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.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Curriculum and Protocol Director
As CEO, I get to wear the bossy pants and put a name plaque on my desk. Actually, CEO of YFFR means I oversee the direction of our external mission and internal culture as a whole. I make high level decisions to ensure our team is meeting goals and staying in alignment with our core values and vision. I am the link between the Board of Directors and Executive Leadership Team. I often represent YFFR during major events, media, editorials and special projects.
As Curriculum and Protocol Director I cook up the meat and potatoes of YFFR’s field-tested methodology. Using my background in yoga, mindfulness, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, I work with advisors in areas such as yoga philosophy and Vedic Science, all branches of public safety and military, and behavioral health to ensure our method for offering yoga is practical, consistent, effective and safe while being job-specific and culturally-informed.
Those you can find "kickin' it" by my side are my fiancé, Eric, my dog, Abby, and my cat, Woody. Eric is a retired firefighter who now also works primarily from home, like I do. We both travel extensively for our jobs and try to travel together as much as possible. We have a good rhythm between "work mode" and "home/relax mode". Eric and I became engaged in November 2019 and hope to get married near the end of 2020, if the pandemic allows. Abby is a 12 year old pitbull mix who lives for snuggles. In fact, you'll often find me working with my computer on the couch, because she needs to be snuggled up right next to my legs. She doesn't like when I sit at my desk, it's too far away. She also loves to participate in my home yoga practice. As I move through different yoga drills she'll lovingly bring me her bone by throwing it at my face. Woody is a black cat who doesn't care about what I do, as long as his food bowl is full.
I grew up in Silicon Valley but wish I knew more about computers. I was a dedicated ballet student and even went to a high school for the arts. (Fame!) I had a 10 year career as a professional dancer and actress.
My first yoga class was when I was 6 years old, I went with my grandmother. My dad also introduced me to yoga, Zen, Tao and breath work for improving one’s golf game. I enjoyed playing golf with my dad when I was younger and hope to pick up a club again soon.
I went to Yoga Teacher Training when I was 21 years old after practicing yoga through different avenues for many years. Later, I would study yoga in India. I miss India even though I lived without hot water for showers yet somehow, the Masala Chai was always hot.
My personal yoga training not only includes the Yoga Alliance 500 hours and years of experience which is denoted by the “E-RYT 500” after my name, but I am also trained in prenatal yoga, yin yoga, restorative yoga, trauma-sensitive yoga, yoga therapy programs and a heck of a lot of years practicing and teaching!
In addition to yoga training, my education in human performance, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Firefighter skills and instruction, and law enforcement skills have enhanced my yoga practice and my understanding of its value.
Yoga studios and gyms can be a much needed sanctuary and community for so many people. For me, those venues only scratched the surface of what I wanted to offer as a yoga teacher. In addition, I wanted to be of service to segments of the population I have a deep admiration for: military, veterans and first responders. By teaching yoga to veterans, military and then first responders soon after, I was able to support these groups with a skill set they needed, as well as offer yoga training for its original purpose and the way I saw fit: for mastery of the mind and optimal functioning of the entire psychophysiological system.
As a woman, I didn’t immediately imagine or recognize I could be CEO of my own organization. My “why” is not only the mission of YogaShield Yoga For First Responders, but is also to be an example to young women that they, too, can be a strong and inspiring leader, the top of a chain of command, and turn their idea into a platform for changing the world.
I like the short sequences because that is typically all I have time for. I especially like the Audio-only segments as it offers daily breath work and mindfulness. This allows me to keep up a daily, consistent practice.
Something Unique About Me:
I went to a Spanish magnet school for elementary and middle school. I was completely native in Spanish growing up and was able to read and write in Spanish before English. I even taught yoga classes in Spanish a couple times! I don’t speak it regularly anymore, but it comes back fairly quickly after one margarita in a Mexican restaurant.
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor:
Rocky Road or Butter Pecan. I don’t eat much dairy so I prefer the brand Coconut Bliss.
Agent Carter - It’s the TV show that came after Captain America
We hope you enjoyed getting to know Olivia. Next up: Brittany McCall! Stay tuned for Brittany's spotlight in June.
- The YFFR Team