FIT4MOM INSTRUCTOR, FRANCHISEE, AND OUR VILLAGE OF THE YEAR FINALISTS

[fa icon="calendar"] Mar 2, 2017 12:43:16 AM / by Shelley Hopper

Every 18 months, the FIT4MOM community of boss mamas come together for an extended weekend to celebrate one another at the FIT4MOM yearly conference. Each year, we look forward to taking time to recognize a few extraordinary moms within our beautiful community, honoring three shining examples of what FIT4MOM stands for by naming one well-deserving mama in each of the following categories:

  • Franchisee of the Year
  • Instructor of the Year
  • Our Village Community of the Year

Congratulations to our 9 finalists, below, on your nominations of Franchisee of the Year, Instructor of the Year, and Our Village Community of the Year. 

Sending so much love and light to each and every one of you, and we can't wait to reveal the winners at the FIT4MOM Passion and Purpose Conference this spring in San Diego. 

Winners will be announced at our mom's night out event on Friday, April 7th.

 

Until then, meet our finalists...


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Years with FIT4MOM:  1.5 Years

Bio:

Takara Bullock is the Owner of FIT4MOM Honolulu. She purchased the Honolulu franchise shortly after the birth of her third child, June 2015. In less than eighteen months, she successfully grew her franchise from offering one program, Stroller Strides®, at one location three times a week, to offering five programs, Stroller Strides®, Stroller Barre®, Body Back®, Fit4Baby®, and FIT4MOM® Running Club, at six locations, with nineteen weekly class times.

 

A home schooler to her three girls, ages two, four, and six, Takara shares homeschooling duties with husband Gerald, who runs a business based in Tokyo.  She credits the unique mom-success culture of FIT4MOM for helping her balance motherhood and business, and contribute financially to her family, all without the need for childcare. Her goal is to create a thriving community in Honolulu that empowers moms at all stages of motherhood.

 

An alumna of Howard University and a Fulbright Fellow in Japan, Takara's previously worked as an executive search recruiter in Tokyo where she recruited talent for US-based companies in Japan for five years. She blogs on family life in Hawaii at Fun Little Ohana.

 

Fun Fact:

  • Some people collect shoes, I collect screen shots of Facebook ads! 
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Years with FIT4MOM: Almost 6

Bio: I was born in Cherry Hill, NJ, and moved to Seattle, by Boeing, when I was five. I attended a small private school through seventh grade, home schooled myself and graduated high school after my eighth grade year. My dad then told me that I had to make a choice: driver's ed or college. I opted for college and took the city bus ;) I worked full-time, studied part-time and made it through college at a young age.

 

I am mom to Roman (6) and Crew (3), wife to Brian (32). The three of them are my biggest cheerleaders!

 

I started as a Stroller Strides client and about two months later was told that there was a franchise for sale that hadn't been operational in about two years. I talked with my hubby and he said as long as we don't lose money, "why not?" My first franchise was born in 2011. In 2014, I was approached by a local franchisee to purchase her franchise. My response was no, my hubby's was "why not?" I was approached again in 2016 by another local franchisee to purchase her franchise. My husband's response was "can you dig it" I said, "why not?"

 

My first FIT4MOM franchise was something I started with a little bit of cash, a lot of passion and purpose and the desire to use my brain instead of it being sucked out by my ever-present breast pump. I wanted to use my business background, my political swagger and my brain. Now here I am today, living a dream I never even knew I had.

 

Fun Facts: 

  • I was the tallest and second youngest girl in my class, every year.
  • When I was a little girl, my mom recorded me praying that I would have two little boys and no girls.
  • I hate drinking out of glassware or using ceramic dishes.
  • I graduated high school when I was 15 and went straight to college.
  • My hubby is five years younger than me.
  • I used to work for Congress in Washington, DC. 
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Years with FIT4MOM: A client for 10 years, a Franchisee for 8 years

Bio: It all started with my husband buying a BOB stroller.  I was 8 months pregnant with our first baby.  I knew that I wanted to be visible when I was out walking/running with my little one.  Of course RED was the only choice!  The stroller arrived and, much to my disappointment, there were embroidered, colorful words smack dab on the FRONT.  They said "Stroller Strides".  Not a problem.  I whipped out my seam ripper and made an attempt at taking off the unwanted thread.  Let me tell you, BOB knows what they're doing with embroidering the SS logo on the strollers!  No way was I getting that off.  I would learn to deal with advertising for a company I knew nothing about. 

