I've known my friend Mandee since we were kids because my dad was her family's general practitioner growing up, but we didn't get to be close until after I moved home to Portland in 2011. While we were always acquaintances, she and my twin brother were good friends and he suggested calling her when I was getting ready to leave Arizona to see if she could help me with my job hunt. She was working for Nike at the time and she generously offered to set up a time to talk about what I wanted to do with my life in Portland, a practice I later learned is very common at Nike [dubbed 'informational interviews' by employees].
I remember sitting on my couch in my little bungalow in downtown Phoenix listening to her describe her experiences working for the company, the promotion that she was in the middle of interviewing for, and the nuances that you know only if you work there [someone should write a book on the unwritten rules for working at Nike, because there are a lot of them]. Eventually I made my way back to Portland and although we never worked together directly, she gave me advice that was super helpful as I navigated through the interview process and started my career. It didn't take long for us to become close friends.
Once we were both working on the same campus, Mandee convinced me to get my Pilates Passport so I could take class with her favorite teacher, Tammy Russ, who became one of my favorite teachers, too [tied with Mandee of course]. Mandee loved Pilates so much that she decided to get her certification to teach on top of her full-time job as an apparel developer. I loved watching her find something she's passionate about and then building on it, starting out by teaching small groups of friends in creative venues, like Rooftop Pilates or Backyard Pilates, and not long after, accepting a position at the Multnomah Athletic Club in downtown Portland.
She built up her business over time so that eventually she was able to make the brave decision to leave her secure position at Nike to pursue Pilates full-time. Last year, she was offered a position at Pacific NW Pilates as well and this past February, she spent a month in India getting her yoga certification to round out her teaching. It keeps her busy, but has allowed her to incorporate things she's passionate about, like traveling, helping people, and fitness, into her career. Her most recent venture has been to dive into Wedding Day Pilates and Yoga, where she holds a class for the bride along with her bridesmaids and family the morning of the big day [hire her if you're getting married!] I'm still hooked on Pilates too, and it's become a regular part of my life even with all the jumping around I've done in the past year thanks to ClassPass. We went back to Tammy's class when I went home this past May, who I like to think of as the OG passion pusher ;)
Mandee's business is now called Santosha Pilates and I was thrilled to help her launch the redesign of her website. Check it out at santoshapilates.com and please visit kelseymyersdesign.com if you're interested in redesigning your own site!