Written by Liz Hershfield
I grew up in California, surrounded by fitness & health, long before it was a trendy thing.
Early in my college days I worked in a Mexican restaurant where I met several lifelong friends, one of whom, Julie, was also a Step instructor.
We were your typical college kids - boy crazy, going to parties and having fun, but because of my friend Julie, fitness was a key component of our friendship.
I quickly learned to love working out with friends. It was so motivating and we always pushed each other to be better. But most of all, it was a whole lot of fun! The impact has been long lasting - fitness has since been an important part of my life.
I have lived in NYC for 9 years now, working as the Chief Supply Chain Officer at Bonobos. I was the 19th employee and for many years the only female on the leadership team. Being the only woman on a team was one of the hardest things I have ever experienced. I had always worked with a great balance of female and male leaders, and had never been the only female. This imbalance opened my eyes, forcing me to become acutely aware of workplace inequality for women. From issues like pay inequality to the way women are perceived vs men in the office, it is a constant struggle for female equality at work.
Change is certainly on its way, however. I am happy to share that we recently announced a new female CEO, and that there are now 3 women on the leadership team, including myself and our CEO. While we have quite a ways to go, it is refreshing to see that progress is being made!
So - back to fitness. Over the years I have, admittedly, had periods of time where I was not regularly exercising. Finally, at the ripe old age of 46, I realize I need fitness to be a daily part of my routine. Not only for the physical health benefits, but also because it keeps me sane! I find that when I am regularly exercising, my mood is uplifted and my attitude toward life is positive, no matter what else may be going on. It is my release and something that I can’t live without!
My body has changed over the years, and while I have to work harder in the gym to maintain the same levels of fitness, the message of body positivity that Movemeant Foundation and Jenny have championed has been hugely inspiring to me, and has helped me understand that my body is going to change and that is okay!
I first was introduced to Jenny Gaither through Soul Cycle and quickly became a regular in her classes. I then found out about We Dare to Bare and participated in my first ride in 2013. I was kind of terrified that I would feel out of place amongst the ultra fit while working out in our sports bras - but the incredibly welcoming community transcended physical appearance!
The group of men and women that came out that day were all shapes and sizes, with varying levels of fitness and age. It was one of my favorite experiences I’ve ever had in NYC.
After that, I reached out to Jenny. I wanted to get involved- how could I support this awesome cause? Movemeant’s work in utilizing fitness as a tool to motivate & empower young women is such an inspiration and so important for the future of females! I am so grateful to have discovered this incredible organization! #whorunstheworld #girlpower