Last week I had the pleasure to meet with Dr. Jasmine Zapata for an interview on African American female entrepreneurship and how I got started in running a national workout company for a locat newspaper in Madison Wisconsin called the Madison Times . Although the intention of the interview was focused on generating revenue to run BWDWO.com to continue to promote the benefits of health and fitness, our partnership for working together for serving the Madison, Wisconsin community was also a topic of discussion. Dr. Zapata, a wife, mother, writer and fulltime Pediatrician working at the U.W. Hospital, is also working with BWDW in leading a health and fitness workshop as well as running her own Gospel Fitness Class and Soft Ball League at her church, The Fountain of Life!
Jasmine Zapata: Tell me a little about yourself. What’s your background?
Crystal Adell: From childhood to my adult life, I have always had a passion for physical activities like snow skiing, scuba diving, running, exercising and dance, I received my personal training certification in 2004 and started Black Women DO Workout in 2009. I had been exercising for close to 20 years prior to taking the course which prompted me to get certified so that I could have a better understanding regarding the biomechanics and medical benefits of exercise.
JZ: Tell me a more about your business. How did it get started?
CA: After I got my personal training certification, I began trying to build up my clientele but when attempting to get African American female clients, I was often told jokingly that “Black women do not work out”. Frustrated by this negative rhetoric, I started a women-inspired grassroots fitness campaign on Facebook entitled “Black Women ‘Do’ Workout”.
My goal was to turn the negative phrase into a positive one. The social media following began to grow and I noticed that more and more women came to the page to proudly show the world that they too indeed work out and were more than willing to share the results of their hard work with others. Women became inspired by other women’s positive reinforcements and soon a sisterhood network began to grow in large numbers of women wanting to know more about health and fitness overall.
JZ: What’s been your greatest accomplishment thus far and what are your future goals?
CA: My greatest accomplishment to date is the procurement of business through partnership agreements from mega fitness chains like Lifetime Fitness. Additionally, to be able to watch small Black-owned fitness businesses grow as a result to my strategic advertising initiatives is an accomplishment that I can certainly say is great beyond any measure. I’m also proud to say we now have over half a million followers on our social media sites. We also now have many state chapters and a following in the United Kingdom and even Africa! A goal and passion of mine is to focus women’s discussions to longevity and more preventative measures as it relates to preserving our health. Adventurous women who are curious about biking, kayaking, boxing, or indoor rock climbing will find themselves connecting to like-minded individuals looking for the same. These are just some of the changes I have seen through some of the events that Black Women DO Workout has already provided in various cities around the U.S. with a considerable amount of turnout and my goal is to continue to grow this model and way of thinking.
JZ: Define your WHY. What gets you up in the morning every day and motivates you to reach your goals?
CA: What drives me every morning to reach my goals is my desire to make a DIFFERENCE in people’s lives now and for the children of the future!
JZ: What advice do you have for women, in particular, women of color looking to start their own business, become successful entrepreneurs and reach their dreams?
CA: One message is to stay positive, encourage one another and avoid negativity. I want everyone to know that I have been there with that one difficult thing that I thought I could not do and will fail at it. But failing at anything that is difficult leads to the opportunity to do it better the next time. In my heart is the yearning to show the world that the best of what any woman can present, regardless to color or race, is her inner beauty and how she chooses to use it to turn things around for herself.
JZ: Thanks this was amazing! Any upcoming events or ways people can connect with you more?
CA: I’m excited to be partnering with Dean St Mary’s and Fountain of Life Church (633 S. Badger Rd.) in Madison Wisconsin, on June 13, 2015 at 10 a.m. for a free Community Health and Fitness wareness event. I’m hoping to partner with other Dane County community organizations, non-profits and businesses in the future as well to provide the ultimate in fitness, fellowship and FUN.