As the founder of Sweat N Swag Fitness, Kay Brown of Hampton, Virginia, uses her passion for hip-hop and jazz dance to encourage health and wellness in her community. You can watch Kay and her fellow finalists compete for a $10,000 bonus onstage this Friday, May 15, during the Know Your Value event in Washington, D.C. The contest is part of the nationwide Know Your Value effort to provide dialogue, training and resources for women to learn and communicate their value in the workplace.
What makes you a believer in the Know Your Value movement?
It gives women a sense of self worth, at least that is what I feel. This movement is changing the way we think as mothers, wives and career-driven women. I think, personally, that we get caught up sometimes with everything else in the world and really underestimate our true value. For me, this movement has shed light on how much I am truly worth. I am excited for the journey.
You and two other women were selected as Grow Your Value finalists after submitting one-minute videos explaining why you deserve a bonus. What inspired you to enter the competition?
My husband encouraged me to take a chance and submit a video. I took his advice and said why not? I felt that even if I didn't get chosen as a finalist, someone would at least view my video to hear my story.
You started your own company, Sweat N Swag Fitness, to inspire your community to use dance as a medium for fitness. Was it tough to get your business off the ground?
Aside from funding, getting into the market has been a little challenging because there are many platforms for health and wellness that are dance-related. However, I offer something unique in that we are hip-hop-based company and the mission is oriented to bring a more positive light on hip-hop culture as a whole. I believe that once this message is understood, the local community -- as well as national and global communities -- will be a part of the movement.
Not only are you a business owner, but you're a young and female business owner. This must bring its own set of challenges.
I would say that the toughest part for me is acceptance from the community that I am young and a business owner. I say this because it is always a shock -- not in a bad way -- when I mention that I own a business. Especially as a personal trainer. It is a market that seems like it has more men than women in it -- the trainers and the trainees -- so there is a standard that has been set: in order to get the results you want as a man, you need a man to do the job. Let’s just say that I have several clients that are men and they are rock stars in getting their results because not only do they believe in me as a trainer, they trust the process.
What career advice would you offer your early-20s self?
This is funny! I would tell my young and rambunctious self to always be true and honest with myself. Never settle, know your worth and don’t let anyone keep you from dreams by saying you can't do it.
How has your sense of worth evolved since you first entered the 'real world'?
I have such an appreciation and find the most value in the little things in life. My perspective is always that the cup is half full versus being half empty. Once upon a time, I would choose to sweat the small stuff, but I feel so much better by seeing things in a more positive light and know that it could very well be worse. And I always do my best to do unto others as I would have them do unto me. I am so grateful for my development.
You and the other finalists completed a rigorous course at the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute. Did you learn anything during the training that you had never considered before?
I learned that nothing is impossible if I just have the confidence in myself to push forward. Not just in the physical sense, but emotionally and mentally. I always thought I was tough, but the coaching at Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute showed me that there is always room for improvement and that I should keep charging forward to be the best version of me.
Check back tomorrow for a preview of our other Grow Your Value finalists. You can also learn more about Kay and the other finalists here.