When I started DanceBody in 2013, I didn’t intentionally set out to create a “women-run” business. But that is what DanceBody is, proudly, 100% women-owned and run.
By nature of the services we provide, our customers and staff have almost exclusively been composed of women throughout the years. Now, to be emphatically clear, men and all gender-identifying individuals have always been welcome. Since day one, even our bathrooms proudly displayed the sign: “AnyBody” because that is truly how we feel - we are inclusive of all.
In today’s difficult and often confusing world, there is something sweetly special about being a women-run business. I consider DanceBody to be a haven for women working in the professional fitness industry. We are a tightly knit community who truly care for one another, and there is real beauty in that. When it comes to getting work done it’s black and white. However, when it comes to having compassion, empathy, and friendship it’s every color of the rainbow.
Early on in my career, I used to think I needed a male representative at the table to be taken seriously. Sometimes that still feels true. As a woman who owns her own business, there are instances where I do not feel I am regarded in the same way as my male counterparts. But make no mistake, this woman is running a real business, with real clients, real staff, and real results. We have so far yet to go, but we’ve come a long way baby!
Here’s what some of my amazing staff had to say about working inside a women-run business:
How does working at a women-run business differ from companies you may have worked for in the past?
“Prior to working at DanceBody, every company I worked for was completely male-dominated. A women-run business has a completely different dynamic - in the best way. Everyone is approachable and there is a sense that all opinions are heard.”
“There is an overwhelming feeling of support, which allows for a more communicative work dynamic.”
“Working at DB with all women, it’s always full of life! I’ve noticed much more of a community aspect where you feel like you’re not just a coworker, but a real team, and a real friend.”
Why is working at a women-run business important to you?
“Now, having worked at a women-run business for years, I don't think I could ever imagine working anywhere but a women-run business. There is a strength + resiliency here that is unmatched. The word “empowered” gets tossed around a lot, but after watching (and now being a part of) strong women who continue to rise and succeed inthe workplace, how can you not feel empowered?!”
“I didn't know it was important to me until I was in it . Having strong women leaders like Katia + Courtnay has changed my life and inspired me to be more courageous, get outside my comfort zone.”
“As a kid, I didn’t think women could start acompany or run a business. Growing up I always imagined a man would be my boss. Now, watching my badass female bosses, it’s clear that it’s not about gender, but about working hard, having determination and strength.”
“Women are constantly juggling a million different things in their lives (i.e., work, family, home). DanceBody has a culture that is supportive and sets you up to thrive.”
What qualities do you think women-run businesses can teach other companies?
“The idea that there are no “wrong” ideas. Women are creative and dynamic, and being able to communicate ideas and problem solve allows for faster company growth, benefiting both employees and clients.”
“Determination and grit. We work tirelessly to be the best at what we do.”
“Women are able to have tough conversations and work through problems without making people feel discouraged. The result is a hard working, efficient group of people - something all companies should strive for.”
What makes women so damn good at work?
“Our graceful grit. We have the ability to mold to what different circumstances call for. We can access our softer, more empathetic sides and then come out blazing when we need to.”
“As women, and as dancers, it’s our nature to complete work efficiently and to the best of our ability. We won’t take no for an answer.”
“When women set their minds to something, they get it done!”
“We don't see problems, we see solutions. Women are diligent, productive, respectful, creative, and assertive… to mention a few! These qualities enhance their ability to be really damn good in the workplace.”
Who run the world?
“DanceBody Babes!”— DanceBody Team
A note from our COO + Co-founder, Courtnay Mariani:
“If you had asked me nine years ago if I wanted to be a part of a women-run business, I would have actually been offended, asking ‘why would that even matter?’ Now, having had the experience of building a team of strong women at DanceBody, I have a very different opinion.
What drew me to DanceBody in the first place was the idea of limitless opportunity. Working with Katia in the early stages taught me many things, but the most important was to stop saying that something can't happen.
“We don’t have a studio? Keep Moving.”
“We don’t have the funding? Keep Moving.”
“We don’t have staff? Keep Moving.”
“We don’t know exactly what we’re doing? Just Keep Moving!”
The answer for Katia and I when we founded this company was to Keep Moving, always in all ways.
However, because we live in a world of so much “no” and “can’t" and “it’s too hard”, we as women instead looked at these obstacles as invigorating, rather than debilitating. It’s a quality that I believe is not only unique to a women-run business, but is something that we can teach others.
As women, we tend to take on the responsibility of everyone around us and hold ourselves accountable for the outcomes of any and all scenarios. We take a lot on. Watching our small team face each task head on, with tenacity, is a quality you don’t come across daily. We work in such synergy with each other, that now we almost read each other’s minds. We are primed to work through challenges - the “easy way” doesn’t even make sense to us. We often say as a team, it’s a rare day that is “normal”, we expect to be confronted with adversity.
Lastly, as a women-run business, we don't want to disappoint each other, or ourselves. Feeling accountable to our team and responsible for our goals is a huge factor that makes our working environment so successful. No one wants to be the person on a small team who drops the ball. But we handle it all with grace - praising EQ over IQ. At the end of the day, it’s always about how you make people feel first. It’s what we lead with.
All in all, I believe what makes women so damn good at work is focus, drive, empathy, the ability to listen and adapt quickly - oh - and specifically to our women-run business, our commitment to being the best!”— Courtnay
Over the years, DanceBody has transformed into a hub of inspired female energy. I’ve seen friendships form and business partnerships brokered between clients who also run their own businesses. It’s an indescribable feeling to watch these relationships develop and unfold. Because DanceBody was never just about fitness. It’s always been about community. So while I didn’t necessarily set out to create a space that was entirely women-run I wouldn’t have it any other way.
In Love + Health,