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MB One Women History Month Responses

Female Business Owners Share Stories of Strength and Resilience

By Bree Lewis

Today, more women than ever are leading the way as role models and leaders in the workplace and beyond. This is especially true in the wellness industry. Recently, we asked the inspirational female business owners of the Mindbody One Community to share their stories of strength and resilience.

Here are some of the wonder women whose commitment to wellness stood out most:

Beth Crain, BEYOND Studios

Our first story of boldness comes from Beth Crain of BEYOND Studios. Located in Frisco, Texas, Crain’s studios feature music-driven Pilates and interval training workouts. A business that’s 100% powered by women, Crain’s studios have been voted among the best in Frisco for the last two years. Crain also actively gives back to her community—donating thousands of dollars to local non-profits that serve women and children. She’s the epitome of an inspirational woman who uplifts other women in her community through health, wellness, and generosity.

Andrea Isabelle Lucas, Barre & Soul

Our next woman warrior story comes from the owner of Barre & Soul, Andrea Lucas. She was a single mom and domestic violence survivor when she first discovered the healing power of barre, which she credits to bringing her out of rock bottom. What first started as her side hustle developed into a full-time career (and eventually a multi-million-dollar business). As the sole owner, Lucas pulled herself from the ground up with zero investors. Now, Barre & Soul has five award-winning brick-and-mortar studios, a virtual platform, and a world-class barre teacher training school.

In 2019, she published a book to help encourage other women to take ownership of their lives and pursue their dreams, no matter what circumstances life has handed them. Her story is a true reminder of how the power of wellness (and a whole lot of courage) can change your life.

Jennifer Grace, Pole Athletica

Next on the list is the owner of Sydney’s Pole Athletica, Jennifer Critelli. While working a corporate lifestyle, she reminisced about her time as a professional ballet dancer. In 2004, she returned to her love for dance and opened the doors to her business. Back then, pole dancing was considered “taboo,” and she faced a lot of challenges. Not only did people assume she was crazy for establishing pole dance fitness programs for fun and wellness, but she also faced criticism from the industry for taking pole dancing out of a club setting and modernizing it with ballet movements, yoga, and contemporary dance.

Critelli is a pioneer of revolutionizing pole dancing and making it more accessible to the public. Fast forward 18 years later and Pole Athletica is still thriving. The studio has experienced many firsts over the years—one of them being the first pole dancing studio to open its classes up to men in 2011. Out of it all, Critelli says one of the most rewarding parts of having her business is the incredible, all-inclusive community. She has members who have been with her for eight years or more. She’s survived two COVID-19 lockdowns and is still just as passionate about her business as she was when she opened her studio in 2004.

Wendei Smith, Peace of Mind Wellness

Owner of Peace of Mind Wellness, Wendei Smith’s journey in wellness began when she opened her studio 25 years ago. Five years ago, her life changed forever when she was diagnosed with late-stage Lyme disease followed by Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome a few years later. As someone who was so immersed in the wellness industry, she spent most of her life thinking she was healthy—but instead of retiring from the wellness industry, she rose to the challenge. For Smith, working takes her mind off her illness. Her clients bring her joy, and she considers them her extended family. When it comes to obstacles, Smith is unstoppable. She’s a woman committed to movement and determined to get healthier. She stays positive by seeing the silver lining in all she does, practicing compassion, and having patience through it all. A tip of advice from this warrior? “Women can do anything if we put our mind to it.” With her as an example, we know this is true.

Laci Chisholm, Fit4Dance

Next on the list is owner of Fit4Dance, Laci Chisholm. She opened her studio with the intent to bring quality and affordable dance and fitness instruction to communities that need it most. She offers a comfortable space where women can have fun, learn to dance, improve their fitness and health, meet new people, explore other cultures, and freely express themselves. She decided to open Fit4Dance in Brooklyn, New York, for three reasons: to encourage African American women and children to take charge of their health through exercise, to unify diverse groups of people through the common love of dance, and to spread awareness of social justice issues by organizing events to support communities in need (I.e. school supply drives, toy drives, sanitary products drive for incarcerated women, sock drives for homeless men, toiletry drives for homeless women, coat drives, etc.)

Even amid a pandemic, she was named New York’s Entrepreneur of the Year by the SBA, as well as the Women's Business Outreach Center, selected by American Express and IFundWomen for their national 100 for 100 programs, and many more awards for her business acumen and incredible work in the community. Her dedication to wellness and others is making waves. She’s a real-life hero.

Sheila Melody, The Strength Code

When it comes to strength, Sheila Melody, owner of The Strength Code,  is a professional. She rebranded in 2019 with a mission to inspire and empower her clients to achieve their highest expression of strength, health, and wellness in the safest and most efficient way. Her studio specializes in slow-burn, high-intensity strength training, through one-on-one sessions. Melody understands first-hand it can be challenging to be a woman in the world of strength training, but she’s determined to redefine the status quo. She believes you don't have to be a bodybuilder to be strong because strength is so important to our health (especially as we age)! The last two years have only strengthened her resolve (pun intended) to grow her brand and brought her team closer together. Not only did they survive the pandemic, but their first licensed affiliate opened during the pandemic in Palm Desert. She gives a whole new meaning to the word “tough.”

Bibi Lorenzetti, Newburgh Yoga Shala

Our last story comes from the owner of  Newburg Yoga Shala, Bibi Lorenzetti. She’s recently been given the opportunity to bring the practice of yoga to Newburg, NY—a town where there’s currently a lack of yoga in its traditional form. Her studio’s mission is to bring a taste of India’s traditional practices of yoga to the heart of her city and the greater Hudson Valley.

Her offerings are rooted in the lineage and tradition of Ashtanga Yoga, or the eight limbs of yoga, brought to us by Patanjali. Bibi has been featured on WanderlustTVVogue Magazine, in the Netflix documentary 'On Yoga: The Architecture of Peace', and has privately taught many high-profile entertainers including Madonna. Alongside her studio, she also runs retreats, teacher training programs, and is a doula that supports women in their journeys through pregnancy, birth, and crossing the threshold into motherhood.

When it comes to inspirational, strong women, they’re never hard to find. These stories of perseverance and bold courageousness remind us of how capable we all really are. When the world needed wellness, they kept going—and we can't thank them enough. Like Serena Williams says, “the success of every woman should be the inspiration to another. We’re strongest when we cheer each other on.”  

We’re so grateful for our community of strong-willed female business owners.

Want to hear more from female business owners just like you?

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About the author:

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Bree Lewis

Marketing Content Associate

Mindbody

Born and raised in a small mountain town just south of Yosemite National Park, Bree is an avid lover of health, wellness, and connecting to the outside world around us. As a Cal Poly English major alumn, she has a knack for books, writing, and all things words. In her free time, she enjoys being outside, drinking craft beers, and keeping life jazzy!

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