 

I went on walks around my neighborhood daily.  One particular walk landed us at a CoinStar machine in a local grocery store.  The woman in front of us in line looked at my stroller and then asked if I had been to a Stroller Strides class?  I said no, I just wanted the color red.  She apparently was the San Francisco Stroller Strides franchisee and instructor!  Seriously, this was getting ridiculous.  It was as if *someone* was sending me a SIGN that somehow, someway, I was supposed to get my rear end to these classes! 

 

It took me another month before I finally gathered up the courage to join the class. During that month, I tried to convince myself that I really didn't need anyone besides my son.  I stayed home after having him so we could spend time together and be fulfilled by nothing but the unconditional love I would be given. (cough cough!)   And then the walls.  Those walls.  They got smaller and smaller as the days went on.  I loved my son, but this wasn't really the healthiest thing for either of us to try this motherhood thing on our own.  We needed people.  Somewhere, we needed to find our people…

 

And so we took about 2 hours to prepare for our first outing to Stroller Strides.  I loved it!  I was only able to be a member for 3 months as we were moving to Sacramento soon.  It was 3 months well spent and sanity-saving!  Fast forward to our big move north and I joined Stroller Strides in Sacramento.

 

After two years with Stroller Strides Sacramento, the owner was returning to work full-time. The franchise would either be sold or dissolve...into...nothingness?!?!  Agony!  There were about 10 regular clients.  Not one of us was very thrilled to jump at this opportunity.  We had no clue how to run a business and were definitely not fitness professionals.  We were tired moms/zombies who showed up to class everyday willing to do what someone else told us.  A short while later and it was GO time.  Either I buy this franchise or I have no community of support, friends for my son and me, or reason to get outside of my home on a regular basis.  THAT reality--that alone--is what made it paramount that I make this crazy leap of faith.  (I was also 9 months pregnant with baby #2 FYI!) Let's see here:   A business that wasn't financially successful, a 2nd baby due in 3 weeks, and no intention of returning to "work"---SURE!  Sign me up!  This is the PERFECT time to dive right into a new business and career!

 

My adventure is a work in progress.  Eight years later and we are stronger than ever.  It took me five years to realize that I could 'let go' in order to grow.  What?!  Did I just say that?!  Yes.  It’s true.  I could not be in charge of or teach all of my classes forever if I wanted to maximize my reach.  And so, against my type A/controlling self, I let go.  It was one of the best decisions I ever made.  I hired another instructor.  And then another.  And another.  That's it--no need to get crazy here!  Three additional instructors, over time, have expanded our Sacramento reach and provided community-rich, friendship-facilitating, and muscle-pumping opportunities.  Letting go to the right people has been my biggest game changer.

 

I count myself richly blessed to be able to do what I love.  Before becoming a FIT4MOM 

franchisee, I taught kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grades. My transition into the fitness world wasn't a huge reach (though it was terrifying!) because I was still surrounded by amazing children--including my own!--but now I was able to combine my passion for teaching with my passion for fitness.  Ten years with FIT4MOM and I love where this company has been, where it's going, and what we stand for.  Here's to ten more years of helping moms find strength in motherhood! 

 

P.S.  One more instructor may be getting trained in March...allegedly!  Stop me!  haha!

