An Exercise in Relationship Building

Feb 12, 2020 | Member Spotlight

J.HarrisIt’s been said that relationships are key to a healthy business. That rings true for Jeanette Aguilar Harris who initially entered the health and fitness industry to nurture her relationship with her two young sons. “Prior to having children, I traveled often as an actor and dancer,” she explains. “I needed a career that allowed me flexibility to care for and bond with my boys.”

With a natural interest in body movement, Jeanette became a certified aerobics instructor and personal trainer, and was soon promoted to manager at a local gym in Albuquerque, New Mexico. As she learned the ins and outs of the business, she gained a passion for helping people become better versions of themselves and expanded her repertoire to include certifications in GYROTONIC(R) and Pilates.

That’s when her entrepreneurial spirit kicked in. “I was promoting Pilates on the local morning news, and the gym’s owner admittedly slept in and missed the segment,” recalls Jeanette. “That’s when I realized I could open my own studio, and still work around my boys’ schedules.”

In 2003, Jeanette launched Total Body Wellness LLC, to cater to Albuquerque’s North Valley. To foster its success, she searched for a network of like-minded women business owners. “When I found NAWBO-New Mexico, I knew it was the right place for me,” she says. “It felt inclusive, gave me the opportunity to learn from other women business owners and inspired me to join the Board of Directors.

What’s more, her business thrived. Through relationship-building, she not only increased memberships, but locked in loyal customers for 16-plus years. “We’re a smaller studio, which allows our clients to bond with all of our instructors and each other as well,” Jeanette shares. “The level of comfort and support they feel here translates to an increase of word-of-mouth referrals.”

Jeanette also shifted the studio’s focus from fitness only to therapeutic movement and rehabilitative fitness—the first of its kind in the area to adopt the unique approach by treating all ages with chronic pain, injury, disease and osteoporosis. Services offered include physical therapy for those recovering from injury and joint replacement surgery; craniosacral/reflexology for everything from stress, chronic illness and traumatic brain injury; and a specialized treatment called Scolio-Pilates for people living with scoliosis. In fact, Jeanette is one of only 60 practitioners in the world and the only practitioner in Albuquerque licensed in Scolio-Pilates. The three-dimensional treatment is so successful in elongating the spine that Jeanette’s goal this year is to increase awareness by collaborating with local Schroth/Scoliosis Physical Therapists. 

“Another 2020 goal is to further utilize my NAWBO membership—not only through networking, but by participating in NAWBO programs, like Mastermind,” she shares. “Now that my boys are grown, I can devote time to sharing ideas and solutions with other women business owners.”

And, it seems Jeanette’s reason for entering the health and fitness industry has come full circle with a return to acting. “I never thought I’d leave acting, but realize how blessed I’ve been to devote time to my children and my studio while also establishing relationships with NAWBO,” she says. “I’m looking forward to what the future has in store.”

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