Welcome to our our Team Member Spotlights! Our team has been changing and growing this past year, which is why we wanted to re-introduce our team members to you, and give you a closer look at who's behind the wheel here at YFFR. We hope you enjoy this monthly blog series.
Title: Chief Operating Officer (COO)
TL;DR - I work with the team to improve workflows and systems in order to best serve our community.
As COO, I am in charge of the daily operations of YogaShield® Yoga For First Responders®. I strategize workflows with other members on our team and then assist with creating a system to allow maximum benefit with less effort. This allows us to more smoothly get the wheels rolling and see the progress made. I help with everything from team member onboarding to training workflows and beyond.
Growing up, I always believed I would become a high school math teacher. After Calc 3 my freshman year, I signed up for Differential Equations and quickly learned that my passion lied more in anatomy/physiology than mathematics. I graduated from Iowa State University and then went on to earn my Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Des Moines University. After practicing physical therapy for a few years, I transitioned to a virtual role assisting business owners with their online systems and marketing needs. In February 2019, I joined the YogaShield® Yoga For First Responders® team as Executive Assistant. Currently I am serving in the COO position.
My pup Hugo Bear. He has attended two Instructor Schools now and serves as trainee protector and bringer of smiles. Hugo is the perfect flight companion. Oh, and I suppose my husband, Josh, is a sidekick too. :) You can find us attending sporting events, hiking the trails, or dressing alike for some family fun. Hugo is part billy goat and seems to gain more energy the further we hike. His first overnight backpacking trip was at 5 months old and he ran laps around us each day. All three of us are Iowa-raised and transplanted into the PNW a couple years back. Iowa is great, but the PNW definitely has more in terms of nature hikes and sporting events. While my loyalties lie mainly in the midwest teams (Minnesota Vikings, Twins, Wild, and anything Iowa State), one of our favorite sporting events is a Seattle Sounders game. *Boom*Boom*Clap*
Prior to YFFR, I never considered myself a yogi. In fact, before grad school I had never participated in a yoga class. My doctorate program included a unit on Medical Therapeutic Yoga which introduced me to the idea of yoga being a holistic approach fully backed by science. One of my PT mentors frequently utilized yoga poses for rehabilitation and injury prevention as well as the breathing aspects for stress management and healing. I then took 3 of the yoga poses and the breathing techniques into my own Physical Therapy practice. However, I did not begin a more consistent yoga practice until joining the YFFR tribe.
As someone who has struggled for years with mental health, I have been told time and again that yoga is a great tool to use. Every time I heard or read about the benefits of yoga, I would file it away as something not for me because it was too “woo-woo”. Once I was able to get past the “woo-woo” excuse, I used all of the next typical excuses of "I’m not flexible enough", "I’m not fit enough", or "I don’t have time". Even at the time of joining the YFFR team, I came on to help from an organizational standpoint and wanted to make a difference in first responders and the military. Honestly, I didn’t fully buy-in to the immense benefits of yoga.
After attending the Instructor School in Seattle, I quickly changed my view of yoga from a "woo-woo" practice to a science-backed toolset available (and applicable) to anyone. It is not the weird positions on a beach with some soft music in the background or the idea that you just need to relax and not worry about a thing. Instead, it is about gaining control and power over your mind and body. The intention behind each practice of yoga is to end stronger than you began even if only a quick breath practice in the middle of your stress-filled workday. My why is to share this knowledge with those who serve the most.
3 Part Breath Intro! With my background in Physical Therapy, breathing was my bread and butter for treating patients. I love seeing it taught in a proactive manner. The power that comes from such a “simple” thing that we do every day astounds me.
Something Unique About Me:
I am 97% Dutch and bake some amazing Dutch letters. In 2013, I was able to travel to the Netherlands and visit the childhood home of my Great Uncle Dick and see the church where he hid from the Nazis. But, if you ask me to cook something, you may want to have the local pizza place on speed dial! :)
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor:
Blue Bunny Birthday Party - reminds me of summertimes at the lake.
New Girl. It was the logical next step after rewatching The Office for the 100th time.
We hope you enjoyed getting to know Brittany. Next up: Eric Brenneman! Stay tuned for Eric's spotlight in July.
- The YFFR Team