angela here, reporting for a little chief fitlosopher check-in duty! and i can’t think of a better time for a signature-ang marathon blogging-sesh than international women’s day. the ultimate strong woman, amelia earhart, once said “the woman who can create her own job is the woman who will win fame and fortune.” we couldn’t agree more. and while fame + fortune has never been my ultimate endgame (although let’s face it - it wouldn’t hurt!), nothing inspires me more than women who forge fiercely ahead after their goals + create their own destinies. that’s why for international women’s day, we’re celebrating 10 females on fiyah who have not only taken the business world by storm, but also elegantly prioritize family, faith + fitness.
1 [sara blakely] founder + inventor @ SPANX
i'll never forget seeing this spunky creator of SPANX as the keynote speaker at an entrepreneur event back in 2008, the same year i started fitlosophy. the story she told of her literally marching into her meeting with the Neiman Marcus buyer, while proceeding to model her product’s efficacy under her white capri pants just amazed me. i mean, who drags a buyer into a bathroom? bold! i’ve followed her success closely over the years, from her grassroots start-up story to gracing the cover of Forbes in 2012 when, at the age of 41, she was named the youngest self-made female billionaire. while her financial success is impressive, it’s her take-the-bull-by-the-horns approach to business, which really resonates with me. i love that she faced down the challenge of breaking into a male-dominated industry + then proceeded to completely revitalize it. not only that, but i respect how she has been intentional in giving back through her foundation that empowers female entrepreneurs. in addition to her business savvy and success, she handles herself with exceptional class + a heavy dose of humor, all the while raising a family – nbd.
connect with her: @sarablakely
support her biz: @SPANX
2 [michelle myers] founder + purpose police @ she works His way
this incredibly inspiring author + entrepreneur somehow balances the mom (and wife) life like a pro, all while leading a team of faithful females at she works His way. i met michelle virtually (vis-à-vis social media) over 8 years ago and since then we’ve become business buddies + prayer partners who have collaborated umpteen times to bring Truth to an industry inundated with lies that our worth is connected to our worldly bod. here’s the kicker: to this day, we’ve still never met in-person. like i would go to the ends of the earth for this girl, and the only fist-bump we’ve exchanged is in emoji-form. swHw is dedicated to their mission of supporting business-minded, Jesus-loving women with resources like members-only content, a free devo app, in-person events, and a business tracker designed to keep your hustle holy. she also served as a mentor + pseudo-therapist to me while we co-created our fitspiration faith + fitness journal. (wanna know more about how we’ve collaborated? there's a blog for that.) but here’s what most impressive about michelle: she never wavers from her priorities: God, wife to hubby james + momma to 3.
connect with her: @michellelmyers
support her biz: @sheworksHisway
3 [nicole wilkins] 4-time figure olympia champion + CEO @ nPower Nutrition
think this fitness entrepreneur is all biceps? think again. nicole wilkins’ business brain gives her beauty a run for its money. while competing in fitness for over 15 years, she has simultaneously grown a fitness empire that literally transforms the lives of millions through her social media influence (hello, 1.8 million facebook fans), an online training + membership platform with access to the champ herself, in-person fitness camps (that are seriously life-changing), and her most recent entrepreneurial endeavor: launching a premium line of nPower Nutrition supplements. whether it be the ingredients in her protein power or the macro counts in her online fitness challenges, her attention to detail is why everything she does delivers results. here's the thing: i met nicole via a partner company and immediately i had the opportunity to see not only her smarts, but her heart of gold. we've gone on to partner on multiple projects together, including the co-creation of fitbook PREP, and i pretty much partake in anything she does because her products + programs are the gold-standard, imho. all that aside, i'm pretty darn blessed to call her my friend. like with her in my corner, who’s gonna mess with me?
connect with her: @nicolemwilkins
support her biz: @nPower_Nutrition
4 [erica ziel] founder + fitness expert @ Knocked Up Fitness
full disclosure: this chica is one of my bffs, but don’t think for a moment that her inclusion on this list is for any other reason than her busy-body, business bad-assery. i met erica about 8 years ago at a women’s entrepreneurship mixer where chalene johnson (another wow woman) was speaking + we were insta-buds at first chat. not only has she been my go-to confidante when i'm having an entrepreneurial melt-down, but she’s played a big part in transforming my personal fitness. erica launched Knocked Up Fitness (no, i'm not knocked up) to help pre/post-natal moms through her specialized pilates-infused techniques. in addition to having multiple fitness dvds under her belt + helping me create our fitbook mama2b, she also created a training certification program where she coaches other trainers to teach her pre/post-natal fitness methodology. expanding beyond the prego mama world, with over 14 years’ experience, she trains celebs + professional athletes and has seen breakout success with her Core Rehab online fitness program (that was a pivotal part of my injury recovery). her passion for changing the lives of others through fitness is infectious, she’s obsessed with fascia, geeks out on the pelvic floor, and all the while encourages me to dream big. i mean, when your bff has 3 kids, a hubby, 2 cats, 5 chickens, a thriving business (and a partridge in a pear-tree), can you seriously complain about being overwhelmed? oh, and did i mention she’s adorable? yeah, to know her is to love her.
