WOMEN CRUSH WEDNESDAY
What about the other 300 million Americans who have not made wellness a priority? Where do you capture that audience? At work... At Fitspot, we’re changing the way people think about corporate wellness.
Sammy Courtright, Co-Founder and COO of Fitspot Wellness
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Hometown: Sydney, Australia
Job: Co- Founder and COO of Fitspot Wellness
Female Inspirations: Lucille Ball
Current WCW: Jada Pinkett Smith
I met Sammy Courtright in Cincinnati auditioning for the Cincinnati School of Music. I was a tiny, nerdy musical theatre high schooler touring the country auditioning for schools with my Mom and Sammy came all the way from Australia on her own and was this vibrant, beautiful, mature Australian actress touring the country auditioning all on her own. My mother and I were in awe of her. Little did I know then, that Sammy and I would end up spending four years studying theatre together at the University of Miami in a class of 16 people. Sammy is a dynamic social butterfly and makes everyone feel like they are the center of the room. The moment I met her I knew that no matter what she decided to do with her life it would be something magnificent. Sammy has the power to make people listen to her because Sammy listens to others. She takes bold risks and always puts in 110%. That’s why it does not surprise me that Sammy and her partner Jon have found so much success with their business. Read below to learn more about the exciting journey of Sammy's prosperous business, Fitspot.
What inspired you and Jon to start Fitspot?
Sammy: I graduated from the University of Miami with BFA in Theatre and moved to Los Angeles. I was running operations for a jewelry company, but wanted to put my Pilates certification and passion for wellness to work. As any actor knows, consistent work is not always guaranteed and I always felt that I needed to have something else ‘going on’ so I wouldn’t put so much weight on each audition. Jon had started NeveRest, a fitness company that paired clients with personal trainers. When we started working together, we streamlined the logistics of scheduling, pairing and requesting workouts with personal trainers. That led us to create Fitspot.
After interviewing a ton of our wonderful clients, we learned that there was a need for wellness in the workplace. We are spending more time at work than ever before. When Fitspot started, we were offering physical wellness services (i.e. on-site group fitness classes, one-on-one personal training). However, we quickly learned that in order to engage the diverse modern workforce, we needed to take a holistic approach to wellness—which means more than just burning calories. That led us to create workshops and programming around other topics as well, including nutrition, mental health, financial wellness, and relationships, just to name a few. Jon and I are both incredibly passionate about bringing our whole-body wellness to as many people as possible around the country.
Does running your own business allow you to still get involved in the arts?
Sammy: I always make time to fulfill the creative side of my brain. I participate in weekend acting workshops regularly, attend evening shows and try to get in front of the camera as often as possible.
What are some struggles you’ve noticed for women in the fitness and startup industry? Especially for women in your position, a position of power.
Sammy: You know what? The struggles I have faced as a founder are not due to my gender. They are simply to do with the ups and downs of running your own business. I have not been exposed to (nor have experienced) gender bias as a female founder. In fact, I feel that being a female founder in this current climate is a huge plus and an asset to Fitspot.
With your rigorous schedule, what do you do to generate enough energy throughout the day to focus on your personal wellness? Especial people with intense work schedules in New York City, I find that the center of the issue is working long days and not finding the time let alone the energy to make time for self-care? How do YOU do it?
Sammy: It isn’t easy. Obviously, I always try to practice what I preach but there are some periods where I put myself second - and I pay for it in the long run! My mornings are my time for myself. I like to wake up early, move, get my blood flowing, shower and get ready for work. This sounds pretty basic, right? But I have found if I am mindful and present in these moments, it becomes time for my mind to take a break. There was a stage where I didn’t feel like I had enough time in the day to take a moment for myself so my leadership coach asked me to journal out my entire day from start to finish. After a week, I realized that there were 30 minute breaks in my schedule every so often where I could step away.
Tell me, what makes Fitspot disruptive?
Sammy: The Business to Consumer wellness market is crowded. From Fitbit to Lululemon, consumers are bombarded with phenomenal wellness options. However, many of those services are targeted towards individuals who are already active. What about the other 300 million Americans who have not made wellness a priority? Where do you capture that audience? At work. The fact that we can bring wellness options on-site to individuals who would otherwise not have access to it is pretty awesome. At Fitspot, we’re changing the way people think about corporate wellness. Typically, when someone hears ‘‘corporate wellness,’ they immediately think ‘flu shots’ or ‘biometrics screenings’. While those services are definitely a good start, they lack the robust, holistic solutions that the modern workforce needs. That’s why our programs cover physical, nutritional, mental and even financial wellness for a more well-rounded approach. We now bring wellness to workplaces in over 20 markets.
Does your training (theatre, acting, public speaking) positively impact your business?
Sammy: Absolutely. Public speaking, selling, fundraising, hosting panels, participating in webinars all tap into the skills I learned as a performer. My job is to tell (and sell) a story. I have encountered many ‘yes, and’ moments where my improv skills are dusted off and put into action. In fact, I have really encouraged other start-up founders to participate in improvisational classes. My sales team do vocal warm-ups as soon as they get into the office to prepare for their daily calls. If I am participating in a live or on-camera interview, I always do vocal and body warm-ups to prepare.
Was there a moment you had working with Fitspot, maybe with a client, a moment that inspired you or clicked for you where you knew this wasn’t just a day job for you? A moment that made you want to work harder, help more people? Tell me about it.
Sammy: With a startup, it is either all or nothing. There is no in-between. My moment came after interviewing our customers and recognizing a huge opportunity in the 'wellness at work' market. At that moment, I knew we were onto something great and really solving a problem for the modern workforce.
What do you see for the future of Fitspot? Where do you see it going in the next 5 years?
Sammy: We are looking to raise a round of funding in the Fall. Our goal is to continue to grow our wellness ecosystem of on-site and virtual offerings to become the centralized hub for all things wellness inside and outside the workplace.