Fitness expert, author and Mompreneur Lisa Druxman founded the original FIT4MOM Stroller Strides® program after the birth of her first child in 2001 with the mission to give moms a workout they could do with babies in tow, while helping them forge connections with each other. Since then, Druxman has expanded the FIT4MOM brand into a community that provides women with physical and emotional empowerment through "Strength for Motherhood." As the umbrella for Fit4Baby®, Stroller Strides, Stroller Barre® and Body Back®, FIT4MOM is now one of the fastest-growing franchise businesses in the country.
In addition to her role as founder of the country's largest fitness program for moms, Druxman is a certified expert in pre/postnatal fitness, and is certified as a group fitness instructor and personal trainer. A nationally recognized speaker and published author, Druxman created the weight management program and book, L.E.A.N. Mommy, wrote an exclusive column for Entrepreneur and received an APEX journalism award for her fitness writing.
How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
I've been a dreamer since childhood, filled with never ending ideas and visions. Over the years, I've learned to cultivate those dreams and turn them into goals, working diligently to make them come true. The trick is to surround yourself with an amazing team of like-minded people who have that same desire to see these dreams come true, and know how to make it happen - that's what I have at FIT4MOM.
How has your previous employment experience aided your position as the creator of Fit4Mom?
I've been in the fitness industry for over 20 years. In my 20s and 30s, I was a Personal Trainer, Group Exercise Instructor, Fitness Manager and General Manager at a 5-Star health club, learning every aspect of the business. As a GM, I was tasked with everything from marketing to budgets. This hands-on experience prepared me to run a business and gave me the drive to really want to own a company. I always had so many ideas for improvement, but they didn't fit the corporate philosophy of the club I was at. The best part of owning your own business is getting to walk your talk!
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
Balancing my work and personal life is my number one goal and biggest challenge! Each day, I list my 3 MIT's (Most Important Things) that have to get done. We all have the same 168 hours in a week; how you use them is what matters. That's why I designed the FIT4MOM franchise program to be conducive to the lives of women who want a successful career that doesn't force them to sacrifice time with their families. I encourage our moms to divide the hours of the day up so there is time carved purposely for work, family and themselves. The trick to a great work-life balance is to be purposeful and have a plan!
What have the highlights and challenges been during your tenure as a business owner?
At FIT4MOM, motherhood is our greatest blessing and our biggest challenge. What we've done is create career opportunities that are supportive of motherhood for our instructors, franchisees and employees, and I am so proud to have empowered women nationwide to accomplish something great, like owning their own businesses, without sacrificing their roles as "mom." That said, it's tough to grow a business when motherhood always comes first. It's a challenge we're overcoming every day; we all struggle with work-life balance, but we're committed to making it work!
What advice can you offer those seeking to establish their own business?
First, find out your "why." Why are you starting your business? Why is it important to you? When you know your "why," you can figure out exactly what you want to do. Is your goal to work from home, make a six-figure income or something else entirely? Do your homework. Make sure the business will make financial sense for you and that you have the cash flow necessary to get you through the start-up years. Finally, bigger is not always better. Master your small business before you consider expanding.
What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
Work-life balance for sure. Women are still carrying most home and childcare duties. It is difficult to move up the corporate ladder when your child's school is closed, baby-sitters cancel, etc. Most women in the workplace are managing home and work, but have very little time for taking care of themselves.
What are your thoughts on Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In book and movement?
I'm torn. I loved the book and do believe that women need to "lean in." Women need to ask for the raise and the promotion. It kills me that women only account for 15% of the executive work force. However, I still do believe that our children are better off with a parent (doesn't have to be the mom) instead of full-time child care. I don't judge. I just think it's what's best for a family. What we are seeing today is an explosion of women business owners where they can design their business to fit their life, which is the same philosophy FIT4MOM was built on.
How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
Mentorship is very important to me as I'm on a quest to learn every single day. I listen to podcasts, audiobooks and follow blogs on all topics from entrepreneurship to finance, from social media to management. I believe in developing your network and "leaning in" for advice from women like Maria Bailey (http://bsmmedia.com/). I'm in a CEO group as well as a women's life mastery group and, to me, both are equally important. If I'm not investing in myself, why should anyone invest in me?
Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
I admire Linda Resnik, the queen of "POM", Teleflora, Fiji Water and more. She was one of the first mompreneurs! She is a master marketer and an inspiring entrepreneur. I also admire women like Robyn O'Brien (http://www.robynobrien.com/), who is more of a health leader than a business leader. Her concerns for her own children's health have spirited her to be a leader in shedding light on our food supply.
What are your hopes for the future of Fit4Mom?
Our "why" is to give women the "Strength for Motherhood." My hope is that our programs and products can reach every mom at every stage of motherhood to fulfill that "why." In addition to our Stroller Strides classes for mom and baby, we've begun to reach the mothers-to-be with our Fit4Baby class designed to help women get their bodies in shape for labor and delivery, as well as our BodyBack program designed exclusively for moms trying to get their body back after baby with personalized fitness and nutrition plans. As the largest fitness program for moms, we want to support, inspire and transform motherhood and promote healthy lifestyles for the whole family, through moms. We believe in the power of mothers and we will continue to expand our business until that "why" is fulfilled! This will include new classes, books, products and more!