1. How did you get started in the fitness industry?
I got my start in the industry because someone noticed me. I have made it my mission to pay that gift forward. I was just out of college, working out at a fitness center in Madison, Wisconsin. As I shed 20 pounds and found more confidence, I went from the back row to the front row to instructing. I always intended for group fitness to be my hobby, but life took a turn and I couldn’t find a job in my field, so I started leading group fitness classes locally, carrying my own weights and boom box from place to place. After a couple years of teaching classes and having my first child, I opened Bay Athletic Club, a 12,000-square-foot, medically-based health club. We have been in business for 14 years, with two locations.
2. What’s been a key to your organization’s success? What are you most proud of?
Our business is built on celebrating our people and telling stories of transformation. We help our clients get back into life, lose weight, destress, get off medications and be better role models. This generation of clients helps us reach their aging parents and students. They help us expand our client base by having success themselves and inviting others in their life to join them.
3. What has been one of the biggest accomplishments of your career?
One of my biggest accomplishments is earning the first ever IDEA Fitness Leader of the Year — not for the award on my desk, but for what it represents. I’m proud to lead in my own community. But I’m also proud to have shared my success with others in the industry by teaching, presenting and sharing our best practices and lessons from Alpena, Michigan, to the rest of the world.
4. What has been one of the biggest challenges you have faced in your career? And how did you overcome it?
One of my biggest challenges came when we were ordered to close our doors to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We overcame it by being decisive and serving in as many ways as possible. Within three hours, we were running virtual group fitness classes and had a schedule to lead four classes per day, seven days per week, until the end of quarantine. We loaned out our equipment to any member who needed it.
5. What is one lesson you have learned that other fitness professionals can learn from?
One lesson I’ve learned is to have both heart and armor. We are in fitness because we care about members’ health and happiness. I believe in leading with kindness and generosity, and shining light on other people. However, I know we’ll never please everyone, so you also need armor that keeps you from getting knocked off your path.
6. Tell us one fact about yourself others may not know.
I live on a lake in beautiful northern Michigan and have the best sunsets on the planet. I am grateful every day for the life I have created through a lot of sweat, tears and hustle.