I first met Keri about 4 or 5 years ago. She was the owner of Xtend barre in Encinitas, which I really wanted to try but was intimidated for whatever reason. I will never forget walking in the first time. All the women were perfectly groomed(at 8am!), wearing make-up and hair perfectly done, and…well, to be honest I felt like I stuck out like Judd Nelson in the Breakfast Club! I also felt like I was the only one sweating like a pig. But I loved Keri, the instructors and the class so much I have continued to go at least once pretty much every week since then. (And still, I’m still the only one sweating during class by the way).
Keri’s warmth and encouragement clearly attracts so many people, as she now owns four studios (now evolved into Therapy Social Fitness). She is one of those people that is so magnetic and seemingly perfect that you wonder if she is for real. Well she’s real. She’s not perfect, thank God. Who is?! But I have known her long enough and through many life twists and turns and challenges to see how she responds. And she always ends up on the positive side with some wisdom to spread.
She’s a hard worker, a direct talker, multi-talented, absolutely freaking hilarious, and one of the most resilient women that I know. Enjoy her insights…
1) Who are you?
This question made me take a step back for a minute as it probably does to many people I would assume. Who am I? I am definitely my mother’s daughter. I was taught from an early age to be independent, hard working and strong willed. I try to lead by example in all areas of my life. I believe in several important things including the power of positivity, the value of a strong work ethic, and of course …the golden rule. If we would all just remember to treat other as we wish to be treated, what a wonderful world it would be! I am a single mother to two brilliant daughters who I enjoy to no end and to whom I hope to instill the same values that I was raised with. I am fortunate to own several fitness studios and I have been so extremely blessed with the strong community of intelligent and inspirational women that has been created around these businesses. I guess I consider myself a business woman, a role model, a sister, a mother, a daughter and a friend until the end.
2) What is the greatest challenge you have overcome/are overcoming?
I went through a divorce about 6 years ago when my daughters were very young. Having been raised by a single mother myself, I was petrified and felt that I was doomed to repeat history. I had prior to that put my real estate career on hold and stayed home with the babies for a few years. I had always identified myself as a career woman and it was the first time in my life, that I could not support myself by my own means. So when I made the decision to get divorced I also had to figure out what my future career path looked like. It was a very scary and painful time in my life and I am so very thankful to have been surrounded by the most amazing family and friends who encouraged me and supported me through the ups and the downs of those times.
So, I dove in and started trying to figure out what I truly wanted to be when I “ grew up”. I have a degree in Finance and have always considered myself a very left brained person: mathematical and analytical sometimes to a fault. I love golf and I love kids so I flirted around with a business concept that could marry those two passions. When the opportunity presented itself to open a barre studio, it seemed like a good distraction and sort of a “ pet project” to get me by and maybe have some fun. I could never have predicted that I would own 4 of them in a few short years time! I also could have never predicted the pros and the cons that come along with owning your own business! The up side of the industry that I am in are the flexible hours that allow me family time (and me time), a chance to be creative and explore a side of me that I never really knew existed, and hands down the best perk of my job are the people! My amazing team of partners and instructors, and my many clients who have changed my life in so many wonderful ways. The women who I have the privilege of being surrounded with daily inspire me, educate me, support me and allow me to return the favor! The downside of owning your own business would be that you definitely take your work home with you. It is NOT a 9-5 job to say the least. It can also be difficult to manage the various relationships that form in an all female studio environment such as this. I have about 60 women that work with me… all ages and walks of life. It is a constant balancing act between partner, boss and friend.
3) What have you learned?
Overall I have learned that as strong as I am, it is equally as important to be vulnerable. I have learned the value of open communication and honesty in all relationships…business and otherwise. I think that as an independent woman in 2017 sometimes we can feel the need to put up a hard exterior and “ stick to our guns”. I have learned that it is just as important to listen with an open mind and heart as it is to stand up for what you think is right. We have so much to learn from each other. We just need to be still and silent long enough to hear what is truly being spoken. I have become a much more patient person in the past few years and I love knowing that my children will be the beneficiary of that skill. I have learned that a good work ethic is crucial to survive and succeed in this ever changing world. I will continue to work towards making sure that my children know that they are not entitled to anything in this life and that hard work and commitment are their tools to success.