Anne Mahlum – Runner, Visionary!
Occasionally in life we are blessed to meet someone who is truly inspirational. A character that seems to have come straight out of an Austen novel and entered into the real world. For me, that person was Anne Mahlum. An entrepreneur, runner, spokesperson for the homeless, founder of Back on My Feet, and visionary, Anne is an inspiration for all of us who are, in her words, “looking for direction, but not knowing what it takes to get there.”
In some ways, Anne’s journey started the day she first donned a pair of running shoes. At the age of 16 Anne found solace in running. When running she “feels free and very open,” it is a chance for the body and soul to become cleansed. Thus, it comes as no surprise that Anne’s first entrepreneurial adventure occurred while on a morning run.
Back in May 2007 Anne was working for a non-profit organization in Philadelphia. Every day she would pass a homeless shelter on her morning run. Never one to shy away from strangers, Anne found herself striking up multiple conversations with the individuals whom called the shelter home. As time passed, it dawned on her that she should start a running club. She envisioned a club where homeless individuals could begin to recover parts of their identity, and, become reliable, responsible, as well as dedicated. Little did she know that her small running club would grow into Back on My Feet, a 501(c) 3 organization.
Over the past six years Back on My Feet has grown to 45+ full time staff members, a budget of $6.5M, and 11 chapters across the U.S. Throughout this time more than 1,200 people have used Back on My Feet’s services to find employment and independent housing. In November 2013 Anne stepped down as CEO. She felt that it was, “very important that the organization could survive on its own.” Even though her role in the organization has changed, Anne will continue to advise and serve in a founder’s role. In fact, she is already off and running (pun intended) to her next adventure: solidcore.
After attending a Lagree Fitness class in Los Angeles, Anne decided to bring the workout back to DC and create “something very different and challenging.” Solidcore represents Anne’s next entrepreneurial vision. When asked why she wanted to start solidcore, she answered quite simply that, “it is my responsibility to continue to create and grow things.” Well, she is certainly creating a sensational workout environment. She currently has one studio opened, a second scheduled to open in February, and a third in the works for late March.
The solidcore communities invite people to become “better versions of themselves.” The community is welcoming and above all encouraging. Anne encourages participants to use solidcore as a way to work on other areas of their lives. Just as Back on My Feet helped inspire over 1,200 homeless constituents, Anne hopes that solidcore will motivate its members to ‘grab life by the horns.’
The mental toughness needed to complete a solidcore workout can be applied to everyday life. As Anne noted, when your entire body is burning from a workout, you somehow find the strength to push yourselves to the limits. Whenever we face a new challenge in life, we need to find the inner courage needed to push past the burn (so to speak). It is with this same inspiration that Anne has turned her entrepreneurial sights to solidcore. She is building solidcore with the same amount of passion, purpose, and conviction that built Back on My Feet from a one-woman show to a multi-city organization.
The solidcore workout is performed on a MegaFormer machine. This specialized equipment offers resistance training, which provides a low impact workout with high caliber results. Solidcore sessions help you to work specific muscle regions, increase your metabolism, and change your bodily (and mental) physique. The 50-minute sessions burn an impressive 600-800 calories! To learn more about the solidcore philosophy or schedule a class, visit their website at http://www.solidcore.co.
As if starting solidcore, serving on the Back on My Feet advisory board, speaking at public events, and saving time for a daily morning run wasn’t enough, Anne has even bigger plans for 2014. During our conversation, I asked her to tell me three things that she hoped to accomplish in the New Year. With a groan she begrudgingly obliged. What can I say, for someone as motivated as Anne, narrowing the list down to just three goals was quite a challenge. And so, without further ado, here are one visionary’s top three goals:
- Successful transition with Back on My Feet. It is very important to Anne that the organization continues to be just as successful as it was when she was CEO. Throughout the year she will be giving guidance and contributing in meaningful ways.
- Continue to build solidcore. She is still figuring out the vision for the company. Is it going to just be in the DC, VA, MD area? Or should it grow to a larger region? Judging from the positive reviews, this writer thinks that Anne is building a fantastic workout environment that will be embraced for years to come.
- Make more time to travel and enjoy everything. For the past six years Anne has been changing the world, but in 2014 she wants to remember to make time to enjoy this great spinning place that we call Earth.
It is safe to say that Anne Mahlum is one inspiring lady, entrepreneur, runner, and public speaker. Stay tuned throughout 2014 to watch as solidcore takes on the DC, MD, and VA workout scene. And, when it comes to Anne, she will to continue to lead the pack through motivation and a desire to create new activities that rejuvenate the mind, body, and soul. http://www.annemahlum.com
Written by: Laura Parker