Grow Your Value finalist Arica Harris is a mom, wife, mentor and experienced consultant with a big fitness goal. It’s a mission that extends beyond simply logging time in the gym after work or running a 5K: she wants to help her community get healthy.
As a resident of Florissant, Missouri, a St. Louis suburb, Arica has witnessed the turmoil of the area firsthand. The northern suburb of Ferguson is still tense and wounded in the aftermath of the fatal shooting of unarmed teen Michael Brown in 2014. Arica cares deeply for St. Louis and its surrounding suburbs, and unfortunately, it is consistently on the list of America’s unhealthiest cities. This is a statistic that Arica seeks to improve with her passion for health and wellness.
Arica hopes to open a spinning studio where the combination of energy, music and sweat will not only improve the physical fitness of her community, but its spirit too. Through exercise, she wants to reach teenagers and young adults who she considers essential to a vibrant future for St. Louis and its suburbs.
The idea, a “dream to positively impact women and teens at a higher level,” grew not just from Arica's passion for exercise but also from her struggle with body image and self-consciousness as a curvier teen – something so many of us can relate to. After graduating college, she tried a spinning class at a local gym and was drawn to the energy and sense of community inside the studio as well as the opportunity to cultivate new relationships. Even more, she appreciated that the focus was on more than toning muscles or losing weight; it was about spirit and human connection. Building those connections has helped Arica navigate the ups and downs of her busy career and personal life. “You need a network to help you,” she told MSNBC.
Arica took a leap and entered the Grow Your Value bonus competition, the first step in fulfilling her business goal. “I want to take away the ability to grow my impact and my value so that I can extend it others in my community,” she said.
Arica’s passion for helping others inspired me and led to our selecting her as a finalist. I am especially impressed by Arica’s ability to continue to strive to reach her goals. She holds multiple degrees and certifications, but she will not stop until she has used her business acumen and ability to connect with the community to make a difference. Next Friday, September 25, the Know Your Value tour stops in Chicago to continue a conversation that is close to my heart. How can we as women step out of our comfort zones, challenge ourselves and grow ourselves personally and professionally? This is something I struggled with for over 20 years. It’s no walk in the park, but we’ll be discussing tips and strategies to get there.
You can catch Arica and the other Grow Your Value finalists compete for $10,000 on September 25 at msnbc.com/knowyourvalue where we’ll be livestreaming the event. And if you want to attend in person, you can still snag tickets. See you in Chicago!