connect with her: @ericaziel
support her biz: @knockedupfitness
5 [deanna simonian] president + CEO @ Mediafy Communications
“how do we measure the ROI of our PR?” “getting PR placements doesn’t pay the bills.” “any PR is good PR.” all things i haven’t said SINCE i met this PR + media maven. let me be clear: i've hired (and fired) multiple public relations agencies over my ten years in business. i mean, in the beginning i did our PR myself (and by PR, i mean just shipping little red fitbook-filled boxes to media contacts and stalking them ever-so-slightly). but as the business grew, i knew i had to pull in the pros. except that it never worked – until it did. not only does this woman-owned agency deliver quality PR placements at a rapid pace, but they go above + beyond to secure opportunities that have drastically increased sales, enhanced our brand exposure, and provided me with a substantial (measurable) return on my PR dollar. all that matters (for sure) when we’re talking about how i spend my marketing budget – but for me, the little attention to detail is what matters just as much. only deanna would contact an editor to make sure they lowercase “fitbook” + add the ™ symbol. or help ship out highly-personalized holiday gifts, complete with red packaging – because she knows my motto: #alwaysonbrand. here's what i love most: with 10+ years of experience in PR, she struck out on her own, started an agency, and has never looked back. some people dream – and some people (like deanna) just go do it.
connect with her: @heyyitsdeanna
support her biz: @mediafycommunications
so those are just 5 of the phenomenal women who are doing big things in the world. but how could i make a list of women to watch without mentioning my very own crew? fitlosophy is proudly a certified woman-owned business (so, just in case you ever wondered, i'm a certified female). and not that i don’t love me some men (because, yes – yes, i do), but it just so happens that my entire team is comprised of 5 fab females that are a big part of all we do. a few of them may look familiar while some of them operate efficiently behind-the-scenes, but each + every one of them play a pivotal role in doing what we do best: creating products that change lives. in no particular order, meet my sweet team:
[6, 7, 8, 9 + 10]
[lani] director of all things creative
from creating our logo + very first fitbook to every single element of our fitlosophy brand, this designer extraordinaire has been my partner-in-creative-crime since day one (and actually even before that!). she ever-so-smartly is able to translate my creative vision into reality on-screen, which then becomes (more often than not) paper. to say i couldn’t do any of this without her is an understatement – and by golly, i'd never want to because this girl is so much more than a friendployee – she’s one of my dearest pals. this born + raised california girl is a wife + momma to two handsome boys, loves every animal on earth (including bugs), and shares my love of paper to probably an unhealthy degree.
connect with her: @fitbook.lani
[katy] chief content creator
sassy is an understatement for this southern peach of a pal, but she adds a spice to all things fitlosophy. from collaborating to create our stellar blog content + insanely yummy recipes to snapping the prettiest product pics, i am beyond joyous that i approached this sweet friend to see if she had spare time to help out. a journalist by trade, this full-time mom of 3 young boys has knocked my socks off with every little thing she does. on top of all she does for fitlosophy, she also fills her own instagram feed with food that leaves you drooling + stories that leave you laughing ‘til you pee a little. watching her blossom as a businesswoman has been an honor, as she’s now partnering with multiple national brands (um, hello Vital Farms – i had her first…you’ve been warned). disclaimer: fitlosophy is in no way responsible for the opinions expressed by this sometimes borderline inappropriate, yet hilarious blonde broad.
connect with her: @savoringtheflavoring
[laura] marketing + community creator
while she’s been rockin’ her role as our social media + marketing maven at fitlosophy for over a few years now, she just added a new title to her roster: momma. giving birth to baby william just this past december has changed her life in the most wonderful way possible. it was fun for our team to walk through her 9+ month pregnancy with her: a nauseating trimester 1, a breezy trimester 2, and an extra-long trimester 3, with baby boy taking an extra few weeks to grace us with his presence. and while yours truly was counting down the days ‘til she returned from maternity leave, i couldn’t be more impressed watching how she juggles motherhood + a career like a (girl)boss. bonus: our conference calls now have baby coo’ing cuteness as background noise. wanna see more pics of her cute-as-a-button little family and how they’re handling life with a new baby? of course, there’s a blog for that.
