S&B co-founders Madelaine O'Connell, Janie Gaughan and Sarah Harms met at the Bari Studio when Janie and Sarah started taking Madelaine's class. Three years later S&B was created!
I have been teaching at the Bari Studio for just over four years but for those who don't know, I was a client there first. I started my career post undergrad at Citi (which is a five minute walk from Bari). During my first year in investment banking I started spending all my "excess" cash on fitness classes (pre-Class Pass era) to try to combat sitting at a desk for 12-15 hours a day. I fell in love with Bari for the mere reason that I could get my workout done in one hour. No more barre class followed by running or soul cycle followed by 30/60/90. One stop shop!
Needless to say 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. class instructors are hard to come by, so who knows if they ever actually wanted me to teach or just needed someone in the room! :) But long story short I got asked by Bari to teach. My response: Brilliant, I'll get paid to workout and do something I absolutely LOVE! Back story, I was a fitness instructor in college. Picture basketball courts filled with 50+ girls teaching Pilates, Kickboxing and Total Body Conditioning! Fast forward to when I met Sarah and Janie, along with many multiples of other successful, driven, fit women and S&B was born!
Janie, Sarah and I become friends the second we started connecting outside of the studio. The more we hung out combined with the experience I had from teaching at 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. for four years led to a conclusion that there is a commonality between people you take group classes with. I guarantee you have some sort of common ground in any fitness class you've been to - maybe you work in the same industry, maybe you live in the same neighborhood, maybe you like the same kind of food or wine or maybe you both are having difficulties getting promoted in your career. Whatever the case may be, we came to the conclusion that there was something missing, despite the fact that the NYC fitness market already feels oversaturated. As we started to test this concept with outdoor classes this summer, we realized there was in fact a ton of interest in creating a community.
S&B is a an opportunity for us as women to connect through a common love for fitness, but it will be much more than a class...
What we want to do is build a community to focus on ourselves for an hour or two every couple of weeks, which most ambitious women forget to do, where we can gain new perspectives on fitness, our careers, how to balance work with our day-to-day lives and support each other in the current environment we live in where we have to empower each other to continue to speak up. With all the choices that are thrown at us everyday, most of us choose the fitness class over the stereotypical networking event.
Instead of having to choose, you can come to S&B and get both for the price of one! Not only will yo get that but we hope you will gain new friendships, have an outlet to talk about the hard stuff, network with other successful women in your industry and overall have a place to go when the going gets tough because if you live in NYC you know there are those days, those weeks, where it just seems impossible!
So what does that actually mean? We will be hosting two events per month. We will be partnering with various fitness studios across the city to either host or teach the class. Every event will have a 45 minute class followed by 45 minutes of networking. One event per month will be focused on health and wellness and the other will be industry specific to bring together women in the same industry or sector. In addition we will be working with corporations and businesses to curate women events where we will look to infuse S&B into the work place.
We are beyond excited to see where S&B goes but what I know is this is exactly what I've needed personally since moving to NYC. If we can create one new friendship, one new job opportunity or empower one more woman by having a community of fit gals by her side then we've done what we sought to create!