Jordana Gluckow, Making Fitness More Accessible & Inclusive
June 27, 2019
Jordana Gluckow is changing the way we think about fitness. Always feeling an inclination toward being active, Jordana realized that her life had become too sedentary in her previous finance role. While she went on a search to find classes and workout spaces that she enjoyed in NYC, she realized that she couldn’t find any online resources that spoke to her. This sparked the idea for Active Spaces. Active Spaces is a platform that shares reviews and guides on new and exciting ways to workout. Each week they set out to find new Active Spaces and report back on the need-to-know, so you and your friends have a new way to explore your city. She aims to break down the barriers that prevent us from working out, making fitness more accessible and inclusive for everyone.
In this feature, Jordana shares with us how she started Active Spaces, where she sees it going, and her career advice for ambitious women, such as yourself.
After graduating from Bates College, you started your career in finance as an investor relations associate. Why did you choose this field?
I interned at the firm prior to graduating and loved my experience there. I found municipal bonds and investor relations incredibly fun, interesting, and challenging. I was in a position where I was dealing with many different stakeholders, giving me ample room to grow and learn. A key takeaway I got from my experience in investor relations was the importance of service and hospitality. I honestly never thought I would end up in finance, just like I didn’t think I would start a business in fitness.
What skills did you realize you needed in order to enter the finance industry and excel?
To be totally honest, I think a good amount of it was luck. In college I made my own major studying Education Policy. By doing this, I had the opportunity to take classes in different realms and focuses that provided me with a well-rounded mindset. I took economics, statistics, accounting, politics, and geographic analysis which all taught me to think critically and understand the importance of visualizing data. All of these different skill sets helped me market myself in the job application process.
On starting Active Spaces
What prompted you to leave your job in finance to pursue Active Spaces?
At a certain point, I realized I wanted to broaden my horizons and experience. I left the firm with the intention of attending law school and took three months to study for the LSAT. During this time, I had the opportunity to try different workouts in the city that I hadn't tried before. I realized there were a few workouts I loved and a few I really didn’t. I looked online to find resources that would help guide me in this search and couldn’t find anything that spoke to me. Growing up I was not athletic. I'm bad at pretty much every sport and I had a strange experience growing up where I sustained multiple concussions. I took time off in college to recuperate and came back with the resolve to do something active and be more present. I took up sailing, and while I wasn’t very good at it, I found a great community of people and being on the water was an incredible escape for me. However when I started my finance role, I was constantly commuting on a train, sitting in a car, and working on my desk with little to no movements for over 10 hours a day. My life became so sedentary that I realized I needed to start actively incorporating bits of movement throughout the day. When I was preparing for my LSAT, I realized this disconnect and wanted to figure out a way to make movement more accessible and inclusive for everybody, no matter what your job or budget is.
How did you start Active Spaces? How did you transition to running Active Spaces full-time?
My first step was to just talk to people. I spoke to everyone and anyone who would listen. It saved me a lot of time and pitfalls. I also leaned on my parents for advice. They had a family business when I was growing up and are a constant inspiration to me. I chatted with people in the fitness industry to see if I was onto something. I asked the common questions – “How do you work out? How often do you work out? What do you look for when you work out? – to better understand the space and the ultimate problem I was trying to solve.
After talking to people and better understanding my business plan, I quickly made the decision to pursue it full time. And through that it really blossomed into something that now requires a full-time endeavor. In a short amount of time, Active Spaces has really resonated with people, which has shown me that I’m on the right path.
What does your day-to-day running Active Spaces look like?
My day-to-day is always varied, as it should be when running a new business. I usually start the day with a morning workout as I love to always try new places. Beyond that, there’s a lot of writing and editing content for the site. We’ve recently been looking at making new hires so that has been our main focus as of
yet. There’s a whole lot of other nitty-gritty items that goes into it :)
Self-care and fitness is becoming more of a priority for women in demanding careers. How do you see Active Spaces shaping the future of fitness for young women?
I think we have a really exciting opportunity to be there for people. Our current content is very service-oriented. If you want to be active, we are there to help guide you through the process and figure out what’s best for your lifestyle and budget. We also want to be known for our honesty and reliability. With the trend of self-care and fitness, especially on Instagram, we know how intimidating this lifestyle can be. We aim to be the fitness resource that shares attainable, realistic, personable ways to incorporate movement into your day.
What about Active Spaces’ future are you most excited for?
I’m really excited about continuing to build out our reviews of fitness studios and spaces in NYC. We’re looking forward to further activating our community in ways beyond the confines of a room. We currently have an ongoing partnership with Elizabeth Street Garden and Katy Nelson, a yoga instructor, where we offer a free yoga class every Sunday morning through September 29th.
Advice for aspiring entrepreneurs who are currently starting their business through a side hustle?
My two pieces of advice are to stay curious and always ask questions. Talk to as many people as you can, find ways to show that you value their time, but really cast a wide net and do your homework. After receiving the advice, figure out where your conviction lies. Find a couple of really good sounding boards to have in your corner and then go with your gut.
What do you wish you knew when you were first starting your career?
To not feel so much pressure to figure it all out. There’s so much pressure in college and after graduation to know what you want to do. Chances are, your career path will change, as it should. Stay open to possibilities and remain curious.
How can people in sedentary roles best stay active during working hours?
Do small activities frequently throughout the day. The activity can be as small as walking around the office every few hours as a break.
What did you think? Let’s chat. Comment below!
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