connect with her: @fitbook.laura
[heather] director of happy customers
don’t be fooled by her title: heather might just have the toughest job here at fitlosophy. and boy, does she do it well! here's the thing: in business (and in life), things don’t always go as planned. packages get lost, our warehouse sometimes misses an item, bookmarks don’t work in the new planner (what? oops! we fixed that.) but can i just brag on how beautifully heather handles every single one of our customers with love + grace? she was referred to me by my friend michelle (see #2 above) because i mentioned that my marketing + customer support girl (see directly above) just went on maternity leave – right before our busiest season. (slow. clap.) michelle: “angela meet heather who is looking for a job. heather meet angela who needs someone – now.” match made in heaven + it's been nothin’ but a blessing since. oh, and did i mention she does all this whilst also being mommy to 3 kiddos under 5? #momlife
connect with her: @heatherwaldorf
[courtney] chief of fit operations
you know how you love finding all our products on the shelves of cool stores like Target + Walgreens (and soon, CVS!)? well, first we have to make a lot of products, then get them on a boat + then ship them to the shelves in a store near you. none of that happens if we don’t have a rockstar like courtney in place. the latest addition to the fitlosophy fam, she has a refreshing can-do attitude, a heart of gratitude for the opportunity to be part of our team + the cutest southern drawl that followed her here from south carolina. i was introduced by a very good friend (also a phenomenal female, who i'm now realizing should’ve made this list) who knew i needed someone to help grow the biz with me. she said, “well, she loves wine + Jesus just like you, so at the very least you’ll be friends!” well, all of the above is true, but i'm grateful that she is also the perfect fit to help us take fitlosophy to the next level this year. when she’s not in the office with the heater on + hot tea in-hand (when it’s 70 degrees outside), she can be found beachside with her hubby + 2 fur babies.
connect with her: @courtneymarton
pssst, chief content creator, katy here, cutting in for a minute. we definitely couldn’t let angela get away with posting a list of our favorite female forces to be reckoned with...that excluded her! i get it, i get it - she’s oh-so-humble, after all (one of the many things we love about this little raven-haired, corkscrew-curled business dynamo), so she’d fail miserably if asked to brag about her varied + vast list of career accomplishments. luckily though, i have absolutely no problem bragging on her, because honestly, no list of business-minded beauties would be complete without her. so i made an executive decision to add in a last, but certainly not least #11 myself.
[angela mader] founder + chief fitlosopher @ fitlosophy
so in honor of this femme-tastic day, we challenge you to go out + support your fellow women today
i first met our small-in-stature, yet colossal-in-charisma chief at a holiday party nearly seven lucky years ago. i quickly learned that not only could she take a little light ribbing like a champ - she could dish it out even better. seeing as how she’s smart, sassy, confident, driven, dynamic, supportive, and oh, let’s not forget drop-dead-gorgeous, it didn’t take long for me to fall head over heels + somehow coerce her into a friendship. when i learned that she’d started her own wildly successful business just a couple years prior, not only as a fresh-faced 20-something, but also in the midst of some pretty heavy personal trauma, it just sealed the deal. i knew i wanted - no, needed - to be in this wildly inspiring woman’s orbit. because if you are who you hang with, then maybe some of her awesomeness would rub off on me. i’ve spent the last several years watching her kick some major heinie in the business world, not only through forging strong business partnerships with major brands + retailers across the continent, but perhaps even more importantly, by supporting + empowering countless women (like myself) who have been blessed enough to make it into her aforementioned orbit. a rare find in today’s dog-eat-dog world. she’s the type of business owner you just instinctively root for, the type of boss you only dream about, the type of friend you can always count on + the type of woman who thwarts a violent attacker twice her size, sending him out on a stretcher, while she emerges joking (and flirting) with the paramedics - battered but not broken. she’s the stuff of legends. and we’re proud to call her our chief. how lucky are we??
- whether it’s by phoning a girlfriend to lift her spirits, or leaving an uplifting comment for one of your favorite inspirational instagrammers, or purchasing goods from a female-owned business. how are you celebrating international women’s day? who are some of your favorite entrepreneurial women to watch? share in the comments below!