When I think of a woman who carries amazing energy and who aspires to inspire all of those around her; Jessica Quande is the first person that comes to mind. I met her while on set for a photo shoot and was instantly drawn to her spirit and the confidence that she carried with her on to set. I was inspired by her life and knew that she had a real story to tell and an impact to make on many women who wished to break out of the norm and do what it is they love. If you are unfulfilled or just plain tired of living for the worlds expectancy then this is one story you definitely want to keep reading. IT GIRLS get ready to be impressed and inspired by my interview with the amazing Jessica Quande.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I fell in love with Dance Fitness about 8 years ago. I found a gym close to my house on a groupon and the rest is history. I began my fitness journey once I got out of a very bad relationship, my self esteem was low, I gained a lot of weight and had alienated myself from a lot of friends. It was time to refocus all my energy on me. Right away I knew I had found my "thing". I always wanted to go and be with the music. Dance helped to open the doors into fitness. I started going to the gym, getting trainers, trying out boot camp classes. And since day one on that dance floor I have lost more than 125 pounds, regained my confidence and have become a positive person again. I am a true believer if you find something that makes you want to get healthy, then getting healthy just becomes a benefit of the activity. I am truly blessed to get to do what I do. To see people get healthy, laughing, making friends and WANTING to sweat. It's so refreshing to unite over music, dancing and fitness. I left Corporate America the end of 2016 and was SO scared to make the jump, but I had to follow my passion and purpose. And it was one of the best decisions I've ever made. Besides dance fitness, I am a social butterfly, I love being around people. I enjoy learning new things whether its about a culture, how to cook a new food or make basically anything on Pinterest. I love the arts, nature and Disneyland. I defiantly love Disneyland.
What was the deciding factor that led you to leave Corporate America and start your business?
This was a hard decision to make. I have my BA in Fashion Merchandising and working in Corporate America was always my dream growing up. Yet as the years went by my passions changed and I found my purpose within Dance Fitness. I've been a fitness instructor for a little over seven years now and along the way created some amazing relationships, helped people get healthy while also making them laugh. I have been so blessed to have my paths with Donna and Jessica Black (yes they are sisters!), being able to start this business with them has been such a blessing. One day we just kinda decided "let's do it". We have all been apart of other dance fitness formats before and know each others work ethic that moving forward with our CTY experience was kinda a no brainier. I do have my moments still of uncertainly with leaving my corporate job, but besides that everything else feels so right.
How did you deal with the opinions of others once they found out you had made that decision?
I really haven't heard many negative opinions. I've been in the fitness industry so long that many people didn't even know I also had a full time job. I also surround myself with positive mindset and motivating people (along with MANY entrepreneurs) so that could be a reason why I have had nothing but support! Yet if I were to get negative feedback, it would not effect me nor my business partners as we know our purpose and all the good we want to spread.
In the world of dance fitness as it is becoming a popular form of exercise; how do you handle feelings of competition?
Dance Fitness has became a major part of the fitness world. I remember taking a step class back at Bally's Total Fitness when I was 15 and that was the only fitness class offered. Now, if you look at a gyms schedule there are 15-20 classes with multiple formats. The nice thing about so many formats is that there is something for everyone and instead of looking at it like "why do they go to their class and not mine" or "their choreo is better" to me it's more of just options. The goal should always be helping our students get healthy and sprinkling a little laughter in their too. The way I teach is different from Sally or Susie and vice versa. I enjoy that there are multiple formats and different genres of music offered. As long as what we do as instructors makes a difference in someones life, then we have filled a purpose. Stay humble and focus on inspiring <3
What is some advice you would give to any female entrepreneur just starting out?
Choose the people in your circle wisely! People that remind you to stay focused and that you CAN do anything. It is so important to be around others that have words of encouragement but also are not a "yes man" and able to give you their truthful opinion. You WILL hit rocky roads, you WILL have "WTF" moments. All of that is apart of the process. Keep your mindset strong and just pick back up. One of my favorite quotes I think of during hard times is "Fall down seven times, stand up eight". Network!!! Get out there and support other female entrepreneurs, learn about your community, get involved! So many of the amazing people I have met along my journey that have helped me with bouncing business ideas around are people I met through events or fundraisers. Stay humble, stay grounded. Remember your "why" and why you even started all of this. Give back, as much as you can. Time, money, services. This world needs more of it and I highly believe this to be a trait that helps us to grow.
What motivates you?
People. Connections with others. Knowing that we are making a difference through dance and exercise. That the lives we touch, touch others. I started dance fitness for myself, once I feel in love with it, it was no longer for me, it was to spread the love. That is and will always be the biggest factor that keeps me going.
What do women need more of?
Embracing each other!!! Get rid of the competition! Support other women, introduce friends to friends, spread the love.
What do women need less of?
I guess I jumped ahead in the last question, lol. LESS COMPETITION! This world is HUGE there is enough room for us all to succeed without having to bring another down. Less negativity about themselves! The things I hear women say about themselves, their looks, their bodies. Every time I hear a friend say something negative about themselves I usually with counter and say "stop, now tell me something you do like about you". Words are power and we need to be mindful how we speak of ourselves and others.