Welcome to our first installment of Empowering Everyone – this is our take on how we can help spread the news about amazing people doing creatively engaging events around our country. Check out our interview with Danielle Hester – founder of Fit 4 Purpose.
TREMG: HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO FIND THE NAME FIT 4 PURPOSE?
DH: Not long at all! The name was manifested during a conversation I was having with a life coach. I was talking about wanting to create experiences around mental health and fitness, and how working out and being active has helped me cope with emotional stresses; it has helped me feel more fit to discover new things…to find purpose. And that’s where the name came from. It’s the idea that everyone is fit for a purpose, and when you feel good inside and out, you feel empowered to live in your purpose.
TREMG: WORKING IN MEDIA HAS ITS UPS AND DOWNS, CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT A HARD TIME THAT YOU FACED?
DH: Phew, where do I start?! I’d say the most difficult time for me was working for a creative agency where the company’s values didn’t align with the company culture. I was one of two black people, and the only woman of color on my team, at this agency that claimed to be “multicultural” and “inclusive.” Yet, my creative team was run by out of touch white people who didn’t value, or care to hear, different perspectives. I’d sit in meetings listening to a room full of non-people of color come up with campaign ideas for multicultural audiences.
As the only person of color with a seat at the table, I felt it was my responsibility to interject when something didn’t feel right, and again, I could only speak from the perspective of an African American woman born and raised in Chicago. The tipping point for me was when I was told that the reason why I was not being promoted was because I was too “aggressive” and “argumentative.” Triggering words for a black woman working in corporate. I feel like every company wants to use “diversity,” “multicultural,” and “Inclusiveness” as buzz words; as if wanting to tap into unique POVs from all walks of life is a trendy thing to do. As a person of color working in the media space, I look to challenge the type of content brands put out there for multicultural audiences to consume. I also look to challenge how companies are set up internally. Hiring one or two people of color isn’t enough. It also isn’t enough to just say “THIS IS WHO WE ARE,” without hiring people of all walks of life at every level, specifically management and HR.
TREMG: IS IT DIFFICULT TO STAY CREATIVE? WHAT INSPIRES YOU THE MOST?
DH- For me. creativity comes in many forms. One day it’s ideating a creative treatment for a brand campaign the next it’s journaling the next coming up with a theme for the next Fit 4 Purpose event. I’ve found that creativity comes more natural to me when I’m working on something that I’m passionate about. I’m also inspired by curiosity and passion. Being around people who seek experiences inspire me to creative. Talking to people who are curious about life inspires me to think out of the box and challenge my own ways of thinking.
TREMG: WHERE DO YOU SEE FIT 4 PURPOSE LETS SAY 18 MONTHS DOWN THE ROAD?
DH- 18 months from now, I see Fit 4 Purpose impacting 100s of 1000s of people through curated events and conferences around the country, and shifting the way we talk about our mental health. Mental health is a serious topic, but people don’t always want to sit in their depression and low emotional state, and that’s where I see Fit 4 Purpose having the biggest impact – through joyous experiences. I want everyone to come to my events and walk away experiencing joy and fun, and be motivated to kick off their own passion projects.
TREMG: DO YOU THINK THERE IS THIS NEW WAVE OF WOMEN BUILDING THEIR OWN EMPIRES?
DH- I think social media gives us more access to see what women are doing around the world, and has heightened the awareness of projects and movements headed by women. But I feel like women have been building their own empires for years. Even in the structure of their homes, raising kids, being the back bone and nurtures of their families — that’s the foundation of building an empire in my opinion.
TREMG: WHICH ELEMENTS BEST DESCRIBE YOUR GIRL BOSS ATTITUDE?
DH- Whenever I am in doubt or in my head about things, I remind myself: “You DESERVE to take up space.” We all deserve to take up space, to be seen, to enroll people into our visions, to have a seat at the table. PeriodT!
TREMG: COMMUNITY VS COMPETITION IS SOMETHING WE KEEP SEEING ONLINE. HOW DOES THAT PLAY OUT IN YOUR BRAND?
DH- Fit 4 Purpose is a community platform. Without a solid community of like-minded people, my brand would be meaningless. I started Fit 4 Purpose with the intent to build community, to create spaces for people to share and have joyous experiences. In those spaces, there’s no room for competition because we are all looking to learn and grow together.