 

Fun Facts

  • I met my husband on the beach at a hot dog stand...that I owned.  The first time we met he told me he would marry me. {Not directly, but he introduced his mom to my mom (who were both at the beach) like this:  "Mom, meet my future mother-in-law, Lynn."  I was currently making shaved ice and couldn't quite hear him with the loud machine on.  I thought he was crazy.}
  • We dated and were married in 3 months.  Dating to "I do" in 3 months--yikes!
  • I have held a plank for 20 minutes straight. ONE time.  Once.  And yes there were position changes but all 20 minutes were on my toes.
  • If I am losing self control when it comes to sweets, I will put the sweets into a plastic bag, cover them in dish soap, mush it around, and dump it.  I must destroy the enemy  (because we all know you can easily reach into the garbage can and retrieve some delectable cookies!
  • I am a passionate water skier!
  • When I was 13, my parents bought a hot dog stand (the one mentioned above!).  My brother, sister, and I worked at this hot dog stand every summer for 12 years.
  • First time ever snow skiing I unknowingly went down a black diamond hill.  And rocked it.  Terrified!  Hello!!!!  We're not in bunny hill country anymore! 
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Years with FIT4MOM: 2.5+

 

Bio:  Erica found FIT4MOM classes the day her son turned six weeks old, and she's been hooked ever since! She started attending Stroller Strides as a client and loved it so much she got certified and now teaches Stroller Strides, Body Back, Fit4Baby and Body Back Boost classes.  After starting her young family in the Chicago suburbs and teaching FIT4MOM classes there for 2.5 years, she moved to the Pacific Northwest and immediately hooked up with the local FIT4MOM group- she can't live without the community and the classes! She loves fitness, cooking (she has a culinary degree and was a professional chef pre-kiddo), exploring the outdoors, and is a certified yoga instructor. She's most passionate about helping moms find their own place in the hustle that is motherhood, and loves being part of FIT4MOM. She lives outside of Seattle with her amazing son Dylan and also-pretty-amazing husband Dave. 

 

Fun Facts:

  • Lover of musicals, and was a high school musical dork.
  • Grew up abroad and spent all four years of high school in Paris.
  • Loves donuts, especially a good apple fritter.
  • Legit hates burpees, but passionately loves all things step-up related.
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Years with FIT4MOM: 2.5 years overall, including 2 years with FIT4MOM Chicago and 6 months with Fit4Mom Glen Ellyn/Wheaton
 

Bio: Katie grew up in the southern suburbs of Chicago and graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in Accounting. She was involved in dance and gymnastics growing up and has been attending group step, yoga and spin classes since she was a teenager. After the birth of her boy/girl twins in August 2013 she returned to work full-time as a National Account Manager for a large insurance company.  Due to the travel demands of her job she realized she needed to make a change in order to better balance her personal and professional lives. She discovered FIT4MOM and found that becoming a Stroller Strides instructor would allow her to spend more time with her family while still having a way to exercise, meet other moms and set a good example for her children. She resigned from her corporate position and began teaching Stroller Strides with FIT4MOM Chicago in September 2014.  While teaching Stroller Strides Katie also went through several sessions of Body Back as a client and became certified to teach it in April 2016.  Her family moved to the Chicago suburbs later that year and Katie was lucky enough to transfer to FIT4MOM Glen/Ellyn where she is currently teaching Stroller Strides and Body Back.  One of the biggest realizations Katie had when she became a new mom is that you have to care for yourself first in order to care for the rest of your family. She loves sharing this knowledge and support during her classes with other moms who are trying to adjust to their roles as a moms and working hard to find balance.

 

Fun Facts:  

  • Katie is under five feet tall and carried her twins to full term (and she is still amazed every day at what our bodies can do!).  
  • Katie is a HUGE Oprah fan and was lucky enough to be an audience member during an episode of "Oprah's Ultimate Favorite Things" during Oprah's last season on TV. 
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Years with FIT4MOM: With Fit4Mom since 2012 as a client and 2015 as an Instructor

 

Bio: I am a proud mom from Roanoke, Virginia.  I graduated from Mary Baldwin College, having studied art and elementary education and been active in student government and field hockey for the college varsity team.  I began teaching 4th grade after graduation and married the love of my life, Conor.  He is a pilot in the Navy and pulled me across the country.  I managed to substitute teach for elementary schools, volunteer for local charity and outreach programs, and become involved in the communities I found myself in.

