Female Disruptors: Maria Parrella-Turco On The Three Things You Need To Shake Up Your Industry
You can’t fill the cup of others if you don’t fill your own first. As a leader I hold influence over my staff. If I don’t show them that it’s important to take care of yourself, they won’t see it as a priority. A restored staff is a productive and happy staff. By showing my staff I like getting massages, or exercising, or meditating, etc. I demonstrate to them balance and the permission to take care of yourself.
As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Maria Parrella-Turco.
Serving as a fitness industry expert, consultant, turnaround specialist, speaker, and yogi for over 20 years, Maria discovered that the true path to success is to help others achieve their greatest potential. Maria conceived, founded and built Honor Yoga and the Honor Yoga Foundation whose mission and vision is to deliver an accessible and authentic yoga experience and hence created one of the most well-respected yoga brands in the country. Maria most recently is the founder of MyFitPod and Salubrity an empowerment brand composed of a SaaS marketplace and brick and mortar model specifically serving and elevating independent fitness professionals without having to rely on the gym.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?
As a warrior against sedentary lifestyle, yoga and exercise are the key to a sound mind, body, and self. I have dedicated my life to the fitness and yoga industry and have had the privilege of serving it for over 25 years starting and growing various companies.
Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
In a current and post COVID world the fitness industry has suffered. Especially the ability for the independent fitness professional to launch, build, and maintain a sustainable career. MyFitPod and Salubrity are unlocking all fitness professionals’ ability and potential to deliver and monetize their services in an omnichannel way, without relying on the gym.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Early in my career I thought what made a gym successful was the equipment, the services, and the price. Then I learned very quickly that your most important piece of equipment is your staff. I learned then that if you are building a business based on people who deliver a service to other people, your job as a leader is to invest, elevate, and serve your staff.
We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?
Advancing as a woman in a male-dominated industry did not yield many direct mentors, yet it did from a distance, too many to count. Every interaction has been a lesson and learning. Sitting here today, my mentors include my teams and my family. Every day they inspire, teach, and impact me.
In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’?
Successful disruptors break old models and build better ones that benefit people. Whereas those who destroy models and replace them with nothing or something worse, is a failed disruptor. As a yogi I believe that disruption in general is good. You must have yin and yang, war and peace, right and wrong, in order for there to be continuous improvement and balance.
Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.
1. If you want to grow in life, master what you do and replace yourself. These are words that I’ve heard and experienced throughout my journey. Whenever I’m conducting an interview with a member of my team, I always ensure they understand as their leader it is my job to help them grow in life. That may mean graduating from my company, and that is perfectly fine. Example, in 2004 Rodney Morris who was a protégé student in my class in my early days as a group fitness teacher. I hired him to be a group fitness manager at one of the health clubs I co-owned. He went on to advance from that position into other organizations with my blessing and encouragement. Here we are 17 years later working together again. He is my co-founder and partner with MyFitPod. Helping others is the key to your own success.
2. “Your ability for growth is relative to your educational ceiling.“ My ability to grow as a professional is proportional to my learnings, whether through experience and education. If there was ever a meeting that I needed to prepare for, making sure I studied the subject matter always makes a direct impact on my outcome.
3. You can’t fill the cup of others if you don’t fill your own first. As a leader I hold influence over my staff. If I don’t show them that it’s important to take care of yourself, they won’t see it as a priority. A restored staff is a productive and happy staff. By showing my staff I like getting massages, or exercising, or meditating, etc. I demonstrate to them balance and the permission to take care of yourself.
We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?
Now that we have a MVP in MyFitPod, it’s time to actualize Salubrity — a brick and mortar model that provides fitness professionals with physical pod space they can rent by the hour to serve their clients without the costly overhead of an expensive lease. In-person fitness will trickle back and independent fitness professionals will have a place of their own to grow and serve.
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?
How much time do you have and how many characters am I limited too, LOL? We all know the data shows that women are still inferior to men. Now, let us add an industry to the formula. When I say the words “fitness” and “women” what is the first thing that comes to mind? “Pretty showpiece perhaps”? In conclusion, the biggest challenges faced by women disruptors is the uphill battle of “being taken seriously”. Women need to work harder in order to be taken seriously.
Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?
I am a personal development junkie, you name it I have probably read it or taken the course. On my long drive times, I listen to podcasts and books on tape. My staples are 7 Habits, Good to Great, E Myth, Traction, The Bushido Samurai Code, The Yoga Sutras, and StrengthsFinder. My recent favorites include, CoFoundersLab, Extreme Ownership, and Give and Take.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
My movement is to unlock the greatest potential of all beings that live purely to unlock the potential in themselves and in others, without judgement or politics.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
My favorite mantra is a combination of about 8 Napoleon Hill quotes mostly. I repeat this often. “The starting point of all achievement is desire so don’t wait because the time will never be just right. Remember that every goal is a just dream with a deadline and remember that there will be failures but that’s ok because the opposite of success is not failure it’s complacency. So did let perfection get in the way of production. Be quick to fail and know that every failure, and every heartache, carries with it the seed of an equivalent or greater benefit. Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle. Patience, persistence and perspiration is the formula for success.”
How can our readers follow you online?
Follow MyFitPod on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!