. First, define the change desired. Second, write out the steps needed. Third, take action. And if the steps needed aren’t known, talk to people who have made the desired change to find out how they succeeded.

Angela has indeed achieved her own balance. She inspires and helps others, volunteers with the homeless ministry through her church, plays beach volleyball, runs, travels and spends time with her boyfriend.



Name:  Angela Pennella
Profession: Strength Coach for the Mind at Achiever Syndrome, Inspirational Speaker
Community: Carmel Valley since 2014
Hobbies/Interests: Beach volleyball, church, writing, running, volunteering, travel
Favorite Local Spots: Torrey Pines, Taverna Blu, Urban Plates, Fletcher Cove, Claire’s on Cedros