 

Fit4Mom is about helping moms make strides in fitness, motherhood and life.  I learned that firsthand.  When my husband deployed on an aircraft carrier out of San Diego in 2012, I was alone with my infant son, Finn.  I was vulnerable.  A mom in our neighborhood invited me to attend a Stroller Strides class with her.  I was hooked.  I have never looked back. 

 

I found my footing, and an incredible group of professionals that did more than teach me how to sweat.  These amazing ladies - these fitness instructors - taught me how to live my life with purpose, how to support motherhood in local communities and restore personal well-being.  I have enjoyed growing as a mom.  I showed up to every workout, with stains on my shirt at times, a screaming kid, and droopy eyelids.  But every workout ended with a smile. I am so thankful to pass what I desperately needed as a new mom to the wonderful women I get to instruct on a daily basis.  We are a family!

 

I have Finn (5), and Jack (2) who have grown up in jogging strollers, singing songs and watching their mommy sweating with passionate mothers who know how to get a workout in and keep those babies happy, healthy, and connected to a vibrant network.  I am overjoyed that Baby #3 will arrive in September and I will have my outlet of friends at Fit4Mom to help me navigate the new territory.  Stride on, baby!

 

Fun Facts:

  • I have lived on both coasts of the United States.
  • I love anything having to do with a theme!
  • I have visited the White House at Christmastime.
  • One time Kerri Strug (the Olympic Gold Medalist) came to a playgroup with her son that I was leading when we lived in Coronado. We made Chicka-Chicka-Boom-Boom art.
  • I have served over 100 hours at Arlington National Cemetery as a Navy Arlington Lady.
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Years with FIT4MOM: 4 (1 as a client/instructor + 3 as an owner)

 

Bio: I am a mom, wife, sister, daughter, and friend! I am a California native and lover of all things outdoors: nature, sunshine, fresh air, and breaking a sweat with friends.

 

Fun Fact:

  • I love to sew and can quilt a pretty mean baby blanket ;) 
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Years with FIT4MOM: Instructor for 4 years, franchisee 2.5 years

Bio: Hi! I'm Heather Galladora, and I am honored that FIT4MOM Montgomery County is a finalist for Our Village of the Year 2017!  I am mom to Addie (5), Lily (3) and Violet (1), and I'm wife to Tony. I first learned about Stroller Strides from an acquaintance when my oldest was just a few months old, and I was hooked from the very beginning. In fact, I was surprised that it filled a void I didn't even realize I had. Later in 2012, I became an instructor, and fell in LOVE with my new position that allowed me to teach, but in a different capacity than my previous role as a 2nd grade teacher. I had (and still have!) big dreams about everything this business and this village could be, and in July 2014 I purchased the franchise as a resale. I absolutely love what I do! I have a passion for fitness and teaching, but my biggest joy comes from helping moms and children through the crazy wonderful journey of motherhood.

Fun Facts:

  • I got engaged at the finish line of a half marathon.  
  • I coached the same high school team that I once danced for.  
  • I'm a sucker for a good musical. 
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Years with FIT4MOM: 7+ years as an owner


Bio: Hi, my name is Kelly Austin and I have been involved with FIT4MOM for 9 years, 7 of them as an owner. I have been married to my amazing husband Eric for 11 years and I have a 9 1/2 year old daughter named Zoe who has been doing Stroller Strides with me since she was 6 months old. I was certified to teach Fit4Baby and Stroller Strides in 2008 and Body Back in 2010. For most of my adult life I have been a coach of some sort, helping people find their ability to be the best that they can be, in whatever road they choose. 


Fun Facts:

  • I can touch my tongue to my nose
  • Dancing awkwardly while instructing moms through a difficult workout is my specialty.
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Written by Shelley Hopper

Living where the air is salty and life is sweet. Mama to a cub. Lover of chips and salsa, fall, golden retrievers, froyo, and cute fonts. Digital Media Manager for FIT4MOM and freelance writer + blogger. Wanderlusting through mom life in San Diego and always documenting it.

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